9th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea

1950 1953

The 155

The 9th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea 1950-1954

The 9th Field Artillery Battalion was relieved from assignment to the 3d Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Georgia, for shipment to Korea in August 1950. The Battalion went into action in the famed "Bowling Alley Battle" near Taegu only three days after arriving at Pusan. After the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 9th moved northward with the battle through Seoul, Pyongyang, Packchon and Unsan. At Unsan, deep inside North Korea, the massive Chinese offensive struck United Nations Forces and turned their advance into a withdrawal which halted south of Seoul and the Han River. The 9th, firing mission after mission, and moving only to go into position to fire again, provided support which enabled other units to withdraw in good order and with minimum losses in men and materiel. It was south of Seoul on 17 January 1951 that the 9th came back home to the 3d Infantry Division. During its tour of the Korean Peninsula, the 9th had supported every division in Korea, including ROK Divisions, with the exception of the U. S. 7th Infantry Division.

Early in June 1953, the tempo of action stepped up, and the Division withstood heavy enemy attacks all along the front. The most bitter fighting took place on Outpost Harry on the Division's left center, and against the Boomerang on the right flank. Despite determined enemy assaults, preceded and accompanied by heavy artillery and mortar barrages, the line held firm and the Chinese withdrew, defeated. During the intense Chinese attacks the 9th Field Artillery Battalion fired thousands of rounds in support of front-line infantry units inflicting great losses upon the enemy each time. The largest and fiercest battle since 1951 began on the morning of July 14, 1953, when over 60,000 Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) an estimated seven Chinese Divisions, launched a massive attack against the Republic of Korea (ROK) Capital Division, located in the Kumsong River valley between Sniper Ridge, on the west, and Christmas Hill, on the east. On July 15, the 9th Field Artillery Battalion moved into position near Kumsong; and it was four or five days later that members of Headquarters Battery began learning details about the attack. Much of what we heard was that two 105mm battalions, the 92nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion and the 555th ("Triple Nickel") Field Artillery, had been hit hard.

Because the CCF offensive commenced on a cloudy day, it was shielded from aerial bombardment. A day later, the skies cleared and the air force started their attacks. But not before the 92nd and the 555th had been overwhelmed. Those battalions provided direct artillery support for the Capital Division. Shortly after the offensive began, the Capital broke and made a hasty and disorderly retreat. Some batteries of the 105mm units were not even notifed that there was no infantry between them and the CCF. One battery received orders to bore sight and fire at point blank range, . The crews looked up and saw CCF streaming down the mountain in front of them. A mortar round landed on the breech of one piece, disabling it and killing and wounding crew members. A CCF group had pulled a 90mm piece to a mountain top and were firing down on hapless gun pits. Only about 30% of the 92nd's Charlie Battery got out safely by the end of the day. Even worse, the Triple Nickel was overrun, suffering 22 killed, 19 wounded, and 46 captured. The captured had to march northward for several weeks and were not freed for two or more months after the truce was signed.

After the 3d Division, including its artillery and tank units, was in position by the evening of July 15, it staunched the flow of CCF, who had penetrated several miles. The 65th Infantry Regiment stood firm despite thousands of enemy mortar and artillery rounds; the 15th Regiment inflicted heavy casualties. On July 18, the 64th Tank Battalion routed a mass of CCF gathering for battle. In its counterattack, the 3rd Division tried several times to cross the Kumsong river and hold its north bank; but it abandoned the effort after July 20, when the battle wound down. Though the fighting continued along the front until the final minute prior to the cease fire at 2200 hours on 27 July 1953, the Chinese advanced no further. The enemy drive in the Kumsong sector had been stopped.

Unfortunately, the 9th Field Artillery Battalion's tour of duty in Korea was not without casualties killed and wounded by enemy action and those injured by accidents that occurred due to the nature of its equipment and the terrain and conditions under which it operated.

Commanders of the 9th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea:

  • LTC John R. Magnusson to 4 February 1951
  • LTC (then MAJ) Tom A. Arnold, 5 February 1951 to 14 February 1951
  • LTC Alvin L. Newbury, 15 February 1951 to 10 April 1951
  • LTC Tom A. Arnold, 21 April 1951 to 4 October 1951
  • LTC Willima B. Lee, 5 October 1951 to 16 April 1962
  • MAJ Robert H Bingham,17 April 1952 to 20 July 1952
  • LTC Robert A. Treneman, 21 July 1952 to 9 July 1953
  • LTC Jerry Wimberley, 10 July 1953 to 7 July 1954
  • LTC Walters, 8 July 1954 to 8 October 1954