Online Library of Selected Images:
-- EVENTS -- The Korean War, 1950-1953

The Hungnam Evacuation, 10-24 December 1950
Overview and Selected Images



Generally described as an "amphibious operation in reverse", the evacuation of Hungnam encompassed the safe withdrawal of the bulk of UN forces in eastern North Korea. It was the largest sealift since the 1945 Okinawa operation. In barely two weeks, over a hundred-thousand military personnel, 17,500 vehicles and 350,000 measurement tons of cargo were pulled out. In comparison with the retreat in central and western Korea, little was left behind. Even broken-down vehicles were loaded and lifted out. Also departing North Korea through Hungnam were some 91,000 refugees, a large number, but not nearly as many as had gathered to leave.

The first major unit to go was the First Marine Division, which arrived in Hungnam on 10-11 December after its successful fighting withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir area. The Marines were followed by Republic of Korea troops, the U.S. Army Seventh Division and Third Division. The ROK First Corps was landed at Mukho, on the Korean east coast below the Thirty-eighth Parallel. U.S. forces were mainly taken to Pusan, where the influx initially overwhelmed that port's capacity.

Though the Chinese did not seriously interfere with the withdrawal, the potential threat they represented necessitated a vigorous bombardment by aircraft, artillery ashore and ships' guns. Air cover was available from nearby Yonpo airfield until that was abandoned on 14 December. Thereafter, for the final ten days of the operation, Navy and Marine carrier-borne planes handled the job. Naval gunfire was provided by two heavy cruisers and a battleship plus several destroyers and rocket ships.

This page features a special selection of Hungnam evacuation images, and provides links to broader pictorial coverage of that operation.

For more pictures of the December 1950 Hungnam evacuation, see:

  • Hungnam Evacuation - Shipping
  • Hungnam Evacuation - Shipboard Scenes
  • Hungnam Evacuation - Port Scenes & Embarkation
  • Hungnam Evacuation - Naval Gunfire Support
  • Hungnam Evacuation - Final Embarkation & Demolition
  • For visual coverage of other aspects of the November 1950 - January 1951 Chinese offensive in Korea, see:

  • The Chinese Offensive, 25 November 1950 - 25 January 1951
  • For a precis of our Korean War images, and links to more comprehensive pictorial coverage of that conflict, see:

  • The Korean War, June 1950 - July 1953 - Introductory Overview and Special Image Selection

  • Click the photograph to prompt a larger view

    Photo #: 80-G-434918

    Hungnam Evacuation, December 1950


    Shipping off Hungnam, 10 December 1950, as the evacuation of troops and supplies commenced.
    USS Rochester (CA-124) is at right, with transports and merchant ships beyond and to the left. A LCVP is maneuvering in the center foreground.
    Photographed from USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), flagship of Task Force 90.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 79KB; 740 x 610 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

     
    Photo #: NH 95597

    Hungnam Evacuation, December 1950


    Some of the 14,000 Korean refugees crowded on board the SS Meredith Victory in December 1950, as she transported them from Hungnam to South Korea.

    Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland.

    U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 142KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: 80-G-425452

    USS General J.C. Breckinridge (AP-176)


    A U.S. Marine guards two captured enemy soldiers on board the transport, probably while en route from Hungnam to Pusan, circa late December 1950.
    Note his M1 rifle (with safety in the "off" position), cartridge belt and other gear.
    This photograph was received by the Naval Photographic Center on 18 January 1951.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 116KB; 585 x 765 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-423913

    Hungnam Evacuation, December 1950


    Hundreds of fuel drums await evacuation on the Hungnam docks, 14 December 1950. This view looks across the inner harbor from Blue Beach.
    USS LST-898 is in the center, with a LSU at right and the harbor entrance control frigate (PF) in the right distance.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 151KB; 740 x 605 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

     
    Photo #: NH 97060

    Hungnam Evacuation, December 1950


    Marines boarding USS Bayfield (APA-33) at Hungnam, for transportation out of North Korea.
    Note details of the Marines' packs. Man at left is carrying a Russian Mosin-Nagant carbine in addition to his M1.
    This photograph was released by Commander, Naval Forces Far East, under date of 20 December 1950.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

    Online Image: 100KB; 590 x 765 pixels

     
    Photo #: 80-G-424455

    USS Saint Paul (CA-73)


    Fires a salvo from her forward eight-inch gun turrets at enemy troops closing in on Hungnam, North Korea, during the evacuation of UN forces from that port.
    Photograph is dated 21 December 1950.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 81KB; 740 x 615 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-K-11771 (Color)

    Hungnam Evacuation, December 1950

    Smoke rises over Hungnam's port area, as facilties and remaining U.N. supplies are demolished by explosives on the final day of evacuation operations, 24 December 1950.
    USS Begor (APD-127) and a motor launch are in the foreground.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 114KB; 740 x 615 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

     



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