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Korean War Photos

These pictures were taken during the Korean War 1950-53. They are also reproduced in Bevin Alexander’s Korea:
The First War We Lost. The book can be purchased by clicking the word Books on the navigation bar at the top of
each page.

1. The Potsdam Conference of victorious Allies in July, 1945,

brought the Soviet Union’s commitment to entering the war against
Japan. The result was a Soviet occupation of northern Korea and
Korea’s partition along the 38th parallel. (U.S. Signal Corps photo.)

2. At the Moscow conference in December, 1945, Ernest Bevin

(left), British foreign secretary; V.M. Molotov (center), Soviet
foreign minister, and James F. Byrnes, U.S. secretary of state,
agreed on a four-power commission to rule Korea. But the Soviets
undermined the commission and established communist rule in the
north. (Wide World photo.)

3. Task Force Smith arrives at the Taejon rail station. On July 5,

1950, near Osan, this untried force of about half a battalion, mostly
teenagers, stood alone against a North Korean division and a large
tank force. (Defense Department photo.)

4. U.S. bombs drop on railway bridges at Seoul in early July, 1950.

The broken highway bridge at the right was blown without warning
by South Korean themselves early on June 28, sending hundreds of
fleeing South Korean soldiers and civilians to their deaths. (U.S. Air
Force photo.)

5. The Soviet Union’s seat is conspicuously vacant as the UN

Security Council votes on June 27, 1950, to use force to push North
Korean troops out of South Korea. ( New York Times photo.)

6. A marine air-observer team guides a marine Corsair in for a

strike on an enemy-held hill. The “black Corsairs” were highly
praised by army and marines alike for their precision strikes on
targets and their extremely close support of forward units. (U.S.
Marine Corps photo.)

7. Marines move around North Korean T34 tanks knocked out in

Pusan Perimeter battle in late summer, 1950. A dead North Korean
soldier lies on the tank in the foreground. (U.S. Marine Corps

8. Bagpipers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on August

29, 1950, pipe ashore at Pusan a battalion of their Scottish regiment
and a battalion of the English Middlesex Regiment; the first allied
ground forces to join the Americans and South Koreans. (U.S. Army photo.)

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9. Marines seek cover behind an M26 Pershing tank west of Masan

during Pusan Perimeter engagement in late summer, 1950. A dead
North Korean soldier lies on ledge at left. (U.S. Marine Corps

10. Millions of Koreans were uprooted from their homes by

bombing, shelling or fear and attempted to flee to safety. Pusan and
other cities in the south became giant refugee camps, with people
sleeping on the streets. (Defense Department photo.)

11. Republic of Korea (ROK) soldiers march in typical column

formation toward the front in August, 1950, during the Pusan
Perimeter battle. This is a standard narrow dirt Korean road raised
above rice paddies. (U.S. Army photo.)

12. Brigadier General F.W. Farrell, Korean Military Advisory Group

chief, confers on August 18, 1950, with Lieutenant General Walton
H. Walker (seated in jeep), Eighth Army commander, during the
height of the Pusan Perimeter battle. (U.S. Army photo.)

13. During the North Korean offensive in the summer of 1950, an

American F-80 jet strafes an enemy T34 tank and jeep in the road
and vehicles and troops in the village. (U.S. Air Force photo.)

14. A Corsair shepherds part of the armada assembled for the Inchon
invasion on September 15, 1950, the world’s last great amphibious
landing. (U.S. Navy photo.)

15. General Douglas MacArthur watches bombardment of Inchon

from the bridge of the USS Mount McKinley . He is flanked by (from left) Vice
Admiral A.D. Struble, Major General E.K. Wright, and Major General Edward
M. Almond, X Corps commander. (U.S. Navy photo.)

16. Four LSTs unload on the beach at Inchon as marines gather equipment to
move rapidly inland on September 15, 1950. Landing ships were stuck in the
deep mud flats between one high tide and the next. (U.S. Navy photo.)

17. The commander of the 1st Marine Division, Major General Oliver P. Smith
(left), discussing action immediately after Inchon landing, September 15,
1950, with his boss, army Major General Edward M. Almond, X Corps
commander. At right is Major General Field Harris, commander of the marine
air wing that provided close support to attacking units. (Defense Department
photo, Marine Corps.)

18. General Douglas MacArthur (in leather jacket) and an entourage of press
and brass examine bodies of North Korean soldiers at advanced
marine positions east of Inchon on September 17, 1950. The marine
in camouflage helmet holds a Russian-made submachine gun known
to Americans as a burp gun. (U.S. Army photo.)

19. Marines carry a wounded comrade while other marines hold

positions in the assault on the outskirts of Seoul, September, 1950.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

20. A marine infantryman keeps cover as he looks over the Han river
valley near Seoul four days after the flanking movement against
Inchon. (U.S. Navy photo.)

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21. Much of Seoul was destroyed in vicious street battles in September,

1950. Here marine infantry lead an M26 tank in the attack. (U.S. Marine
Corps photo.)

22. A marine tank supports South Korean soldiers guarding North Korean
prisoners captured in the assault on Seoul, September, 1950. (U.S. Marine
Corps photo.)

23. U.S. 7th Division infantry wait as an army M4A3 Sherman tank clears
a gap in a barricade during the street-by-street North Korean defense of
Seoul in September, 1950. (U.S. Army photo.)

24. Breakout from the Pusan Perimeter: Koreans move back to their homes
at Waegwan as U.S. infantrymen advance after the fleeing North Koreans.
Soldier in foreground is carrying a Browning Automatic Rifle. (U.S. Army

25. The legacy of war: 1st Cavalry Division troops move on north in
the fall of 1950, leaving a shattered Korean village behind. (U.S.
Army photo.)

26. When a single vehicle moved on one of the narrow dirt roads that
served as practically the only arteries in Korea, it usually raised a
column of dust. When convoys such as this passed with artillery prime
movers and trucks, the dust cloud could be choking. (U.S. Army

27. Zhou Enlai (left), Communist Chinese premier and foreign

minister, stands with Chairman Mao Zedong and Lin Biao (right), one
of Red China’s outstanding commanders. (Eastphoto.)

28. This battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment distinguished

itself in Korea in a number of engagements. In its first fight the
Aussies, using mainly rifles and bayonets, routed a North Koran
regiment. (British Commonwealth Occupation Forces Japan

29. Red Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai receives Mme.

Vijayalakshmi Pandit, with an Indian cultural delegation, and
K.M. Panikkar, Indian ambassador to Beijing. (Eastphoto.)

30. Chinese Communist infantry moving to an attack in Korea.


31. A Chinese soldier displays knocked-out U.S. tank of 1st

Cavalry Divison in the early months of the Chinese intervention.

32. Members of the Turkish Brigade move into position in

December, 1950, shortly after suffering severe casualties
attempting to block encirclement of the U.S. 2nd Division at the
Chongchon river in North Korea. (UPI/Bettmann Newsphoto.)

33. Frozen bodies of American marines, British commandos and

South Korean soldiers are gathered for group burial at Koto-ri.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

34. Marine Corsairs have just struck Chinese positions in the

Changjin (Chosin) reservoir area of northeast Korea with jellied

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gasoline napalm. Close air support was a key to the successful

retreat to the sea in December, 1950. (U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

35. Marines take up temporary defensive positions in the retreat

from the Changjin (Chosin) reservoir. (U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

36. Marines in the retreat from the Changjin (Chosin) reservoir halt
while leading elements clear a Chinese roadblock. (Defense
Department photo.)

37. This C-47 is being unloaded at the tiny Hagaru-ri airstrip at

Changjin (Chosin) reservoir. From here 4,312 wounded and
frostbitten men were evacuated by air in the five days before the
retreat to the sea began. (U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

38. The marine and army retreat from the Changjin (Chosin) reservoir in
December, 1950, occurred in temperatures around zero degrees Fahrenheit.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

39. Marines reclaimed all their dead on the retreat from Changjin (Chosin)
reservoir. Infiltrating Chinese soldiers stripped clothing from some of the
bodies. (U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

40. This sixteen-foot hole was blown by Chinese soldiers in the single road
from Changjin (Chosin) reservoir to the sea. Bridge sections dropped by air
permitted this gap to be spanned and men and equipment to get out. (U.S.
Marine Corps photo.)

41. These are some of the 385 able-bodied survivors of the 2,500 army 7th
Division men caught in a series of Chinese ambushes along the eastern shore
of the Changjin (Chosin) reservoir in late November, 1950. (U.S. Marine
Corps photo.)

42. Marines move toward evacuation ships at Hungnam harbor in

December, 1950, as the United Nations abandons northeast Korea.
(U.S. Army photo.)

43. When United Nations troops began evacuating northeast Korea

after the Chinese offensive of November, 1950, many North
Koreans wanted to go along. Here at Hungnam some of the 98,000
civilians carried to South Korea board ships for the journey.
(Defense Department photo.)

44. U.S. ordinance teams detonate great stocks of American

ammunition at Hungnam as the last troops of X Corps withdraw in
landing craft and abandon the effort to conquer North Korea. (U.S.
Navy photo.)

45. Infantry of the 19th Regiment, 24th Division, retreat ten miles
south of Seoul on January 3, 1951. (U.S. Army photo.)

46. An American F-80 jet attacks North Korean vehicles in the open.
The F-80 was armed with six .50-caliber machine guns and could
carry rockets and bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo.)

47. Winter battle: a machine-gun crew rests above a Korean village

after assaulting a Chinese position. (U.S. Army photo.)

48. A wounded soldier of the French Battalion is readied to be carried

back for medical care. The French Battalion gained renown and

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suffered high losses at Chipyong-ni in early 1951 and on Heartbreak Ridge in

the fall of 1951. (UPI/Bettmann Newsphoto.)

49. Men of the 25th Division observe an artillery concentration beginning to

land on a Chinese position in central Korea in March, 1951. (U.S. Army

50. Infantry of the 25th Division advance in central Korea in late March, 1951.
(U.S. Army photo.)

51. Four white-phosphorus artillery shells drop on Chinese positions in front of

the 25th Division on the western (I Corps) front in February, 1951. (U.S. Army

52. Chinese soldiers captured near Hwachon reservoir in central Korea await
shipment at 24th Division headquarters. (U.S. Army photo.)

53. A 3rd Division twin-40mm antiaircraft artillery weapon fires

direct support against Chinese positions on the western (I Corps)
front near the 38th parallel. (U.S. Army photo.)

54. Soldiers of the English Gloucestershire Regiment battalion stop

for afternoon tea. In April, 1951, this battalion was overrun by a
massive Chinese attack and only a few of its members reached UN
lines. (Defense Department photo.)

55. A battery of 155mm Long Tom rifles fire north of Seoul in May,
1951, as United Nations troops move up behind withdrawing
Chinese. (U.S. Army photo.)

56. Major General William M. Hoge (right), commander of IX

Corps, studies map at Chunchon airstrip, May, 1951, with General
Matthew B. Ridgway (left), Far East commander, and Lieutenant
General James A. Van Fleet, Eighth Army commander. (U.S. Army

57. A U.S. 3rd Division medic gives blood to a wounded North

Korean soldier. (U.S. Army photo.)

58. To protect against American artillery fire and air attacks, the
Chinese and North Koreans created deep underground tunnels,
rooms and bunkers nearly impervious to all but direct hits by heavy
-caliber weapons. These Chinese soldiers are armed with “potato
masher” grenades. (Eastphoto.)

59. An American F-80 Shooting Star stands on its wing tip in June,
1951, to avoid smoke from an earlier aerial attack against a
communist-held hilltop. (U.S. Air Force photo.)

60. Men of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division, climb a steep
slope on Bloody Ridge on September 5, 1951. This regiment
suffered severe casualties in this and the subsequent Heartbreak
Ridge battles. (U.S. Army photo.)

61. Red Chinese soldiers cover Americans emerging from a cave to

surrender. (Eastphoto.)

62. This is Bloody Ridge, occupied by survivors of the 9th Infantry

Regiment, after it was captured on September 5, 1951. It cost 2,700
American and South Korean casualties and an estimated 15,000

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North Korean casualties. The battle of Heartbreak Ridge, which

followed Bloody Ridge, claimed 3,700 American and French
casualties and an estimated 25,000 North Koreans and Chinese. (U.S.
Army photo.)

63. Two Chinese Communist soldiers in their standard padded cotton

uniforms stand guard on the edge of the neutral zone at Panmunjom,
midway between the communist and United Nations lines, where the
two-year truce talks were largely held. (U.S. Navy photo.)

64. The essence of ridgeline battle conditions in Korea: marines in

trenches crouch for cover as a Chinese 82mm mortar round lands on
their positions. Most casualties on both sides were caused by mortar
and artillery fire. (U.S. Navy photo.)

65. An enemy mortar round lands directly on a marine ridgeline

position. (Defense Department/ Marine Corps photo.)

66. The central valley of Koje-do, where most of the compounds

housing North Korean and Chinese prisoners of war were located.
Near here also is where Brigadier General Francis T. Dodd, camp
commandant, was captured by POWs and released only after
another U.S. general issued a highly damaging statement indicating
POWs had been killed and abused. (U.S. Army photo.)

67. Extremely crowded POW enclosures on Koje-do reduced

United Nations control and permitted Red POW leaders to direct
riots and other violence by prisoners. (U.S. Army photo.)

68. A Fifth Air Force F-51 Mustang drops napalm jellied gasoline
tanks on an industrial target in North Korea in August, 1951. (U.S.
Air Force photo.)

69. As the Korean War went on, American air power methodically
demolished virtually everything in North Korea having any military
significance whatsoever. Here supply warehouses at the east-coast
port of Wonsan are bombed in July, 1951.

70. A marine F4U Corsair pulls up from a bombing run on a Chinese

-held hill in western Korea in October, 1952. (U.S. Navy photo.)

71. A widely distributed photo showing a child killed in what the

Red Chinese called a 1953 U.S. B-29 attack on the Manchurian
border city of Antung, opposite Sinuiju on the Yalu river.

72. General Mark W. Clark, Far East commander, signs the Korean
armistice agreement on July 27, 1953, after two years of
negotiation, during which hundreds of thousands of men were
killed and wounded in continued hostilities. (U.S. Navy photo.)

73. North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung prepares to sign armistice

handed to him July 27, 1953, by General Nam Il, head of the
communist delegation at Panmunjom. (Eastphoto.)

74. Chinese Communist commander Peng Dehuai signs Korean

armistice at Kaesong. (Eastphoto.)

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