Compound 76 - 31 killed - 176 wounded before calm was restored.

June 10, 1952 – The Situation At Compound 76 – North Korean POW Riots On Geoje Island.

Compound 76 – 31 killed – 176 wounded before calm was restored.

June 10, 1952 – transcribed report of riots at Geoje Island Compound 76 broadcast June 12 – Mutual News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Background via Wikipedia:

June 10, 1952 – Geoje-do POW camp was a prisoner of war camp located on Geoje island at the southernmost part of Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea. It was considered the largest of the UNC established camps that held North Korean and Chinese prisoners captured by UN forces during the Korean War.

After the surprise Inchon landings on 15 September 1950 and the follow-up Eighth Army breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the North Korean Korean People’s Army (KPA) began to retreat north pursued by UN forces in the UN September 1950 counteroffensive. Large numbers of KPA were taken prisoner in the swift maneuver and sent to the rear. The number of prisoners rose from under a thousand in August 1950 to over 130,000 in November. Unfortunately, little provision had been made for so many prisoners and facilities to confine, clothe and feed them were not available. In addition, there were not enough men on hand to guard the prisoners nor were the guards assigned adequately trained for their mission. The quantity and quality of the security forces continued to plague the UN prison-camp commanders in the months that lay ahead. While the prisoners were housed near Busan (Pusan), there was a tendency for former Republic of Korea Army (ROK) soldiers who had been impressed into the KPA and later recaptured by the UN to take over the leadership in the compounds. Since these ex-ROK soldiers professed themselves to be anti-Communist and were usually favored by the ROK guards, they were able to win positions of power and control.

On the morning of 10 June, the prisoners of Compound 76 in groups of 150 in the center of the compound brought forth their knives, spears, and tent poles and took their positions in trenches, ready to resist. Paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team wasted little time as they advanced without firing a shot. Employing concussion grenades, tear gas, bayonets and fists, they drove or dragged the prisoners out of the trenches. As a half-dozen M46 Patton tanks rolled in and trained their guns on the last 300 prisoners still fighting, resistance collapsed. Colonel Lee was captured and dragged by the seat of his pants out of the compound. The other prisoners were hustled into trucks, transported to the new compounds, fingerprinted, and given new clothing. During the 2.5 hour battle, 31 prisoners were killed, many by the Communists themselves, and 139 were wounded. One US soldier was speared to death and 14 were injured.

Here is an on-the-scene report as it was broadcast to Mutual via shortwave to New York and broadcast two days later, on the 12th of June, 1952 giving running accounts of the battle between prisoners and Paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Division.

News as it was happening in 1952.




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