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45th Infantry Division

When the 45th Division, which had been crippled when committed in early October 1950 was reorganized at Chongsong, it retained the artillery structure of the typical North Koresn infantry division but was not issued with any artillery weapons. Artillery units remained understrength until the division was transferred to manchuria on about 15 November for further reorganization and training. Upon arrival at Lung-ching-ts'un, the division was subordinated to the North Korean VIII Corps and all artillery units were brought up to full strength with the integration of filler personnel, most of them former ROK prisoners of war. While undergoing intensive training in this area, the divisional artillery received initial issues sf artillery weapons and ammunition. Mortars accounted for the majority of the weapons issued; no field pieces larger than 76mm were included.

When the 45th Division was again contacted by UN Forces in the Inje Sector in late March, the divisional artillery regiment was still Underequipped being armed, according to one account, with 11.76mm guns. Two 122mm artillery pieces observed in the vicinity of Inje may also have belonged to the artillery regiment, but were more probably part of the corps artillery reserve. A fair cross-section of normal T/O ond E artillery weapons was found in the regimental and battalion artillery, but their number was still limited. Most regiments at that time were equipped with about four 45mm antitank guns, one or two regimental 76mm howitzers and up to six 120mm mortars, while the supporting weapons in the average battalion included from three to four 82mm morters and an equal number of 14.5mm antitank rifles.

After reverting to corps reserve in the Marhwi-ri Area during the middle of May, artillery units of the 45th Division, which had sustained considerable losses in personnel as well as weapons and equipment, embarked on a program of intensive training, concurrently replacements, most of them from the North Korean IV Corps, were received and replacement artillery weapons were issued to regimental and battalion artillery units. The unit had been moved sometime in June to an artillery assembly or training erea at Yangdok. When in late July the division was briefly taken out of corps reserve to relieve the 15th Division in the Kosong area, supporting artillery elements played only a very minor role because of an acute shortage of ammunition. This shortage, according to one account, prompted the removal of heavier artillery pieces to the rear in order to prevent their destrction by the intense naval air and artillery fire to which the division was exposed.

During August the 45th Division received sizeable quantities of new weapons which brought most artillery units at battalion and regimental level most close to their authorized equipment allowance. Late in August, on the eve of the division's renewed commitment ample quantities of ammunition for these weapons were issued and when the division's renewed commitment ample quatities of ammunition for those weapons were issued and when the division moved back into the line in the Ipo-ri sector during the first days of September, it received more effective artillery support than in any previous commitment. Most rifle regiments and battalions were supported by organic artillery units that were close to full strength in personnel and weapons. However, the whereabouts and composition of the divisional artillery regiment remained a mystery. The division at that time was equipped with a total of approximately 150 artillery pieces of all kinds.

The typical North Korean infantry division at full strength possesses approximately 175 artillery pieces not counting self-propelled guns. Consequently, if this report be correct, it would seem to indicate that the division must have been supported at the time by an artillery units were close to but had not quite reached full equipment strength. Furthermore, several reports state that the 45th Division in an attack conducted against strong UN defenses on about 10 Septmber was supported by from 12 to 15 well emplaced and camouflaged artillery pieces described as having had a caliber of either 76mm or 100mm. It is not clear from these reports whether these pieces belonged to the corps artillery reserve or the divisional artillery regiment, although most references indicate the first alternative to be the correct one.

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