Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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Inchon Invasion (Operation Chromite)

On September 13, 1950, preliminary naval gunfire and air bombardment by Joint Task Force 7, along with mine clearance, began for the Inchon Invasion.   General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, USA, devised the amphibious operation.   The landing would be challenging as the approaches were long, through shallow channels, with poor beaches, and had a tidal range restricting landing operations to a few hours a day.  The First Marine Division, commanded by Major General Oliver P. Smith, USMC, led the first major U.N. force and consisted of the First Marine Division, the Army's Seventh Infantry Division, and South Korean units.  Assisting the landing force were U.S. Marine units already guarding the Pusan Perimeter, along with United Nations and Republic of Korea Army forces, a hundred miles to the southeast.

At 0600 a.m. on September 15, the Marines landed at Wolmi Do, despite resistance and casualties, the initial objectives were quickly secured the next day, with Kimpo airfield being taken on September 17 and put into service only a few days later.  Supplies and troops swiftly came ashore within the following days while Marines progressed towards Seoul.  The following day after the initial invasion, the Pusan Perimeter's defenders went on the offensive and eventually made the North Koreans retreat by the end of the month and were met by the U.S. Army units moving southwards from Seoul.   On September 29, after two-weeks of hard fighting, Seoul was returned to the South Korean government.  

Image:  SC 348448:  Inchon Invasion, September 1950.  General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (seated, center), Commander-in-Chief, Far East Command, on board USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7) during the Inchon landings, September 15, 1950.  Official U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.