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Tuesday, June 27, 1950
(Published June 27, 1950, in the Cleveland Press)
(Editor's note: Part of 19th graf illegible in source copy, edited to retain meaning of readable segment)
North Koreans drive within four miles of Seoul
By JACK JAMES
SEOUL, Korea, June 27, 1950 (UP) - Tank-led North Korean Communist armies drove to within four miles of this capital city of South Korea early today and reports from the front said republican defense forces were able to put up "almost no resistance."
The South Korean cabinet went into emergency session amid rumors that the capital may be moved - possibly to Kwongju in the southwestern part of the U.S.-sponsored republic.
The breakthrough was at Uijongbu, 17 miles north of Seoul, about 5:20 p.m. (Monday), with an undetermined number of tanks spear-heading the advance of the Communist striking force. South Korean soldiers, armed only with rifles and light machine guns, were unable to stop the lumbering armored vehicles.
At last reports, shortly after midnight, advance parties of the Communist forces were within four miles of the capital.
The soft spot at Uijongbu was the only place along the 38th Parallel battle line where the South Koreans were unable to hold back the invaders. Elsewhere, South Korean forces were holding their own.
In the Uijongbu area, the Seventh Division and units of the Second Division of the South Korean army counter-attacked yesterday afternoon. For a while, they were successful but tanks spelled the difference and the invaders broke through.
At the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, where most of the Americans still in Seoul have gone, officials were burning codes and secret documents in preparation for hasty evacuation.
The city was quiet. There was no panic. Extra forces patrolled the streets and a semi-blackout prevailed. All women who had not been previously evacuated were being moved to the southern part of the country.
Army sources said the Communist commandoes committed at least five full divisions to the attack, supported by artillery outmatching that of the South Koreans in both range and caliber.
Last night the tanks leading the northern forces down from the 38th Parallel had pushed within 25 miles of Seoul. A stubborn stand by the South Korean Seventh Division forced the northerners to pull up short for regrouping and change of tactics.
The Communist breakthrough closely followed the disclosure of American plans to speed aid to the South Koreans.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur announced in Tokyo that he would turn over to them 10 F-51 Mustang single-engined fighters capable of carrying small bombloads. Other aid from Japan was understood to be on the way.
A Russian-made North Korean fighter plane fired on an American fighter sent to escort ships carrying 700 American women and children from this invasion-threatened capital.
The North Korean plane, a late version of the Soviet Stormovik, swooped on the U.S. Air Force F-82 converted Mustang with guns blazing after killing six Americans in a strafing attack. The American fighter escaped unscathed by violent evasive action.
At sea, the South Korean coastguard sank four Russian-made troop carriers of undetermined tonnage presumably heading toward Communist beachheads on South Korea's east coast. No details were available.
However, other northern troop vessels landed 1,300 Communist soldiers on the upper end of the Kimpo peninsula, some 30 miles northwest of Seoul. Southern troops were deployed to meet them.
At Samchok, midway between the 38th Parallel and the southeast tip of Korea, coastal defenders captured an entire regiment of invasion troops who had landed Sunday from the sea.
There was no reliable indication of casualties in the first two days of the fighting, or of the size of the forces involved. Foreign sources have estimated that South Korea can mobilize 96,000 army regulars and 45,000 police - a total of 141,000 men - against northern Korea's 66,000-man army, 10,000-man security force and 45,000 police - a total force of 116,000.
U.S. Ambassador John J. Muccio predicted victory for South Korea.
It was Muccio who ordered American wives and children of State Department and military mission officials to leave Seoul at once. There were 2,000 Americans in South Korea at the outbreak of the war.
The North Koreans attacked without warning all along the 38th Parallel between 4 and 5 a.m. Sunday.
North Korean Premier Kim El Sung announced in a broadcast from his capital, Pyongyand, today that he has ordered his forces to crush South Korea's military power.
He contended that South Korean President Syngman Rhee's "incitive actions" and an attempt to turn South Korea into "an American colony" prevented the unification of the country.
The Communist radios in Moscow and Peiping quoted a North Korean communiqu? claiming that South Korean forces attacked first, and that North Korean forces were "resisting."
Copyright 2007 by United Press International.