Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Pohang Guerrilla Hunt
January / 1951
January / 1951
Description In early 1951, the 1st Marine Division rooted out remnants of a North Korean division that had infiltrated the region surrounding Pohang and threatened X Corps headquarters at Taegu. Dubbed the "Pohang Guerrilla Hunt," the campaign sought to secure this area as it held the only usable port on Korea's southeastern coast, the main supply route for east-central Korea, and three vital airfields. The VIVO-6 ground support elements moved from Masan to Pohang by air, truck convoy, and ship beginning on 13 January 1951. The move was complete by 16 February. Pohang's mountainous and forested terrain hid the enemy who quickly broke up into small groups when the Marines arrived. The solution was saturation patrolling. The Marines sent out fire-team and squad-sized patrols operating from platoon- and com-pany-bases to flush out enemy stragglers. Helicopters were used for observation, reconnaissance, laying wire, command and control, medical evacuations, re-supply of isolated small units, and trans-portation of fire teams to remote hilltops. The guerrillas were driven underground by relentless Marine pressure, but not decisively defeated. In the words of the official history: "In retrospect, had [a full] squadron of helicopters been available . . . its quick lift . . . increased mobility and surveillance would have made quite a difference in the conduct of action." Unrealized at the time, the use of helicopters at Pohang was actually a foretaste of the methods that would be used by the U.S. Marines and Army on a much larger scale.