stevell said that President Ford said that he would continue the felling operation. If North Korea blocked it, he would resolutely carry out armed attack. If North Korea fought back by force, the US South Korean coalition forces would immediately launch a joint operation, cross the “military demarcation line”, occupy Kaesong and push forward to the Yanbai plain to completely eliminate all military targets threatened by North Korea to Seoul. The operation time was 16:00 on August 21.
heavily armed US troops cut trees again under the cover of aircraft and tanks
on the morning of August 18, 1976, in the Panmunjom section of the “military demarcation line” between the DPRK and the ROK, in order to clean up a poplar tree that affected the observation line of sight, a US ROK team came to cut trees near the post stationed by the DPRK army, which triggered a group fight with the DPRK officers and soldiers. In the scuffle, two American officers were hacked to death by military axes. Several hours after the incident of
, Lieutenant General Liu Bingxian, speaker of the Joint Staff Headquarters of South Korea, negotiated countermeasures with Admiral stevell, commander of the US military in South Korea. On the afternoon of the 18th, Liu Bingxian reported to President Park Chung Hee: “stevier believes that this matter is intolerable. In order to prevent (North Korea) from provoking again, we need to take retaliatory action.” Park Chung Hee said coldly: “there are not once or twice armed conflicts between North Korea and the United States in the common security area. Americans always shout verbally. They will not make up their mind to fight a second Korean War.” However, on that night, Park Chung Hee called South Korea’s Defense Minister: “this time, we should give North Korea (North Korea) a little strength anyway. We must no longer be regarded as a ‘paper tiger’. If the Americans think it is necessary, they can retaliate in the form of joint operations between the United States and South Korea”. At the same time, the US ROK joint command announced the cancellation of the leave of the US and ROK troops in South Korea and entered a wartime state.
although the posture was very big, stevier and Liu Bingxian negotiated repeatedly and decided to take countermeasures according to the procedures stipulated in international law: first, convene the Armistice Commission to protest; Second, issue a strong warning; Third, take substantive actions to “retaliate against each other”; Fourth, demand that the DPRK assume all responsibilities. Soon, the brigade commander of the special Airborne Brigade of the South Korean army, park Xidao, received a call from Liu Bingxian: “excellent soldiers are going to carry out the task of protecting the country. General park should know what appropriate methods to end the ‘northern provocation’. Please select Taekwondo experts who can win by clenching their fists as soon as possible for emergency use.”
on the late night of August 19, the lights in the US military command in South Korea were bright. Stevier and Liu Bingxian held a joint meeting to determine a joint operation plan called “emergency plan”, the core content of which was that the “poplar incident” might escalate into a local war, The 2nd Infantry Division of the United States and the 3rd group army of South Korea will jointly attack and win Kaesong, an important border town of North Korea. On the 20th, Stilwell discussed the details of the emergency plan with Park Zhengxi. Stilwell said that President Ford said that he would continue the felling operation. If North Korea blocked it, he would resolutely carry out armed attack. If North Korea fought back with force, the US South Korean coalition forces would immediately launch a joint operation, cross the “military demarcation line”, occupy Kaesong and advance to the Yanbai plain, and completely eliminate all military targets threatened by North Korea to Seoul. The operation time was 16:00 on August 21. Park Chung Hee acknowledged this and proposed that the South Korean Army take the place of the US military in the security task.
Korean army selects Taekwondo master
at 3 p.m. on August 20, South Korean army chief of staff Li Shiho suddenly visited the office of special airborne brigade brigade commander Park hee do, conveyed the president’s encouragement and entrustment to him, and sent a large amount of sympathy. Li Shihao said, “the second tree cutting operation will be carried out on August 21. Please select 64 Taekwondo experts to be assigned to the US Army. If you win in the common security area, you will be awarded medals to all heroes.” Park Xi asked, “what weapons are allocated?” Li Shihao said: “general park must be clear that he can carry basic weapons when assembling in the front, but he can only use his fists and feet in the common security area where armed forces are not allowed. This is a limited retaliation action, and trained special forces are enough.”
then, in the office of Vieira, the commander of the U.S. Eagle battalion near Panmunjom, stevier issued an order to the South Korean officers: when the U.S. Army cuts trees, the South Korean soldiers are responsible for guarding the surroundings, but are strictly prohibited from carrying weapons. “You don’t allow Korean soldiers to carry weapons, but what if the North uses an axe to cut us down again?” Stilwell replied, “aren’t your soldiers good at Taekwondo? Just use your fists!” “But how can we deal with their full arms with our bare hands?” “It is stipulated that if the situation develops further, we are fully prepared, but weapons are not allowed on the scene.”. Park Xidao later recalled: “I was so angry that the Americans wanted to avenge the dead soldiers, but they had to let my men die with their bare hands… In fact, the problem is that the United States has monopolized the battle command of the Korean army, and we only have to carry out it.”
then, the United States and South Korea discuss other details, one of which is what is the key state to enter the state of engagement? Finally, the United States and South Korea decided to take the moment when the North Korean soldier’s foot stepped on the non return bridge as the criterion. No return bridge is located in the joint security zone of South Korea and North Korea, which means “bridge that will never turn back”. Stepping on this bridge means entering the jurisdiction of the other party.
“Americans are more afraid of war than we are.”
while the United States and South Korea determined the tree cutting personnel, Li Xixing, commander of the first group army of South Korea, and Yu Zhonglin, commander of the first division, attended the joint operation meeting of the second division of the United States. Lin Fuzhen, Yu Zhonglin’s staff officer, recalled: “the meeting has two tasks for the first division of the Korean army. One is to jointly cover the tree cutting operation on August 21 with the second division of the US Army, and the other is to participate in the implementation of the emergency plan if the situation expands.” In fact, according to the relevant arrangements of the “emergency plan”, when the United States and South Korea planned the second tree cutting operation, the guangtan airport of the second division of the U.S. military gathered 36 Cobra armed helicopters and Huey transport aircraft. The aircraft was full of U.S. soldiers, and they could arrive in Panmunjom in five minutes.
late at night on August 20, in the gymnasium of the second division of the US Army in longzhouliThe search battalion of the 1st division of the Korean army on standby began to operate. The division commander Yu Zhonglin instructed to ambush an additional reinforced battalion in the south of Panmunjom and authorized the participating troops to “shoot automatically as long as the Korean army crosses the bridge without returning”. Later, Yu Zhonglin recalled the scene when explaining the battle order, saying: “Americans are more afraid of fighting than we are. The American soldiers and their families ordered to participate in the war cried, and some wrote suicide notes in front of their families. Residents in Longzhou also saw that the family members of the US military living here began to flee south on the evening of August 20.”
in the early morning of August 21, 64 officers and soldiers of the special Airborne Brigade of the South Korean army took three trucks to the bridge of no return. Before walking, park Xidao still distributed weapons to all the participants in the war, regardless of the US admonition. They were wearing bulletproof vests with submachine guns and grenades hidden inside. Afterwards, all officers of the special Airborne Brigade from Park Xidao and below were severely reprimanded. Before the US South Korean operation team entered the common security area, Lieutenant Colonel Vieira sent a notice to the North Korean side, saying that “our operation team will continue to cut down the poplar trees that block the sight of our military post, and the operation team will withdraw from the common security area after completing the task. If the operation team is not provoked, there will be no problem”.
at 6 a.m. on August 21, the tree cutting operation began. Lieutenant Colonel Vieira, the person in charge, and captain jinshizhan, the interpreter, watched the progress of tree cutting at the scene. They kept communicating with the troops in the front with a wireless telephone, and the military and political center of the United States and South Korea was also monitoring in real time. “Although I knew in advance that the United States and South Korea had deployed heavy troops, I knew that once the two sides exchanged fire, none of the gang who came to cut trees would survive. My heart stopped beating when I saw the North Korean soldiers running towards the bridge.” Fortunately, the three trucks carrying the Korean army’s mobile reserve stopped at the north side of the bridge, and no one approached the bridge one step. After the
tree cutting operation, the DPRK, in the name of the supreme commander of the people’s army, sent a statement to the Armistice Commission, expressing regret for the incident on August 18 and stressing that its side will never take the lead in provocation, but will never sit idly by in case of provocation… On 23, the US State Department expressed “regret” for the DPRK’s statement, The “emergency plan”, which almost led to the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula, also stopped being implemented.