Korean War - Inchon to Yalu
General MacArthur recognized that the North Koreans were vulnerable to an amphibious envelopment. A landing at Inch'on, the Yellow Sea port just twenty-five miles west of Seoul would cut North Korean road and rail line supply routes. The Inch'on shore line is a low-lying coastal plain subject to very high tides. There are no beaches in the landing area-only wide mud flats at low tide and stone walls at high tide. Because of the mud flats, the landing force would have to use the harbor and wharfage facilities in the port area.
The assault on Inch'on on 15 September 1950 encountered light resistance and UN forces steadily pushed inland. This was a huge confidence builder for the forces and particularly MacArthur. In retrospect, it probably provided too much confidence, which contributed to future problems. The Inchon invasion cut the already overextended supply lines of the North Korean army. Communist soldiers fled up the peninsula, pursued by United Nations forces.
The breakout of the Pusan Perimeter was timed perfectly to coincide with the Inchon invasion. During the breakout of the Pusan Perimeter, ROK AND US forces would experience some of the most violent combat undertaken in the Korean War. The breakout of the Pusan Perimeter cost the Eighth Army alone over 4,000 casualties, including 750 killed in action. In fact, US casualties in the first two weeks of September were the heaviest of the war; likewise, ROK and UN counterparts paid equally in blood.
The course of the war changed abruptly, and within weeks much of North Korea was taken by United States and South Korean forces. By 25 September the NKPA, with their lines of communications severed and their escape routes imperiled, quickly capitulated or stampeded in panic towards the 38th parallel. There was a brief hesitation at the 38th parallel before the Allies crossed it, but on 9 October elements of the Eighth Army crossed the 38th parallel (after the ROK Army had already done so) and X Corps embarked at Inchon for sea movement to Wonsan.
On 19 October, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang was captured and by 28 October, ROK troops reached the Yalu River. In hopes of ending operations before the onset of winter, MacArthur on October 24 ordered an advance to the northern Korean border with China at the Yalu River. On 24 November, UN forces began the "end of the war" offensive which had as its objective the destruction of the North Korean regime and the unification of Korea. Victory seemed at hand, but within 24 hours the situation changed with devastating suddeness. When Kim's regime was nearly extinguished, the Soviet Union did very little to save it -- China picked up the pieces.
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