At dawn on July 5th 1950, Task Force Smith, comprising of 406 officers and men from the US Army, entered into the first engagement of the Korean War in the Battle of Osan. Intended to delay the advance of North Korean forces and enable additional US troops to enter Korea through the port of Pusan and assemble a stronger line of defence to the south, the task force was quickly overwhelmed, as the North Korean forces closed in around both flanks. Lt. Col. Charles Smith ordered their retreat at 2:30pm, having suffered nearly 200 casualties.
In the above photograph, an American soldier, Robert L. Witzig prepares to take aim with a 2.36-inch bazooka. To his right crouches Private First Class Kenneth Shadrick, the first US soldier to die during the Korean campaign. In the absence of effective infantry anti-tank weapons, the US troops were unable to prevent the advance of the North Korean T-34/85 tanks, as their weapons failed to pierce the armour of the ex-Soviet tanks.
The original image can be found here.
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