12th Infantry Division

According to KIMH the 12th Infantry Division was activated in Wonsan and was initially comprised of the Northeast Volunteer Army, Chinese 15th Division and was initially comprised of thw 30th, 31st and 32nd Infantry Regiments. The unit was initially equipped with vehicles attained by North Korea from the Soviet Union shortly after April 1950.

Artillery units of the 12th Division, at the time of the division's activation at Wonsan in April or May 1950, were composed of battle-seasoned Korean veterans from the Chinese Communist Army. Training Under Soviet supervision continued in the Wonsan Area untill 18 June, when the division moved to Inje and deployed along the 38th parallel. While in the early stages of the invasion the artillery support potential had been used with considerable effectiveness in combat activity of the 12th Division on the eastern front, heavy losses of equipment and a critical shortage of ammunition soon brought about a drastic reduction of that potential. The ammunition shortage, for instance, forced the 2nd Battalion of the artillerry regiment to evacuate its pieces to Tanyang in early August. By the end of the month all artillery ammunition having been expended, artillery personnel of the division were reduced to fighting as infantry troops.

The disorganized remnents of the 12th Division reached Kanggye in mid-November without any artillery weapons and a reorganization was immediately begun. Equipment being unavailable, however, the division was forced to operate from the time of its recommitment in the Inje Sector in late December until June 1951 without organic artillery support. By March 1951 sufficient 122mm howitzers, 76mm guns and 120mm mortars had become available to reform at least a portion of the division's artillery regiment. After receiving its new equipment and filler personnel at Kanggye, the regiment moved to Chinnamp'o, where it began training.

Although handicapped by lack of fire power, the 12th Division participated in the communist April offensive. Aside from small arms and machine guns, its armament at the time consisted of three 82mm mortars per battalion and a limited ammount of ammunition. In June, the artillery regiment less the 3rd Battalion joined the rest of the division. Although all three battalions are reported to have been formed at Kanggye the 3rd battalion was seperated from the other unitis of the artillery regiment and was sent to Shinuiju for reasons that have not yet been clarified. While the 1st and the 2nd Battalalions have been identified as being in action against UN Forces, it is of interest to note that since its recomitment the 12th Division has not been supported by more then one battalion of its artillery at any one time.

On about 4 june, the 2nd Battalion of the artillery regiment went into action with the division in the defense of the Yanggu - Inje Linc. This unit, which is somtime referred to by prisoners as the "Mechanized Battalion", was composed of two batteries of 76mm guns (four guns to a battery) and one battery of four 120mm morters. During this period there are reports that the divisiion untilized two captured US 105mm howitzers untill ammunition became unavailable. Almost immediately upon its entry into combat the 2nd Battalion suffered heavy casualties from UN counterbattery fire. By the time the division had been relieved on 20 June and moved back to the vinicinity of Chombang-ni for reorganization, that unit had been reduced to 30% of its originel strength.

In its three-week commitment the 2nd Battalion had not only lost heavily in personnel but also suffered considerable equipment losses. Its remaining 76mm guns where apparently used to form a single battery which was assigned to the newly-arrived 1st Battalion. Two batteries of this 1st Battalion arrived from Yangdok in July and, with the remaining battery from the 2nd Battalion, provided artillery support for the division when it again entered the line late in the month. The two original batteries of the battalion were equipped with four 122mm howitzors each, At the time the senior artillery officer of the divisio was Colonel Song-Hung-San. The understrength artillery support of the division was further handicapped in that few qualified artillery men remained by late August. Replacments consisted largely of reclassified personnel with no technical knowldge or trianing. As a result, mishandling caused damage to much of the artillery equipment. A limited supply of ammunitioin immposed restrictions on the fire support so that by August a maximum of only five rounds per gun per day could be fired.

There have been occasional reports of 45mm operating with the division. However, from the infrequency of these reports and the fact that only one or two pieces of each type are mentioned, it appears probable that such units do not exist but rather that artillery weapons of different types and models were used as opportunity and the supply of ammunition permited. As of the last available date of information, there is no information regarding the movement or employment of the 3rd Battalion of the artillery regiment nor has the current status of the 2nd Battalion recieved clarification.

Join the mailing list

Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:33:05 ZULU