HT This Day: June 29, 1950 -- Seoul falls to N. Korean forces
Seoul, capital of Southern Korea, has fallen to the advancing columns of the North Korean Army, and the Government, which yesterday evacuated 25 miles south to the walled city of Suwon, today moved out still further south, probably to Taegu, 150 miles south-east of Seoul.
The crew of an American transport plane which returned to Japan today from Suwon announced the Government’s move and said the streets of the South Korean capital were swarming with North Koreans. The countryside between Suwon and Taegu was reported to be full of roaming bands of guerillas.
A broadcast from North Korean Pyongyang Radio heard here claimed that the North Korean Army which crossed the 38th Parallel three days age entered and “ completely occupied “ Seoul at 3 a.m., G.M.T., today.
Two of the American fighters thrown into the battle at dawn today by Gen. MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander in Japan, were shot down in dog-fights, according to reports reaching here.
Gen. MacArthur had ordered Marauder medium bombers and rocket carrying shooting-star jet fighters into the air battle for the capital.
Meanwhile. British warships, including the aircraft-carrier, Triumph, and the cruiser, Jamaica, were standing by in a Japanese port early today for “humanitarian work” in the evacuation of British and American citizens from South Korea.
Phyongyang Radio said that the Government offices in the occupied areas have been taken over and political prisoners released. The two million people of the capital were told to remain calm and not to leave the city
An American plane flew to Seoul with American correspondents on board, then turned back, eluding North Korean fighters, to make a hazardous landing on Suwon airstrip.
The crew of the plane said the Southern Government, led by ageing President Syhgman Rhee, he already passed through Suwon when they landed their plane.
The transport plane crew, who returned to the American operations base at Itazuke in South-West Japan, said fierce fighting was raging on the southern edge of the Kimpo airstrip, north-west of Seoul, and one of the key points in the three-day battle for the southern capital.
They said American jet and piston engine fighters had strafed advancing Communist troops throughout the day in an effort to help the South Koreans stem the tide of advance.
American planes had shot down seven North Korean fighters up till Wednesday night. the U.S. Air Force announced today. An eighth North Korean plane was destroyed by a South Korean Mustang over the Han river which runs from Seoul.
A high-ranking U.S.A.F. spokesman said that four North Korean fighters were destroyed by American fighters on escort duty and the other three were shot down in the Seoul area. There were no American losses, he added.
A number of Marauder light bombers went on patrol over Korea, south of the 38th Parallel. but returned without dropping their bombs because of poor visibility and the difficulty of positively identifying the battle line he said.
In addition leaflets were dropped by American planes over North and South Korean lines south of the 38th Parallel.
Japanese newspapers reflecting the extremely favourable Japanese reaction to U.S. intervention in Korea were also dropped over the battle line
A communique from Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters stated today that the U.S. Far East Air Force had “successfully bombed troop concentrations, lorry convoys and railways in the vicinity of Muncan, 22 miles north-west of Seoul.
One fighter bomber and one medium bomber force-landed on Kuwon airstrip, the communique added.
Kuwon is Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters in South Korea.
The communique added that North Korean strafing planes had destroyed one F-82 jet fighter and one Marauder bomber of the three planes which had earlier landed on Suwon airfield.
American planes had shot down seven North Korean fighters up till Wednesday night, the U.S. Air Force announced today.
The U.S. Defence Department confirmed today that the South Korean capital of Seoul had fallen, says a Washington message.
Army spokesmen announced also the loss of Kimpo airport, a short distance north-west of Seoul-one of the two main airports in South Korea.
There had been no confirmation in Washington that Inchon, the main seaport for Seoul, had been taken by North Korea forces. But the general military situation in the area indicated that the port was untenable, Army authorities said.
The main road between Seoul and Inchon was reported to have been cut at several points on Monday.
Reviewing the general combat situation, Army officials said the battle appeared to be concentrated in the central part of the Peninsula, south of the 38th Parallel.
The main fighting was between Kaesong and Chinchon. The North Korean force, which is believed’ to have taken Seoul, is the one that made a southward thrust through Ponchon and Uijongbu. It has probably since been joined by the force approaching Seoul through Kaesong and Munsan.
The authorities here considered it “ significant “ that there had been no sabotage and subversive action in South Korea and no guerilla warfare behind the South Korean lines.
The moral of the South Korean forces, the spokesman said, was extremely good and was improved greatly yesterday by the action of President Truman in lending American support.
Generally speaking, he said, the North Korean forces were being contained north of the Han river.
The South Korean Army is believed to be regrouping its forces in the general area south of the river and east and west of Seoul.
Army officials said it had been established definitely early today that the North Korean forces were using about 100 Soviet built T-534 and T-70 tanks. They are types that were being built in Russia during the war and are believed to have been in production since 1945.
Military authorities conceded that the armoured strength of the North Korean forces was greater than was at first thought.
To-date there have been no reports of engagements by American naval vessels on patrols in the Korean straits. Operating in conditions of poor visibility they have been unable so far to confirm the reported landing of 1,000 North Korean troops at Urusanwan, 45 miles north-east of Pusan, in the south-east corner of the Peninsula.