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795B.00/4–2550: Telegram

The Chargé in Korea (Drumright) to the Secretary of State

confidential

574. During last weekend Korean Army units broke up organized resistance of remaining band of North Korean guerrillas, numbering more than 600, who had penetrated into Odae Mountain area of Kangwon Province on or about March 25. On April 21 and 22, 70 guerrillas were killed, including leader Kim Mu Hyon, 24 captured. Total result of operations against Kim Mu Hyon group, which lasted intermittently for more than three weeks, were 237 killed, 47 captured, and 172 [Page 48]small arms, 12 automatic weapons and 3 mortars seized. Kim Mu Hyon guerrillas were best trained and equipped Korean Army has yet faced. Fierceness of battles, which took place in very rugged country, attested by fact Korean Army had 57 killed, 164 wounded and 5 missing. Other large band which had simultaneously crossed parallel in area west of Kangnung was routed and virtually destroyed first week in April. Of more than 600 guerrillas who came across in total operation, it estimated not more than 50–75 remain and these are now scattered in small groups.

It perhaps significant these guerrillas had been systematically trained for a year, first at Kangdong Academy and later at other centers. They were far and away best equipped guerrillas yet to come south. It seems clear their mission was to join other guerrillas in north Kyongsang with aim of setting up “liberated area”. Communist hopes in this direction have, of course, been utterly dashed.

6th and 8th divisions of KA gave very good account of themselves in these operations, especially 8th, which acted with dispatch and efficiency and with small cost to own forces. Leadership of 6th, especially 8th Regiment, was weak and lacked aggressiveness until past week when new colonel was brought in to assume overall command.

It is understood another force of 500 guerrillas remains just north of parallel in same area. Thus far they have made no effort to come south. With loss during past three weeks of about 500 men and several hundred weapons, North Koreans may be loath to commit more men and equipment to such adventures.

Drumright