Army - Accounts of the Korean War

 
Close this window

 

A Brief History of the 34th infantry Regiment
 

November 1954

Prepared by
Military History Section HQ
US Army Forces, Far East Command

Three units have held the designation 34th Infantry Regiment. The first 34th Infantry was constituted on January 29, 1813 and in October 1815 was consolidated with The Regiment of Light Artillery. The second 34th Infantry was constituted on May 3, 1861 as the 3d Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment and was reorganized and re-designated the 34th Infantry on September 21, 1866. This regiment was consolidated with the 11th Infantry Regiment on April 6, 1869 and re-designated the 16th Infantry Regiment.

The present 34th Infantry Regiment was constituted on July 1, 1916 and organized on July 15, 1916 at El Paso, Texas, by transfer of personnel from the 7th, 20th and 23d Infantry Regiments. The initial assignments of the 34th Infantry included guard duty along the Mexican border and the training of National Guard units.

On December 6, 1916 the 34th was assigned to the 7th Division and in August 1918 the regiment sailed for France. In the closing days of World War I the 34th was moved into the Puvenelle sector in France where it fought with great valor. For this and subsequent actions against the Germans the regiment was cited by the French government with the Battle Honors of "Lorraine ."

Following the signing of the Armistice, the 34th remained in Germany as part of the Occupation Army until June 1919. Upon returning to the United States, the regiment was equipped and set up as the first motorized infantry regiment in the Army. Constant training and experimentation followed during the period between World War I and II, culminating in the 34th Infantry being selected as the outstanding regiment participating in the Carolina Maneuvers of 1941.

On December 7, 1941, the regiment was preparing to move to the Philippine Islands. The Japanese attack of that day changed this plan and the 34th destination was changed to Hawaii. The regiment arrived at Oahu on December 21st and was attached to the Hawaiian Department Reserve, which, at the time, was engaged in setting up the Island defenses.

On June 12, 1943, the 34th Infantry replaced the 298th Infantry as a unit of the 24th Division. The regiment moved to Australia with the 24th Division, and later staged for the Tanahmerah Bay operation that took place in April 1944. During the actual campaign, the 34th was in task force reserve but assisted in mopping-up operations after the objective, the Hollandia Airdrome, had been seized.

Shortly after this initial success of the 24th Division, the 34th Regiment was attached to the 41st Infantry Division for the thrust into Biak Island. After a two- day crushing drive, the Sorido and Boroke Airdromes were captured by the regiment, which assisted in great measure in neutralizing Japanese resistance on Biak.

A more difficult task for the Regiment was to come in October 1944, at Leyte in the battle for the liberation of the Philippines. Spearheading the 24th Division’s rapid thrust across Leyte, the 34th remained in constant contact with the enemy for a trying period of seventy-five straight days of combat. It was on Kilay Ridge that the heroic action of the regiment’s first battalion won the Presidential Unit Citation. For three weeks this group of men held the tactically important ridge against numberless major attacks by the enemy. Short of rations and ammunition, the 1st Battalion held its position against great odds, adding an illustrious chapter to the history of the regiment.

In January 1945, the 24th was attached to the 38th Division for the Luzon engagement where an unopposed landing was made north of San Miguel. However, the remainder of the struggle in the vicinity of Subic Bay was particularly hard-fought. In one battle in the fight for Bataan, Company F suffered more than 90 casualties in one day. In a two-day period following, the regiment counted 257 casualties.

At Zig Zag Pass near Olongapo, the Japanese proved a formidable foe. From excellently prepared positions in the aptly named pass, they put the 34th Infantry to a severe test. Zig Zag was a torment of twists and curves, dips and rises, deep and narrow gorges and jutting cliffs to the men of the Regiment as they battled relentlessly to destroy the enemy. It required many days of bitter fighting, in which acts of individual heroism were legion, to accomplish this mission.

The tired men of the 34th thought that surely their time for rest had come, but word filtered down that Japanese had been seen embarking in large numbers from Bataan for Corregidor, and that this was to be their next objective. The regiment was ordered to seize and secure Malinta Hill on Corregidor from landings on Black Beach near San Jose. There followed the most violent days of war yet experienced. The regimental commander declared: "There is no place to go, once you’re there, but forward. We simply take the hill at all costs and stay there until we’ve killed all the Japs or the Japs have killed all of us…"

After Corregidor the Regiment rejoined the 24th Division in the Mindanao campaign, becoming a leading element in this action. As in other campaigns the regiment took an active part in blasting Japanese forces there, adding tremendously to the success of the operation. The 34th Infantry Regiment led the rapid advance from Pikit to Digos and fought a fierce battle along the cliffs on the north bank of the Taloma River.

In October 1945, the 34th Infantry moved to Japan with the 24th Division and spent the next five years in occupation duties on the Islands of Honshu and Kyushu.


The 34th Regiment in Korea

When General MacArthur ordered United States ground troops to Korea after the invasion of South Korea by the Communists in June 1950, the 34th was one of the first units to strike back against the aggressors. The regiment arrived at Pusan on July 2d, and three days later was engaged in combat against the North Korean 4th Division. The 34th Regiment assisted Task Force Smith (Lt Col Charles B. Smith), consisting of elements of the 24th Division, in their withdrawal from Osan, where the first ground action between United States and Communist troops took place. On the 7th of July the 34th and other elements of the 24th Division were forced to withdraw from the Pyongtaek and Ansong area. By the 11th, the 34th had fought its way back to the Kum River, three miles north of Kongju, where the 3d Battalion, which had suffered a large number of casualties, was reorganized as a single company.

The 34th Infantry participated in the bitter fighting around Taejon for five days and was finally forced to withdraw to the vicinity of Kunwi, on July 23, 1950.

During the next week the 34th fought in the withdrawal to the Naktong River where the NK 4th Division established a bridgehead on the 6th of August. From the 6th to the 19th of August the 34th suffered heavy losses participating in the many actions to reduce the enemy bridgehead. In a coordinated attack with the 19th RCT and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, the 34th was instrumental in the final reduction of the ridgehead on August 19th.

Due to the large number of casualties in the 34th, the regiment was reduced to zero strength on August 31, 1950, and its personnel were transferred to the 19th and 21st RCTs.

The regiment, less personnel and equipment, was transferred to Japan where it was reorganized in December of 1950, and participated in intensive training exercises for the next two years, training many replacements for units in Korea.

In June and July of 1953 the 34th Infantry again returned to Korea where it was assigned to the Korean Communications Zone to participate in the Prisoner of War operations resulting from the mass breakout of PWs in June 1953.

Rejoining the 24th Division, which had also been returned to Korea in July 1953, after an eighteen-month period in Japan, the 34th Infantry remained in Korea until November 1954, when the Department of the Army announced that the 24th Division would begin to return to Japan. The first elements of the 34th Infantry arrived in Japan in mid-November 1954 and began preparations to receive the remainder of the unit upon its transfer from Korea.


Campaign Credits

  • World War I
    • Lorraine
       
  • World War II
    • New Guinea
    • Leyte (with arrowhead)
    • Luzon
    • Southern Philippines
       
  • Korean Operations
    • United Nations Defensive
    • United Nations Summer-Fall Offensive
    • Korea Summer-Fall 1953


Decorations

  • Distinguished Unit Citation embroidered DEFENSE OF KOREA (DA GO 45, 1950) - Philippine
  • Presidential Unit Citation embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1950 (DA GO 47, 1950)
  • Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation embroidered PYONGTAEK (DA GO 35, 1951)
  • Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation embroidered REBUILDING KOREA (DA GO 24, 1954)
  • All companies, 3d Battalion: Distinguished Unit Citation embroidered CORREGIDOR (WD GO 53, 1945)
  • Company A, Service Company; 3d Platoon, Cannon Company; and 3d Platoon, Antitank Company:     Distinguished Unit Citation embroidered CORREGIDOR (WD Go 53, 1945)


Coat of Arms

The coat of arms consists of a shield of blue with gold crosses (of Lorraine) and a canton in the upper left corner with a cross patee on a background representing a brick or stone wall. The crest consists of a gold and blue wreath with a green cactus. The motto is Toujours en Avant (Always Forward).

In World War I the regiment was in the 7th Division overseas and served in that part of Lorraine which was anciently the Barony of Commercy whose arms were blue scattered with golden crosses crosslet sharpened at the foot, as taken by the 34th to represent this service. The masoned wall represents the 7th Infantry and the white Maltese cross (patee) represents the 20th and 23rd Infantry. When the 34th was organized personnel were taken from the arms of the three regiments The cactus commemorates Texas, the birthplace of the regiment.


Distinctive Insignia

The shield of the coat of arms is the insignia of the regiment.


Chronology - June 1950-November 1954

1950

  • 30 June – CINCFE directed CG Eighth Army to move the 24th Division to Pusan by air and water and to move a delaying force of two rifle companies and one battery of 105mm artillery and antitank teams by air to Suwon, if possible, otherwise to Pusan.
  • 2 July - 34th RCT, US 24th Division, arrived in Pusan.
  • 3 July - 34th RCT moved to Taejon.
  • 5 July - US 34th Regiment moved forward, with 1st Battalion and remainder of 52d FA Bn in vicinity of Pyongtaek and 3d Battalion in vicinity of Ansong, to support US 24th Division troops.
  • 7 July - 16th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division, captured Pyongtaek, forcing1st Bn, US 34th RCT, elements of 21st Regiment, and elements of 52ndand 63d FA Bns back to positions south of Chonan.
  • 8 July - 16th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division, reached outskirts of Chonan 1st Battalion, US 34th RCT, moved north of Chonan and fought delaying action back to line held by 3d Battalion approximately one mile south of Chonan; 34th RCT then fought south to new defensive position, with 63d FA Battalion in support. 11th FA Battalion reached Taejon to support both 21st and 34th RCTs. Elements of US 78th Heavy Tank Battalion reached Taejon to support both 21st and 34th RCTs.
  • 9 July - NK 3d Division, after passing through Pyontaek and Songhwan, assisted 16th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division, in capturing Chonan. US 34th RCT, including 63d FA Battalion and supported by Battery A, 11th FA Bn and Company A, 78th Heavy Tank Battalion, withdrew to positions south of Naechon-ni, north of Kongju. 3d Battalion, 34th RCT, suffered heavy losses during withdrawal.
  • 11 July - US 34th RCT fell back to defensive positions on Kum River, approximately three miles north of Kongju; 3d Battalion lost combat effectiveness and was reorganized into one company. Company A, 78th Heavy Tank Battalion, and 11th FA Battalion supported 21st and 34th RCTs; all tanks supporting 34th RCT knocked out.
  • 12 July - Forward elements of 1st Battalion, US 34th RCT, reached point one mile north of Kum River; remainder south of Kum River.
  • 13 July - 14th Regiment, NK 4th Division, reached Kongju. Elements of 1st Battalion, US 34th RCT, withdrew to positions south of Kongju and south of the Kum River.
  • 14 July - 16th Regiment, NK 4th Division, reached north bank of Kum River on outskirts of Kongju; crossed Kum River and overran US 63rd FA Battalion positions southwest of Kongju, capturing all howitzers and numerous prisoners of war.
  • 15 July - 16th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division, advanced along Kongju-Nonsan highway, forcing withdrawal of 34th RCT and 63d FA Battalion from positions in Kongju to positions east of Nonsan.
  • 16 July - 34th RCT withdrew to new defensive positions west of Taejon.
  • 17 July - 34th RCT took over entire defensive line north and west of Taejon.
  • 18 July - NK 3d Division reached outskirts of Taejon. US 34th and 21st RCT’s remained in defensive positions in vicinity of Taejon.
  • 19 July - 5th Regiment, NK 4th Division, captured Yusong, crossed Kum River, and rolled on to Taejon, joining the NK 3d Division in the struggle for the city. 2nd Battalion, 19th RCT, moved to Taejon, attached to 34th RCT. 34th RCT and 2nd Battalion, 19th RCT, withdrew to defensive line just west of Taejon airstrip.
  • 20 July - 16th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division, reached Taejon; 5th Regiment captured Taejon Airfield. 2d Bn, 19th RCT pulled out of line and went into reserve. 34th RCT, 2d Battalion, 19th RCT, and FA elements evacuated Taejon, reached Kumson road and headed toward Yongdong. Maj Gen Wm. F. Dean, CG 24th Division, missing in action in Taejon area.
  • 21 July - NK 3d and 4th Divisions captured Taejon. 34th RCT moved to Kumchon area.
  • 22 July - 1st Cavalry Division relieved 24th Division in Yongdong area.
  • 23 July - US 34th RCT moved to vicinity of Kunwi.
  • 24 July - 34th RCT, 24th Division, moved from Kunwi to Kumchon.
  • 26 July - 34th RCT moved to Kochang.
  • 27 July - NK 4th Division reached Anui, from Kunsan via Muju.
  • 28 July - NK 4th Division launched drive against US 34th RCT at Kochang.
  • 29 July - US 34th RCT withdrew in face of continued heavy attack by NK 4th Division at Kochang.
  • 30 July - 5th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division drove toward Kwonbin-ni from Kochang. 34th RCT and 1st Battalion of 21st RCT continued to hold in area east of Kochang and Kwonbin.
  • 1 Aug - 5th and 18th Regiments, NK 4th Division, drove toward Hyopchon. US 34th RCT, US 24th Division, withdrew to Ansong-ni.
  • 2 Aug - 21st RCT covered withdrawal of 34th RCT in vicinity of Ansong-ni and Allim-dong and then withdrew across Naktong River. 34th RCT withdrew to Yongsan under Eighth Army directive for 24th Division to assume defense of Naktong River line north of Nam River.
  • 3 Aug - US 34th RCT withdrew east of Naktong River.
  • 5 Aug - NK 4th Division reached Naktong River opposite Pugong-ni, in southern sector.
  • 6 Aug - NK 4th Division established bridgehead across Naktong River eight miles south of Pugong-ni, west of Yongsan, in 34th RCT sector. One battalion, 19th RCT, attached to west of 34th RCT in effort to push back NK 4th Division bridgehead.
  • 7 Aug - US 19th and 34th RCTs continued counterattack against 4th NK Division bridgehead in 34th RCT sector.
  • 10 Aug - NK 4th Division expanded its forces and continued to hold bridge-head in Pugong-ni area. 9th RCT and 19th RCT, 24th Division, counter-attacked NK 4th Division bridgehead and failed to eliminate it. Task Force Hill (34th, 19th, and 9th RCTs) formed to restore Naktong River defense line. (9th RCT attached to 24th Division from 2nd Division.)
  • 11 Aug - NK 4th Division continued to enlarge bridgehead across Naktong River. Task Force Hill (US 24th Division) launched attack against Bridgehead in bend of Naktong River.
  • 12 Aug - NK 4th Division, in Naktong River bridgehead, established road-blocks on Yongsan-Miryang road, MSR of US 24th Division. Task Force Hill, 24th Division, resisted NK 4th Division attacks, and held Defensive positions in bridgehead area.
  • 16 Aug - NK 4th Division, in Naktong River bridgehead in US 24th Division zone, launched attack on Task Force Hill. 1st BCT, US 23d Regiment moved north to counterattack enemy bridgehead in Hyongpung area on US 24th Division northern boundary, and hit North Koreans at Chyong-dong.
  • 17 Aug - Task Force Hill and 1st Provisional Marine Brigade counterattacked NK 4th Division.
  • 18 Aug - NK 4th Division initiated withdrawal from bridgehead west of Naktong River, west of Yongsan, after staggering losses under attack of 1st Provisional Marine Brigade and Task Force Hill.
  • 19 Aug - 19th RCT, 34th RCT, and 1st Provisional Marine Brigade eliminated major penetration of Naktong River defense line near confluence of Nam and Naktong Rivers, forcing shattered NK 4th Division to give up bridgehead.
  • 20 Aug - 19th and 34th RCTs consolidated defense positions on Naktong River. 1st Provisional Marine Brigade moved to Miryong and reverted to Eighth Army control.
  • 22 Aug - 2d Infantry Division began relief of 24th Division, 38th RCT relieved
  • 21st RCT on Naktong River Line.
  • 23 Aug - 9th RCT, 2d Infantry Division, relieved 34th RCT in 24th Division sector.
  • 24 Aug - US 2d Division assumed responsibility for US 24th Division zone;
  • 24th Division moved to Kyongsan area, southeast of Taegu.
  • 25 Aug - 24th Division became Eighth Army Reserve.
  • 31 Aug - US 34th RCT reduced to zero strength with personnel transferred to 19th and 21st RCTs.
  • 31 Aug 1950-Aug 1951 - 34th Infantry Division attached to XVI Corps and engaged in reorganization and training. On August 25, 1951, the regiment returned to Korea for the specific purpose of transferring its personnel and equipment to the newly activated 14th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division. The Regiment did not participate in combat operations and by September 5, 1951 all personnel and equipment were transferred and the regiment returned to Japan where it was again attached to XVI Corps.
  • Aug 1951-Jan 1952 – 34th Infantry reorganized and engaged in training in Japan.

 

1952

  • 4 Feb - 24th Infantry Division command post closed Camp Schimmelpfennig, Japan.
  • 9 Feb - 24th Infantry Division with 24th CIC Detachment attachment, was assigned to Far East command and attached to XVI Corps. 34th Infantry Regiment relieved from attachment to XVI Corps and reverted to 24th infantry Division.
  • 28 Feb - 1st and 2d Bns, 34th Infantry Regiment, completed night relief problem.
  • 7 Mar - 3d Bn, 34th Inf Regt completed BCT test.
  • 10-12 Mar - 34th Inf Regt conducted RCT Exercise No. 1 and 2.
  • 20-21 Mar - 34th Inf Regt and 63d FA Bn completed field exercise consisting of night occupation of an assembly area and perimeter defense.
  • 29 June-3 July – 34th Infantry conducted RCT test.
  • 28-31 Jul - 34th Inf Regt conducted regimental CPX.
  • 7-23 Oct - 34th Inf Regt conducted BCT tests in defense problems and was supported by the 63d FA Bn.
  • 24-30 Nov - 34th Inf Regt conducted BCT tests.
  • 12-17 Dec - 1st Bn, 34th Inf Regt conducted BCT exercises.

1953

  • 4-6 Feb - 1st Bn, 34th Inf Regt conducted Winter Warfare Training BCT test.
  • 18-20 Feb - 3d Bn, 34th Inf Regt conducted Winter Warfare Training BCT test with one company of Aggressor Forces.
  • 18 July - 24th Division is relieved from attachment to XVI Corps and attached to KCOMZ effective 18 July 1953.
  • 19 July - 34th Infantry Regiment attached to Eighth Army 19 July 1953.
  •  

1954

  • Nov - Department of the Army announces that the 24th Division will begin to move from Korea to Japan.
 

Close this window
 

2002-2016 Korean War Educator. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of material is prohibited.

- Contact Webmaster with questions or comments related to web site layout.
- Contact Lynnita for Korean War questions or similar informational issues.
- Website address: www.koreanwar-educator.org
 

Hit Counter