Military history



The last time we saw Taejon, it was not blight or gay, Now we're going back to Taejon, to blow the goddam place away!

— Song sung by members of the 24th Division attacking back into Taejon, 27 September 1950.

GENERAL MACARTHUR'S master plan for ending the Korean conflict envisioned a massive offensive by Eighth Army to coincide with the landings at Inch'on. The United Nations troops within the Pusan Perimeter would break out, drive north, and link up with X Corps in Seoul, while the enemy forces were smashed between the two friendly armies.

To take advantage of the morale boost word of the successful landing would bring to U.S. troops, Eighth Army's offensive was delayed until 0900 on 16 September 1950. It was also hoped by FECOM that the enemy would be demoralized by the news, but evidence indicates that the North Korean High Command concealed word of the landing from their men fighting on the Naktong.

On 15 September, most staff officers of Eighth Army were far from sanguine of their prospects. There was an ammunition shortage, especially critical in 105's. All units of Eighth Army had been fighting continually for many days, and there was no chance to concentrate a large offensive force for a breakout. And the Intelligence estimate of enemy strength was more than 100,000 combat troops, with 75 percent equipment.

The same estimate indicated that the enemy still held the initiative and was not likely to lose it in the immediate future. Eighth Army, however, had been on the defensive too long. Defense had become almost a state of mind with high officers; they found it hard to adjust to taking the offensive.

The NKPA was in far worse condition than American Intelligence dared guess. Enemy losses in early September had been enormous; they will never be known with complete accuracy. Some idea of what was left to the People's Army in middle September can be gleaned from a captured daily battle report that showed one battalion of the 7th Division at the following strength: 6 officers, 34 N.C.O.'s, 111 privates, armed with 3 pistols, 9 carbines, 57 rifles, and 13 automatic rifles. There were 92 grenades left to the battalion, and 6 light machine guns, with less than 300 rounds of ammunition for each.

All in all, the People's Army could not have numbered more than 70,000 officers and men by 15 September, of which less than 30 percent were the original veterans of Manchuria and Seoul. Morale among the new inductees was low—only the fact that anyone who showed open reluctance to fight was shot held the army together at all. Almost all divisions were suffering badly from hunger. But the fact that the men of the Inmun Gun knew that their own fanatic officers and N.C.O.'s would shoot them kept the South Korean conscripts from surrendering.

The thirteen divisions ringing Pusan retained no more than half their original guns and equipment.

The forces they ringed numbered now more than 150,000—60,000 of them heavily armed United States combat troops. However, these figures do not show a factor that continued to haunt American commanders throughout the war—the weakness of the rifle companies, the units that actually bore more than 90 percent of the fighting. While there were at least 10,000 men in or attached to the three new corps HQ's formed in early September, many rifle companies stood at 25 percent strength.

Throughout the war, the logistic tail. continued to wag the fighting dog. While certain commanders complained and warned, none ever took any effective steps to amend the front-to-rear ratio, which of course could not be done without drastically altering the logistical practices and standard of living of the United States Army. In fact, as the war progressed, the amount of supplies required to support the American troops increased. PX goods were assigned to every company, creating both a transport problem and a headache for some company officer who had better things to worry about.

Throughout the war, because of the continuing lack of motivation of U.S. personnel, every effort was made to raise morale by the supply of goods and luxuries to the troops. Unit PX's carried tons of soft drinks and candy bars from battle to battle; they sold watches, cameras, and radios at tax-free prices, though the demand for these always exceeded the supply.

Actually, it was impossible to support overseas combat troops at anything like a decent American standard of living. The very nature and necessities of war forbade it. But every effort was made. Discussing the dozens of ships carrying fresh meats, poultry, and other goods from the States to Korea, one FECOM commander later wrote, "We can never again afford to support troops in battle with such logistic luxury." But this commander took no steps to halt the trend.

Because of the large numbers of service troops required to support American forces, the odds at platoon level were not quite so disparate as they would seem. Many United States battalions had only a few hundred effective fighting men.

Combat losses in September 1950 had been heavy among United States troops—heavier than they would be at any other time in the war. Already American battle casualties totaled almost 20,000. And while 60,000 of the entire 70,000 men of the ROK Army were disposed on line, the ROK's were in about the same condition as the NKPA. Many of their trained men were gone, and the new recruits had no training or inclination for fighting.

Still, the United Nations had two-to-one superiority in manpower, and at least a five-to-one edge in firepower—the dominant factor in battle. They held the sea, and had complete control of the air, and could deliver the frightful combat power that control of the air implies.

All that was needed to break out of the Pusan Perimeter was a change of attitude.

The Eighth Army plan of attack was simple. It called for the Eighth and ROK armies to attack from their present bridgehead, with main effort along the Taegu-Kumch'on-Taejon-Suwon axis, to (1) destroy the enemy on the line of advance; (2) effect a junction with X Corps.

The newly activated I Corps, General Milburn, was to make the major effort in the center of the Naktong Line. Its route of advance lay roughly over the same roads and through the same towns through which Eighth Army had been pushed south in July and August.

Major General Frank Milburn's I Corps was given the 1st Cavalry Division, the 24th Infantry Division, 1st ROK Division, 5th Regimental Combat Team, and the British 27th Infantry Brigade, plus supporting troops. The U.S. 2nd and 25th divisions on the south were to remain under Army control until 23 September, at which date they would come under a newly organized IX Corps HQ.

The ROK divisions remained under their own corps HQ, although they were now fighting under almost complete United States direction.

At 0900 on 16 September, H-Hour for the breakout, there was little change in the battlefront. Under dark skies and heavy rains American divisions and People's Army were still locked in close combat, and in many places the North Koreans were yet attacking. Instead of jumping off in assault, many American units were on the defensive, repelling assaults of the enemy.

Then, suddenly, the front began to break apart.

George B. Peploe, a few weeks from being fifty, commanded the 38th Infantry, the 2nd Division's Rock of the Marne Regiment. Stemming from a family of fruit farmers near Waterport, New York, Peploe was a graduate of the Military Academy in 1925. In Europe he had served as G-3 of XIII Corps in Simpson's 9th Army, and he was within fifty miles of Berlin when the war ended.

A medium-sized, soft-spoken officer with thin gray hair and blue eyes, Peploe was still a colonel in 1950. He was unassuming, without the slap and dash of some professionals—but he had a consuming belief in the importance of hard training for soldiers.

Peploe felt soldiers should train in peacetime exactly as they trained in wartime. For an army has only two functions, to fight, or to prepare to fight. But Peploe faced the basic problem all officers who thought his way faced in the postwar years—hard, realistic training was unpopular, and it sometimes resulted in injuries.

While everyone admitted realistic training resulted in fewer dead upon the field of battle, a man injured or killed by accident on the training field soon had Congress down about an officer's ears. And the people up above showed no willingness to back their juniors up. Many a general who would have walked up a hill blazing with enemy fire without thinking twice quailed in his polished boots on the receipt of a congressional letter.

Under the Constitution of the United States, Congress holds the power of life and death over the military, and no one would have it otherwise. History has shown very clearly that for democracy to continue, the people, and not the generals or even the executive authority, must have control over the military. The people must dictate its size, composition, and its use—above all, its use. But control does not imply petty interference.

The problem seems to fall eternally upon the ground forces. While few men, legislators or otherwise, have felt down the years that they could command ships of the line or marshal air armies without specialized training, almost any fool has felt in his heart he could command a regiment.

And throughout history, the men in the ranks have been the ultimate victims of such philosophy. In the eighteenth century, when the British Navy, hard-bitten, professional, and competent, ruled the waves, His Majesty's regiments—"The thin red line of heroes, led by fools"—left their bones scattered across the world.

In the summer of 1950, while 80 percent of the officers of Peploe's 38th Infantry had seen combat in World War II, many of his new fillers had never so much as thrown a live grenade. Some of them were not even infantry by branch. Immediately and energetically, Peploe went to work. He put his men in the field, and he was always in the field with them.

The Division CG, General Keiser, was frequently annoyed because he could not find Peploe in his office or near a phone.

The 9th Infantry went to Korea first, then the 23rd, and the 38th had an opportunity for a few days' additional preparation. When they sailed, the 38th had been told they would stage in Japan, but they arrived in Pusan instead, bound for Naktong. Here Peploe abandoned a mountain of baseball bats, footballs, and other peacetime athletic equipment, and marched for the Perimeter. In late August he relieved the 34th Infantry, 24th Division, on the northern edge of the Nakton Bulge.

The front was 30,000 yards, many times that which a regiment could adequately hold. Peploe put all three battalions on line, kept only his regimental tank company in reserve. Fortunately the 2nd Division, unlike the first-committed occupation units, came over at full strength.

In August and early September, the 38th missed the desperate fighting that engulfed its sister regiments. 1/38 had a few scraps, and the tank company helped pull a battalion of the 23rd out of a hole, but on the whole the regiment went through the worst of the Naktong battles unscathed.

And 16 September, when the orders came to move west, the 38th was ready.

At this time the Air Force was not flying planes out of Korean bases—they had withdrawn their fighter squadrons to Japan. This meant that the supporting aircraft could remain over the front for only limited times—and Peploe figured that the man who asked first got the air support.

The Air liaison officer with the 38th became resigned to being kicked out of the sack an hour before dawn. But when the planes arrived over the Naktong, he was ready with his requests, and the strafing, rocketing, and napalming ahead of the 38th cleared the way for its advance.

The 38th began to push forward rapidly against crumbing resistance. South of them, the 23rd and 9th met heavy resistance and moved slowly, but in front of the Rock of the Marne the NKPA 2nd Division moved westward in disorder. Once a flight of Australian pilots flying American F-51's roared in so close to his leading company that Peploe was concerned. The lead company commander disagreed.

"Leave 'em alone," he begged Peploe.

With the fighters spreading havoc ahead of them, Peploe and the 38th suddenly found themselves at the Naktong. All along the roads they had passed abandoned AT guns and enemy dead.

Looking at the wide, twelve-foot-deep Naktong before him, on 18 September Peploe called Lieutenant Colonel Swartz, Division G-3. "Where are the boats?"

Swartz said, "There aren't any boats."

Peploe ordered Skeldon's 2/38 to send patrols across the river and to secure a bridgehead on the west bank. A dozen of 2nd Battalion's hard, eager young men stepped forward, volunteering to swim across and secure the far shore.

These men stripped, and under the guns of their comrades went into the muddy brown water. Halfway across, one of the volunteers floundered and had to be rescued by another soldier. Hauled gasping back to the bank, he admitted he didn't know how to swim.

Moving cautiously along the west bank, the patrol found no enemy. And hidden in a large culvert beside the river, they found a cache of NKPA weapons, several collapsible boats, and one large boat capable of carrying thirty men.

Two squads went across in the two-man rubber reconnaissance boats, while Peploe talked to Division HQ again: "Let me go across in force."

At noon, Colonel Epley, Division Chief of Staff, gave him permission to cross one battalion.

Within three hours E and F and 2/38 had crossed and had taken the high ground a mile west of the river. Behind them, combat engineers built rafts to float over the heavy weapons, then a bridge for the regiment's vehicles.

Striking the disorganized enemy by surprise, the advance companies took more than a hundred prisoners, including a major and seven other officers. They also captured more than a hundred tons of ammunition, and many arms.

After an ordeal of six weeks, American forces had at last broken out of the Pusan Perimeter.

North of the Bulge, in I Corps zone, the 5th RCT moved against crucial Hill 268 on 16 September. In a vicious two-day battle, the hill was overrun, and the town of Waegwan flanked. Leaving hundreds of their dead on 268, and on the terrain between the hill and the Naktong, the NKPA 3rd Division showed signs of imminent dissolution.

Like a rubber band that has been stretched one time too many, the People's Army suddenly began to go slack.

In five days of savage fighting, the 5th RCT smashed the enemy's line in front of Taegu, and secured a crossing site on the Naktong for the 24th Division.

On the phone to Tokyo, Eighth Army's Chief of Staff, General Allen, told MacArthur's HQ, "Things down here are ripe for something to break."

Corporal James B. Mount, Medical Corps, was at Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco, when the Korean War broke. From Detroit, Mount had been a rifleman scout in the 10th Infantry in World War II, and he had seen enough fighting to keep him happy for the rest of his life. When the replacements for Korea began to sail through the Golden Gate from Fort Mason, Mount went down to the Presidio of Sail Francisco and waved the boys goodbye.

It was a nice gesture, but wasted. He beat most of them to Korea.

For when he reported back to the hospital, his C.O. asked him, "Can you think of any reason why you shouldn't go to Korea?"

For the first time in his life, Mount, a stocky, bespectacled man with thick sandy hair and a pungent manner of speech, regretted he wasn't faster on the draw. A few hours later, on 20 August 1950, he was on a Pan American clipper to the Far East.

The Army was scraping up men from everywhere, but Mount wasn't particularly worried. He was thirty-five years old, and he figured he'd end up in a hospital in Japan, as a medical technician.

Stopping at Hawaii, the replacements were fed in the Sky Room at Honolulu. Once, when Mount went to the door to take a look about, an MP tapped him on the shoulder. "You're going the wrong way, Corporal."

He didn't see much of Hawaii.

Then it was down at Wake, and Wake to Haneda. From Tokyo he was put on a train to Sasebo, and at Sasebo a ship bound for Pusan. After the usual Army milling about in Pusan, he was put on a train headed west, assigned for the 24th Division. By this time, he had given up all ideas about getting duty in a nice clean hospital.

At 24th Division HQ, he was assigned to Item Company, 21st Infantry, as a company aid man. Unlike most of the other new men coming in with him, he knew what it was all about, and he wasn't looking forward to it one bit.

Nobody knew what was going on in Korea, however. On the train from Tokyo to Sasebo, an officer had set up a blackboard and given a lecture trying to motivate the new men for combat. But it was a little too late for that; most of the men with Mount kept asking, "Why me?"

At Pusan, Mount was able to get his hands on a San Francisco paper. He couldn't find anything on the front page about Korea, though there was something on Page 2. Apparently, the pennant race and the upcoming World Series were more interesting to the people at home. The men around him didn't like that one bit—if they were going to get killed, they wanted it done with bands playing, girls crying, and great men telling them how they were going forth to save the world.

After all, that was the way war should be, wasn't it?

At the 24th Division, all the new men heard was, "Naktong—Naktong, everybody killed on the Naktong."

They also heard a new phrase, one Mount had never heard: "Bug out." "Bug out, bug out, everybody bugged out."

The division was getting ready for a push to the west, out of the Perimeter, and the troops were a little less than eager. The 21st's C.O., Colonel Richard Stephens, assembled all the men for a pep talk.

"There's only a shell of resistance in front of us," the bluff, rugged Dick Stephens told them, "When we break through that, we're on our way."

Oh, brother, Jim Mount thought, that's the old rah-rah.

But, as it turned out, the colonel was right.

The 21st went forward, into a little town torn apart and taken by the 5th Regimental Combat Team on its way to the Naktong. As Item Company went through, Mount saw a ROK soldier lying deserted by the road. He fell out and went over to check the man.

He knew from the smell even before he looked that the ROK had gangrene in a wounded leg. He gave the man a shot of morphine. "Nothing more I can do for you, fella."

The ROK tried to smile at him, and said something, so he packed the wound with cotton, and went on. On the other side of town, wounded GI's were beginning to stream back. Mount went into business.

But as soon as they saw his armband, or the red cross marking an aid station, Korean civilians came out of the ruins and the woods and the fields. There were crippled old men, and women with sick, wailing kids, begging for treatment. What the hell, they think I'm the International Red Cross?

But he was a medic, and he did what he could, when he could. His first job was to help GI's—but it was soon apparent who the real losers of this war were going to be. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans had been torn from the land as each army marched through, fighting, killing, burning. Nobody really wanted to hurt the civilians, but they were in the way. Nobody could help it if they got hurt.

When he could, Mount did whatever he could for them.

The 21st Infantry pushed up to the Naktong and went across in assault boats. Artillery was falling in, and I Company lost a few men. Mount had four Korean KATUSA's assigned to him for litter bearers, and he put these men to work. He couldn't talk to them, but he could make do with sign language and a lot of cussing.

Assembling to cross the river, Item had taken cover in an apple orchard. Mount, from his own experience, could have told them that apple trees splinter under shell fire. By the time he had dug out a few splinters, everyone in the company knew it.

By the time the company was across the Naktong, Mount had his wounded all to the rear. He himself crossed, but ran into a GI hit in the leg. Taking this man back across the river, he returned to find Item Company gone.

A new outfit came into the area, and Mount asked a lieutenant if he knew where Item was. The lieutenant took out a map and showed him where I should be. Mount took off, and followed a path across the hills for two hours before rejoining his company.

A few minutes afterward, the company received orders to return to the river. But they had broken through the shell, and the enemy was retreating. Now, it meant a long march each day to make contact, if contact was made at all, and then up on the high ground at night to dig in.

At dawn, it was up and away again.

The enemy was on the run.

For the first three days of the United Nations offensive, with the exception of the 38th's crossing of the Naktong in the south, there were no material gains. Everywhere the NKPA battled stubbornly, and everywhere—in the 5th RCT, in the 1st Cavalry Division north of them, and the 1st ROK still farther north, friendly forces suffered heavy losses in desperate, seesaw battle.

And then, suddenly, on 19 September, the day after Peploe's 38th crossed the Naktong, the Korean front began to fall apart. The single biggest factor, undoubtedly, was the knowledge of the Inch'on landing in the NKPA's rear. The North Korean High Command could conceal the disaster no longer; the news was out, spreading chaos and panic among the men around the Perimeter.

During the hours of darkness 18-19 September, the enemy 6th and 7th divisions in the far south, the farthest from North Korea, began a precipitate withdrawal.

On the cast coast the 3rd ROK retook P'ohangdong, while the enemy 5th Division retreated northward. Just west of the coast, in the rugged mountains, the ROK's suddenly found they could advance, and did.

On 19 September the 5th RCT took Waegwan. On the same date General Paik Sun Yup's 1st Division discovered a gap between the lines of the enemy 1st and 13th divisions. The hard-fighting ROk 12th Regiment shot through thirteen miles into the enemy's rear.

Only the 1st Cavalry, meeting stubborn, fanatical resistance in the hills around Taegu, could not advance. The Cavalry took frightful losses among its rifle units; but at the same time it was wreaking worse havoc on the enemy. And the enemy, with the knowledge that the 1st ROK Division had made a penetration, suddenly retreated north to Sangju.

And, retreating, the enemy came apart. The 3rd Division went from 5,000 men to less than 2,000 in two days. Entire units were caught on the roads by American air, or ground to pieces by American infantry and armor. The retreat became a slaughter.

The 13th Division, bled white in the hills by the 1st Cavalry, had already shown signs of internal distress. A regimental commander had surrendered voluntarily, claiming unfair treatment by the division commander. Faced with failure, the Communists were beginning to snap and bite at each other. Officers were being relieved; men were being summarily executed.

Pushing ahead, the 1st Cavalry Division units passed scenes of terror and devastation, burned-out tanks, dead and bloating animals, cannon pushed off the roads into ditches, tons of abandoned ammunition. Complete units of the enemy 1st, 3rd, and 13th divisions now fell prey to panic, and virtually disintegrated.

By 23 September the Inmun Gun was everywhere in full retreat. And on 22 September Walton Walker issued an order long awaited by the Eighth Army: Pursue and destroy the enemy. The time had come for revenge.

In the pre-daylight murk of the morning of 21 September, a senior colonel of the Inmun Gun walked down a narrow dirt road four miles south of the village of Tabu-dong. In full uniform, rank badges gleaming on his shoulder boards, a soft cap over his dark hair, the colonel quietly approached American lines and waited until daylight.

The colonel's name was Lee Hak Ku, and his exact motives this dawn of 21 September will never be completely known. But behind him the 13th Division, of which he was chief of staff, was in utter dissolution. It numbered only 1,500 men. Its HQ had lost communication and control over its regiments. The division held no line, and its survivors were now fleeing over the hills toward Sangju. It was sauve-qui-peut, and the men were no longer waiting to be shot down by their officers. The officers themselves were throwing away their guns.

The Koreans, North and South, are by any standard a brave people, but they are mercurial, rising one moment to extremes of exaltation, dropping quickly back into despair. They can be martyrs on any given day, and traitors the next. They have been called, not without reason, the Irish of the Orient. And in some cases, not even rigid Communist training, with its denial of basic human nature, can eradicate the nature of the Korean peasant.

When it became daylight, Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku walked softly up into a small village held by the 8th Cavalry Regiment. Ironically, he had to awaken two sleeping American soldiers carefully in order to surrender. When they took him to the rear, the young, hard, square-faced North Korean was very cooperative with his interrogators.

He supplied them with whatever information they desired about his division. It did not matter, whatever he told them, because the division had been destroyed as a fighting force. Other prisoners, though of lesser rank, had told the same story.

His surrender so impressed General Walker that, when he heard the news, he phoned Tokyo from Taegu. Senior Colonel Lee Hak Ku was the highest- ranking Communist prisoner to be taken by the U.N. during the Korean War.

And in captivity, he would do more damage to the U.N. cause than he had ever accomplished while serving in the Inmun Gun.

Opposite the old Naktong Bulge, three NKPA divisions, the 2nd, 4th, and 9th, streamed westward in retreat. And streaming after them, like hounds in full cry, came the United States 2nd Division.

On 23 September the 2nd Division reduced the stubborn roadblocks the fleeing enemy had thrown up about the town of Ch'ogye. And then, on 24 September, the 38th Regiment swept north, the 23rd circled south, and both regiments linked up beyond the old NKPA command post at Hyopch'on. Northeast of Hyopch'on, Peploe's infantrymen erected a roadblock while two enemy battalions still held the city. Then the 23rd fought into Hyopch'on from the south, driving the defenders out and north.

Running into Peploe's roadblock, the North Koreans met a storm of fire. That afternoon, after the killing ceased, Peploe's men counted more than 300 corpses along the road. The survivors, sloshing across the paddies in panic, were struck by American planes and shot to pieces. The few who got away ran into the hills without arms, ammunition, or food.

Now, in late September, it was North Koreans instead of Americans who straggled through the hills, broken, demoralized, shoeless, and hungry. And grimly, without exultation, American soldiers found the taste of revenge sweet and good.

On the 25th, on order, the 38th Infantry moved northwest toward Koch'ang. In a few hours it had broken through the thin defensive crust of the enemy 2nd Division and was in the NKPA artillery areas, overrunning guns, vehicles, and heavy equipment.

General Choe, commanding the enemy division, was sick and worn out. He ordered all his vehicles and artillery abandoned, and then, his men carrying him, Choe and the remnants of the NKPA 2nd melted into the hills, where they became guerrillas.

On 25 September the 38th Infantry killed more than 200 enemy soldiers, captured 450 more. They amassed a total of 10 motorcycles, nearly 20 trucks, 9 mortars, 14 AT guns, 4 howitzers, and 300 tons of ammunition.

At dusk, 2030, the regiment had advanced thirty miles.

The American forces, well supplied with vehicles, with many good roads in this part of Korea, were advancing faster than the enemy could flee. General Walker's orders for the pursuit and exploitation had instructed the divisions to forget about their flanks, to press ahead against a beaten enemy, and this tactic was paying off.

Tanks rolling ahead, moving over an open road, with encircling hills far to either side, the 38th again and again overran the now desperate enemy. At Koch'ang the regiment captured a North Korean field hospital. Now Peploe received orders to strike across the peninsula to Chonju, a town near the west coast.

The 2nd Battalion leading, the 38th entrucked at 0400 28 September. Nine and one half hours later, after advancing 72 miles, the regiment closed in on Chonju. Here there was a brief fight. One hundred North Koreans were killed, and twice as many surrendered.

Inside the town, Peploe threw up a perimeter defense. He was far inside enemy territory; thousands of North Koreans had been bypassed along the road.

But the enemy was also confused by the slashing American movements. During the evening a North Korean truck tried to pull into the town. It was loaded with crates, and seemed to carry about twenty soldiers.

An outpost of the 38th along the road fired a single bazooka round at the truck as it approached. Then the men of the outpost cowered in the ditches as the truck disappeared with a horrendous explosion, raining fire and fragments over a wide area. The crates had been filled with ammunition.

Concerned by the terrific detonation, Peploe came out to see what had happened. Viewing the reeking crater in the road, he could find no remnants of either the truck or the men who had been upon it.

Coming into Chonju, the regiment had exhausted its motor fuel. Fortunately, a far-ranging 2nd Division liaison plane passed over them before dark. The pilot was confused, and incredulous. "Are you 2nd Division troops?" he kept asking over the radio.

"Yes, and we're out of gas," he was told. The plane buzzed back to its field, and soon both Division HQ and IX Corps had fresh gasoline trucks on the road.

While Peploe marked time in Chonju, waiting for resupply, the assistant commander of the 24th Division flew in. He seemed disappointed at the sight of the Indianhead patches on the sleeves of the men holding the town; he had hoped to find the taro leaf of his own division in the vanguard. Rather unhappily, he asked permission for units of the 24th to pass through Peploe's lines.

The next day, gasoline trucks reached Chonju, and once again the 38th Infantry moved north and west.

This time they went to the south bank of the Han, in sight of Seoul.

The hammer had fallen. It had met the anvil, and what had been in between was no more.

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