Following a successful, yet costly, defense of the Pusan Perimeter in 1950, the American-led coalition force in South Korea moved to launch a counterattack against the invading North. Termed Operation CHROMITE, the mission was to land on the Korean west coast near Inchon. Without the benefit of training, the Americans commenced the operation on the morning of 15 September 1950.
The objective of the operation was to reclaim the seized city of Seoul and to drive the North Korean invaders back across the 38th Parallel. GA MacArthur conceptualized the plan in August and intended the landing to be carried out by the Army’s 2ID and the USMC 5th Marines. However, like previous planning, both units were made unavailable due to their ongoing operations at Pusan. Instead, MacArthur utilized elements from the Army’s 7ID.
Logistics was the primary concern that faced 7ID and the newly reactivated X Corps. 7ID was the last Army reserve unit in Asia, and was ill equipped to stage a landing operation. Like the 2ID and 5th Marines, 7ID had also suffered from fragmentation with over 9,000 men being sent to Pusan. The intended Marine unit, 1st Marines, were also in the process of rebuilding. Thus, MacArthur was dealing with units that were lacking in men and materiel. Training for the operation was impossible, meaning that the run on the morning of 15 September would be blind.
Disorganization, logistical failures, and inferior weapons led to rapid erosion of North Korean defenses. The Americans had also not allowed substantial amount of time to pass to enable the North to dig in along the beachhead. The first Marines landed at 0630, with landing forces amounting to around 80,000 following behind. Units had moved off the beaches by the end of the first day, but forward advance was sluggish. By 17 September, the Americans were back on track to retake the South Korean capital of Seoul.
In the subsequent battles fought after, the Americans were able to liberate the seized South Korean capital. By 7 October, American forces had driven the North back beyond the 38th Parallel and had begun to launch operations into Northern territory. Logistical issues plagued the Americans from the 38th Parallel and points north, however. Nevertheless, the Battle of Inchon acted as the springboard the launched the American efforts back into Seoul and beyond.
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