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History

The Battle of Osan:The first engagement


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The Battle of Osan was the first engagement between United States and North Korean forces during the Korean War, on July 5, 1950. A U.S. task force of 400 infantry supported by an artillery battery was moved to Osan, south of the South Korean capital Seoul, and ordered to fight as a rearguard to delay advancing North Korean forces while additional U.S. troops arrived in-country to form a stronger defensive line to the south. The Task Force lacked both antitank guns and effective infantry anti-tank weapons, having been equipped with obsolescent 2.36-in. rocket launchers and a few 57mm recoilless rifles. Aside from a limited number of HEAT shells for the unit’s 105-mm howitzers, crew-served weapons capable of defeating the T-34 had not been distributed to U.S. Army forces in Korea at the time

On the night of June 25, 1950, ten divisions of the North Korean People’s Army launched a full-scale invasion on the nation’s neighbor to the south, the Republic of Korea. The force of 89,000 men moved in six columns, catching the Republic of Korea Army by surprise, resulting in a complete rout. The smaller South Korean army suffered from widespread lack of organization and equipment, and it was unprepared for war.Numerically superior, North Korean forces destroyed isolated resistance from the 38,000 South Korean soldiers on the front before it began moving steadily south.Most of South Korea’s forces retreated in the face of the invasion. By June 28, the North Koreans had captured South Korea’s capital of Seoul

.A monument to Task Force Smith was  established on the Osan battlefield

To prevent South Korea’s complete collapse, the United Nations Security Council voted to send military forces. The United States’ Seventh Fleet dispatched Task Force 77, led by the fleet carrier USS Valley Forge; the British Far East Fleet dispatched several ships, including the HMS Triumph, to provide air and naval support

  The first units of the 24th Infantry Division left Itazuke Air Base in Japan on June 30. Named for its commander, Task Force Smith consisted of 406 men of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, as well as 134 men of A Battery, 52nd Field Artillery Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Miller O. Perry. The forces were both poorly equipped and understrength

In the years following the Korean War, the U.S. Army used the areas in Japan Task Force Smith trained at as a memorial.A monument to Task Force Smith was also established on the Osan battlefield, where an annual commemoration of the Battle of Osan is held by the Eighth Army, which is still headquartered in South Korea. On July 16, 2010, 60 years after the Battle of Osan, Eighth Army leaders, in conjunction with government officials of Osan, held another ceremony, speaking of Task Force Smith and describing the engagement as “the opening shots of a war of ideas that exists even today

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