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A Study on the Operations Leadership at the Nakdong River Front:Focus on the Battle of the Namji-Yeongsan Area

장용운 1

1경남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

During the Korean War, the situation had worsen after July 20, 1950. After the fall of Daejeon, the core of the Seoul-Busan axis, General Walker decided to concentrate all forces at the Nakdong River and prepare the decisive defense. The Nakdong River literally became the final line of defense with no more ground to fall back on, and the fate of Korea was to be determined here. The UN Forces consisted of five ROK divisions and three EUSA divisions had to cover a total frontline of usual length of 240㎞. Thus division had to cover 30㎞, twice the usual length of 15km for a division. Also the North Korean People’s Army(NKPA) faced difficulties from its stretching supply route and especially from the increasing loses of equipment and men as a result of fierce battles. Meanwhile the ROK and the UN Forces gained the time needed for reinforcements to arrive for an all-out counteroffensive. And General Walker's ‘stand or die' spirit spread among the allies and boosted the morale. The Nakdong perimeter that included Namji-youngsan Area was a fierce boiling pot. It was a critical moment when the Republic of Korea's fate stood at crossroads. Against the NKPA’s fierce attack to end the war by the fall of Busan, the west part of Nakdong River, Namji-youngsan was critical Area to sustain the Nakdong Perimeter. lf this area were to be invaded by the NKPA, Milyang would be threaten directly. Miryang is critical point to the US supply route from Busan to Daegu. For this reason General Walker had to concentrate his intension more than any area. Especially the US 24th Division Commander and his soldiers fought fiercely against the NKPA 4th Division to defend the Namji-yeongsan Area. The NKPA 4th Division was famous and strong division than any other NK Divisions, but the US 24th Division Commander and his soldiers fought well and kept the area even if some dangerous moment were occurred. By their heroic fighting, Nakdong River west front was sustained and Nakdong Perimeter could be kept until to the time of the UN Forces’ Counteroffensive. It was not Rome but Caesar who conquered Goul. It was not Caltago army but Hannibal who made the Romans horrified And it wasn’t Macedonian army but Alexandros who conquered India. From this respects. there’s no doubt that looking into the commander’s leadership or operation guidance is very important when we study a war history. Therefore evaluating the operation guidance of the US 8th Army Commander General Walker and the US 24th Division Commander is essential for studying the Nakdong River frontline combat. General Walker had decided to overcome the difficulties of defense operation near the Nakdong River, and he had always tried to take initiatives of operation. It was a wise and appropriate thinking. When the US 24th Division’s counterattack failed and the situation at Yeongsan area become urgent, he put the US 1st Marine Brigade into the combat so that the NKPA was extracted completely. His aggressive operation bad brought the stabilization of Nakdong River frontline. and made possible to obtain the Busan Perimeter. The US 24th Division Commander General Church moved the civilians within the operation area out of the area. It was appropriate in terms of the civilian control. If the operations carried out without such action, many civilians would have been injured or killed, and it would have given many advantages to the NKPA. It is important to evaluate the overall operational result in studying a war history. However, this study is objecting to analysis and evaluate the process of the combat in detail which was executed along the Nakdong River Defense Operations in the west part of the area, so that we can learn the practice lesson by analyzing each case of the success and the failure of the combat of every level of commanders.

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