|The battle at Baengma-goji was a defensive campaign waged by the 9th Division of the Korean armed forces (commanded by Major General Kim Jong-o) for nine days in order to secure their 395-meter Hill (Baengma-goji) north of Cherwon against the invading Chinese 38th Army in December, 1952, when the position operations were at the fiercest in the course of the Korean War. Baengma-goji, part of the area controlled by the U.S. 9th Corps, was considered as the most important outpost hill with a good command over Yeokgokcheon Stream Valley, especially when a major supply route to Cheorwon was to be secured by the U.S. 8th Army. At that time, the Korean 9th Division had deployed two battalions of the 30th regiment on Baengma-goji and had reserved the 28th regiment right behind the hill.|
|The Baengma-goji battle started with two Chinese battalions of the 340th regiment under the command
of the 114th Division of the Chinese 38th Army attacking the hill at a quarter past 7 o'clock in the night of October 6.
If 395th Hill, as the only hill that could help maintain the main resistance line on Cheorwon plains, was to be ceded to the enemy forces,
our troops would be forced to withdraw, providing the enemy with a foothold for the next attack aimed at seizing full control of Cheorwon area.
The overall geographical positioning was that the enemy was favorably situated for defending from their present site and was in control of a spot from where to observe the vastly open landscape in the area; the enemy's position was also enjoying appropriate and necessary concealment and shelter. On the other hand, our forces are handicapped for both defense and attack in their present position. Such being the circumstances, 395th Hill, located at one corner of strategically important Cherui-samgak-ji (Triangular Zone of Iron), represented a strategic point that could not but be possessed and maintained by the two adversaries.
As the so-called Triangular Zone of Iron, formed by Pyeonggang at its peak and Geumhwa and Cheorwon as it base, was a strategic transportation route in the central region of the Korean peninsula, it could easily be understood that the enemy, who had lost the command of both the air and the sea, should aspire to establish a balanced connection between east and west of all the ground fronts, to secure a logistic center for the front and the rear and, at the same time, to form an axis for communication network.
By securing Baengma-goji and overwhelming Gamje, Cheorwon and Geumhwa, the enemy attempted to force the U.S. 9th Corps to pull as far back as Godae-san Mountain and paralyze our forces' major supply line leading to Seoul, which would strategically enable the enemy to get the upper hand in the eventual ceasefire negotiations. In this light, the battle at Baengma-goji hill was a major facet of the Korean War that influenced the war situation in the whole area, and it finally ended with the victory of our forces, while the enemy sustained critical losses in this war zone.
|Duration of the Battle|
|The battle for Baengma-goji went on for 10 days from October 6 to 15, 1952, during which the hill changed hands 24 times after repeated attacks and defenses for its possession. It was the most intense position-grasping battle for a small hill during the course of the Korean War from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.|
|Participant Military Units|
|The principal role in the battle for Baengma-goji was played by the 9th Division commanded by Major General Kim Jong-o,
which was responsible for the defense of 10 kilometer area including Jangsong-dong, Baengma-goji and Hakdang-ri; after conducting a change of
units within the Division on September 22, 1952, the 30th Regiment under Regimental Commander Im Ik-sun was put in charge of the left forefront
while the 29th Regiment under Commander Kim Bongcheol assumed the right forefront and the 28th Regiment under Commander Lee Ju-il remained as
reserve forces. Thus, the first battalion of the 30th Regiment was to bear the brunt of the main warfare at Baengma-goji.
The Chinese 38th Corps, its adversary in the battle, was created in December, 1954 in Jilin Province in Manchuria as an elite veterans' unit which had once occupied Seoul and swept down as far as Suwon. The 112th and 114th Divisions under the command of General Gang Ong-hwi were selected as the main force to capture Baengma-goji, and the 113th Division was to replenish the losses of the main force.
As supporting forces, a total of 22 tanks belonging to the 53rd Tank Squadron and the U.S. 73rd Tank Battalion were in place together with the fire support by the 1st Artillery Unit and the close-range air support by the U.S. 5th Air Force.
|Although, in this battle, the 9th Division of the Korean armed forces which had undergone continuous attacks
by the three divisions of the Chinese 38th Corps and numerous hand-to-hand combats sustained thousands of casualties while repelling the enemy,
it succeeded in securing Baengma-goji and wiping out more than ten thousand Chinese troops by means of putting up a stubborn resistance
with the fire support of the 1st Artillery Unit and the close-range air cover by the U.N. air force. After having been possessed and
repossessed seven times by both sides, Baengma-goji saw a battle in which the two antagonists suffered a great number of casualties.
The 38th Corps of Red China's Army committed seven regiments out of its total of nine regiments and sustained over ten thousands casualties of the war dead, injured or prisoners, while the ninth Division of the Korean armed forces suffered over 3,500 casualties. The American 5th Air Force made a total of 745 sorties and poured more than 2,700 bombs of various kinds, together with over 358 napalm bombs, onto the hill. Red China's Army, in its turn, rained no less than 55,000 shells during the nine-day battle period, and the Korean forces fired over 185,000 bombs. In consequence, Baengma-goji looked like a threadbare white horse, thence its name of Baengma, meaning a white horse. In this campaign, Korea's ninth Division went on to hold the Cherwon district that forms part of Triangular Zone of Iron, and the Chinese 38th Corps, after having been replaced with the 23rd Corps, had to withdraw to the rear.