Yongmunsan – Hwachun Battle

A devastating victory of the Korean 6th division through perimeter defense and great fire support against the Communist Chinese army

  • Date:
    1951.5.17~ 5.28

    Yangpyung-gun Gyunggi-do – Hwachun-gun Gangwon-do area

    Engaged Forces:
    Korean 6th Division vs. Communist Chinese 63rd Army

    A devastating victory of the Korean 6th division through perimeter defense and great fire support against the Communist Chinese army

  • The Communist Chinese started their April offensive by mainly targeting the western front. After then, they started their May offensive on the central forward to get rid of the threat heading to the Iron Triangle Battlefield and seize operational leadership. They thought of destroying the relatively weak Korean forces first to unbalance the line, and attack the US forces from the front, both flanks and rear end. Their main goal was to attack the Korean 3rd corps in Hyun-ri and the 6th division, which was defeated in the previous battle in the Sachang-ri battle during the April offensive. On the same time, they tried to keep the central western UN forces and Korean forces fixed and contained.
    The Korean 6th division led by brigadier general Jang Do-yung, defending the Yongmunsan Mountain(1,157 highland)area was 12 to 17km away from the Bukhangang River. This made them think that if they let the Communist Chinese secure a bridgehead along the southern Bukhangang River area, it would be hard to maintain the line. Due to this reason, the 2nd regiment was disposed on the south of Bukhangang River and Hongcheongang River, 19th regiment on the west of Yongmunsan Mountain, and the 7th regiment on the east side of Yongmunsan Mountain. Especially, the 2nd regiment tied up headbands with “victory or death” and the officers carried their own supplies to retaliate their defeat at the Sachang-ri battle.
    The Communist Chinese started their attack 1951 May 17th. The Korean 6th division defeated them under the support of 5 artillery batallions from the corps. The Chinese fought back for the next 2 days. Even in the situation of lacking food and ammunition, the Korean army didn’t stop to counterattack and do their best to defend their ground. After then, the division commander ordered counterattack. The Chinese were damaged incalculably and had to retreat. During the 5 days of battle since may 17th, the 6th division got over their defeat at Sachang-ri and ended the Yongmunsan battle as victory.
    At May 24th, the 6th division changed their defensive stance into offensive, and marched up to Jiam-ri – Hwachun. They followed up to the Kansas Line, and the Chinese started to build defensive positions on the Bukhangang River upstream area.

  • The 6th division showed the importance of strong will, the quick witted decision making of officers in command, and strong fire support. They even used the Communist Chinese operations back on them.
    The 6th division killed more than 17,000 enemies and took more than 2,000 prisoners and captured a lot of weapons and equipment, but there were also around 100 casualties, 500 wounded, and 30 soldiers missing. However it is sure that the victory of the 6th division uplifted the spirit of the Korean army.

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