SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)
South Korean Flag
North Korean Flag
Note: This article has been reproduced in part by the Singapore Ministry of Education as a reference document in their curriculum package to be used in the study of the Korean War by their students. In 2016, material from this article was used with permission by the 301st PSYOP Company in a short movie heralding their history The 301st Psychological Operations Company (Airborne) Past and Present.
Early on the morning of Sunday, 25 June 1950, 93,000 North Korean troops with approximately 100 Russian-made tanks attacked South Korea in an attempt to reunite the peninsula by force. The unprepared forces of South Korea were almost pushed into the sea, and the invading communist forces occupied the capital Seoul and much of South Korea.
President Harry S. Truman determined to support the
militarily and sought United Nations backing. An emergency session of the United Nations Security Council resolved to send troops to Korea. North Korean troops pushed the United Nations Forces into a small defensive perimeter at the tip of the Korean peninsula before American troops, largely from the U.S. and Japan and commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, landed at Inchon and launched a counterattack. Initial success brought the U.N. troops to the Chinese border by late November 1950, but on 29 November, Republicof South Korea entered the conflict and pushed the U.N. forces southward. China fell again on 4 January 1951. Another U.N. counteroffensive in February and March drove the North Korean and Chinese troops back to the 38th parallel. Despite much bloody fighting, the battle lines remained stable for another two years. As the fighting moved up and down the peninsula, ravaging the land, there were an estimated three million casualties. Armistice talks began in July 1951 but repeatedly failed to reach agreement. A truce was signed on 27 July 1953 establishing a demilitarized zone along the 38th parallel and creating a framework for a permanent settlement of the war. Talks have continued fruitlessly ever since. Seoul
Chart of the PSYOP Order of Battle
In the fall of 1950, the Armys small Technical Information Detachment (TID) of four officers and twenty enlisted was notified that it was to be changed to a Loudspeaker and leaflet Company on 1 September 1950. It was put on alert for Korea and sent from Ft. Riley, Kansas, to Seattle, and then on to Korea, arriving on 4 November 1950. The unit was reorganized in January 1951 as the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet (L&L) Company with a complement of 8 officers, ninety-nine enlisted men, 3 printing presses, 12 loudspeakers, and 27 vehicles, and assigned to a newly created Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) operating within G-3 of the Eighth Army in Korea. The 1st L&L Company became operational April 1951and 9 loudspeaker teams were dispatched to divisions in the field. The First L&L Company prepared leaflets in the field throughout the Korean War, serving until 21 February 1955.
A Historical Look at the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company
1st L & L Patch
1st Loudspeaker & Leaflet Company - the Heart of PSY-WAR
I have read reports of the units activities during the war and add some brief summaries from official military records.
Members of the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company load a Leaflet Bomb
The Publications Platoon: 280,663,500 leaflets had been printed by the publications platoon as of December 1953. There were almost twice as many North Korean leaflets printed as Chinese. During the war, leaflets were printed by the three Harris Printing presses of the platoon. Most of the leaflets were coded between 8200 and 8700.
A Loudspeaker Tank used by the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company
The Loudspeaker Platoon: The Loudspeaker Platoon was organized on 8 January 1951. Four days after the first three teams were organized they were ready for action. The first team was taken to I Corps Headquarters on 12 January 1951. It was found that very few officers had any knowledge of the use of loudspeakers; consequently the platoon leader recommended that the first team be used for controlling refugees and for familiarization to all divisions in the corps. United Nations advances presented vast targets for Psychological Warfare and the divisions who had the teams at the time of these advances immediately claimed the teams. By 7 April 1951, nine teams were in the field consisting of four officers and 27 enlisted men. Forty-eight combat missions were performed in May 1951. That month, 2,943 enemy soldiers surrendered as a direct result of loud-speaker broadcasts. By June, 11 teams were in action. Two Republic of Korea loudspeaker teams were prepared for duty against guerrillas in South Korea. The signing of the truce on 7 July found all loudspeaker teams in operation on the front lines on that date making a friendly farewell to the Chinese Communist Forces.
Command Report 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company
I have mentioned the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company in an earlier article on the psychological operations of the Korean War, but in July 2011, I had the opportunity to study five Command Reports prepared by the company and forwarded to the Headquarters of the Eighth U.S. Army. These classified secret booklets are for February, May, June, July and August 1953 and go into great detail about what the company was doing and the results of their operations. For the most part this is highly detailed and very dry data, but it is such a rare chance to see the inner workings of a PSYOP company at war that I thought it deserved a closer look. We will study each monthly report in detail, state those facts that are pertinent, and depict some of the leaflets prepared and disseminated that month. The reader should note that the leaflets were printed in two languages, Korean or Chinese, depending on the target audience and the theme. The vast majority of the leaflets are aimed at enemy military forces, but some are for civilians and some for bandits roaming the countryside. Many of the leaflets use the theme of divide and conquer. The North Koreans were told they had been enslaved by the Chinese who were taking their manufactured products, food and women. The Chinese got the same general message, but were told that they had been enslaved and were the tools of the Soviet Union.
PSYOP print facility during the Korean War
This is actually monthly report number 26, which shows that these reports have been filed since the company arrived in Vietnam in 1951. The first page is labeled Secret Security Information.
This report states that rotation of personnel and replacement by untrained fillers remains a major problem. This was always a problem in PSYOP units before the Army made the training uniform and gave PSYOP troops their own occupational specialty. Soldiers with some printing or press background were often shanghaied to a PSYOP unit. The report states with some optimism that the first replacement with actual PSYOP training arrived on 27 February 1953.
First L&L Training Leaflet
When a PSYOP unit is being trained for battle they produce many leaflets and radio scripts. This leaflet depicts a Leader of a foreign country having a feast with a beautiful woman. The text on the back is in the form of a poem. It says:
Your Commanders chow is caviar with wine,
While upon cold chow you dine.
Hell commit you to slaughter make no mistake.
Join Blue forces and of freedom partake.
1st L&L - 4002
The unit reports that their three Harris printing presses ran for 1557 hours, and produced 2135 impression an hour. 11 replacements for the loudspeaker teams arrived, but they were all basic infantrymen. They were on their way to infantry units and the Eighth Army diverted them to PSYOP. The unit currently consists of eight officers and 94 enlisted members. The unit sent them to a hastily prepared school for four days to learn their new trade. Some of the classes taught to the new loudspeaker people were: Introduction to Psychological Warfare and Operation; Organization of a Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company; Intelligence for psychological warfare; Leaflets and Operations; Introduction to Tactical Employment of Signal Equipment, Script Writing and Loudspeaker Operations. The course ended with a one-hour examination. In all, the students received 32 hours of training in 17 subjects and then were thrown into the field.
The Propaganda Platoon prepared 15 leaflets during the month. Throughout the 28-day period, weekly production averaged 1,913 leaflets. The Korean PSYWAR Unit suggests about one leaflet theme a month. Twenty-five popular Korean songs were tape recorded as requested by tactical units.
A Loudspeaker Team in Action - Close-up of a speaker system
The Loudspeaker Platoon made 937 broadcasts during the month. The average broadcast ran about 18 minutes. The teams were attached to 17 line units, some of which are: 1st Marine Division, 1st Republic of Korea (ROK) Division, 7th U.S. Division and 9th ROK Division.
Plan Divide began on 15 January 1953. Its main objective is to split the North Koreans from their Communist government; to split the North Koreans from the Chinese troops fighting alongside them, and to split the Chinese troops from their Communist government.
The enemy retaliated with 14 loudspeaker broadcasts including songs and themes like Dont fight on New Years Day, and Home, Wife and children.
This tactical leaflet was printed by the 1st L&L Company on 17 January 1953 and targeted the North Korean 8th and 9th Divisions as part of Plan Divide. The leaflet depicts a North Korean Army supply detail under U.N. naval gunfire. Some of the text is:
Soldiers of the North Korean Army!
Do you know why you are stationed on the eastern front?
The mountainous eastern front occupied by the North Korean Army is different that the western front occupied by the Chinese Army. The road network on your part of the front is far worse than that in the Chinese area, thus supply is much harder for you.
Furthermore, the eastern front is constantly exposed to U.N. naval gunfire and has suffered from tremendous casualties
Beware of your real enemy The Chinese Army
1,250,000 copies of this leaflet were disseminated over North Korean Troops.
This tactical leaflet depicts Joseph Stalin with a ring through the nose of Kim Il Sung. It was printed by the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company on 2 February 1953.The leaflet is a greeting to the North Korean VII Corps that relieved the North Korean I Corps on the eastern front. The text to the left of the picture is:
Greetings to the IV Corps of the North Korean Army
Kim Il Sung, the puppet of Stalin sacrifices your life for his Russian Ringmaster!
The back is all text and says in part:
Greetings from the United Nations to the brave warriors of the North Korean IV Corps.
The United Nations knows that you have relieved the I Corps which suffered grievously under U.N. artillery and naval gunfire.
The U.N. regrets that you have been selected for the slaughter by the traitorous Kim Il Sung in order that he can make his Russian master happy...
150,000 copies of this leaflet were disseminated over North Korean Troops.
This brightly colored leaflet was printed on 4 January 1953. It was aimed at the 179th Chinese Army Division. It was requested by the 7th Republic of Korea Division and is a message from a former Communist soldier who defected to the South. 100,000 copies of the leaflet were printed and dropped on Chinese troops in February. The leaflet depicts the soldier looking at scenes of destruction, then at a scene of him surrendering, and finally standing beside an American sergeant with a big smile on his face. The text in part is:
COMRADES OF THE 179TH CHINESE ARMY DIVISION
I am Wang Chun Fang, formerly a fighter of the 536th Regiment, 179th Division. I do not want to die for Soviet Russia. I want to remain alive for China. Therefore, I came over to the United Nations side.
I have escaped the Communist Ghost hand and found freedom.
Some of the text on the back is:
Comrades: you are suffering in this icy, snowy, foreign country. Please think it over. Since the Communists are only Russian stooges why should you suffer and die for them on a foreign battlefield? If you do not escape from the Communist Ghost hand, is there any way out other than death for you?
Comrades: You have your parents, wives, and children left at home. Arent you anxious about them? Dont you want to reunite with them? I have already escaped to the U.N. side, safe and happy. I hope you too come over to save your life and live to rejoin your family
The term Ghost hand implies an unseen foreign (Soviet) control of the Chinese forces.
This leaflet was printed on 16 January 1953 as part of Plan Divide, designed to foster dissention between the Chinese and the Russians. It depicts Russian Premier Josef Stalin on the front and the text:
WARRIORS OF THE CHINESE COMMUNIST FORCES
BEHOLD THE MURDEROUS SYMBOL AND CRAFTY FACE OF YOUR BETRAYER!
The back depicts dead Chinese in the snow and some of the following text:
Warriors of the Chinese Communist Forces!
Look about you! Many of your comrades are gone, killed in useless attacks.
Because Stalin and the Russian Communists have forced you into this war. Because they care nothing for dead Chinese soldiers
Be careful, soldiers of the IB Corps! Hide yourselves from the sharp eyes of the U.N artillery and naval gunfire.
625,000 copies of this leaflet were disseminated over North Korean Troops.
This leaflet depicts a stunning picture of the Communist Chinese flag in full color. It targets the 416th Chinese Army Regiment. It was requested by the 1st Republic of Korea Division. 60,000 of these leaflets were printed on 2 February 1953. It welcomes the regiment to the front lines (which must have been unnerving) and reminds them that they are there because of the terrible losses taken by their predecessor, the 2nd Battalion. Text on the front is:
Welcome back to the Front Lines Warriors of the 416th Chinese Regiment!
May your Stay in the Front Lines be marked by Wisdom and Caution!
The back of the leaflet depicts the flag again, but adds a black coffin.
The United Nations mourns the unnecessary dead of the 2nd Battalion who died in the cause of Communist Russia on 23 January 1953.
Korean Flag Leaflet
We have no data on this leaflet. It was apparently requested by the Koreans on 23 February 1953, but we do not know how many were printed or exactly when they were dropped. It bears a Korean code of 123. I added it because in this article we show United Nations flags and Communist Chinese flags and I thought we should show that we also printed flags of the Republic of (South) Korea. My Korean translator adds:
I am surprised it is so well drawn. Believe it or not many Korean natives cannot draw the national flag correctly because those black short lines at the four corners. I think the flag you sent is correct. There are some misspellings which is not surprising.
The translation is:
The National Flag
When you find this leaflet, please pick it up and hold it until such time as you meet a Republic of Korea or a United Nations Soldier.
The secret security report states that First Lieutenant Jack E. Epperson assumed command of the unit effective 15 May 1953.
The unit has 350 tons of paper and that is considered sufficient for six months of propaganda printing. Ten ground loudspeaker teams are committed to front-line activity. There are also eight Korean Army loudspeaker teams. The U.S. Armys 45th Division has its own team and the Marines have two teams. There are 21 teams along the front lines, and the Unit reminds headquarters that they are just organized to support nine loudspeaker teams.
The unit now has 41 Air Force personnel attached, apparently assigned to the 581st Reproduction Squadron for on-the-job training in in the production of PSYWAR leaflets under actual operational conditions. An Air Force report states that the Publication Platoon of the First L&L Company and the 581st Reproduction Squadron have the same primary mission, to support PSYWAR operations in the units to which they are attached.
Twelve Koreans are assigned to the unit getting on-the-job training with the Publication Platoon.
The Propaganda Platoon produced 17 leaflets during the Month of May. 1,653,750 leaflets per week were printed. The total May leaflet count was 6,615,000.
The Loudspeaker Platoon broadcast 1,353 messages during the month for a total of 368 hours.
Plan Divide was terminated on 30 April 1953. However, divisive themes still play an important part in the daily broadcasts. For instance, themes concerning lack of family life and concerns over wives and children, all meant to show how much better life was before the Communist takeover.
The enemy responded with 31 broadcasts. The messages were generally unintelligible, but the music could be heard. Most of the broadcasts featured attacks on South Korean President Syngman Rhee and American imperialists. One message was Why cant we agree on peace.
Cover of the May booklet
This leaflet has a great image of American fight-bombers strafing and bombing Korean troops in the field. It was printed on 26 April 1953, requested by the U.S. 5th Air Force. It was to be dropped immediately after an air attack when the Koreans were thought to be more susceptible to propaganda. The front of the leaflet asks:
WHERE IS THE COMMUNIST AIR FORCE?
Some of the text on the back is:
Day and night U.S. air power destroys military targets in North Korea without opposition.
Your Communist leaders promise airplanes to protect you BUT HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?
Your eyes tell you that U.S. Air Power controls the skies. Your eyes do not deceive you as your Communist leaders do.
Military historians will recall that this was the same theme used against Germany in WWII when leaflets were dropped asking Where is the Luftwaffe? The concept is to so embarrass the enemy air force that they come up to fight and can be wiped out. 1,000,000 copies of this leaflet were disseminated over North Korean Troops.
The same propaganda theme was used in leaflet 8735. On this leaflet, USAF F-80 "Shooting Stars" are seen bombing a Red Chinese convoy. This leaflet was requested by the U.S. 5th Air Force. It was to be dropped immediately after a U.S. air attack to show the lack of Communist air support. One million copies of this leaflet were printed on 26 April 1950, but dropped in May. Once again, the title is:
WHERE IS THE COMMUNIST AIR FORCE?
The text on the back is the same as leaflet 8426 and says in part:
Day and night U.N. military air power destroys military targets in North Korea without opposition. Your Communist leaders promise airplanes to protect you BUT HAVE YOU SEEN THEM?
This is one of my favorite leaflets because it is a pin-up girl for the Chinese. In WWII, many American soldiers carried a photograph of movie star Betty Grable in a bathing suit or Rita Hayworth in lingerie. During the Korean War I had a photograph of Mitzi Gaynor in a low-cut blouse inside my locker. The Chinese were much more parochial, so their pin-up was a properly dressed lady. The leaflet in the booklet is marked rerun with no data or translation so that means it was so popular that it was being printed again. This is a strategic leaflet since it is aimed at all Chinese troops and not just a named unit as in the case of tactical leaflets. We know from other documents that it was first printed on 8 March 1953. The leaflet is designed to stimulate longing for normal human relationships and to create dissension against the government which denies them. The front depicts a photograph of a beautiful woman in a formal silk dress. 500,000 of these leaflets were dropped on the Communist Chinese troops on 14 May 1953, and they were dropped on other earlier occasions. The text is:
No wife, no sons and daughters
In life, what other happiness is there?
The back is blank. In later wars the back would always be covered with some kind of pattern so that the enemy could not place their own propaganda there.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this leaflet is that it turned out that the pretty young woman was the very patriotic daughter of a South Korean Minister who had never given permission for her to be photographed. Allegedly, when the minister saw a copy of the leaflet and heard that it had been dropped all over North Korea he was furious.
This leaflet depicts North Koreans attacking U.N. forces and being decimated. 625,000 copies of this leaflet were disseminated over North Korean Troops on 18 May 1953. The text was written by the U.S. 45th Army Division. The text on the front of the leaflet is:
FIGHTERS OF THE NORTH KOREAN ARMY
YOU ARE FIGHTING A WAR YOU CANNOT WIN!
Some of the text on the back is:
Attention Communist soldiers. We are going to strike you heavily with artillery, napalm, machine guns everything. We have all the weapons we need and will not hesitate to use them.
Why fight against such odds? You are fighting a losing battle. We can strike you with ten times the destruction you can return to us. With us, war means life or death
Come over to our side or die fighting against everything that God has given us to fight with as soldiers. We will welcome you.
200,000 copies of this leaflet were disseminated over North Korean Troops. This same image was printed in June 1954 with code number 8747 and text changed to Your selfish Communist chieftains are wasting you lives in futile attacks It was reprinted a third time in June 1954 with code number 8752 and text changed to a message to the soldiers of the 67th Chinese Division.
This leaflet was printed on 30 April 1953 for use against the 23rd Chinese Army. The United States Army IX Corps requested it to try and convince the Chinese soldiers of the good treatment they would receive in U.N. hands. 450,000 copies of this leaflet were dropped on the Chinese on 1 May 1953. There is a long text on the front and back. Some of it is:
Fighters of the 23rd Chinese Army
This is your ex-comrade Wang Ming-fu. Please read the letter he wrote to you.
On 13 April 1953, I left the Communist troops and came over to the U.N. side.
I am very happy here because now I am not subjected to the indignity of self-criticism meetings or forced to work constantly digging bunkers and tunnels. I also do not have to live in constant fear of U.N. artillery and air attacks.
I sleep in a comfortable bed, eat plenty of good food, travel in a vehicle, and keep warm by a good stove what a happy life!
Printed 5 May 1953, this anti-morale leaflet depicts rural home life in China and contrasts it to the wet and muddy front-line life in a bunker. Intelligence reports stated that life in the Chinese bunkers was miserable, especially since the coming of the spring thaw. The leaflet seeks to cause a nostalgic feeling of homesickness and lower the Chinese troops morale. The short text is:
There were a number of leaflets printed in May that depicted a deserter and his message. I note leaflets 8430, 8432, 8433, 8434, and 8735. Most are similar in look with a smiling deserter on one side and a text message on the back. I chose to add leaflet 8430 because it is a bit more imaginative with the use of color and the U.N. flag. Three million copies of this leaflet were printed on 20 May 1953, requested by the I Korean Corps for use against the 3rd North Korean Division. Some of the text is:
OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE NORTH KOREAN 3RD DIVISION
LEE UN KYU CAME OVER TO THE U.N. SIDE AND IS ENJOYING FREEDOM WITH HOPE.
LEE UN KYE LOOKS OVER THE OLD FARMS WHICH HE HAS NOT SEEN SINCE 25 JUNE 1950,
AND REFLECTS UPON THE SWEET MEMORY OF THE OLD TIMES.
Another leaflet aimed at the Chinese and featuring the Communist flag. 350,000 copies of this leaflet were printed on 21 May 1953 to target the Chinese 67th Division. The leaflet was requested by the U.S. I Corps. The text is:
FIGHTERS OF THE 67TH DIVISION, 23RD CHINESE ARMY - ATTENTION!
Many of your comrades have needlessly died in futile attacks. Others such as Huang Shui-chuan and Chou Chich, both of your division, have followed the road to safety by escaping to the United Nations positions. You should follow their paths to escape from Communist control. Dont sacrifice your lives needlessly. The U.N. welcomes you and assures you good treatment.
This is the only all-text leaflet I will depict in this article. I chose it because it mentions Pork Chop Hill, and I suspect many of my readers have seen the 1959 movie of that name featuring Gregory Peck as Lt. Joe Clemons, ordered to launch an attack and retake Pork Cop Hill while negotiators are at work in Panmunjom trying to bring the conflict to a negotiated end. 10,000 copies of this leaflet were printed on 25 May 1953 and aimed at the 2nd Battalion, 201st Regiment of the 23rd Chinese Army. Curiously, the text was written by the U.S. 7th Division with help from the PSYWAR Division of the Eighth Army. Aiming a leaflet at a battalion is about as tactical as you can get. The text is on the front only:
All attacks on Pork Chop Hill by the 2nd Battalion, 201st Regiment of the 67th Division, 23rd Chinese Army, have failed and many brave Chinese soldiers have been killed, wounded or captured. Think of all those failures when your foolish leaders again order you to attack Pork Chop Hill.
It is useless to attempt to take this position in the face of deadly U.N. fire power. Fire power that has killed so many of your former comrades. Escape to the U.N. and safety before your life is wasted in another foolish and futile attack on Pork Chop Hill.
The United Nations called this mountain North Hill but in the leaflet call the battle site by the designation used by the Chinese Army.
A Korean Cartoon Leaflet
This is another leaflet that was printed by the 1st L&L for their Korean allies. I like it because it actually shows psychological warfare in action. A family comes across aerial leaflets dropped from United Nations aircraft. They read the text and are reassured. This leaflet seems to have been part of an Operations Research Office (ORO) John Hopkins University project. The Far East Command used these ORO studies to evaluate how well they were doing in specific areas. Most of the studies were done early in the war when U.S. PSYWAR was in its infancy, so their conclusions are not always accurate. We know that 30,000 leaflets were printed but we dont know when or where they were disseminated. The leaflet bears no code number. The text on the front is:
You see the leaflet.
You pick up the leaflet.
You read the leaflet.
You keep the leaflet until someone comes to collect the leaflet.
The First L&L Company is still supporting 21 ground loudspeaker teams, both Korean and American. The Korean Loudspeaker Company was placed under the 1st L&L Company. Three loudspeaker teams were pulled from the front lines and are being held in reserve. All the loudspeaker teams, regardless of their nationality, adhere to Eighth U.S. Army policies.
The unit sold its scrap paper to local merchants and turned in a total of 29,000 Hwan to Army Finance. To date 68,100 Hwan ($812 U.S.) was turned in by the unit. The unit had one killed in action and one wounded during the month of June.
Forty-one Air Force personnel are still attached to the unit on Publications on-the-job training. Their estimated date of departure is 12 July 1953. This completes the six-month training program set up by the Army for the Air Force. No further contingent of airmen is expected. Twelve Republic of Korean Army personnel are also receiving OJT for an indefinite period of time.
The Propaganda Platoon did copy, layout and finished art work on 13 leaflets. The average weekly production of leaflets was 1,900,000, totaling 7,600,000 for the month. The unit lost 195 hours of printing time due to various breakdowns of the printing presses. The press parts bought from Japan were inferior. In all cases they failed to replace the parts broken, had to be machined to fit, and are not durable. One Davidson Press was made operable during this period. The unit now has two Davidson and Three Harris printing presses ready for tactical leaflet production.
Loudspeakers broadcasts and recorded programs played a crucial role during the war
The Loudspeaker Platoon did 1,020 broadcasts of live and recorded programs totaling 281 hours. Another 1,082 broadcasts and 208 hours of live and recorded programs were made by teams under the supervision of this unit. The US teams are assigned as follows: three teams to I Corps, four teams to IX Corps and three teams to X Corps. The supervised teams are nine Korean teams assigned to ROK divisions. No tape recordings were made in June.
Operation Cleavage has begun. It stresses divisive and nostalgia issues. Operation Holiday stressed the various Korean holidays that were not being celebrated this year.
The enemy responded with mortar and artillery and the unit lost one generator. One enlisted man was killed and another wounded in IX Corps from strafing by an unidentified aircraft. Fourteen enemy broadcasts were heard during June. One attacked Syngman Rhee; another invited the Korean soldiers to cross the lines to talk. The remainder was unintelligible except for the music selections.
This leaflet depicts a miserable North Korean soldier in a bunker at the left, and at right a scene of his family life at home in North Korea. It was printed on 10 May 1953 and 750,000 were dropped on 2 June 1953. The leaflet is only printed on one side. The text:
WE LIVED HAPPILY LIKE THIS BEFORE THE WAR
YOU ARE LEADING A DOG PIGS LIFE NOW
This leaflet features a Chinese deserter who has come over to the U.N. sides. There are numerous leaflets showing prisoners, and I picked this one simply because it has a bit of color in the red panels at left and right. The leaflet was printed on 26 May 1953 and 750,000 were dropped in June. The leaflet was requested by the U.S. Army I Corps and targets the Chinese 133rd Division. The text on the front is:
A MESSAGE TO THE 133rd COMMUNIST CHINESE DIVISION FROM LI CHING-HSIN
Some of the text on the back is:
Comrades of the 133rd Division! I came over to the UN forces on the morning of 18 May. The conditions here are not like that propagandized by the Communist Party. Not only have I not been maltreated, but in fact I am welcomed and well treated.
Comrades; you should think carefully about what the Russian Beast Army has done in Manchuria. They are a bunch of outlaws who committed rape, pillage and murder; and mow they are occupying Manchuria, Port Arthur and Dairen. Just think; what have you achieved by risking your life for the Communists? Is it not selling your own country? Furthermore, what freedom do you have in the Chinese Army? You have to get permission just to go to the latrine
Right now, I am enjoying freedom in every respect. Please wake up quickly. Lay down your arms and never again risk you lives for the Communists.
Leaflet 8747 targeted the Chinese and depicted their troops making futile attacks against U.N. Forces and being mowed down and dying in a rain of fire. The Chinese were known to sometimes attack in human waves and this leaflet points out the terrible losses that occur in this sort of attack. The leaflet was prepared on 17 June 2953. The text is:
Your selfish communist chieftains are wasting your lives in futile attacks against the United Nations Sea of Fire. Dont be driven to a dogs death for the benefit of Russia. Live for China.
I like this leaflet a lot because of it stark coloring and the use of the United Nations flag. Many leaflets were also prepared showing the Red Chinese flag. The problem with these leaflets is that they suppose a certain amount of knowledge on the part of the Chinese soldiers. Later interviews determined that many were simple illiterate farmers drafted for the war and had no idea of what theirs or the enemy flag looked like. This leaflet was requested by the U.S. Army I Corps aimed at Chinese soldiers in reserve, encouraging them to desert. 800,000 of the leaflets were dropped on 5 June 1953. The text on the front is:
CHINESE ARMY SOLDIERS IN RESERVE UNITS ATTENTION!
Text on the back is:
You must have felt the power of U.N. aircraft and artillery or have seen your dead and wounded comrades brought to the rear. To those of you who desire to escape from the slavery of Communism and the horror of this war, the U.N. sends the following instruction:
While in the rear areas, plan your escape to U.N. lines.
When your unit is sent to the front lines there will be much confusion and relief of the old unit. During such confusion, your leaders cant watch you closely. Take that opportunity to escape.
Escape from your lines during the night, hide yourself, and at first light of day come into the U.N. lines. When you come over, raise your hands above your head with fingers stretched, and dont carry any weapons.
Once you come over, regardless of your rank or political belief, you will be welcomes and well treated.
There are many United Nations leaflets that promise good treatment but in this leaflet a Chinese soldier with an arm wound is actually seen receiving medical care. This same theme would be used over and over a decade later in the Vietnam War. The leaflet was requested by the U.S. Army 3rd Division. They supplied the photograph of the wounded Chinese soldier. The leaflet was printed on 8 June 1953. The text is in part:
FIGHTERS OF THE 24TH CHINESE ARMY
Here is a message from your comrade Huang Shih Ming. Please read the letter he wrote to you:
Comrades of the 24th Chinese army:
On 3 June 1955, I was wounded in a foolish attack and was captured by United Nations forces. Do not believe the lies of the political officers when they tell you that the U.N. will kill or mistreat you if you surrender or if you are captured. I have been given excellent medical care and good treatment, and am now safe from the constant threat of death.
Notice how quickly this leaflet was printed and disseminated. It was just five days after his capture that Huang was medically treated, photographed, and this tactical leaflet was printed and dropped on his old unit.
The Korean War was winding down in June. Everyone saw the end coming and most of the soldiers preferred to wait it out and let the politicians make the peace. There are fewer leaflets being produced and those that are tend to be of the same general type and theme. It was difficult to find four interesting leaflets from this month.
The Contested Peace Talk Table
This was a tough month to be in Korea. The war was technically about to end and nobody wanted to get killed at the last moment. The Communists were arguing over everything at the peace table to include how big the table should be, should it be round or square, and how tall off the floor it should be. There should have been no fighting, but the Communists felt that whatever ground they held they would probably keep after the armistice, so there were continual attacks and efforts to get just a few more yards of earth before the final lines were drawn. The funny part about all this is that the Korean War never really ended. The peace pipe was never smoked and the documents were never signed. So, although we have been in a fitful stalemate with North Korea for almost six decades, any soldier that is stationed there right now and returns to the United States without hearing a shot fired is eligible for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The secret security report states right at the top that the primary mission of the First L&L Company was terminated on 27 July 1953 with the signing of the armistice.
The unit still had 15 loudspeaker teams in the field, another three having been brought in from the cold. One enlisted man was reported as missing. The Air Force personnel completed their on-the-job training and departed 12 July 1953. The Korean soldiers completed their OJT on 28 July 1953.
The Propaganda Platoon designed and printed 16 leaflets. An average of 1,445,000 leaflets was printed each week for a monthly total of 5,780,000. There was a loss of approximately 547 production hours due to the printing presses breaking down. Because the work load was down, the Harris printing presses were torn down and rebuilt during the month. The unit received 3,000 reams of paper and 500 pounds of gum Arabic.
The Loudspeaker Platoon made 602 broadcasts totaling 157 hours. The Korean teams under the Companys supervision made 813 broadcasts totaling 359 hours. One tape message was prepared entitled To the real Chinese patriots.
Operation Cleavage continued with emphasis on divisive issues. Republic of Korea teams stressed defection during this period. Operations ceased on the afternoon of 27 July with all teams broadcasting news of the signing of the armistice to their supporting units. All teams are scheduled to return to their company by 31 July.
In general, psychological operations frown on photographs of dead or disfigured soldiers. Research has shown that the enemy is not frightened by these pictures, but instead becomes irate and feels hatred for those that killed his friends. Having said that, the fact is that PSYOP soldiers love to print these pictures and drop them on the enemy. There is a feeling among PSYOP people that these pictures will scare the Hell out of an enemy and motivate him to surrender or defect. This leaflet is a case in point. It was printed on 14 July 1953 and targets the Chinese Army opposite the U.S. Eighth Army. 500,000 leaflets were air-dropped. The text is:
OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE CHINESE ARMY
Why are you sent to certain death in needless attacks, when your leaders at Panmunjom are ready to sign an armistice? Why be killed now with peace so close?
I normally would not show an all-text leaflet like this. I think the readers want to see the artwork and color so try to pick leaflets that are interesting to look at. However, this leaflet has an important text. During WWII the Allies dropped leaflets on Germany and Japan that warned the enemy not to be killed at five minutes to twelve. It was a way of saying the last minute. These leaflets would show a clock and ask the enemy troops why they would want to die in the last few minutes of a war when they could live and return home. This leaflet does not use the clock theme, but the message is the same. 500,000 copies of the leaflet were dropped on 16 July 1953. The text on the front is:
WHILE PEACE IS SO NEAR, WHY MUST YOU BE FORCED TO DIE?
The text on the back is:
While your Communist leaders talk peace at Panmunjom, they send you to die in useless attacks. Why are you forced to face death now, when an armistice will be signed soon? Are a few feet of territory worth the death of many brave Chinese soldiers? Dont be one of those who must die with peace so near!
I think we are beginning to see a pattern here. Once again the image on the leaflet is one of dead Chinese soldiers. 750,000 copies of the leaflet were dropped on front-line Chinese troops opposite the U.S. Eighth Army on 16 July 1953. Text on the front is:
Will you be alive to see peace come, or will your life be wasted in foolish fighting?
Text on the back is:
While you face death and destruction in useless and bloody attacks, your Communist leaders talk peace at Panmunjom.
Think twice before putting your life in danger! Live so that you may enjoy the peaceful life that may come at any time.
As might be expected since the war was theoretically over, the August monthly report is rather thin. For the troops things are not nearly as comfortable as they were while the fighting was going on. The days of a scruffy haircut and muddy boots are over. Suddenly, people are checking shaves and uniform brass and polish on boots.
Were I there as a senior NCO I would be outside each morning telling the men to line up shoulder to shoulder and prepare to march around the barracks. I dont want to see nothing but assholes and elbows. If it isnt green, pick it up. Then one or two men would be assigned to painting all the rocks along the pathway into the building a bright shiny white. There would be lots of PT and lots of inspections of the men, their gear, their vehicles and their barracks. It is time to check the shot records, the 201 file, write evaluations for the men and see that the paperwork such as life insurance and dependents is up to date. The peacetime army aint for sissies. A busy unit is a happy unit!
A great percentage of the day is spent on training and bringing equipment to full readiness. In the case of Korea, the North Koreans were acting like madmen at the negotiating table making political speeches and generally playing to the press, so there was a good chance that fighting could break out at any moment. So, the unit trains and prepares and holds itself in readiness, just in case.
The Secret Security Report states that with the signing of the armistice, the unit has assumed the mission of intensive training of personnel and maintenance of equipment in order to be prepared for the possible resumption of hostilities. The 1st L&L retains control of the Korean L&L Company.
An Engraved Invitation A Peacetime Project
The propaganda Platoon no longer had to worry about producing millions of leaflets so their priority was changed to producing requested items for the Eighth Army. Some of the items they printed and forwarded were three posters for the Eighth Army Troop Information and Education Program, one safety poster, charts and graphs for various Eighth Army units, an engraved invitation for the visit of John Foster Dulles, a 24-page leadership booklet for the 7th Infantry Division, a 48-page booklet on the care of weapons for the Far East Command, and two Republic of Korea leaflets on the subject of bandit warfare in South Korea.
The unit was on full training status to make every soldier an expert in his job. It was also designed to show each man how his job fit in with the other specialties to make the unit run more efficiently.
One loudspeaker team was assigned to the Yung Dung Po prisoner-of-war enclosure broadcasting news, music and messages to the prisoners held there. The rest of the Loudspeaker Platoon was in a training program that covered repair and maintenance of equipment, script writing and support tactics. The Korean interpreters were teaching two hours of Korean language each day. Thats it. The 32nd Monthly report is exactly two pages long.
C-198 / CZ-27
The report mentions that leaflets were prepared for the Koreans to use in their anti-bandit campaign. Since the leaflet is Korean, it bears a Korean code number in place of the U.S. numeric code. A brief word about bandits. There is no way to tell exactly who we are talking about when we see that word. They could be regular bandits like the old Jesse James gang, or they could be deserters from the South Korean Army, or even left behind spies and saboteurs from the North Korean Army. Nobody was going to take credit for these guys creating havoc in the hills, so rather than make a political problem out of them; it was easier to just call them bandits and try to kill them. The leaflet shows a very dead bandit and the text says in part:
Lee Hyun Sang is gone!
Lee Hyun Sang who commanded you through the joint conference of chairmen of all area parties has been killed. His corpse will be happily interred by a combined military and national police unit.
Give up your useless resistance and surrender to us!
Stuck in among the booklets were seven pieces of stationery. They are absolutely worthless and of no historical value so I wondered why the owner kept them. Then, I remembered what it was like when you had a Printing Platoon. Those little pads were among your most valuable assets when it came to scrounging and trading. Everyone wanted fancy menus, invitations and certificates, but their main request was personal stationery pads. There wasnt a sergeant or an officer in the army that did not want a little pad on his desk with his name prominently printed along with his rank. If you sent a note like See me tomorrow at 1000 it went out on a green note with your name and a big set of stripes printed in a deep black ink. You could get coffee, a tent, and even some nice .45 ball ammunition for a couple of stationery pads. So, I add this page and remind the readers that it is much more valuable than it looks.
Upon completion of this article the five reports were returned to their owner. Shortly afterwards they were sold on EBay for $720.
As always, the author encourages readers to write to firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or additions to this article.
Several members of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Company lost their lives in Korea. Four of them are:
Corporal Joseph C. Ratti was on a C-47 as a leaflet kicker when it was shot down on 31 December 1953.
Private David R. Cooper was on a loudspeaker mission when he was killed by an enemy artillery barrage on 16 July 1952.
Private Anthony E. Arezzo was with his loudspeaker team when it was caught in an enemy mortar attack on 15 June 1953.
Private Bernard Almeida was lost in a Chinese attack on Pork Chop Hill on 6 July 1953. His body was never found.
Although this anecdote occurred long after the end of the Korean War, I think we must add it. Perhaps one of the most interesting stories about the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Battalion concerns President John F. Kennedys visit to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in October of 1961. The story is told by retired Major Raymond Ambrozak who was a First Lieutenant and the Project officer for the presidential visit. Ambrozak says:
The big day finally arrived. Air Force One with President John F. Kennedy aboard roared into Pope Air Force Base. As the President deplaned our Battalion Photographer took several pictures of him being greeted by commanders and dignitaries. Then the photographer was whisked away to the publications platoon in the Battalion Area. The plan was to demonstrate a battlefield quick reaction leaflet capability of the Loudspeaker & Leaflet Company by taking a photo of his arrival then several hours later dropping 10,000 leaflets on him with that picture on them
A prototype of a leaflet rolling machine which truly looked like a Rube Goldberg device provided some excitement when it looked like it might tip over and fall off its trailer. Our final exhibit was the mobile printing press which, as the narrator would say, had the capability of printing one million leaflets in a 24 hour period. There was radio contact with two aircraft giving them a countdown to the time on target when the narrator would speak the line and bingo! There it was, one million leaflets streaming out of the aircraft forming a gigantic paper cloud above us
With the demonstration concluded, President Kennedy and General Yarborough climbed into a big Cadillac convertible with the top down and began to slowly drive away. Still coming down were the last of the 1,000,000 leaflets and as luck would have it a number of them found their way into the convertible as it skirted Engineer Lake. I remember hoping that one of them was one of the 10,000 with his picture. Surely he would have wanted one as a memento.
This has been a short look at the 1st Loudspeaker & Leaflet Company during the Korean War. Any reader having an interesting 1st Loudspeaker & Leaflet Company story or comment is encouraged to write the author at email@example.com.