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Korean War: How the Battle for Seoul Became a Bloodbath

Warfare History Network

Warfare History Network

Security,

In the final assessment, the battle for Seoul proved to be a relatively brief but exceedingly tough fight.

Korean War: How the Battle for Seoul Became a Bloodbath

On September 15, 1950, the United Nations X Corps, spearheaded by two regiments of the U.S. 1st Marine Division, landed at Inchon, on South Korea’s west coast, 25 miles from the capital of Seoul. The landing was a spectacular gamble by UN Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur and proved to be an equally spectacular success. Despite rampant rumors of an imminent landing circulating for weeks before the actual event, MacArthur’s Inchon assault completely surprised the North Koreans, whose army was largely engaged in attacking UN forces along the Pusan Perimeter, far to the south. Inchon proved to be only lightly defended by the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA), and the U.S. Marines rapidly established a beachhead. The battle for Inchon was quickly over. The next objective was Seoul itself. The capital would prove a much tougher nut to crack.

To Take Back Seoul

War had begun on the Korean Peninsula on June 25, 1950, when North Korean Russian-made T-34 tanks crashed across the 38th parallel and rapidly routed the defending Republic of Korea (ROK) forces. Within days, Seoul had fallen to the North Koreans and the bridges across the Han River had been blown by the retreating ROK Army. American President Harry Truman reacted immediately and forcefully to counter the naked Communist aggression, rushing the U.S. 24th Infantry Division to Korea from occupation duty in Japan to help stem the onrushing Communist tide. At the same time, the United Nations, with the Soviet Union absent in protest of Nationalist China’s presence on the Security Council, voted to enter the war on South Korea’s side.

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