The time in Korea was 4am on 25 Jun 1950 when units of the North Korean Army attacked across the 38th Parallel into South Korea. The Korean War had started. This message, that a war had begun, was received in Washington before Midnight Saturday. Cables were sent informing the newly formed United Nations Organisation (UNO) of what had happened.
In 1945 there were 100,000 Russian soldiers on the Northern side facing some 72,000 American soldiers on the Southern side of the 38th Parallel. This became a United Nations designated boundary between North and South Korea. During the period 1945-1950 the Russians set up a Communist Republic and under United States guidance South Korea became a Democratic Republic with protection provided by the United States.
The Security Council of the United Nations (UN) met at 2pm on 25 Jun 1950 and although the Russian Chair was empty, the meeting continued. It was decided that a Resolution be made demanding the North Koreans withdraw immediately from South Korea. The next meeting of the Security Council was held on 27Jun. By this time it had become obvious that the North Koreans had decided to disregard the UN Resolution. At this meeting it was reported that American Forces were ordered to provide sea and air support to the South Koreans. The US representative moved a recommendation that all member Nations support South Korea to repel North Korea and restore international peace and harmony. On 28 June a message was sent to all member nations asking for support. By mid-July, 53 member nations had replied favourably and five members, the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands had already contributed forces. The UNO appointed General Douglas MacArthur as Commander UN Forces.
This conflict had its beginnings in 1945 with the arbitrary setting of a border between North and South Korea by the UN. North Korea laid claim to the whole of the Korean Peninsula and by 1950 thought they were in a position to do so by Force. At this time the Western Nations were worried about an expansion of Communism in Asia. North Korea was a communist state set up by the Russians and supported by China. The thought was that if communism were to be stopped, Korea was the place to do it.
A group of soldiers are briefed before a patrol. On 1 Nov 1950 a patrol clashed with Chinese Forces that now indicated the UN was now fighting Communist China as well as North Korea. By 5 December the North Koreans and the Chinese had re-caputured Pyonyang. The UN Forces were now in retreat and by the 4th of Jan 1951 had abandoned the South Korean Capital of Seoul.
This wounded soldier is being given first aid before being evacuated by helicopter to the nearest Military Hospital. There were many casualties sustained in the fighting. During the period of 22-25 April 1951 the 1st Battalion of the Gloucesters was involved with some very heavy fighting with the Chinese. Due to the situation on 25 April the CO of the Gloucesters gave his company comanders the choice of either surrender or try and make their way back to the UN lines. The CO, Chaplain, RSM and the doctor stayed behind with the wounded. The remainer headed back to the UN lines. After much fighting, 5 Officer and 35 Other Ranks reported to Brigade Headquarters for duty. The original strength of the Battalion was 622 men, all ranks.
During this war, Jet Fighters and Helicopters came into their own. The American F86 and the Russian MIG 15 were the main fighter planes of the opposing forces. The MIG15 was considered to be superior to the F86, but this superiority was negated by the better training of the American Pilots. In my opinion the most influential aircraft was the Bell-47 Helicopter. This machine was used for Reconnaissance and Medical Evacuation (MEDIVAC). In its MEDIVAC role it could collect wounded soldiers from the front line hand have them delivered to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH), made famous in the TV series and Movie of the same name: MASH . As a MEDEVAC Helicopter it meant that battle casualties were being treated in hospital within minutes of being wounded. From a Fighter or Bomber Pilots point of view ditching your damaged aircraft over Sea or Land meant rescue was now very quick. During this war it was preferable to ditch your aircraft at sea as pick would be by Helicopter from a nearby warship. The movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri give a great insight into the use of Helicopters during the Korean War.