operation.... The gave me the 1st... ROK Division, and they were to go on our
right flank to the north as we went ashore at Kojo.
... We were going to shuttle the troops around in 24 hours and land a
whole division and then go back and pick up the ROK Division and land them
behind us. The whole thing could have been done in 48 hours and we would
have completely destroyed the right flank of the North Korean Army, I don't think
there's any doubt about it. We would have been right in behind them.21
Later in August, Thomas told Ridgway, on a visit by CINCUNC to the Marine area,
"We're still interested in that Kojo operation . . . I can have my men aboard ship in 24
hours." Ridgway replied, "Well, Washington has absolutely turned thumbs down on it.
They say if we carry out an operation like that Russia might come into the war." Thomas
did not believe this was a likely prospect. "[Russia] will come into this war when they
want to come, and nothing that we do or don't do is going to influence it." Considering
that the operation was only two divisions, it would have been a paltry excuse indeed for
the Soviets to come into the war over it. More likely, Washington didn't want to upset the
North Koreans and endanger the negotiations - the Communists did not walk out until
the end of the summer. (Some Marines probably thought the JCS and Truman
Administration opposed a landing because it might bring more publicity to the Marines
at the expense of Army divisions.)22
Said Millett of the amphibious operations:
... Van Fleet did not win approval of his amphibious hook north to Tongchon, but
his planners provided some more modest variants that might have put all or part
of the 1st Marine Division within ROK I Corps area and closer to the air an naval
gunfire support that Task Force 77 could provide. An offensive westwards from
the coast might bring the Marines and the ROK I Corps in behind the fortified belt
so well manned by the North Koreans. For almost 10 days, Van Fleet and Byers
21 Ibid., 877-78.
22 Ibid., 879. It was the opinion of many in the fighting forces at the time and later that Washington had
decided that to win against China and North Korea outright might bring in Russia, so D. C. would instead
negotiate and avoid any more large military successes in Korea lest it anger Russia. Of course, such a
view failed to take into account Washington and NATO's concern for protecting Europe, and that Korea
was, in Washington's estimate, only a distraction to bog down UN military forces.
Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed October 7, 2015.