September 15, 1950
US Lands at Inchon
US Lands at Inchon
On the morning of September 15, 1950, heavy fighting continued in the 1st Cavalry Division sector of the "Pusan Perimeter" north and west of Taegu. To the south in the 2nd Infantry Division "Naktong Bulge" sector, pockets of survivors from 2 North Korean divisions, who had crossed the Naktong early in the month, were being slowly reduced and the Naktong River Defense Line restored. Farther to the south in the 25th Division sector heavy, see-saw fighting continued in the Sibidang Mountain, Battle Mountain & Sobuk Mountain area west of Masan. On the northern Pusan Perimeter front ROK troops, augmented by U.S. artillery, armor and, in some places, infantry, battled along a rough east-west line stretching through high hills and mountains from P'ohang-dong on the east coast to a few miles north of Yongch'on -- located 15 miles east of Taegu. Overall, the "Great North Korean September Offensive" had been stopped and UN forces were slowly regaining lost ground in most sectors but were stalled in some. Within the Pusan perimeter, two Army Corps had been formed - U.S. I Corps at Taegu which consisted of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 5th Regimental Combat Team, 24th Infantry Division, the British 27th Brigade plus the 1st ROK Division and U.S. IX Corps at Miryang, consisting of the 2nd & 25th Infantry Divisions.
To date, 84,478 U.S. troops have participated in defense of the Pusan Perimeter.
Meanwhile, and as a prelude to the landing at Inch'on, U.S. X Corps had been organized in Japan. X Corps consisted of, the 1st U.S. Marine Division, which had sailed from Kobe on 11 September, the 7th U.S. Infantry Division, which had also sailed from Yokohama on 11 September, and the 17th ROK Infantry Regiment which had sailed from Pusan. Two days later, on 13 September, a Navy gunfire support group sailed up Flying Fish Channel and began shelling Wolmi-do, an 335-foot high island at the northwestern mouth of Inch'on Harbor and connected to the mainland by a causeway. As early as 4 September aircraft the U.S. Navy Task Force 77 had begun bombing and strafing North Korean positions on Wolmi-do.
Extremes tides at Inch'on, which can rise and fall as much 32 feet in a 12-1/2 hour period, dictated the landing schedule for the Inch'on Invasion because at low tide mud flats extend from hundreds of yards to miles offshore. Thus the only time troops could land was from about 2 hours before high tide through about 2 hours after high tide. Because of this it was decided the first objective to be taken on "D" Day was Wolmi-do, which then could be used as a fire base against enemy positions in and around Inch'on itself. The landing on Wolmi-do would take place shortly before high tide on the early morning of 15 September. The landing at Inch'on proper would then take place in the afternoon beginning 3 hours before high tide.
At 6:33 a.m., following an intense air, rocket and naval gunfire bombardment, landing craft carrying the first wave of Marines from the 3rd Battalion Landing Team (BLT,) 5th Marine Regiment, reached "Green Beach," located on the north arm of Wolmi-do and the first amphibious assault by American forces against an enemy since 1 April 1945 at Okinawa was underway. The initial landing was unopposed and the Marines quickly moved inland against scattered and very light resistance. A half or so after the initial landing a group of Marines raised the American flag on the peak of the island although light, scattered fighting continued for several more hours. 3rd Battalion casualties for this operation were 17 wounded. North Koreans defenders lost over 200 KIA while another 136 surrendered. Once Wolmi-do was secure the 3rd Marine BLT took up defensive positions facing Inch'on and prepared to support the main landing later in the day.
Assault troops from the 5th and 1st Marines began going over the side of their attack transports and into landing craft at 3:30 p.m. The first wave of the 5th Marine's reached the seawall of Red Beach at 5:33 p.m. A Company, 5th Marines, encountered in the troops in the trenches and a bunker just beyond the seawall. An intense firefight ensued. The Marines lost 8 men killed and 28 wounded. However, 22 minutes after landing the company fired a flare signaling that it held Cemetery Hill, its first objective. Meanwhile, the 2nd battalion, 5th Marines, had landed on the right side of Red Beach, encountered only spotty resistance and gained its objective.
Assault elements of the 1st Marines began landing over Blue Beach at 5:32 PM., and advanced to the Inchon- Seoul highway. By midnight, all first-day objectives had been obtained.
Far to the south in the Pusan Perimeter heavy fighting in the 1st Cavalry Division sector continue at all points north and west of Taegu in a confused series of small and medium battles but the division held against enemy counterattacks and made small gains.
While the Inch'on Landing was in progress, a second landing was taking place at Changsa-dong on the east coast north 20 miles north of P'ohang-dong and was being made by the Miryang Guerrilla Battalion, an irregular South Korean unit made up of men from North Korea. The idea behind this landing was to place a roadblock on the only road supplying North Korean 3rd Division troops fighting a few miles north of P'ohang-dong. The landing was successful but high seas drove the LST carrying the unit aground and broached the ROK Navy vessel. The attacking force made it to the low hills north and west of the town before the North Koreans could react, but react they did. By afternoon the guerrillas were under fire from higher ground to their north, south and west and were forced to withdraw back toward the beached LST and set up a perimeter in the sand dunes between the road and the beach.*