Taejon: South Korea and Taejon Essay

Submitted By Charmandar
Words: 886
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Phillip Campbell
Gary Grimm
MILH 370
29 November 2013
The Battle of Taejon Even though time magazine exaggerated the statement Brigadier General William L. Roberts relayed to reporters in regards to the republic of korea’s army being the best army in the world second to the united states, most historians would agree that this statement was completely antithetical. The korean conflict started on June 25, 1950. It seems very clear that the korean military overall, only had eight divisions supplied with no tanks, no mortars, no modern weaponry and no aerial vehicles. Less clear is the true role of the united states military on the peninsula. Although, the united states’ intention was to assist the koreans after the Japanese occupation, it seems that this course of action was more so for show than for true progression and protection. Then again, how can a nation protect another nation with very limited supplies. How can americans lack military equipment as well? In one of the bloodiest and decisive battles, the city of taejon would remain one of the most important battles in the korean war. Daejeon, also known as taejon, is in the western-central part of south korea. Taejon is a major transportation crossroads, with the major north and south highways and rail lines splitting to follow the east or west sides of the country. The north korean army attacked taejon on June 14, 1950 and virtually had complete domination against the south korean and american forces. As the fighting grew more intense, the intervention of the american forces, primarily, the 24th, 19th, 21st and 34th infantry divisions, slowed down the north koreans assault rather than attempt to eradicate the enemy. This encounter was far worse than US commanders could have anticipated. The only chance to halt the north koreans advancement towards the south was to hold on to the city of taejon as long as possible, despite the lack of weapons, supplies and communication. Facing now the hardest test, the 24th division was already in poor shape. The 21st infantry had lost 1,433 men; 1,100 remained. The 34th had 2,020; the 19th, 2,276. With supporting troops the division numbered 11,400, far below the average of 10 to 15,000 troops.1 The 24th infantry, commanded by General William Dean, had gathered to make their last stand around taejon, holding on to the line they established along the kum river. According to the text by fehrenbach, he states:
“Fighting against great odds, american fighting men have proved that fact time and again. Again and again they have defeated foes vastly superior in man power. But in korea July 1950, before Taejon, the american 24th division was on the brink of disaster, and not because of the enemy’s numbers.”2
The 24th division were outnumbered and ill equip, mostly due to the lack of communication, untrained troops, shortage of heavy and light weapons to match against the KPA’s firepower. On top of all the issues the division had to deal with, troop morale was extremely low, especially for those who have been fighting for days without any sleep. The long days of fighting finally started to put a toll on the american infantry groups. The performance by the 24th and other divisions during the korean war were highly criticized because of the lack of cohesion and military structure. In fact, it was the general of the eighth army who clearly presented his distaste and…