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

The North Korean Offensive, 25 June - 15 September 1950

Before dawn on Sunday, 25 June 1950, the North Korean army moved forcefully into the South, whose outgunned defenders were generally overwhelmed. Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea, fell in four days. Half a world away, the United States and the United Nations decided to actively defend South Korea, quickly bringing air, sea and land forces of the U.S. into the war, along with ships and aircraft of the British Royal Navy.

Available U.S. Navy forces were limited in numbers and divided between Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble's Seventh Fleet and Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy's Naval Forces, Japan. The two admirals quickly established a command relationship that worked satisfactorily through the next three years.

The light cruiser USS Juneau (CLAA-119) began U.S. Navy active involvement with a sweep up South Korea's east coast, starting on 28 June. Initial naval air strikes were carried out by USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and the British light carrier Triumph on 3-4 July. Other U.S. and Royal Navy ships supported the evacuation of refugees and the movement of U.S. Army forces and supplies from Japan to Korea. Inshore along the coasts of the embattled nation, the ROK Navy vigorously interdicted North Korean amphibious warfare efforts.

By early July, it was clear that the invaders would not back down in the face of foreign involvement. During that month, though control of the air and sea was decisively seized by the United Nations' forces, the North Koreans steadily pushed ROK and U.S. ground forces into the southeastern corner of the Korean peninsula.

August 1950 and the first half of September saw a doggedly successful defense of that corner, the Pusan Perimeter, as an increasingly desperate North Korean army tried mightily to break it. Meanwhile, reinforcements, including more aircraft carriers and the first U.S. Marines, arrived from across the Pacific. Air and sea attacks on the enemy cut deeply into his offensive capabilities. In Japan, a daring amphibious counterattack was in preparation, an operation that would end the war's defensive initial phase and open its second.

This page features images related to the first days of the Korean War and provides links to pictorial coverage of the first phase of the conflict, from 25 June to 15 September 1950.

For more images of the first months of the Korean War, see:

For a precis of our Korean War images, and links to more comprehensive pictorial coverage of that conflict, see:

Click the photograph to prompt a larger view.

Photo #: NH 97052

"NKPA (North Korean People's Army) GAINS, 30 JUNE - 1 AUGUST 1950"

Map copied from "The Inchon-Seoul Operation", Volume II of "U.S. Marine Operations in Korea, 1950-53", page 29.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 88KB; 525 x 765 pixels

Photo #: NH 97167

The Flag of the United Nations

"The official flag of the United Nations, now flying with national banners over the U.N. armed forces in action to restore the peace in Korea, is shown in this photograph. The background color of the flag is the light blue associated with the U.N. since its early days, while the official United Nations seal in its center is in white." (Quoted from the original caption)
Photograph is datelined New York, 1950.

United Nations' Photograph, from the "All Hands" collection at the Naval History & Heritage Command.

Online Image: 109KB; 740 x 620 pixels

Photo #: 80-G-416423

USS Rochester (CA-124)

Senior U.S. and British naval officers confer on board Rochester, flagship of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, during the early days of the Korean War. The original photograph is dated 1 July 1950.
Those present are (from left to right):
Captain A.D. Torlesse, RN, Commanding Officer of HMS Triumph;
Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins, USN, Commander, Carrier Group, Seventh Fleet;
Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble, USN, Commander, Seventh Fleet; and
Rear Admiral Sir William G. Andrewes, RN, Commander, British Commonwealth Forces.

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

Online Image: 107KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

Photo #: 80-G-417996

USS Juneau (CLAA-119)

Receives ammunition and fuel at Sasebo, Japan, on 6 July 1950.
Flagship of Rear Admiral John M. Higgins, Commander, Task Group 96.5, Juneau actively patrolled and bombarded along the Korean east coast from 28 June to 5 July 1950. She was the first U.S. Navy cruiser to see combat action during the Korean War.
Note Japanese floating crane alongside.

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

Online Image: 124KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.


For higher resolution images Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

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