The code name for what is known as Battle of Incheon was ‘Operation Chromite’. It was a part of the Korean War for retaking Seoul in 1950. People tend to recall General MacArthur first whenever they hear the Battle of Incheon, but the reality is that the young Korean soldiers and local residents were all meritorious for the success of Operation Chromite.
The Battle of Incheon was waged on September 15, 1950. When the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) pushed the South Koreans to the Pusan Perimeter, the UN and South Korean armed forces gathered in Pusan. They discussed their plans on how to retake Seoul. When General MacArthur proposed a secret Incheon strategy, the United States Navy rejected it, pointing to the fact that the ebb and flow of the tide was too high to guarantee the success of the operation. As a result, it was necessary to occupy Wolmido first before the troops’ landing at Incheon port. And yet the area alongside the pier was still too narrow. The success odds were 5000:1, and it was deemed a preposterous operation.
Eventually, Operation Chromite started. Before entering Incheon, the UN forces carried out a fake air strike in order to make the enemies believe that the landing point was around Samcheok. Furthermore, the UN forces launched a deception operation in Gunsan. They shelled the place numerous times as if real landing operations was going on. On September 14, the Jangsa landing operation was executed in Yeongdeok-gun and 772 South Korean student soldiers landed in Jangsa by taking the motor vessel Munsan. They blockaded the national highway line 7 and succeeded in cutting off the North Korean supply route. They received only three days’ worth of guns and food. Most of them died in the battle. General MacArthur also leaked false information that the UN forces would land at Gunsan. The infuriated NPKA strengthened the defense in Gunsan, while the defense in the other regions became lax.
On September 15 (also known as D-day), 206 vessels and 70,000 soldiers were assembled near the Yeongjong Island, and Operation Chromite was started. The initial operation started with the occupation of Wolmido. The UN forces retook the island within 2 hours and carried out the attack deep into the Incheon peninsula. They have taken the opportune moment that the NPKA’s main force units would gather. Finally, the UN forces succeeded in occupying Incheon. From that day on, it only took 15 days to get back to the 38th parallel.
Park Chan-ju (Photo Editor)
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