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Battle of Ongjin: Wikis

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Battle of Ongjin
Part of Korean War
Date June 25 - June 26, 1950
Location Ongjin Peninsula
Result DPRK victory
Successful ROK withdrawal
Belligerents
 Democratic People's Republic of Korea  Republic of Korea
Commanders
North Korea Choi Hyun
North Korea Han Il-hae
South Korea Paik In-yup
Strength
15,000 3,600
Casualties and losses
Unknown 326 KIA

The Battle of Ongjin was one of coordinated battles starting in 25 June 1950 that marked the beginning of the Korean War.

Contents

Prelude

From 20 June 1950, ROK 17th Infantry Regiment started witnessing suspicious and unusual movements of North Korea. The regiment spotted many high-ranking North Korean officers in North Korean bases and hills, but not a single North Korean civilians were seen anywhere in the North Korean land. When the regiment received an order to call off its alert, regimental commander Paik In-yup ignored the order and kepts his regiment in high alert for any possible attacks from North Korea. Eventually, Paik gave up and lowered alert except front lines when United Nations personnel visited the regiment and urged to do so saying that the alert will cause nothing but a counter result. However, in the day before the battle broke out, Paik ordered every troops to be stationed in their defense position, giving the regiment fortunate battle-ready for upcoming disaster.

Preparation

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Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Taking over Kangry'ŏng as fast as possible was the main goal for North Korean army. 3rd Guard Brigade prepared in the west with support from 1st and 5th Guard Brigade, and 14th Infantry Regiment with limited aid from 105th Armored Brigade tasked capturing Kangry'ŏng.

Republic of Korea

Ongjin Peninsula is an isolated area where only ground access was to go through North Korean soil. Therefore, 17th Infantry Regiment had to defend 45km lines with few and limited troops. 1st Infantry Battalion covered west and 3rd Infantry Battalion covered east, while 2nd Infantry Battalion was staioned at rear and act as relief. The regiment focused its strength at the Kangry'ŏng, where 3rd Infantry Battalion was protecting, because it was most likely to be the primary object for North Korea. If Kangry'ŏng is taken, the regiment will lose its combat strength by half and the path of retreat.

Order of battle

Main forces in bold.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

  • 1st Guard Brigade
  • 3rd Guard Brigade - Brigadier General Choi Hyun
  • 5th Guard Brigade
  • 105th Armored Brigade
  • 14th Infantry Regiment - Senior Colonel Han Il-hae

Republic of Korea

  • 17th Infantry Regiment - Colonel Paik In-yup
    • 1st Infantry Battalion - Major Kim Bok-tae (KIA)
    • 2nd Infantry Battalion - Major Song Ho-rim
    • 3rd Infantry Battalion - Major Oh Ik-kyung
    • 7th Artillery Battalion - Major Park Jung-ho
    • Anti-tank Company - Captain Noh Kyung-eok

Battle

North Korea launched surprise attack at the dawn of 25 June 1950, and outnumbered 17th Infantry Regiment started breakdown. Communication line to 3rd Infantry Battalion was cut off, and 1st Infantry Battalion received serious damage and asked for additional troops. When 1st Infantry Battalion commander Kim Bok-tae was killed in action, Paik In-yup was convinced that North Korea's goal is Ongjin not Kangry'ŏng and ordered 2nd Infantry Battalion to support 1st Infantry Battalion. However, when 2nd Infantry Battalion was put into the battle, North Korea started attacking 3rd Infantry Battalion with full force. Paik In-yup realized Ongjin was a feint attack and quickly redeployed 2nd Infantry Battalion to 3rd Infantry Battalion position, but it was too late and many defense lines collapsed.
17th Infantry Regiment started retreating around the noon of June 25. 1st and 2nd Infantry Battalion retreated first by using civilian ships. By the 11:00 of June 26, soldiers were able to board on LST and leave except Paik and Major Park Jung-ho who volunteered to give cover fire for retreating friendlies. After shooting then destroying the artillery, Paik tried to commit suicide, but Park stoped him. Park then swam in the sea and brought a small boat to flee from Ongjin Peninsula. Later, a fishing boat found their small boat drifting in the sea and rescued them.

Aftermath

About 90% of the South Korea forces and equipments in Ongjin Peninsula returned to the mainland. 17th Infantry Regiment moved to Daejeon and recovered all loses. The regiment went back to the front line at Osan, and participated in later battles such as Battle of Inchon.


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