1950-06-25 to 1953-07-27
North Korea, South Korea, U.S.The Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) was a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations, with the principal support from the United States (US)). The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.
On the night of 10 August in Washington, US Colonels Dean Rusk and Charles H. Bonesteel III were assigned with dividing the Korean Peninsula into Soviet and US occupation zones and proposed the 38th Parallel.
In April 1950, Stalin gave Kim permission to invade the South under the condition that Mao would agree to send reinforcements if needed. Stalin made it clear that Soviet forces would not openly engage in combat, to avoid a direct war with the US.
By June 1950, according to American intelligence, North Korean forces numbered 74,370 Korean Peoples' Army troops and 20,000 in the Border Constabulary, organized into 10 infantry divisions, one tank division, and one air force division, with 210 fighter planes and 280 tanks, who captured scheduled objectives and territory, among them Kaesong, Chuncheon, Uijeongbu, and Ongjin.
On 21 June, Kim Il-Sung revised his war plan to involve a general attack across the 38th Parallel, rather than a limited operation in the Ongjin Peninsula. Kim was concerned that South Korean agents had learned about the plans and that South Korean forces were strengthening their defenses. Stalin agreed to this change of plan.
The Battle of Osan, the first significant US engagement of the Korean War, involved the 540-soldier Task Force Smith, which was a small forward element of the 24th Infantry Division which had been flown in from Japan. On 5 July 1950, Task Force Smith attacked the KPA at Osan but without weapons capable of destroying the KPA tanks. They were unsuccessful; the result was 180 dead, wounded, or taken prisoner.
Against the rested and re-armed Pusan Perimeter defenders and their reinforcements, the KPA were undermanned and poorly supplied; unlike the UN forces, they lacked naval and air support. To relieve the Pusan Perimeter, General MacArthur recommended an amphibious landing at Incheon, near Seoul and well over 160 km (100 mi) behind the KPA lines. On 6 July, he ordered Major General Hobart R. Gay, commander of the US 1st Cavalry Division, to plan the division's amphibious landing at Incheon.
On 4 August 1950, with a planned invasion of Taiwan aborted due to the heavy US naval presence, Mao reported to the Politburo that he would intervene in Korea when the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Taiwan invasion force was reorganized into the PLA North East Frontier Force.
On 20 August 1950, Premier Zhou Enlai informed the UN that "Korea is China's neighbor ... The Chinese people cannot but be concerned about a solution of the Korean question". Thus, through neutral-country diplomats, China warned that in safeguarding Chinese national security, they would intervene against the UN Command in Korea.
On 27 August, 67th Fighter Squadron aircraft mistakenly attacked facilities in Chinese territory and the Soviet Union called the UN Security Council's attention to China's complaint about the incident.
By 15 September, the amphibious assault force faced few KPA defenders at Incheon: military intelligence, psychological warfare, guerrilla reconnaissance, and protracted bombardment facilitated a relatively light battle. However, the bombardment destroyed most of the city of Incheon.
On 16 September Eighth Army began its breakout from the Busan Perimeter. Task Force Lynch, 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and two 70th Tank Battalion units (Charlie Company and the Intelligence–Reconnaissance Platoon) advanced through 171.2 km (106.4 mi) of KPA territory to join the 7th Infantry Division at Osan on 27 September.
On 25 September, Seoul was recaptured by UN forces. US air raids caused heavy damage to the KPA, destroying most of its tanks and much of its artillery. KPA troops in the south, instead of effectively withdrawing north, rapidly disintegrated, leaving Pyongyang vulnerable.
On 27 September, MacArthur received the top secret National Security Council Memorandum 81/1 from Truman reminding him that operations north of the 38th Parallel were authorized only if "at the time of such operation there was no entry into North Korea by major Soviet or Chinese Communist forces, no announcements of intended entry, nor a threat to counter our operations militarily".
On 27 September, Stalin convened an emergency session of the Politburo, in which he condemned the incompetence of the KPA command and held Soviet military advisers responsible for the defeat.
On 30 September, Zhou Enlai warned the US that China was prepared to intervene in Korea if the US crossed the 38th Parallel. Zhou attempted to advise KPA commanders on how to conduct a general withdrawal by using the same tactics that allowed Chinese communist forces to successfully escape Chiang Kai-shek's Encirclement Campaigns in the 1930s, but by some accounts KPA commanders did not use these tactics effectively.
On 25 November on the Korean western front, the PVA 13th Army Group attacked and overran the ROK II Corps at the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River, and then inflicted heavy losses on the US 2nd Infantry Division on the UN forces' right flank.
In mid-February, the PVA counterattacked with the Fourth Phase Offensive and achieved initial victory at Hoengseong. But the offensive was soon blunted by US IX Corps at Chipyong-ni in the center. The US 23rd Regimental Combat Team and the French Battalion fought a short but desperate battle that broke the attack's momentum. The battle is sometimes known as the "Gettysburg of the Korean War": 5,600 South Korean, U.S., and French troops were surrounded on all sides by 25,000 PVA. UN forces had previously retreated in the face of large PVA/KPA forces instead of getting cut off, but this time they stood and fought, and won.
Following the failure of ceasefire negotiations in January, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 498 on 1 February, condemning the PRC as an aggressor, and called upon its forces to withdraw from Korea.
On 1 March 1951, Mao sent a cable to Stalin emphasizing the difficulties faced by Chinese forces and the need for air cover, especially over supply lines. Apparently impressed by the Chinese war effort, Stalin agreed to supply two air force divisions, three anti-aircraft divisions, and six thousand trucks.
Operation Courageous was a military operation performed by the United Nations Command (UN) during the Korean War designed to trap large numbers of Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) and Korean People's Army (KPA) troops between the Han and Imjin Rivers north of Seoul, opposite the Republic of Korea Army (ROK) I Corps. The intent of Operation Courageous was for US I Corps, which was composed of the US 25th and 3rd Infantry Divisions and the ROK 1st Infantry Division, to advance quickly on the PVA/KPA forces and reach the Imjin River with all possible speed.
Operation Tomahawk was an airborne military operation by the 187th Regimental Combat Team (187th RCT) on 23 March 1951 at Munsan-ni as part of Operation Courageous in the Korean War. Operation Courageous was designed to trap large numbers of Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) and Korean People's Army (KPA) forces between the Han and Imjin Rivers north of Seoul, opposite the Republic of Korea Army (ROK) I Corps. The intent of Operation Courageous was for US I Corps, which was composed of the US 25th and 3rd Infantry Divisions and the ROK 1st Division, to advance quickly on the PVA/KPA positions and reach the Imjin River with all possible speed.
On 11 April 1951, President Truman relieved the General MacArthur as Supreme Commander in Korea. There were several reasons for the dismissal. MacArthur crossed the 38th Parallel in the mistaken belief that the Chinese would not enter the war, leading to major allied losses. He believed that whether to use nuclear weapons should be his decision, not the President's.
For the remainder of the war the UN and the PVA/KPA fought but exchanged little territory, as the stalemate held. Large-scale bombing of North Korea continued, and protracted armistice negotiations began on 10 July 1951 at Kaesong, an ancient capital of North Korea located in PVA/KPA held territory.
The Battle of the Punchbowl, was one of the last battles of the movement phase of the Korean War. Following the breakdown of armistice negotiations in August 1951, the United Nations Command (UN) decided to launch a limited offensive in the late summer/early autumn to shorten and straighten sections of their lines, acquire better defensive terrain, and deny the enemy key vantage points from which they could observe and target UN positions. The Battle of Bloody Ridge took place west of the Punchbowl from August–September 1951 and this was followed by the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge northwest of the Punchbowl from September–October 1951. At the end of the UN offensive in October 1951, UN forces controlled the line of hills north of the Punchbowl.
The Battle of Bloody Ridge was a ground combat battle that took place during the Korean War from 18 August to 5 September 1951. By the summer of 1951, the Korean War had reached a stalemate as peace negotiations began at Kaesong. The opposing armies faced each other across a line which ran from east to west, through the middle of the Korean peninsula, located in hills a few miles north of the 38th Parallel in the central Korean mountain range. United Nation and the North Korean Korean People's Army (KPA) and Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) forces jockeyed for position along this line, clashing in several relatively small but intense and bloody battles. Bloody Ridge began as an attempt by UN forces to seize a ridge of hills which they believed were being used as observation posts to call in artillery fire on a UN supply road.
The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge , also known as the Battle of Wendengli , was a month-long battle in the Korean War which took place between 13 September and 15 October 1951. After withdrawing from Bloody Ridge, the Korean People's Army (KPA) set up new positions just 1,500 yards (1,400 m) away on a 7-mile (11 km) long hill mass. If anything, the defenses were even more formidable here than on Bloody Ridge. The Battle of Heartbreak Ridge was one of several major engagements in the hills of North Korea a few miles north of the 38th Parallel (the pre-war boundary between North and South Korea), near Chorwon. For the Chinese, this battle is often confused with the Battle of Triangle Hill, which occurred a year later.
The Battle of Hill Eerie refers to several Korean War engagements between the United Nations Command (UN) forces and the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) in 1952 at Hill Eerie, a military outpost about 10 miles (16 km) west of Ch'orwon. It was taken several times by both sides; each sabotaging the others' position.
The Battle of Old Baldy refers to a series of five engagements for Hill 266 in west-central Korea. They occurred over a period of 10 months in 1952–1953, though there was also vicious fighting both before and after these engagements. UN victory in 1952 action Chinese victory in 1953 action
The Battle of White Horse, was a battle during the Korean War hill in the Iron Triangle, formed by Pyonggang at its peak and Gimhwa-eup and Cheorwon-eup at its base, a strategic transportation route in the central region of the Korean peninsula.
The Battle of Triangle Hill, also known as Operation Showdown or the Shangganling Campaign, was a protracted military engagement during the Korean War. The main combatants were two United Nations (UN) infantry divisions, with additional support from the United States Air Force, against elements of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) 15th and 12th Corps. The battle was part of UN attempts to gain control of "The Iron Triangle", and took place from 14 October to 25 November 1952.
The Battle of Pork Chop Hill comprises a pair of related Korean War infantry battles during April and July of 1953. These were fought while the United Nations Command (UN) and the Chinese and North Koreans negotiated the Korean Armistice Agreement. In the U.S., they were controversial because of the many soldiers killed for terrain of no strategic or tactical value, although the Chinese lost many times the number of US soldiers killed and wounded. The first battle was described in the eponymous history Pork Chop Hill: The American Fighting Man in Action, Korea, Spring 1953, by S.L.A. Marshall, from which the film Pork Chop Hill was drawn. The UN won the first battle but the Chinese won the second battle.
The Battle of Kumsong, also known as the Jincheng Campaign , was one of the last battles of the Korean War. During the ceasefire negotiations seeking to end the Korean War, the United Nations Command (UNC) and Chinese and North Korean forces were unable to agree on the issue of prisoner repatriation. South Korean President Syngman Rhee, who refused to sign the armistice, released 27,000 North Korean prisoners who refused repatriation. This action caused an outrage among the Chinese and North Korean commands and threatened to derail the ongoing negotiations. As a result, the Chinese decided to launch an offensive aimed at the Kumsong salient. This would be the last large-scale Chinese offensive of the war, scoring a victory over the UNC forces.
Outpost Harry was a remote Korean War outpost located on a tiny hilltop in what was commonly referred to as the "Iron Triangle" on the Korean Peninsula. This was an area approximately 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Seoul and was the most direct route to the South Korean capital.
Speaking on 4 April 2013, the US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, informed the press that Pyongyang "formally informed" the Pentagon that it "ratified" the potential use of a nuclear weapon against South Korea, Japan and the United States of America, including Guam and Hawaii.
On 27 April 2018, it was announced that North Korea and South Korea agreed to talks to end the ongoing 65-year conflict. They committed themselves to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.