Operation Chromite led to one of the most decisive military victories in modern warfare. The landing at the port of Inchon not only led to the capture of Seoul, but also the capture of Kimpo Airfield which allowed for aviation assets to assist the advancing force. Against great odds and opposition the United States Army, Navy and Marines led the United Nations force in capturing a key port and severing the logistical supply line of the North Korean People’s Army (NKPA). Many of the joint force operations, planning and tactics used in the execution of this amphibious assault set the stage for the modern day air assault.
In the late 1940’s the United States became involved in the United Nations action to stop the spread of communism against North Korea. For many months the U.N. force had been beaten back by a persistent NKPA force. The tactic chosen by the North Korean’s was to conduct a swift frontal assault with a rapid follow-on assault from both the left and right flanks. This proved extremely effective and caused the loss of Seoul and had forced the U.N. forces to fall back to the very tip of the Korean peninsula. Here the U.N. force, commanded by General Walton H. Walker, and the Eighth Army could fall back no further without retreating off the Korean peninsula altogether. General Walker formed his remaining troops into what would be known as the Pusan Perimeter.1 Still unfazed, the North Korean army battered the lines of the Eighth Army and many casualties resulted. It was clear that although the force could remain here indefinitely with naval support many U.S. troops would be lost and no new ground would be gained. For six weeks the North Korean Army conducted attacks trying to breach the line and it was here that General Walker gave his “stand or die” speech.2 To sway the tide of the war it was clear that a decisive action would have to be taken to disturb the North Korean line of supply and halt the endless barrage that this well supplied and trained army was capable of. General Douglas MacArthur commander of the Far East Command, based in Tokyo, Japan, saw that the stalled NKPA attacks in the south and the rapid advance of the NKPA army had left their rear unprotected and vulnerable to severing the lines of supply. Also, if the lines of supply could be cut the force in the south would not be able to retreat fast enough to protect the capital city of Seoul. This action would require an amphibious assault which General MacArthur had become the master of during the Pacific campaign during World War II. MacArthur devised a plan to land at Inchon and rapidly move into Seoul which would be labeled as Operation Chromite.3
Planning and Preparation
The landing at Inchon was highly contested at the highest echelons of the U.S. military. While a victory at this location would capture the major highway, an airport and the capital, the location for the assault could not have been more unfavorable terrain. The biggest...