AUGUST 12, 1950: North Koreans troops murdered 75 American Prisoners of War in Bloody Gulch massacre on this day in 1950.
The advancing communists machine-gunned down 55 of the artillerymen after ordering them into a house at Taejong-ni, near the southern shoreline.
Twenty others, who had also surrendered after a fierce battle when they were ordered to be the last men to withdraw from a valley, were shot in the head in a ditch.
The perpetrators, members of the 3rd Regiment of the Korean People’s Army 6th Division, were never prosecuted for the war crime.
Although not ordered by the Northern regime, several mass murders of captured troops were carried out as a result of their desperation to prevent U.S. reinforcement.
By then the communists, many of whom fought as insurgents during Japan’s brutal 40-year occupation and were used to torture and execution in the field, had captured 90% of the capitalist South’s territory.
The massacre took place in the opening stage of Battle of Pusan Perimeter, which represented the final stand for the UN force, which had begun arriving on June 29, four days after the North invaded.
The North hoped they could push the 140,000 mostly U.S. troops back into the sea and win the war there and then in their bid to unite Korea under communist control.
Yet it soon became apparent that the battle was likely to be won by the U.S. – and so the North’s soldiers resorted to desperate tactics to take and hold ground.
Five days after Bloody Gulch, they murdered 41 American troops in the Hill 303 massacre.
In both cases, the bodies were not found until weeks later.
A British Pathé newsreel, which also covered the arrival of British troops who would come to number 14,000 during the war, filmed Private Roy Manring, one of the survivors at Hill 303, being stretchered away.
The bodies of the men from the 555th Field Artillery Battalion and the 90th Field Artillery Battalion were only found after the conclusion of the battle on September 18.
The U.S. victory at Pusan Perimeter represented a massive turning point for the Americans.
By December, UN and South Korean forces, led by U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, had seized the vast majority of territory in the North in a bid to reunify Korea.
But communist China, whose leader Mao Zedong ordered his People’s Volunteer Army into Korea to combat ‘American aggression’ in October, forced the UN back.
By January 1951, North Korea was back in control of all its former territory and the Chinese had pushed MacArthur’s forces south of the 38th Parallel again.
The equalised balance of force led to a futile – but deadly – stalemate.
By the time the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, there were 178,426 dead on the South’s side and up to 750,282 who perished in support of the North.
The war, whose roots lay in the Soviet and U.S. occupation of different halves of Korea after Japan’s defeat in World War II, still has not technically finished.
The conflict ended with an armistice rather than a peace agreement in July 1953 that established a Demilitarised Zone near the 38th Parallel that, despite its name, is the most heavily militarised border in the world.
Since 1953, the South has gone on to become one of the richest countries in the world, while the North – ruled by the same family since 1948 – is one of the poorest.
The secretive North -now headed by Kim Il-sung’s grandson Kim Jong-un - has since launched many small attacks on South Korea and continues to threaten all-out war.
In March 2013, the North withdrew from all non-aggression pacts and announced plans to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S.