Korean War Army Tugs at Wonsan Campaign 1950

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One of the best-known Korean War Army tugs utilized by the United States during World War II and the Korean War was the Navajo class fleet tug, the USS Lipan (AT-85).
The purpose of a tug was to guide ships by towing them in the high sea or positioning them in post-combat or combat areas along with performing a host of other duties.
After its success in World War II the USS Lipan (AT-85) and her crew proved indispensable during the Korean War and were rewarded with two battle stars for their contribution during the Korean War.

Importance of the Korean Army War Tugs

A well designed war tug proved indispensable during the Korean War. Since the Allied Forces were based on the waters of the Orient it became essential to facilitate all the skirmishes and expeditions on land from a distance. That is where the water vessels became very important and had to dock strategically at different friendly ports of call.

Any amphibious attack on the North Korean region was to be conducted by surprise and obviously the military personnel moving onto land would be equipped only with the weaponry that they carried.

Any other assistance would be provided by a tugboat, which would be based at a distance on the sea. This backup support would ensure that military personnel that landed on the ground would be monitored and protected from the rear.

Furthermore, backup and resources along with rescue operations can be conducted with the use of war tugs as was the case with Korean army war tugs during the campaign in Wonsan harbor in 1950.

Korean War Army Tugs at Wonsan Campaign 1950

This campaign was launched on September 17, 1942 after being planned by the United Engineering Company based in San Francisco California. After serving in the World War II a tug was commissioned to assist in landing aircraft, towing gasoline barges, disabling submarines along with target sleds which were operating off the western coast of the United States and the Western Pacific region.

When North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 the US tugboat USS Lipan (AT-85) left from Long Beach, California and set off for the Orient region onĀ  June 20, 1950.
It reached the city of Yokosuka in Japan by July 15, and that same afternoon began its operations by delivering mail along with medical amenities to the task force TF 90, which was stationed in Korean waters.

After that the next port of call was Hoko Ko in Korea and then it returned to Yokosuka as a harbor service vessel until September 5. Following that the vessel was teamed with TF 90 to assist them in Inchon Harbor for assault that utilized amphibious craft. The North Koreans were caught by surprise. The vessel next performed different salvage and towing assignments.

Docking at Iwon Harbor based near Wonsan, this Korean War Army Tug became part of the Wonsan Campaign in 1950. From November 1 onward the tug Lipan was responsible for extracting 23 highly damaged LST’s from the beach at Wonsan, planting channel buoys and recovering of anchors lost in the Wonsan Harbor.

Following that the vessel went on to the north side to lead the buoys at Hungnam Harbor and Sonjin Harbor. However, it returned to the Wonsan Harbor by November 26, 1950 and then shipped off to Sasebo in another part of the islands of Japan where it arrived on November 30, to continue serving its varied purposes.

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