1st Cavalry Regiment
Korean War
"Courageous and Faithful"





Korea, The Location Of A New War
  
On 25 June, 1950, it happened before dawn in a distant country whose name means "The Land of Morning Calm". It was on a Sunday morning that began with a gentle rain. Then in a long and intensive barrage of artillery and mortar fire, 90,000 Russian -armed North Korean (NK) troops in seven assault infantry divisions smashed headlong into totally unprepared units of the army of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The North Korean Peoples Army (Inmun Gun) were led by over 150 T34/85 tanks, and closely supported by seventeen hundred 122mm howitzers and SU76 self-propelled 76mm guns. Over 200 Russian-supplied YAK ground-attack aircraft gave them total domination of the skies. Less than 5 years after the terrible devastations of World War II, a new war had broken out.

The ROKs had eight divisions, but only four deployed along the 38th parallel, and they only partially. Much worse, they had no air force, only 2.36 inch rocket launchers, no recoilless rifles, no heavy mortars, no medium artillery and no armor. The T34s, arguably the best tanks developed in WWII, advanced in a line-ahead formation. After scores of ROKs died under their treads, trying desperately to stop them with satchel charges and grenades, the tanks began moving through the survivors as though they were not there. At the same time, their infantry formations attacked in an inverted Y formation, sweeping around ROK opposition with the arms, encircling them, and finally crushing them.

The success of the Russian made T-34 Tank at the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 brought renewed enthusiasm for armor. As part of the Korean War build up of American forces, the 1st Armored Division was reactivated on 07 March, 1951 at Ft. Hood, TX.

Continuing its tradition of "firsts", Old Ironsides became one of the first divisions in the Army to integrate black soldiers throughout the ranks. It was also the only combat-ready armored division in the continental United States and the first to receive the M48 Patton Tank.

Training for nuclear war became a major theme in the mid-1950s. Accordingly, the 1st Armored Division participated in tests of the "Atomic Field Army" at Ft. Hood and in Operation SASGEBRUSH, the largest joint maneuver conducted since World War II. In February, 1956 the exercise was completed and the 1st Armored Division moved to its new home at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.

Toward the end of the 1950s, the Army's preoccupation with a nuclear battlefield waned. The Army experienced years of austere budgets. Reduced in size and moved back to Ft. Hood, the 1st Armored Division reverted to a training cadre for new inductees. The start of the 1960s, however, inaugurated a period of military renewal. Important changes in organization, doctrine, and equipment stemmed from the realization that the Army must be prepared to fight anytime, anywhere.

In 1962, the 1st Armored Division was brought back to full strength and reorganized. Brigades replaced Combat Commands, and the Division's aviation assets doubled. Intense training followed the reorganization. In October 1962 the 1st Armored Division was declared combat ready, just in time for the Cuban Missile Crisis. In response to the Soviet stationing of missiles in Cuba, "Old Ironsides" deployed from Ft. Hood, Texas to Ft. Stewart. The entire operation took just 18 days.

For the next six weeks, the 1st Armored Division conducted live-fire training and amphibious exercises on the Georgia and Florida coasts. One highlight was a visit from President John F. Kennedy on 26 November, 1962. Shortly thereafter, tensions eased and the 1st Armored Division returned to Ft. Hood.






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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 17 Jan '12 SpellChecked