At the Armed Forces History Museum, the landing at Inchon Korea by the 1st US Marine division was an outstanding and incredible feat and risk taken by General MacArthur. This diorama, with the LST features a platoon of US marines in full gear. The platoon was led by Lt. Baldomero Lopez, who in this diorama is mounting the ladder and going over the top of the 40 foot high wall. Shortly after climbing over the wall, Lt. Lopez heroically gave his life as he rolled onto a grenade to save his platoon. This outstanding and courageous young officer was from Tampa, FL and received the Medal of Honor posthumously.
In memory of Lt. Lopez, his family generously donated Lt. Lopez’s uniforms and other pieces of memorabilia, including his uniform the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. These rare pieces of military memorabilia are an outstanding example of continuing support for the museum by the public.
Also on display in this area is a BAE 40mm anti-aircraft gun being towed by a WC51 Weapons Carrier. Both pieces are original and in excellent operating condition.
A Brief Review of the Inchon Landing
A battle of the Korean War, the Battle of Inchon (or the Inchon Landing) was an amphibious invasion and the turning point of the war in favor of the United Nations. Over 75,000 troops, along with 261 naval vessels, took part in this invasion, which – in just two weeks – led to the recapture of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Gaining control of Seoul meant the NKPA (North Korean People’s Army) were somewhat severed from their supply lines in South Korea. The Battle of Inchon also ended a string of victories that had recently been experienced by the NKPA.
Ground forces that took part in this invasion included the U.S. Marines, who were being commanded by the US Army’s General Douglas MacArthur. This type of amphibious assault was the result of General MacArthur’s own vision. Due to extenuating circumstances of the war, MacArthur felt it was crucial to not only make such a decisive move, but the move itself must be executed behind enemy lines. Previous assault plans involving other areas failed prior to choosing Inchon. MacArthur felt the element of surprise would be to his advantage as the enemy would not be expecting an invasion in such a heavily defended area.
Within a few days of relinquishing resistance, the North Koreans took note of their error and countered sending T-34 tanks to the beach unsupported by infantry troops. However, an F4U strike force discovered the tanks and two sets of F4U Corsair’s bombed these tanks. The tanks were heavily damaged as a result of this assault with the U.S. losing only one plane. This attack was quickly followed by M26 Pershing tanks which were able to destroy the balance of the North Korean armored division, clearing the path to capturing Inchon.