The Inchon landing

“The UN Command in Korea made the decision to continue the war with the aim of destroying the Communists and unifying Korea by force.”
Robert O'Neill, Official Historian of Australia in the Korean War

The amphibious landing of a huge and well-armed force - 261 vessels - of UN troops at Inchon on 15 September 1950 was an early turning point in the Korean war. Before it, UN forces were struggling to hold off the persistent North Korean offensive at the Pusan perimeter.

In attacking from the sea rather than on land, General Douglas MacArthur was counting on the element of surprise. His intent was to cut off enemy supply lines and seal off the southern peninsula. The North Korean forces could not act in time to stop the subsequent march of UN forces. The Inchon landing provided a toehold from which the allies could fight to reclaim South Korea. Eventually, they were able to recapture Seoul and cross the 38th parallel.

The role of Commonwealth forces in the landing was restricted to providing naval support in the shape of "Task Force 91". This included RAN ships HMAS Bataan and HMAS Warramunga; the aim of the force was to mount a blockade and provide cover.

AWM P0675/127/049The Inchon landing, 15 September 1950. P00675.049

 

<p class="figure fig450" "="">AWM P01813.628A
Seoul, October 1950. A convoy of military vehicles travels through the war-damaged city as it heads north towards Kaesong. At left, members of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) ride aboard jeeps which are pulling trailers; American troops ride in the trucks in the background (right). P01813.628A