Capital Division (South Korea)

Capital Division (South Korea)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Capital Division

country= Republic of Korea
branch= Army
type= Mechanised Infantry
nickname= Tiger Division

The Capital Division, nicknamed the Tiger Division (맹호사단 in Korean) is currently one of the five mechanized infantry divisions in the Republic of Korea Army. It is part of the VII Corps, 3rd ROK Army (TROKA), tasked with covering approaches to Seoul from North Korea and counterattack operations.

This division saw extensive combat both during the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where it was despatched in September, 1965, as a part of the Republic of Korea's contribution to the U.S. war effort. The 1965 deployment became possible when in August of that year the Republic of Korea's National Assembly passed a bill authorizing the action. Recently, elements of this division were sent as Republic of Korea's contribution to the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq.

ervice During Korean War

The Capital Division was a military formation of the Republic of Korea Army during the 20th Century. It was formed approximately February 1949 from the Capital Security Command. Included in the new division was the 1st Cavalry Regiment which was equipped with twenty-four M8 and M20 armored cars plus twelve M3 halftracks. [ [ North Korea Invades] ]

Became part of I Corps after the first fall of Seoul.

Was part of the defensive line to slow the North Korean advance from Seoul to Taejon.

Fought in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. [ [ The Korean War: The Outbreak] ]

On September 16, 1950, in the I Corps sector, elements of the Capital Division fought their way through the streets of Angang-ni. The next day, advancing from the west in the II Corps sector, a battalion of the 7th Division linked up with elements of the Capital Division, closing a two-week-old gap between the ROK I and II Corps. The NKPA’s 12th Division waged a series of stubborn delaying actions against the Capital Division in the vicinity of Kigye as the North Koreans retreated northward into the mountains. Kigye fell back under South Korean control on September 22, 1950. [ [ The Korean War: The UN Offensive] ]

On September 29, a message, dropped from a light plane by an officer with the Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea, was delivered to the U.S. adviser to the ROK 3rd Division, Lt. Col. Rollins S. Emmerich. According to the message, the ROK 3rd Division was to cross the 38th Parallel and proceed to Wonsan as soon as possible. The next day the division crossed the parallel and advanced up the east coast. The Capital Division followed. After establishing command posts at Yangyang, eight miles north of the parallel, on October 2, both divisions proceeded to Wonsan and captured the town on the tenth, well before the X Corps had landed.

On October 17, 1950, the Capital Division captures Hamhung and its port, Hungnam. [ [ ADVANCE INTO NORTH KOREA October 1 to November 22, 1950] ]

On October 28, 1950, in far northeast Korea, a"flying column" from the Capital Division captures Songjin, 105 air miles northeast of Hungnam. Meanwhile the Capital Division's 1st Regiment approached Pungsan, a town inland approximately half way between the coast and Korea-China border on Iwon-Cinch'ong-ni-Hyesanjin road.

ervice in Vietnam

Korean soldiers that volunteered for service in Vietnam were given bonuses: they would “receive credit for three years of military duty for each year served in Vietnam as well as additional monetary entitlements; further, combat duty would enhance their future Army careers.”

All the units sent to Vietnam (the Tiger Division, White Horse Division, Blue Dragons Division) were chosen because they were considered to have the longest and best records from the Korean War.

The Tigers were considered uncanny for their ability to search territory and smoke out enemy soldiers and weapons. They would plan operations meticulously and sometimes even rehearse it beforehand. The soldiers would seal off a relatively small area, no more than 9 or 10 square kilometers. Troops would be brought in by air and land, but would arrive at the same time to maximize the chokehold. Slowly but surely the cordon would be tightened, and everyone and everything would be searched. Civilians were separated and interrogated, routinely offered rewards if they cooperated. It was not unusual for an area to be searched three or four times by different platoons. To prevent enemy breakouts, the Koreans had special reaction forces that could plug holes in the perimeter. General William R. Peers considered the Koreans the best at these so-called "cordon and search operations."

The Tiger Division was deployed just outside of Qui Nhon in Binh Dinh province, from where it could protect vital arteries such as Highways 1 and 19, as well as rice-growing areas and foothills to the north and west. They arrived on September 22, 1965 and returned home March 11, 1973.

Operation Hong Kil Dong

During Operation Hong Kil Dong (July-August 1967), the Koreans killed 638 and lost only 26 soldiers, a kill ratio of nearly 25 to 1. 98 crew-served and 359 individual weapons were captured.

Battle near Phu Cat

The Tigers were known for their ability to surround and annihilate People's Army of Vietnam units. One such operation was between January 23-29, 1968 near Phu Cat. Six companies of the Tiger Division engaged a Communist force, and then began forming a tight ring around the enemy. By day they tightened the noose, and at night they held their ground. The NVA fought desperately to break out, but was defeated after six days of intense combat. The kill ratio was significantly in the Koreans' favor with 278 Communists dead for every 11 Koreans - a ratio of 25 to 1. Some Americans said the operation’s planning was unoriginal and the execution was too cautious, but the methods most certainly produced an impressive body count.

Order of battle in Vietnam

*Divisional Headquarters and Headquarters Company
*Cavalry Regiment, composed with three infantry battalions
*1st Infantry Regiment, composed with three infantry battalions
*26th Infantry Regiment, composed with three infantry battalions
*Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery
*10th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
*60th Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
*61st Field Artillery Battalion (105 mm)
*628th Field Artillery Battalion (155 mm)
*Divisional Engineer Battalion
*Armor company
*Reconnaissance Company
*Signal Company
*Military Police Company
*Medical Company
*Ordnance Company
*Quartermaster Company
*Replacement Company
*Aviation Section

ummary of operations in Vietnam

*Total Strength Dispatched: 114,902::(OFF: 7,652 EM: 107,340)
*KIA: 2,111 (OFF: 186 EM: 1,925)
*WIA: 4,474 (OFF: 246 EM: 4,228)
*Operations Conducted: 175,107
*US Units that served alongside the Tiger Division were numerous and included:::9th Division Black Panthers.::504th Military Police Battalion, C Company

Current Status

The Tiger Division was reorganized in 1980s to parallel the reorganization taking place in United States Army at the same time. The "regiments" of the older organization were replaced by "brigades," consisting of both armor and mechanized infantry components. The 1st and Cavalry regiments were reorganized to include two mechanized infantry battalions and an armored battalion each, while the 26th regiment became an armored brigade with two armored battalions and a mechanized infantry battalion.

Current Order of Battle

*1 Brigade (Mechanized Infantry)
*Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized Infantry)
*26 Brigade (Armored)
*Division Artillery Brigade
*Signal Battalion
*Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
*Combat Engineer Battalion
*Air Defense Artillery Battalion
*Support Battalion
*Medical Battalion
*Chemical Battalion


*Amongst many famous names in Korea, HIH the Crown Prince Yi Seok volunteered and served as an enlisted man in a regiment in the Tiger Division.
*8th Battalion, 26th Armored Brigade, Tiger Division, was the first unit to receive the K-1 MBT in 1988.
*The Tiger Division is mentioned in the "Chickenhawk", by Robert Mason.

ee also

*Military of South Korea
*List of Korea-related topics


External links

* [ ROMAD with Korean Tiger Division, DASF's No's 1-7 listed with photos]
* [ Photo of Commanding General of ROKF-V, LTG. Chae Myung Shin]
* [ Photo of a Forward Observation Post (OP) of the 6th Company, ROK Blue Dragon Marine Corp.(2)-Vietnam 1970]

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