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tv   Reel America Turning of the Tide - 1951  CSPAN  July 24, 2021 3:30pm-3:59pm EDT

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♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ... ... >> war and its machine. ♪ >> together they form the big picture. ♪
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♪ >> welcome to the big picture. i'm captain carl zimmerman. the big picture is a report to you from your army, an army committed by you, the people of the united states, to stop communist aggression wherever it may strike. the big picture traces the course of events in the korean campaign through first-time reports of our combat veterans and through film taken by combat cameramen. these are the men who daily record on film the big picture as it happens, where it happens. today our big picture brings into focus the turning of the tide. you'll see our fight to hold on to the perimeter. you'll see air support from our carriers, the invasion and the march of seoul. and you'll hear a first-time report from a lieutenant, a platoon leader with the army's 24th infantry division.
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now, let's go back to august 1970. ♪ ♪ >> on 10 august after 47 days of fighting in korea, the tide of battle is ebbing and flowing for both sides. united nations forces are dug in along with 120-mile perimeter. communist troops, still outnumbering ours more than 2 to 1, have thus far failed in their objective to drive u.n. forces into the sea or destroy them before we can take to offensive. ♪ >> at the southern end of our beachhead, task force keane consisting of units of the 25th infantry division and the 1st marine brigade are driving in our first offensive of the war. this counteroffensive throws back the reds who are about to launch a major attack only 35 miles from from a key port for the entire beachhead.
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southwest u.s. troops are reducing a communist bridge head. ♪ >> in the south u.s. troops are containing another bridge head. in the north a counterattack by south korean troops pushes communists back across the river. along the northern perimeter, communists compel south koreans to withdraw. at pohang, red troops are threatening that port city and its airfields. however, to the north south koreans have have recaptured yongdok. mucking. ♪ ♪ if. >> in the air, air force, navy and marine planes are giving support to ground troops along the perimeter. they also blast communications and military industrial targets from from taegu.
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guns of united nations' ships also help in this. the struggle is a furious one, but we are holding. ♪♪ >> on 24 august on the central to have which is concerned with the defense of, the -- taegu, engineers have built a bridge for the use of minor vehicles and foot soldiers plus increasing supplies moving in. there is need for a heavy equipment bridge. south korean civilian labor is employed. although in many sections native tools are still used, and although u.s. engineers depend greatly on korean manpower, there's a change now since the early days of the war. heavy construction equipment is becoming a familiar sight. an accumulation of this type of equipment, necessarily second in
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priority to arms and ammunition, is an indication of the vast bulk of supplies that are now being received. ♪♪ opinion. ♪ ♪ >> on 29 august, the british aircraft carrier unicorn moves into the harbor. on deck are british troops bound for the korean battle front. within a week, they'll rush to fight asong i'd cavalry -- alongside cavalry troops to help stop a breakthrough. these troops are the first of a foreign nation to join in the united nations police action. they are members of the sutherland -- composed largely of scotsmen in the middlesex region. almost all of these britishers have served in hong kong for six months where they underwent rigorous training in hilly
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country very similar the that of korea. except for the 3.5 bazooka, u.s.-supplied rations, these britishers will use their own weapons and supplies. their uniforms are jungle between with only the regimental tigers wearing the kilts which won the scots the nickname the ladies from hell. ♪♪ ♪ ♪ >> a c-47 transport plane is loaded with leaflets which will be drop over north korean territory. these drops are being made frequently to counter enemy propaganda. the c-47 transports carry heavy loads of leaflets for long trips into north korea. for shorter trips, t-6s are used.
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safe conduct passes. if the leaflet is found on a north korean soldier by his own officers, the penalty is death. the packets are thrown out, and the wind takes care of sorting and delivering. enemy captives report that these messages are often memorized to avoid the danger of having the leaflet found on the person. ♪ ♪ >> on 30 august the reds are gaining in the south and in the central sector, but in the northeast near pohang, united states and south korean units are holding their ground against heavy to opposition. in this fight near pohang, the company of the 24th infantry division supported by a platoon of tanks. these units are moving forward to attack a red position called hill 148, a ridge about one mile west of po tohang. the -- pohang. the communist drive in this area
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is a three-prong thrust along the 10-mile front. at this time, pohang is in allied hands. the end enemy is infiltrating here. one group of unknown side having set up a roadblock south of pohang 3 miles behind the allied line. infantry coordinate activities as they approach the jumping-off point. intelligence has revealed that the communist attack on pohang is an attempt to fulfill orders given the local red commander to take the city at all costs in the next 24 hours. as for the reds, it is a costly operation. an estimated 2,000 north koreans have been killed in the last two days. although u.s. elements are here in some strength, the weight of the attack is against the south korean's army 3rd and capital division and their 17 isth regiment. this is the tenth week of the korean war, and the fighting on all fronts has reached a peak of fury.
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although at this time military spokesmen are mentioning early offensive moves, the present situation does not appear optimistic. enemy fire is encountered. [background sounds] >> information goes back to the company commander. the c.o.'s orders come forward. the attack on hill 148 is about to begin. [background sounds] >> the attack gets under way slowly at first and then with an increasing fire fight. this is one small action in the big fight that is raging along the entire 150-mile front in korea. a few miles of territory changes hands again and again. if the allied line cracks at any point, the whole beachhead can be lost. >> those were trying times for all of us. our troops jammed into the small area defending against great
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odds, and at the same time, building strength for the eventual offensive. lieutenant tom was there. tom served as a platoon leader with the army's 24th division. tom, tell us what the defense around the perimeter was like. >> the defense around the perimeter consist ised mostly of a plugging action. in other words, moving a division into the perimeter to fill up gaps penetrated by the enemy. we did not have enough money to completely -- men to completely fill up a complete rectangle or a perimeter so, therefore, we had to plug up the gaps by moving the men around. >> uh-huh. when trouble started, you moved men right in there. >> that's right. >> what were these attacks like, tom? >> well, these attacks were constitutedded mostly by the preparation of a mortar fire by the enemy. they were very good at this mortar fire, and they outnumbered us i would say approximately 5 to 1. they had a mass of men, and also
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they infiltrated in between our lines dressed as civilians and altogether just harassed us by that type of movement. >> tell us about the breakout, tom. what were the preparations for it like? >> well, the preparations consisted of getting ready, getting our ammunition ready, getting our men and our briefings. the higher powers around there said that they believed that the north korean perimeter around our defense was made up of a thin crust, and once we penetrated that and broke through, we would be able to continue up north without too much trouble. >> that's about the way it worked too, isn't it? >> yes, that's the way it did work. >> uh-huh. what about the teamwork as you moved north? how about our air support? was it good? did you have it when you wanted it? >> the air support was very good. you'd call for an air strike and get it almost immediately. one time i was taking, with my platoon, taking a village, and we received firing from a hill
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to our left front. i called back and asked for air attack, and within five minutes we had planes coming over giving us an attack within about 50 yards to our front, which is pretty close. >> it certainly is. that's really getting it in there when you need it. >> it is. >> tom, how about the artillery at that time? >> the artillery also was very good. the coordination was close. they gave us very good fire, accurate fire, and the north koreans were scared to death of the white phosphorous which they fired. it seemed to have a very bad effect on them and, naturally, it was good for us. the artillery was excellent. >> we heard a lot of talk about the fanaticism of the north koreans. can you give us any examples of that? >> yes, i can. my platoon was taking -- which housed several members of the communist party. we surrounded a house and had an interpreter, asked them to come out. they refused to do it. therefore, we had to fire on the
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house, and as many of them ran out, they shot themselves, and the others pulled pins on grenades and blew themselves up. they just did not want to be captured at all. >> well, tom, tell us about the weapons we used over there. how did our weapons compare with those used by the north koreans? >> our weapons were far superior to those of the north koreans. we were more dependable. our men knew better use of them, and all in all, they gave us more firepower. the browning automatic rifle, for instance, is my favorite, and the north koreans were deathly afraid of it. it was a very good weapon, and there was no comparison between it and the north korean -- [inaudible] as they're called. >> pretty much respect for that bar of ours, didn't they? >> they really did. they were really scared of it. >> tom, when you're in the line with your men like that moving for a long sometime, you get to know them pretty well, don't you? >> yes, you do. you eat with them, you sleep with them, and every once in a
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while, one of them gets shot. and you really feel bad. sergeant thorpe kips, my platoon sergeant, he really knows his business. and i owe a lot of credit for him. we had younger men, i got to know those too. our squad leaders, freddie, smoky and those boys, you really get to know them very well. back around the perimeter because of the fact that we were shifting around an awful lot, it was very hard to try and size up your men. but regardless of this fact, i believe that we did fairly good, and i got a good chance to more or less size up my men. we were moving around quite a bit at that time though. >> well, tom, it was men like you and the men of your platoon that held back the enemy in the perimeter against very great odds. you kept that enemy from throwing us back into the sea is. let's watch now as some of our troops throw off a red attack.
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>> on 2 september in the south-central sector, the 1st marine brigade is rushed to the battle lines to help throw back one of the main communist threats in their all-out fence. communist strategy at this point is an attempt to achieve a major breakthrough between the 2nd division's southern flank and the 25th division's northern flank. these marines have been rushed here after a brief rest during which they regrouped. ♪♪ >> the marines move up to high ground they must retake to secure their sector of the counterattack. the enemy is holding its fire momentarily. the marine counteroffensive has been coordinated with with the g unit. -- 2nd unit. diagonally on the right and left other marines flank the enemy. finish farther to the right and
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left, tanks reported 2nd division troop's advance in wide and circling movements. marines run forward as the enemy opens fire. a wounded marine runs back for aid. other marines resume the attack moving slowly, waiting for the enemy to reveal his flank and main position. despite north korean tanks, mortars and automatic weapons, the assault continues. this counterattack along the southern participant of the river is -- part of the river is almost of a repeat launched two weeks previous when they took this same hill. the high ground in this sector has changed hands at least five times in two weeks. [gunfire] >> the marines form a base of fire the drive the enemy off. the line builds up and so does the firepower.
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[gunfire] >> meanwhile, overhead air force and marine corps planes support the ground troops. [background sounds] ♪ ♪ >> carrier planes are readied for another strike on inland targets. rockets are of particular interest at this time. three different types are being used. one of the first super explosive types to see service in korea was the a 5-inch holy book. later, the 11.75-inch tiny tim proved highly effective on bridges and similar large targets. the most recent arrival is the navy's 6.5-inch ram. constant activity on these carriers has not dampenedded the crewmen's sense of humor.
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it is noteworthy that the ram rocket set a speed record for production. from its conference room conception to its appearance in combat, it took only 24 days. aerial missions of the navy and marines often include both strategic and tactical action in the same strikes. in the relatively small area of korea, targets of opportunity count heavily. [background sounds] >> cameras record targets of the carrier planes. [background sounds]
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♪ ♪ >> a b-26 raid is in preparation during the week of 6 september. the b-26 is armed with 16 50-caliber machine guns. these guns are electrically operate, and a single gunner can bring many of them to bear on the same target at once. the b-24 can carry five of these 1,000-pounders. with these bombs plus napalm, plus the heavy firepower of the machine guns, a b-26 flight is a formidable attacking unit. these planes have seen constant use in the korean war, their targets ranging from strategic industrial area in the north to about the call areas along the battle lines in the south.
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the b-26 is classified as a light bomber with a speed of more than 350 miles an hour. ♪ >> after their final briefing, crew members head for the field. this has become a familiar scene in united states air bases in japan from which b-26 sorties are flown on an around the clock schedule. these invaders were formerly called a-26 bombers. they differ from the b-26 marauders used in world war ii. the present b-26 is a very adaptable plane which is often revamped for different purposes. cannons may be substituted for the nose gun. the plane can be adapted to carry a variety of explosives. or the b-26 is designed primarily for low-level bombing. it is seldom used for the high altitude work of the b-29.
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[background sounds] [background sounds] >> these targets are are in the area of seoul during the can first week of september. the little flashes of light on the are tracers from the b-26 machine gun. occasionally, enemy flak comes up at the plane. on 7 september, the u.s. air force moves 625 sorties -- flew 6 a 25 sorties in 24 hours. ♪
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>> on 5 september, dawn breaks off the island. [background sounds] ships of the u.n. fleet fire point-blank at the island of worti. rockets join the soften. softening-up process. general macarthur watches from the bridge of the flag ship. this landing is a calculated risk. general macarthur is using many of his reinforcements from the south. the first wave hits the beach. because of the 30-foot tide fall, landing craft must be run ashore in a period one hour before high tide and two hours after. the first groups landed here will have to stick it out alone
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until the next tide 11 hours later. a bulldozer smothers a red dugout. [background sounds] >> a fire fight begins. all the reds haven't been driven off by the bombardment. that gives our strips to prevent concealtive weapons. others are a little more formal. ♪ ♪? >> on 16 september, the 1st marine division moves through. this city is recaptured against relatively light resistance. allied casualties are fundamental as these men move
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through, their objective is seoul. ♪ ♪ >> there are two ally ared moves on seoul; one from the south and another sweeping around from the north across the han river. the han is crossed, the river village is taken, and the marines move on towards seoul is. but there is bitter fighting ahead. seoul is heavily defended. as these vehicles move on towards seoul, the marines have a message for the reds. enjoy yourself. it's later than you think. during the six weeks between 10 august and 0 september, the period -- 20 september, the
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period covered by this combat bulletin, there were three main phases in the fighting. on 10 a august, reinforced united nations forces were dug in to defend the beachhead by the river. we could withdraw no farther. if we were to hold our beachhead and the vital supply support. communist forces were threatening pohang, taegu in their drive. we had launched our first counterattack to stop the most dangerous communist drive. on 1 september the communists launched their biggest drive of the war all along our beachhead perimeter. it was an all-out effort to take pusong and destroy united nation forces. we were being pushed back, taegu
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was in the danger, and pohang was being taken and retaken. ♪♪ >> by 20 september the battle had changed completely. five days previously, marines had made an amphibious landing a 150 miles behind the enemy lines. the enemy, still pressing his all-out drive for pusan if, was suddenly cut off from his supplies. on 20 september, u.s. marines were entering the outskirts of seoul as u.s. 7th tradition infantrymen -- division infantrymen fanned southward to cut off the southern front. ♪ ♪ >> on our southern beachhead, united nation forces were crossing the river and moving
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ahead everywhere. they were advancing in pohang, north of taegu, west of changyung. we had held our beachhead. now we were on to offensive, and it was the beginning of the end for the communist invasion of south korea. ♪ >> those were the events that comprised the big picture from august 20th through september 20th, 1950. our thanks to lieutenant tom for being with us today. next week our big picture will show the united nations forces on the offensive. you'll see our recapture of the city of seoul, the fall of the north korean capital of pyongyang, an a air drop by the combat team, and you'll see the missouri in action giving support to our ground troops.
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and with us again will be a combat veteran who saw as it happened apart from the big picture. this is captain carl zimmerman inviting you to be with us then. ♪♪ ♪ ♪ >> from korea to germany. from alaska to puerto rico. all over

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