MacArthurs orders were to withdraw as necessary and to safeguard a beachhead around Pusan. The Republic of Korea army was ineffective
And already near collapse. American equipment was light and in poor condition. MacArthur, as he had done before, sent repetitious messages to the Pentagon crediting the North Korean army success not only to superior Russian equipment and a "thoroughly first class" infantry, but also to "a combination of Soviet leadership and technical guidance with Chinese Communist ground elements." He repeatedly asked for two army divisions. A problem seldom written about but one that was humiliating to MacArthur, and one that he could not confide to Washington, was a matter of black and white. Black soldiers, as was the case in WWII, deserted in masses at the least provocation. The black 24th Division in their "panic withdrawal to the rear" left tons of ammo, weapons, and vehicles behind for the enemy, much to MacArthur's dismay. A black Lt. Leon A. Gilbert, refused a direct order to take his men back into the fight. He was given two choices, either obey the order or be charged with desertion under fire, a capital offense. He refused, saying "no, I'll get killed". He was tried and sentenced to death, but Truman commuted the sentence to 20 years. The 24th was finished and considered unfit as a fighting unit and ordered off the line. Besides the failure of the 24th, other units were understaffed and performed poorly. Very slowly Marine units were arriving in Pusan, and General Walkers forces were steadily increasing. Also B-29s were beginning their bombing of strategic communist targets.

Index - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9
Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16 - Part 17

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