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June 26, 1950

Top Secret Report on the Military Situation in South Korea from Shtykov to Comrade Zakharov

Top Secret

To Comrade Zakharov

([transmit] in person only)


I report about the preparation and course of the military operations of the Korean People’s Army.


The concentration of the People’s Army in the region near the 38th parallel began on June 12 and was concluded on June 23, as was prescribed in the plan of the General Staff.  The redeployment of troops took place in an orderly fashion, without incident.


The intelligence service of the enemy probably detected the troop redeployment, but we managed to keep the plan and the time of the beginning of troop operations secret.


The planning of the operation at the divisional level and the  reconnaissance of the area was carried out with the participation of Soviet advisers.


All preparatory measures for the operation were completed by June 24th. On June 24th divisional commanders were given orders about “D”[day] and “H”[hour].


The political order of the Minister of Defense was read to the troops, which explained that the South Korean army had provoked a military attack by violating the 38th parallel and that the government of the DPRK had given an order to the Korean People’s Army to go over to the counterattack.


The order to counter-attack was met with great enthusiasm by the soldiers and officers of the Korean People’s Army.


The troops went to their starting positions by 24:00 hours on June 24th. Military operations began at 4 hours 40 minutes local time.  Artillery preparation was accompanied in the course of 20-40 minutes by direct fire and a ten-minute artillery barrage.  The infantry rose up and went on the attack in good spirits. In the first three hours individual units and formations advanced from 3 to 5 kilometers.


The attack of the troops of the People’s Army took the enemy completely by surprise.


The enemy put up strong resistance only in the direction of Ongjin, Kaizin and Seoul.  The enemy began to put up a more organized resistance after 12:00 on the first day.


On the first day of battle the following towns were taken: Osin (Ongjin direction), Kaesong, Sinyuri—(map 1:1,000.000 published by the General Staff in 1943).


In the Sunsen direction units of the P.A. [People’s Army] advanced 12 kilometers.


On the eastern coast [they advanced] 8 kilometers.


On the very first day the DPRK navy made two landings on the coast of the Sea of Japan.  The first landing party was in the  Korio area and consisted of two battalions of naval infantry and around a thousand partisans.  The second landing group was in the region of Urutsyn and consisted of 600 partisans.


The landings took place at 5 hours 25 minutes and were carried out successfully.


The group of partisans took the city of Urutsyn and a number of districts adjoining it.


The landings were carried out with a battle between warships of the People’s Army and ships of the South Korean army.  As a result of the battle one Southern trawler was sunk and one was damaged.  The DPRK fleet had no losses.

On June 26 troops of the People’s Army continued the attack and, with fighting, advanced deep into the territory of South Korea.


During June 26 (left to right) the Ongjin peninsula and Kaisin peninsula were completely cleared and units of the 6th division made a forced crossing of the bay and took the populated point in the direction of Kimpo airport.


In the Seoul direction, the 1st and 4th divisions took the cities of Bunsan and Tongducheb and the 2nd division took the provincial center Siunsen.


On the coast of the Sea of Japan the advance has continued.  The port of Tubuiri has been taken.


During the course of the day there has been no communication with the 12th Infantry Division, moving in the direction of Kosen, or with the 3rd Infantry Division and the mechanized brigade attacking through Sinyuri in the direction toward Geisif.


Conclusions regarding the North.


It is necessary to note the following substantial insufficiencies in the operations of the People’s Army:


1. With the beginning of military actions and the forward advance of units and formations, staff communication was lost from top to bottom. The general staff of the People’s Army already on the first day did not direct the battle, since it did not have firm communication with a single division.


The commanders of units and formations are not trying to establish communications with the senior staff, command posts from combat level and higher change the senior staff without permission, the General Staff still has not established communications with the brigade operating along the eastern coast or with the 12th Infantry Division.


2. The command staff of the KPA does not have battle experience, after the withdrawal of Soviet military advisers they organized the battle command poorly, they use artillery and tanks in battle badly and lose communications.


3. However, our military advisers note great enthusiasm in the units of the Korean People’s army and a general aspiration to fulfill their allotted tasks.


4. The political mood among the people of North Korea in relation to the beginning of military operations is characterized by a general enthusiasm, by faith in the government of the DPRK and belief in the victory of the Korean People’s Army.


On 26 June KIM IL SUNG made an appeal to the Korean people in the name of the government of the DPRK, in which he described the situation that has been created in the country and laid out the tasks for the defeat of the enemy and the unification of Korea.


5. The Command of the Korean People’s Army is taking measures to put right the troop communications and the organization of the battle command.  To this end the Army Command Post has been moved to the Tepuges area.  The War Minister, the chief of the General Staff and the main military adviser, along with a group of officers, will go out to the Command Post.


Conclusions regarding the South.


The first two days of military operations have shown the following:


1. The enemy is putting up resistance and while fighting is retreating deep into the territory of South Korea, mass taking of prisoners from the South Korean army has not been noted.


2. The South Korean puppet authorities have begun to throw in troops from deep in the rear and are trying to halt the advance of the People’s Army.


3. In the first day the attack of the People’s Army caused confusion in the South.  The South Korean authorities and the ambassador of the USA personally in their radio speeches called on the people of South Korea to stay calm.  The staff of the South Korean army is broadcasting false reports about the successes of the South Korean army.



No. 358/sh



Report from Shtykov to Zakharov detailing North Korean advances on the first day of the Korean War. Included is a list of conclusions drawn up by Shtykov regarding the conduct of Northern and Southern forces thus far.

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Collection of Soviet military documents obtained in 1994 by the British Broadcasting Corporation for a BBC TimeWatch documentary titled “Korea, Russia’s Secret War” (January 1996)


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