Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The "White Tigers" - 8240th Army Unit - Jan. 11th, 2006
Posted on 01/10/2006 9:05:28 PM PST by SAMWolf
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.
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`White Tigers' prowled North Korea: during the Korean War, U.S. Army advisers helped North Korean guerrillas strike the Communists behind enemy lines. Until the 1990s, these missions remained largely unknown. Their members' sacrifices deserve to be widely publicized - Korean War
Perhaps the least-known aspect of the Korean War were the top-secret guerrilla operations conducted in North Korea. For more than 40 years, these missions involving North Korean guerrillas and American advisers deep inside enemy territory remained highly classified.
By the time the war ended in 1953, more than 22,000 guerrillas were fighting the Chinese and North Korean armed forces in a variety of covert actions. They were so secret that few military personnel in Korea knew about them. Even after the war, the missions remained unknown until 1990 when unit records were finally declassified.
Anti-Communist North Korean refugees were formed under the banner of the United Nations Partisan Infantry Forces. They called themselves "donkeys" and were organized into battalions. One of the better known--the 4th Guerrilla Battalion--was nicknamed the "White Tigers." During their existence (January 1951-July 1953), an average of 200 Americans directed the forces from island strongholds. Some of the advisers actually went on raids.
Unconventional warfare operations began Jan. 8, 1951, with a South Korean navy ship patrolling near the Yalu River. The ship discovered more than 10,000 North Korean guerrillas fighting the North Korean People's Army in Hwanghae Province.
Guerrillas were taking over some of the North Korean islands near the river, but they only had about one weapon per 10 men (Japanese and Russian rifles, and U.S. carbines.) They eagerly requested more weapons, ammunition, food and American advisers to lead and train them.
The U.S. 8th Army immediately recognized that a guerrilla force could wreak havoc on North Korean supply and communication lines. So Col. John McGee was given this responsibility and on Feb. 15, 1951, he slipped into North Korea and met with the guerrilla leaders.
Training an Operative
McGee was a veteran of guerrilla operations in the Philippines and knew how to organize this newfound force. He quickly issued weapons and rice to the leaders. McGee later recalled, "They were a colorful group of fighters ranging in age from youths to elderly men, and were pleased with the supplies. They left rapidly for North Korea in small boats."
A supply base was established on Paengnyong-Do Island, 125 miles behind enemy lines on North Korea's west coast. It had a lengthy beach of hard-packed sand that could accommodate large aircraft up to the size of a C-47. Planes shot up over North Korea could make emergency landings there.
These island bases were used to train guerrillas in intelligence-gathering, demolitions and basic infantry tactics. "Mobile units" went back to the mainland of North Korea, with "base units" conducting amphibious operations.
These special operations were hidden under the umbrella of the 8086th Army Unit. On Dec. 10, 1951, it was absorbed by the 8240th Army Unit. The Far East Command then assumed operational control over the 8240th.
UNITED NATIONS PARTISON FORCES, KOREA
8240th ARMY UNIT
Korean War Partisan Operations
10 December 1951 - 23 September 1953
Another theater-level agency also was set up to coordinate behind-the-lines activities in Korea. It was known as the Combined Command, Reconnaissance Activities, Korea (CCRAK), better known as the 8242nd Army Unit. Lt. Col. Jay Vanderpool, an OSS/CIA vet, took command of the Guerrilla Division, 8240th A.U. in July 1951. These units conducted five separate activities:
* Leopard Base--The control headquarters for 11 guerrilla units operating from the Yalu River south to the Ongin Peninsula. The west coast of North Korea had more than 400 islands used as springboards into the North. A guerrilla force of 10,000 men controlled about 70% of those islands.
* Wolfpack--The control headquarters for 10 units of some 10,000 guerrillas operating from Leopard Base south to Inchon. * Kirkland--Controlled two east coast islands near the mainland of North Korea with about 300 guerrillas.
* Baker Section--An airborne operation that trained North Korean guerrillas to jump behind lines into North Korea to collect intelligence and conduct operations. Since there were not enough C-47s available for even one practice jump, the first drop was a combat jump; more than 1,000 paratroopers were dropped into North Korea.
* Tactical Liaison Office--This was a cover name for the North Korean "line crossers." There were approximately 25 guerrillas assigned to each U.S. infantry division. They were trained by special forces, and on a given night seven to nine guerrillas put on North Korean uniforms, complete with weapons and ID cards, and secretly went into North Korea.
Before a Boat Operation
They gathered intelligence and slipped back through the lines. They told North Korean soldiers they were long-range patrols. Giving the enemy cigarettes, lighters and jewelry supplied by special forces lessened suspicions, too. This operation was very successful, running two years without being compromised.
One U.S. study of partisans concluded: "In battle, they exerted every effort to bring out their wounded ... Capture by the enemy is a fate to be avoided at all costs. Three instances were cited of officers committing suicide rather than being taken ..."
Heroism was never in short supply. A "donkey" commander reported of adviser Master Sgt. Roy E. Meeks and his rescue of fellow squad members: "He was completely surrounded by the enemy. [Yet] he threw hand grenades and fought until he could get out of there."
She does not need a Diva Tool Kit in Pink, she uses dear old dads.
That's the line got to me. Thanks for the link DD.
A regular visitor to our feeder each morning :-)
I ran across the story by accident, never heard of them before either.
I could live there. :-)
A promise kept.
Wonderful story Dave, thanks for posting the link.
Is Bitty Girl holding a ratchet wrench? Starting her out young huh?
two great pix.. your little sweetie & a civil war (I think) reinactment. I have hundered from a great 2 day event I attended summer 2004. thanks for your daily flag-o-grams
Craftsman 3/8" drive, with a 7/16" socket.
Argh, argh, argh
Yes, on the re-enactment. Alfa6 might be able to give you some detail
No pink tools allowed!
I am waiting.... holding my breath... for the next Blackberry Hiccup arrival. ;)
No Blackburpy today.
Falling in and surprise no rocks this time. Glad to see you all. My son is set to depoly in March with the 1/7 Marine Div. He is now Stationed at Twenty Nine Palms.
Good evening to you all. I can't figure out if the migratory birds around here are still heading south for the winter, or if they've come back this far because it is so warm. Now if we could just get a foot or two of rain....
Maybe they are just hanging around til it gets colder. :-)
We could send you that rain. I think we have the last 24 out of 25 days worth of rain and no stopping in sight!
Good evening Victoria.
I know you and the Mrs. must be just a little nervous yet proud of your son. Thank him for us and of course you know if he ever needs anything we can round it up for him here at the Foxhole. Prayers for his safety.