Battle of Haman

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Battle of Haman
Part of the Battle of Pusan Perimeter
A town with several ridges overlooking it
Haman in 1950. The 24th Infantry positions were on the ridges to the west (left) of the town.
Date August 31 – September 19, 1950
Location Haman County, South Korea
Result United Nations victory
Belligerents
 United Nations
 North Korea
Commanders and leaders
United States William B. Kean North Korea Pang Ho San
Units involved
United States 25th Infantry Division

South Korea National Police

North Korea 6th Division
Strength
5,500 10,000
Casualties and losses
~150 killed
~400 wounded
~8,000 killed, captured and deserted[nb 1]

The Battle of Haman was one engagement in the larger Battle of Pusan Perimeter between United Nations (UN) and North Korean (NK) forces early in the Korean War from August 31 to September 19, 1950, in the vicinity of Haman County in South Korea. The engagement ended in a victory for the United Nations after large numbers of United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) troops repelled a strong North Korean attack on the town of Haman.

Operating in defense of Masan during the Battle of Masan, the US Army's 24th Infantry Regiment was stretched along a long line on a ridge to the west of the town, at Haman. When the North Korean People's Army 6th Division attacked the town, the US troops fought to repel their advance in a weeklong battle in which the 24th Infantry performed poorly, and other US reinforcements were brought in to assist in fighting off the attack. The battle remained bitterly deadlocked long enough for another UN force to counterattack at Inchon, forcing the North Korean Army to retreat from Masan.

Background[edit]

Outbreak of war[edit]

Following the June 25, 1950, outbreak of the Korean War after the invasion of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), the United Nations voted to commit troops to the conflict in support of South Korea. The United States, as a member of the UN, committed ground forces to the Korean peninsula with the goals of repelling the North Korean invasion and preventing South Korea from collapsing. By 1950, US forces in the Far East had been steadily decreasing since the end of World War II, five years earlier, and at the time the closest forces were the US 24th Infantry Division, headquartered in Japan. The division was understrength, and most of its equipment was antiquated due to reductions in military spending. Regardless, the 24th was ordered to South Korea.[1] However, it faced numerous disadvantages. The forces were poorly equipped; many battalions had only two companies of infantry, as opposed to the regulation three. Headquarters Company, and supporting platoon elements were much smaller than regulation stated, making them substantially less effective.[2] Most of the soldiers of the division had no combat experience and used to the luxuries of life in occupied Japan.[3] Only one third of the officers in the Task Force had combat experience from World War II,[4] and only one in six enlisted soldiers had combat experience. Many of them nevertheless volunteered to join the task force. The soldiers were each equipped with only 120 rounds of ammunition and two days of C-rations.[5]

The 24th Infantry Division was the first US unit sent into Korea with the mission to take the initial "shock" of North Korean advances, delaying much larger North Korean units for several weeks to buy time to allow reinforcements to arrive,[6] such as the 1st Cavalry and the 7th and 25th Infantry Divisions.[6] Advance elements of the 24th Infantry were badly defeated in the Battle of Osan on July 5, the first encounter between American and North Korean forces.[7] For the first month after the defeat of Task Force Smith, the 24th Infantry was repeatedly defeated and forced south by superior North Korean numbers and equipment.[8][9] The regiments of the 24th Infantry were systematically pushed south in engagements around Chochiwon, Chonan, and Pyongtaek.[8] They made a final stand in the Battle of Taejon, where they were almost completely destroyed, but their resistance kept the North Koreans from advancing until July 20.[10] By that time, the number of Eighth Army front-line combat troops was roughly equal to number of North Korean forces attacking the region, with new UN units arriving every day.[11]

North Korean advance[edit]

With Taejon captured, North Korean forces began surrounding the Pusan Perimeter from all sides in an attempt to envelop it. The 4th and 6th North Korean Infantry Divisions advanced south in a wide flanking maneuver. The two divisions attempted to penetrate the UN's left flank, but became highly dispersed in the process. They advanced on UN positions with armor and superior numbers, repeatedly pushing back US and South Korean forces.[12]

American forces were repeatedly defeated before finally halting the North Korean advance in a series of engagements in the southern section of the country. Forces of the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, newly arrived in the country, were wiped out at Hadong in a coordinated ambush by North Korean forces on July 27, opening a pass into the Pusan Perimeter.[13][14] Soon after, North Korean forces took Chinju to the west, pushing back the US 19th Infantry Regiment and leaving routes to the perimeter open for more North Korean attacks.[15] US formations were subsequently able to defeat and push back the North Koreans on the flank in the Battle of the Notch on August 2. Suffering mounting losses, the KPA force in the west withdrew for several days to reequip and receive reinforcements. This granted both sides a reprieve to prepare for the attack on the Pusan Perimeter.[16][17]

Attack on Masan[edit]

Main article: Battle of Masan

Eighth Army commander Lieutenant General Walton Walker then ordered the US 25th Infantry Division, under Major General William B. Kean, to take up defensive positions on the Pusan Perimeter southern flank west of Masan. By August 15, the 25th Infantry Division had moved into these positions.[18] Rough terrain west of Masan limited the choice of the positions. The mountain group west of Masan was the first readily defensible ground east of the Chinju pass. The 2,000-foot (610 m) mountain ridges of Sobuk-san dominated the area and protected the road from Komam-ni to Haman to Chindong-ni, which was the only means of north–south communication west of Masan.[19]

To the north, from the Masan–Chinju highway to the Nam River, there were several easily defensible positions. The best one was the high ground near Chungam-ni, which controlled the important road junction connecting the Masan road with the one over the Nam River to Uiryong. It was essential for the 25th Infantry Division's right flank connect with the left flank of the 24th Infantry Division at the confluence of the Nam and the Naktong Rivers. Therefore, the 25th Infantry Division also moved to protect the Komam-ni road intersection where the Chindong-ni–Haman road met the Masan–Chinju highway.[19]

A tank drives up a rocky ridge
US armor advances west of Masan

Meanwhile the NK 6th Division was ordered to await reinforcements before continuing the attack.[20] The division's 13th, 15th and 14th regiments stretched from north to south. The first replacements arrived at Chinju on about August 12. Approximately 2,000 unarmed South Koreans conscripted in the Seoul area joined the division by August 15. At Chinju, the 6th Division issued them grenades and told the recruits they would have to pick up weapons from killed and wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Another group of 2,500 South Koreans joined the 6th Division on August 21, bringing the division strength to approximately 8,500 men. In the last week of August and the first week of September, 3,000 more recruits conscripted in southwest Korea joined the division. The 6th Division used these last recruits in labor details at only later employed them as combat troops. As part of the North Korean build-up in the south, the untried NK 7th Division also arrived near Masan with another 10,000 men.[18] The 7th Division occupied key ports to protect the 6th Division against possible amphibious landings in its rear.[20]

On August 31, 1950, the 25th Division held a front of almost 30 miles (48 km), beginning in the north at the Namji-ri bridge over the Naktong River and extending west along the hills south of the river to the Nam's confluence with it.[21] It then bent southwest up the south side of the Nam to where the Sobuk-san mountain mass tapered down in its northern extremity to the river. There the line turned south along rising ground to Sibidang-san, crossed the saddle on its south face through which passed the Chinju-Masan railroad and highway, and continued southward up to Battle Mountain and on to P'il-bong. From P'il-bong the line dropped down spur ridge lines to the southern coastal road near Chindong-ni.[22] The US 35th Infantry Regiment held the northern 26,000 yards (24,000 m) of the division line, from the Namji-ri bridge to the Chinju-Masan highway. The regiment was responsible for the highway. The regiment's weakest and most vulnerable point was a 3-mile (4.8 km) gap along the Naktong River between most of F Company on the west and its 1st Platoon to the east. This platoon guarded the Namji-ri cantilever steel bridge on the division extreme right at the boundary with the US 2nd Infantry Division, which was across the Naktong River.[22] South of the highway, the US 24th Infantry Regiment held the high ground west of Haman, including Battle Mountain and P'il-bong.[23] Colonel John L. Throckmorton's US 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team held the southern spur of Sobuk-san to the coastal road at Chindong-ni. From Chindong-ni some ROK Marine Corps units continued the line to the southern coast. Kean's 25th Division command post was at Masan, the 35th Infantry command post was on the east side of the Chirwon–Chung-ni road, the 24th Infantry command post was at Haman and Colonel Throckmorton's command post was at Chindong-ni.[22] By August 31, the division was suffering manpower shortages, and a limited number of KATUSAs (English-speaking Korean troops) were brought in to replenish its ranks.[24]

Battle[edit]

A topographic map of several large battles
US and NK movements around Masan during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter

In the southern part of its sector, where the US 25th Infantry Division held the UN line, the NK I Corps planned a strong attack, coordinating it with an attack against the US 2nd Infantry Division to the north.[25] The North Korean 6th and 7th Divisions received their attack orders on August 20. The North Korean operations order called for the NK I Corps to assault all along the line at 22:00 on August 31.[26] The 6th Division, farthest south on the right flank, was to attack through Haman, Masan, and Chinhae and then capture Kumhae, on the west side of the Naktong River delta 15 miles (24 km) from Pusan, by September 3.[27] The division zone of attack was to be south of the highway from Chinju to Komam-ni to Masan.[28] The 7th Division, next in line north of the 6th Division, was to attack north of the Masan highway, wheel left to the Naktong, and wait for the 6th Division on its right and the NK 9th Division on its left to join it.[27] Part of the 7th Division was concentrated in the Uiryong area west of the Nam River. This plan pitted the 6th Division against the US 24th Infantry Regiment and the 7th Division against the US 35th Infantry Regiment.[26] As a part of this plan, the NK 6th Division had been engaging the 24th Infantry at Battle Mountain for several weeks prior, with no gains for either side.[29] Kean, aware of a pending offensive and distrusting the 24th Infantry's ability, began to compile a report on the regiment's performance to determine how to improve its capabilities.[30]

North Korean attack[edit]

In the left center of the 25th Division line, Lieutenant Colonel Paul F. Roberts' 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry, held the crest of the second ridge west of Haman, 1 mile (1.6 km) from the town. From Chungam-ni, in North Korean territory, a secondary road led to Haman along the shoulders of low hills and across rice paddy ground, running east 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the main Chinju–Masan road. It came through Colonel Roberts' 2nd Battalion position in a pass 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Haman.[31] Late in the afternoon of August 31, observers with G Company, 24th Infantry, noticed activity 1 mile (1.6 km) in front of their positions. They called in two air strikes that hit this area at dusk. US artillery sent a large concentration of fire into the area, but the effect of this fire was not known. All US units on the line were alerted for a possible North Korean attack.[32]

That night the North Koreans launched a coordinated offensive against the entire UN force. The NK 6th Division advanced first, hitting F Company on the north side of the pass on the Chungam-ni-Haman road. The ROK troops in the pass left their positions and fell back on G Company south of the pass.[32] The North Koreans captured a 75 mm recoilless rifle in the pass and turned it on American tanks, knocking out two of them. They then overran a section of 82 mm mortars at the east end of the pass.[33] South of the pass, at dawn, First Lieutenant Houston M. McMurray found that only 15 out of 69 men assigned to his platoon remained with him, a mix of US and ROK troops. The North Koreans attacked this position at dawn. They came through an abandoned opening in the barbed wire perimeter. Throwing grenades and spraying the area with burp gun fire, the North Koreans quickly overran the position.[32] Numerous officers and non-commissioned officers attempted to get the men back into line, but they would not follow these orders. In one instance South Korean troops killed their own company commander when he tried to stop them from escaping.[33]

On the line farther to the south, North Korean T-34 tank fire hit E Company at midnight.[32] First Lieutenant Charles Ellis, the company commander, attempted to rally his men but they crumbled under fire, retreating without orders. During the night everyone in E Company ran off the hill except Ellis and 11 men.[34] Several E Company men fled through a mine field they had set up and were killed. North Korean fire pinned Ellis' men down after dawn on September 1. When three or four of the group tried to escape, North Korean machine gun fire killed them. Ellis and the remaining men stayed in their foxholes on the hill for two days, repelling several attacks in that time. Ellis was then able to withdraw south, up the mountain to the 3rd Battalion's position. In his withdrawal, Ellis, discovering a man who had been injured earlier in a mine explosion, entered the mine field to rescue him.[32]

24th Infantry collapses[edit]

Shortly after the North Korean attack started most of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry, fled its positions.[35] One company at a time, the battalion was struck with strong attacks all along its front, and with the exception of a few dozen men in each company, each formation quickly crumbled, with most of the troops running back to Haman against the orders of their officers.[36] The North Koreans passed through the crumbling US lines quickly and overran the 2nd Battalion command post, killing several men there and destroying much of the battalion's equipment.[37] With the 2nd Battalion broken, Haman was open to direct North Korean attack. As the North Koreans encircled Haman, Lieutenant Colonel Paul F. Roberts, the 2nd Battalion commander, ordered an officer to take remnants of the battalion and establish a roadblock at the south edge of the town. Although the officer directed a large group of men to accompany him, only eight did so.[38] The 2nd Battalion was no longer an effective fighting force.[35] Pockets of its soldiers remained in place and fought fiercely, but the majority fled upon attack, and the North Koreans were able to move around the uneven resistance. They surrounded Haman as the 2nd Battalion crumbled in disarray.[39]

Men in trucks driving down a road
Troops of the 24th Infantry move to the Masan battleground

Regimental commander Colonel Arthur S. Champney moved the 24th Regiment command post from Haman 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast to a narrow defile on a logistics road the regimental engineers had constructed to improve supply movement, called the Engineer Road.[40] At this time, a North Korean group attacked C Battery, 159th Field Artillery Battalion, 1 mile (1.6 km) from Haman.[41] Two tanks of the 88th Tank Battalion helped defend the battery until the artillerymen could pack up the howitzers and escape back through Haman and then eastward over the Engineer Road.[35] Troops of the US 27th Infantry Regiment and the 35th Infantry Regiment were alerted to begin to reform their lines to compensate for the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry's collapse.[38] At the time commanders blamed the African American troops for being sub-par soldiers, but officers later contended that poor organization of defensive positions, over-extension of the already weakened battalion, and reliance on unreliable South Korean troops to plug numerous gaps in the line were the primary factors in the quick defeats of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry.[42]

The assault did not strike the southern part of the line held by Lieutenant Colonel John T. Corley's 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, and Throckmorton's 5th Infantry. That part of the line, however, did receive artillery and mortar fire and some diversionary light attacks. At about 02:00 on September 1, men in an outpost on the right flank of Corley's battalion watched an estimated 600 North Korean soldiers file past at a distance of 100 yards (91 m), going in the direction of Haman. Viewed during the night from the high ground of the 3rd Battalion, Haman seemed to be in flames. At dawn, men in the battalion saw an estimated 800 North Korean troops enter the town.[35]

When the North Korean attack broke through the 2nd Battalion, Champney ordered the 1st Battalion, about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Haman on the Chindong-ni road, to counterattack and restore the line.[43] Roberts assembled 40 men, all he could find of the disorganized 2nd Battalion, to join in this counterattack, which got under way at 07:30. Upon contact with the enemy, the 1st Battalion broke and fled to the rear.[35] Thus, shortly after daylight the scattered and disorganized men of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th Infantry had fled to the high ground 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Haman.[44] The better part of two regiments of the NK 6th Division poured into and through the Haman gap, now that they were holding the town.[35]

North Korean breakthrough[edit]

Kean saw the North Korean breakthrough at Haman as a serious threat to his division's line. At dawn on September 1, Kean requested permission from Walker to commit the entire 27th Infantry Regiment, just arrived at Masan the previous evening and still held in Eighth Army reserve. Walker denied this request, but did release one battalion of the regiment to Kean's control.[45]

Kean immediately dispatched Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert J. Check's 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry from its assembly area near Masan toward Haman, to be attached to the 24th Infantry upon arrival at the regimental command post.[46] The 1st Platoon of the 27th Regiment's Heavy Mortar Company; a platoon of B Company, 89th Tank Battalion; and A Battery, 8th Field Artillery Battalion, reinforced Check's battalion. Check with his battalion arrived at Champney's 24th Infantry command post 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Haman at 10:00.[45]

The scene there was chaotic. Large numbers of vehicles loaded with soldiers were moving down the road to the rear. Many soldiers on foot were on the road. Champney tried repeatedly but in vain to get these men to stop and turn around.[47] The few North Korean mortar shells falling occasionally in the vicinity did no damage except to cause the troops of the 24th Infantry and intermingled South Koreans to panic further and increase their speed to the rear.[48] The road was so clogged with retreating troops that Check had to delay his counterattack. In the six hours he waited at this point, Check observed that none of the retreating troops of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 24th Infantry, could be assembled as units. Military police tried in vain to reassemble troops, but they refused even at gunpoint. At 16:00, the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry, assembling in the rear of the 27th Infantry, could muster only 150 to 200 men.[47]

The North Koreans, in the meantime, were suffering serious logistics problems which prevented them from supplying their troops effectively with ammunition, food, and medical care.[36] At the same time, elements of the division, including thousands of people forcibly conscripted from South Korea, were becoming increasingly hard to keep in place. The division was having difficulty strengthening its position at Haman.[27]

UN counterattack[edit]

At 14:45 on September 1, Kean ordered an immediate counterattack to restore the 24th Infantry positions.[49] For 30 minutes US Air Force aircraft, including F-51 Mustangs and F-80 Shooting Stars, struck North Korean positions around Haman with bombs, napalm, rockets, and machine gun fire. They also attacked the North Korean-held ridges around the town. Fifteen minutes of concentrated artillery fire followed. Fires spread in Haman. Check's infantry attacked west at 16:30, reinforced by a platoon of tanks from A Company, 79th Tank Battalion. Eight tanks, mounting infantry, spearheaded the attack into Haman, capturing the city easily, as most of the North Korean troops had abandoned it. North Koreans in force held the ridge on the west side of the town, and their machine gun fire swept every approach. North Korean fire destroyed one tank and the attacking infantry suffered heavy casualties. But Check's battalion pressed the attack and by 18:25 had seized the first long ridge 500 yards west of Haman. By 20:00 it had secured half of the old battle position on the higher ridge beyond, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Haman. Just 200 yards (180 m) short of the crest on the remainder of the ridge, the infantry dug in for the night. It had recaptured Haman and was pushing back to the 24th's old positions.[47]

All day September 2, air strikes harassed the North Koreans and prevented them from consolidating their gains and reorganizing for further coordinated attack. Some of the planes came from the carriers USS Valley Forge and USS Philippine Sea, 200 miles (320 km) away in the Yellow Sea and steaming toward the Masan battlefield. At 10:45, Eighth Army messaged Kean that the 27th Infantry was to be alerted for a possible move north into the US 2nd Infantry Division sector. West of Haman the North Koreans and US troops faced each other during the night without further battle, but the North Koreans kept flares over their position. In the rear areas, North Korean mortar fire on the 24th Regiment command post caused Champney to move it still farther to the rear.[47]

In the morning, under cover of a heavy ground fog, the North Koreans struck Check's battalion in a counterattack. This began a heavy fight which lasted all morning. Air strikes using napalm incinerated many North Korean troops and helped the infantry to gain the ridge.[50] At 12:00, the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, secured the former positions of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry, and took over the same foxholes that unit had abandoned two nights before.[46] During September 2, the Air Force flew 135 sorties in the 25th Infantry Division sector, reportedly destroying many North Korean units, several tanks and artillery pieces, and three villages containing ammunition dumps.[50]

Early the next morning, September 3, the North Koreans heavily attacked Check's men in an effort to regain the ridge. Artillery, mortar, and tank fire barrages, and an air strike directed from the battalion command post, met this attack. Part of the battalion had to turn and fight toward its rear. After the attack had been repulsed hundreds of North Korean lay dead around the battalion position. A prisoner estimated that during September 2 and 3 the four North Korean battalions fighting Check's battalion had lost 1,000 men.[50]

Check's battalion held the ridge until dark on September 4, then the 1st Battalion and F Company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry, which had reorganized in the rear, relieved it.[51] The 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry moved back into a secondary defensive position at 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Haman.[46] Champney moved his command post back into Haman, placing it at the base of a hill 300 metres (980 ft) west of the center of the town.[51]

Infiltration[edit]

A group of soldiers around a makeshift office under a bridge
The 27th Infantry's command post beneath a bridge near Haman.

Before dawn on September 5, a North Korean force of two companies moved against Haman again.[51] A part of this force approached the hill at the western edge of Haman, where H Company was posted as security for the 24th Regimental command post situated at its base.[48] Most of the H Company men left their post without firing a shot, abandoning two new machine guns. North Koreans captured the guns and opened fire on the regimental command post. A small group of North Koreans infiltrated into Haman within 100 yards (91 m) of the command post, where members of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon drove them off in a grenade battle.[51]

About 20 North Korean soldiers approached, undiscovered, close enough to the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, command post west of Haman to throw grenades and fire into it. About 45 soldiers of the battalion command group and 20 South Korean recruits were in position there at the time. The North Koreans were driven off at dawn, but Major Eugene J. Carson, battalion executive officer, then discovered that he had on the position with him only 30 men, 7 of them wounded. Looking back down the hill, Carson saw approximately 40 men get up out of the rice paddies and go over to a tank at a roadblock position. These men reported to the regiment that they had been driven off the hill. Three tanks near the command post helped clear the town of North Koreans.[51]

At the time of this infiltration, a white officer and 35–40 African-American soldiers left their position south of Haman at a roadblock and fled to the rear until they reached Check's 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, command post 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away. There, at 05:00 this officer said 2,000 North Koreans had overrun his position and others near Haman, including the 24th Regiment command post. Check reported this story to Kean, and then sent a platoon of tanks with a platoon of infantry toward Haman to find out what had happened. Some of his officers, meanwhile, had stopped about 220 soldiers streaming to the rear. Check ordered these men to follow his tank and infantry patrol back into Haman. Some of them did so only when threatened with being shot. The tank-led column entered Haman unopposed, where they found the 24th Regiment command post intact and everything quiet.[52] The next day, September 6, a sniper severely wounded Champney while he was inspecting his front-line positions west of Haman. Champney was evacuated immediately.[48] The commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, Corley, succeeded to the command of the regiment.[52]

Corley instituted sweeping changes in leadership in the regiment, hoping to improve its combat performance. He was able to cut down on straggling to a degree with more strict threats of court martial, but this had a negative effect on the regiment's morale.[53] He began a unit newspaper, eventually called Eagle Forward, and moved to allow more discourse for the soldiers and leaders of the unit, and this was shown to improve the morale to a degree.[54] Wanting to build a sense of pride in the unit, he sought to emphasize the toughness of the battles the regiment had seen, and played up its victory at the Battle of Yechon while downplaying other poor performances.[55]

After the North Korean infiltration on September 7 was repelled, the North Korean attack on Haman ground to a halt. The North Koreans, racked by logistical and manpower shortages, focused more heavily on their attacks against 24th Infantry positions on Battle Mountain, as well as 35th Infantry positions at the Nam River. 24th Infantry troops at Haman encountered only probing attacks until September 18.[56]

North Korean withdrawal[edit]

The UN counterattack at Inchon collapsed the North Korean line and forced them back on all fronts. On 16 September, however, 25th Infantry Division was still fighting North Korean forces behind its lines, and North Korean strong points existed on the heights of Battle Mountain, P'il-bong, and Sobuk-san.[57] Kean felt that the division could advance along the roads toward Chinju only when the mountainous center of the division front was clear. He therefore believed that the key to the advance of the 25th Division lay in its center where the North Koreans held the heights and kept the 24th Infantry Regiment under daily attack.[58] The 27th Infantry on the left and the 35th Infantry on the right, astride the roads between Chinju and Masan, held their positions and could not advance until the situation in front of the 24th Infantry improved.[59]

On September 19 the UN discovered the North Koreans had abandoned Battle Mountain during the night, and the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, moved up and occupied it. On the right, the 35th Infantry began moving forward.[60] There was only light resistance until it reached the high ground in front of Chungam-ni where hidden North Korean soldiers in spider holes shot at 1st Battalion soldiers from the rear. The next day the 1st Battalion captured Chungam-ni, and the 2nd Battalion captured the long ridge line running northwest from it to the Nam River. Meanwhile, the North Koreans still held strongly against the division left where the 27th Infantry had heavy fighting in trying to move forward.[61]

The North Koreans withdrew from the Masan area the night of September 18–19. The NK 7th Division withdrew from south of the Nam River while the 6th Division sideslipped elements to cover the entire front. Covered by the 6th Division, the 7th had crossed to the north side of the Nam River by the morning of September 19. Then the NK 6th Division had withdrawn from its positions on Sobuk-san.[61] The US units rapidly pursued them north, passing over the Battle Mountain positions, which were no longer of strategic importance.[62]

Aftermath[edit]

The 24th Infantry suffered 267 killed, 796 wounded, one captured and two missing during its time at the Pusan Perimeter, of which 450 were wounded and 150 were killed at Battle Mountain. The 8th Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the 24th Infantry, suffered 18 killed and 26 wounded, while the 79th Tank Battalion, also in support, suffered two killed and 20 wounded.[63]

The North Korean troops suffered heavily in the fight for Masan, and most became casualties in the attack. By mid-September, the NK 7th Division was reduced to just 4,000 men, a loss of 6,000 from when it was committed to the perimeter.[64] Only 2,000 from the NK 6th Division returned to North Korea, a loss of 80 percent of its strength. Up to 3,000 troops were captured as they attempted to return to North Korea. The attacking force of over 20,000 had been reduced to only 6,000 by the end of the fights around Masan. It is nearly impossible, however, to calculate how many were lost in each individual engagement.[65]

Desertion was a problem for the 24th Infantry; the 25th Infantry Division had to detain 116 deserters from the 24th Infantry during August, compared to 15 from the 27th Infantry and 12 from the 35th Infantry.[29] In late August, Kean began investigating the unit's behavior, including its poor performance at the battle of Sangju several weeks earlier, and found its performance was affecting other units of the division.[30][66] After the 24th's performance at the battles of Battle Mountain and Haman, Kean suggested to Walker that the regiment be disbanded and its troops be used as replacements for other units in the field. Virtually all of the officers and enlisted men in the regiment were supportive of this idea, but Walker declined, feeling he could not afford to lose a regiment. Even if his other units were reinforced, he did not feel they could be extended to cover the entire line.[67]

Citations[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ North Korean casualties can only be given for the whole battle of Masan, of which the battle of Haman is part. It is nearly impossible to estimate casualties for just the battle of Haman.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Varhola 2000, p. 3
  2. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 58
  3. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 53
  4. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 55
  5. ^ Fehrenbach 2001, p. 65
  6. ^ a b Alexander 2003, p. 52
  7. ^ Catchpole 2001, p. 15
  8. ^ a b Varhola 2000, p. 4
  9. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 90
  10. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 105
  11. ^ Fehrenbach 2001, p. 103
  12. ^ Appleman 1998, p. 222
  13. ^ Appleman 1998, p. 221
  14. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 114
  15. ^ Catchpole 2001, p. 24
  16. ^ Catchpole 2001, p. 25
  17. ^ Appleman 1998, p. 247
  18. ^ a b Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 145
  19. ^ a b Appleman 1998, p. 365
  20. ^ a b Appleman 1998, p. 366
  21. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 146
  22. ^ a b c Appleman 1998, p. 439
  23. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 147
  24. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 160
  25. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 132
  26. ^ a b Appleman 1998, p. 438
  27. ^ a b c Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 157
  28. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 149
  29. ^ a b Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 148
  30. ^ a b Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 155
  31. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 162
  32. ^ a b c d e Appleman 1998, p. 440
  33. ^ a b Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 163
  34. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 153
  35. ^ a b c d e f Appleman 1998, p. 441
  36. ^ a b Alexander 2003, p. 181
  37. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 164
  38. ^ a b Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 167
  39. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 165
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  43. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 169
  44. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 184
  45. ^ a b Appleman 1998, p. 479
  46. ^ a b c Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 170
  47. ^ a b c d Appleman 1998, p. 480
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  49. ^ Alexander 2003, p. 183
  50. ^ a b c Appleman 1998, p. 481
  51. ^ a b c d e Appleman 1998, p. 482
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  56. ^ Bowers, Hammong & MacGarrigle 2005, p. 175
  57. ^ Appleman 1998, p. 568
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  59. ^ Appleman 1998, p. 569
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  63. ^ Ecker 2004, p. 29
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Sources[edit]