Gaeseong-Munsan Battle

Defense operation of the Korean 1st division during the early period of the raid of North Korea.

  • Date:
    1950.6.25~ 6.29

    Location:
    Gaeseong-si – Munsan-eup, Paju-si, Gyunggi-do – Seoul Front

    Engaged Forces:
    Korean 1st Division vs. North Korean 1st, 6th Division, 203rd Tank Regiment

    Summary:
    Defense operation of the Korean 1st division during the early period of the raid of North Korea.

  • 1950 June 25, at 4 in the morning, the attack of North Korea started with artillery fire from the front of the 38th parallel. In the face of war, one of the most important fronts, the Gaeseong – Munsan front, was being defended by the Korean 1st division of colonel Paik sun-yup. The 1st division had to face the attack while defending the wide front of 94km.
    Unlike the well prepared North Korean army, the Korean 1st division lacked preparation like the other Korean divisions. About half of the soldiers were on vacation, which left only about 5,000 men, and only one artillery battalion was left for fire support. Also Korean troops lacked anti-tank weapons against North Korean tanks when attacked.
    When the surprise attack of North Korea started, the defense positions of the 1st division collapsed instantly. The 12th regiment defending the left front(west of Yeseonggang River) had to retreat back to Ganghwado, Incheon, and Gimpo over the Hangang River. On the other hand, the 13th regiment defending the right front was able to organize a systematic defense in the face of attack at the south of Imjingang River.
    However the 12th regiment made some mistakes while retreating, such as not exploding the Imjingang bride, leaving the threat of North Korea troops and tanks crossing the river. North Korea actually did start make their tanks cross the river at the night time of 25th, and these tanks started attacking at the morning of 26th. The 11th regiment had to retreat due to this reason back to Munsan. They tried counterattacking, but after the right flank of Munsan was threatened, the Division commander had to order retreat.
    Later the 1st division organized the last defense line of Geumchon – Bongilcheon to defend Seoul. The enemy started their attack from 10 o’clock of 27th with their tanks leading. The Korean army destroyed 6 tanks with being ready for suicide attacks, but the attack on a rainy night breaked their defenses. They had to retreat for a counterattack operation for retrieving the last defense line.
    At the 28th, not knowing that the Hangang bridge was blown up, the division switched into counterattack starting at 8o’clock. However the division commander was reported of the fall of Seoul and canceled the counterattack operation to safely retreat. Eventually, division commander Paik sun-yup ordered to retreat back to Siheung until the 30th. However the division lacked river crossing equipment and procedures for the situation, and they had to abandon all their heavy arms and equipment when crossing the Hangang River.

  • The Korean 1st division fought fiercely 4 days from June 25th to 28th at the north-west path to Seoul despite their lack of troops and equipment. The 1st division actually dealt well with the surprise attack until they had to cross the Hangang River for retreat. While the 6th division was defending Chuncheon, the 1st division was defending Seoul as well.

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