Korean War: Counter Attack
Scenario Preview, Part Seven
In the next chapter of our newest Panzer Grenadier game, Korean War: Counter Attack, the NKPA starts to crumble and the United Nations forces break out of the Pusan Perimeter. Let’s take a look at these fine scenarios:
Breaking the Cordon, Pursuit and Exploitation
After the Inch’on landings and the capture of Seoul, the whole front began to open. NKPA morale sank, with the enemy both in the front and to the rear of their positions and some units not even knowing their overall situation until a week or two afterward. The U.N forces took full advantage of this, exploiting the North Korean confusion. Scenarios 53 through 58 cover this period.
Breaking the Taegu Cordon
18 September 1950
Eighth Army had gone over to the offensive on the day after the landing at Inch’on. The 1st Cavalry Division, reinforced with the 5th Regimental Combat team, assaulted the North Korean positions on and around Hill 26 overlooking the Taegu highway. The NKPA, apparently still unaware of the threat to their supply and retreat route, hung on doggedly for two days. On the third day, the Americans resumed their attack.
Advancing behind a series of devastating air strikes, the 5th RCT took most of Hill 268 in a tough day-long fight. The North Koreans contested every position. The hill’s capture compromised the North Korean position, with a large gap in their lines now uncovered, but they continued their stout resistance the next day. Things changed quickly on the evening of the 19th, when they received word of the Inch’on landing.
The Americans go on the attack with numbers, morale, artillery and air support on their side; both sides get a small number of tanks. The Norks have a strong position and they’ll need to make the most of their geographical advantages.
SCENARIO FIFTY FOUR
25 September 1950
The North Korean 6th Division did its best to hold up the American advance, blowing up the bridge over the river Nam and deploying a delaying force in the town of Chinju to cover the rest of the division as it retreated. The Americans built an underwater bridge of their own with sandbags, and crossed in the pre-dawn hours to attack Chinju.
The 35th Infantry Regiment crossed the Nam River and ejected the North Koreans from Chinju. The NKPA rear guard fought fiercely to hold the town, getting good support from their organic mortars and direct-fire artillery while American tanks fired on the town from the opposite bank of the river. American engineers soon had the bridge repaired and the caissons were rolling along.
The Americans are enthusiastic once again about finally going on the general offensive, but this time they have many fewer advantages and are going to have to fight hard to make gains here. The Norks are pretty depleted, but have the means to offer stout resistance.
27 September 1950
Early on the morning of 26 September, Lt. Col. Welborn G. Dolvin led a force of tanks and infantry north-west out of Chinju in pursuit of the retreating North Korean 6th Division. On the first day they met only minefields and abandoned vehicles and weapons, but on the next morning they encountered more substantial resistance.
Dolvin’s task force continued its rapid advance until it ran into determined opposition backed by very accurate mortar fire. The infantry dismounted and launched an attack while the tanks attempted to clear the enemy positions by fire. The North Koreans held on stubbornly, and eventually Dolvin had to pull back his troops and allow the Air Force to obliterate the defenders.
Two rather small forces contest a long, narrow battlefield. The Americans have no interest in crushing the Norks; they only want to bop their way past. The battered NKPA wants to stop them, but is short of just about everything, most of all the will to fight.
The American Luftwaffe
23 September 1950
Moving forward like the American units on either flank, the British 27th Infantry Brigade became embroiled in a tough fight for a pair of hills dominating the main highway leading toward Kumch’on. The British took one of them with the help of American tank and artillery fire; the other held out with the stubbornness that had been typical of North Korean units before their great retreat began.
American artillery fire ceased without notifying the British, who called for an air strike on the hill still held by the North Koreans. The Scottish troops laid out their white recognition panels. Seeing this, the North Koreans did the same. The American pilots dove onto the wrong hill, subjecting their allies to heavy strafing and a great deal of napalm. At least 60 men of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were killed or wounded in the American air strike.
The Soldiers of the Queen are also on the offensive, with high morale, artillery support and American air power. And there’s the problem; the planes are just as likely to bomb the Brits are they are to smite the Norks.
24 September 1950
The North Koreans committed their armor in front of Kumch’on in an effort to delay or even turn back the American advance. The Americans for their part had the new M46 Patton tanks spearheading their advance. Having lost four machines in a tank battle on the previous day, the tankers of 6th Medium Tank Battalion were eager to press their attack.
The North Koreans fought fiercely, suffering heavy casualties as the anti-tank regiment was almost wiped out and eight tanks were lost. The Americans took serious losses as well, with five of the new Patton tanks destroyed and 100 men killed or wounded. Despite their losses, the North Koreans succeeded in inflicting delay on the Americans, as 24th Infantry Division paused its pursuit to bring up more troops for a set-piece assault on Kumch’on.
Tank battle! Not a very large tank battle by Kursk standards, but a pretty big one for the Korean Conflict.
Task Force Lynch
26 September 1950
The 1st Cavalry Division sent its troops forward in pursuit of the North Korean II Corps, with Task Force Lynch ordered to head for the city of Osan directly on the road to Seoul. The North Korean’s 13th Division’s chief of staff had surrendered to two sleeping cavalrymen a few days before, triggering the rapid American advance. Despite full knowledge of enemy strength and dispositions, the cavalry still unexpectedly ran into a strong force of tanks awaiting them in the darkness.
The American task force stumbled upon a pair of T-34/85 tanks along the road to Osan, coming within 20 yards before the North Koreans opened fire. After destroying the tanks, the Americans probed forward with far more caution, a process rewarded when they encountered ten more enemy tanks. Seven of them were destroyed at the cost of two American tanks and 15 other vehicles destroyed and 30 men killed or wounded.
The somewhat-unprepared Americans of the 1st Cavalry Division – not among the best fighting units of this war – run into a force of North Korean tanks rumbling down the road toward them. The Norks have no supporting infantry, so the American player should do better than his or her historical counterpart.
And that’s the ninth chapter.
You can order Korean War: Counter Attack right here.
Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and award-winning journalist, he has published over 100 books, games and articles on historical subjects.
He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold. Leopold opposes the Kim regime.