Operation Roundup (1951)

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Operation Roundup was an attack launched on 5 February 1951, during the Korean War. The attack was launched by the United States X Corps toward Hongch'on and P'yonch'ang.


As an operation similar to "Operation Thunderbolt", General Matthew Ridgway had sent orders to General Edward Almond of making contact with the enemy, determining their disposition, and if possible to discover their intentions. The X Corps plan was issued on the 1st of February for units to move out four days later, the 5th of February in 1951. General Ridgway's overall intentions was to bring the Eighth Army forward to the Han River and establish a line running east along the river to Yangpyong.

Having moved up to the line of Yoju-Wonju-Yongwol against little struggle, Almond was planning a strong combat reconnaissance fifteen miles above this line. Searching that deep at the corps center and do so strategically could apply pressure on the North Korean V Corps and II Corps concentrated above Hoengsong and P'yongch'ang. While at the same time, the 2nd Division, due to move north along the corps left boundary, up to as far as Chip'yong-ni, which is eight miles east of Yangp'yong, could protect the right flank of the IX Corps as "Operation Thunderbolt" continued.

At the discovery of the Chinese at the twin tunnels, General Almond ordered the 2nd Division to identify and destroy all enemy units in that area; the 23rd Infantry Regiment received the assignment. On the 31st of January, Colonel Freeman sent his 3rd Battalion and the attached French battalion to the tunnels, after placing the 37th Field Artillery Battalion within a thousand yards of the tunnel area for direct support. The infantry battalions reached and established a perimeter around the tunnel-bridge complex without sighting enemy forces. But from farther north, Colonel Freeman's forces were observed by the 125th Division, 42nd Battalion, Army.

Around dawn of the 1st of February, the 375th and 374th Regiments attacked from the north and northeast, respectively; and after daylight, the 373rd Regiment assaulted the perimeter from the northwest and southwest. In a tough, close-in fighting lasting all day, the defending battalions, relying heavily on artillery fire and on more than eighty air strikes, drew far more blood and finally forced the Chinese to withdraw. Freeman's forces counted 1,300 enemy bodies outside their perimeter and estimated total enemy casualties at 3,600. Their own losses were 45 killed, 207 wounded, and 4 missing.

The Attack[edit]

After three days Almond perceived that the attack on Hongch'on was as much a battle against terrain as against enemy opposition. Resistance did stiffen after an easy opening day, but the defending forces stayed to the tops of hills and allowed the South Koreans to bring down heavy artillery concentrations and to maneuver around them. The ROK assault forces, in Almond's estimation, had gained confidence over the three days, substantially from the presence and support of the American artillery and tanks. As of the 8th the success of the advance thus appeared largely to depend on overcoming terrain limitations on infantry maneuver, tank movement, and artillery forward displacement.