페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-08-21 20:43 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 17 5. The Battle of Jiansanfeng
5. The Battle of Jiansanfeng
After the joint celebration of the army\and the people, we decided to attack an internment village of Bapandao in cooperation with Choe Hyon’s unit before going off on separate operations. In the internment village, near Jiansanfeng, were stationed approximately 300 “punitive” troops of the puppet Manchukuo army.
As a result of the success in the operations for advancing into the homeland\and the grand joint celebration of the three large units\and inhabitants, the morale of our officers\and men was sky-high. Some of them even formally proposed that we make further advances into the homeland,\or attack areas such as the Changbai county town, to demonstrate once more the stamina of the People’s Revolutionary Army, taking advantage of the large forces we had assembled.
From the tactical point of view, however, it would be disadvantageous to repeat the advance into the homeland immediately after the attack of Pochonbo. An attack on the Changbai county town also required prudent consideration, since the atmosphere in the Hyesan area was alarming. High spirits\and desires alone would not ensure victory in a battle. So I chose Bapandao for the next target of attack.
Comradesrom the 2nd Division had provided us with information about Bapandao, giving us detailed account of the situation there when they visited our secret camp. Later we had formed an underground\organization in Bapandao. Among the members of the underground was a former soldier of the puppet Manchukuo army who had the surname of Liu. He had a strong sense of self-respect\and had been given the cold shoulder by his commanding officers. Because his superiors had applied undue pressure upon him, he had come over to our side\and served as a squad leader. He had also told us of the conditions in the battalion of the puppet Manchukuo army.
Generally speaking, after attacking a massed enemy force at its stronghold, the guerrilla army usually got away by applying the tactic of the swift march. But we did not do so after attacking Pochonbo, because the enemy by then knew guerrilla tactics well\and could take measures to counter it. In fact, the Kwantung army deployed a large, dense force on the approach to Fusong, anticipating that we would escape in the direction of Fusong. We foresaw this\and applied the manoeuvre of remaining under the nose of the enemy instead of the long-distance march.
Another reason for remaining near the border was that we intended to get detailed information on the situation in the homeland, while helping the ARF\organizations there. We also wanted to help promote the revolution in the homeland, which was on the upsurge. Slowly moving toward Bapandao, we met with political workers on the way in\order to acquaint ourselves with the progress of underground work\and give them new assignments. At the same time, we met with those in charge of local\organizations to teach them how to carry out their work.
Around this time Ri Hun, who had been in Hyesan on a fact-finding mission, sent us information through old man Han Pyong Ulrom Taoquanli that the 74th Regiment in Hamhung had suddenly arrived in Hyesan aboard dozens of lorries, had then moved in the direction of Sinpha\and had begun to cross the River Amnok. The commander of the “punitive” force was a rabid Korean officer, Kim Sok Won.
According to informationrom a different source, the commander of the Japanese 74th Regiment was Kim In Uk, also a Korean. But other information sources—underground\organizations at home\and in Changbai—reported unanimously that the commander of the enemy’s “punitive” force was Kim Sok Won.
Later we learned that for the sake of publicity the Japanese imperialists had held a grand-style send-off gathering at Hamhung Station,\where Kim Sok Won had pledged loyalty to the Japanese emperor. He was holding a blood-written banner, “Success in War”,\and vociferated that he would annihilate Kim Il Sung’s army.
He reportedly babbled that he was leaving for “punitive” operation on assignment by his superiors because he knew the tactics of the communist army well, that the 74th Regiment would prove its worth before long\and that the communist troops would meet a sad fate, like dead leaves falling in the autumn wind, before the mighty imperial army.
Send-off ceremonies were also held for Kim Sok Won’s 74th Regiment on leaving Hyesan\and Sinpha. Stooges of the Japanese imperialists forced people to attend them, making a house-to-house visit. Policemen, influential Japanese people, government officials\and reservists made a great noise on the street, singing songs\and waving the national flag of Japan. The strength of the “punitive” troops was so large that a wooden ferryboat with a seating capacity for 30-40 was said to have ferried them back\and forthrom Sinpha the entire day.
It was wonderful that Ri Hun, who was not even a trained secret agent, obtained the amount of detailed information. Ri Hun, who received the assignment to scout the enemy’s movements in Hyesan for us, decided to penetrate its destination in the guise of a timber dealer. He assigned the branch chiefs of the ARF in Shijiudaogou to fell several hundred trees in a few days,\and made a raft of them. He obtained an ID card as a timber dealer.
Ri Hun had worked as a raftsman in lumber yards for eight years. Together with an\organization member he made a raft\and left for Hyesan. By good luck, on the shore he met an old man, a relative of the police inspector Choe. Choe was a wicked policeman who had arrested many patriots during the “Hyesan incident”. It was Choe who apprehended Pak Tal.
Seeing Ri Hun, who had brought several hundred pieces of lumber with him, the old man asked him to sell him a couple. Ri Hun gave him two for nothing, saying, “How can I sell them to the uncle of police inspector Choe for money?” Very pleased, the old man introduced him to a timber dealer in the town. The old man said that the son-in-law of the timber dealer, like his nephew, was serving at the Hyesan Police Station.
After making his acquaintance with the timber dealer, Ri Hun asked him to help him, saying, “It is dangerous to live in Changbai because there are many bandits there. After making money by selling timber, I intend to move to Hyesan.” He sold timber to the timber dealer at half the price\and got acquainted with his son-in-law, a policeman by the name of Kim, staying in his house for several days. Ri Hun even arranged a party for him.
Ri Hun invited policeman Kim\and the timber dealer to a restaurant. That day, the policeman, in his cups, let out the secret that Kim Sok Won’s regiment was to arrive in Hyesan at a certain hour on a certain date.
Policeman Kim said, “The prestige of the empire has plummeted to the ground because of the Pochonbo incident. It seems that Kim Sok Won has come to enhance the prestige of the military authorities. He is said to be an able soldier. He is also said to have assured that he would defeat Kim Il Sung’s army\and conquer West Jiandao, but we must wait\and see the result.
Anyway, when the communist army engages with the Kim Sok Won’s troops, it will be a tough fight.”
On the day the 74th Regiment entered Hyesan, Ri Hun, clad in a high-quality Western suit\and spring overcoat like a gentleman, came out to the street\and stealthily wormed his way into the midst of senders-off to observe what the strength of the “punitive” force was\and how many guns\and machine-guns it had. No sooner had the send-off ceremony ended than he crossed the River Amnok\and sent us a messenger. Simultaneously with the arrival of this messenger at Headquarters, another messenger, sent by Jang Hae U\and Kim Jong Suk, arrived to give us more detailed information. He said that the enemy troops, which had crossed the River Amnok, had disappeared at Shisandaogou,\and that\organization members were looking for them. The information sent by Ri Hun coincided with that sent by the\organizations in Taoquanli\and Sinpha. Judging by messages sent by local\organizations, the strength of the enemy called out on “punitive” operations was estimated at about 2,000 troops.
Judgingrom the fact that the 74th Regiment of Hamhung, the crack unit of the Japanese army stationed in Korea, had been called out on “punitive” operations, the Governor-General of Korea had to be in a furious\and hysterical state. Hit at Pochonbo\and in the border area, the enemy was thrown into utter confusion. As the aggressive war against China proper was impending, the Japanese imperialists became very nervous about the safety of their rear. At a time such as this the Korea-Manchuria border area, vaunted to be an “iron wall”, had been thrown into disorder, so it was quite natural that the Governor-General was angry.
The prevailing situation showed that we had been wise to agree, while drawing up our operations plan in Xigang, that the troops advancing in three directions should get together after the advance into the homeland.
The 2,000-strong enemy was superior to us by far in size. In such situation it was usual practice to avoid an engagement. But we decided on a frontal confrontation with this large Japanese force, which had comerom Korea. It was general tactics of guerrilla warfare to disperse rapidly\and manoeuvre when a large enemy force came in for an attack, but contrary to the established practice, I decided to counter the enemy’s large force with our own large force.
We halted our march toward Bapandao\and decided to choose a battlefield. Climbing up a mountain west of Laomajia, we reconnoitred the terrain. This was Jiansanfeng, with an open field of view all around. Jiansanfeng consisted of three peaks in the north of Xigang plateau, which stretched over 25 milesrom Shisandaogou to Badaogou. In the north of Jiansanfeng there was a boundless primeval forest\and beyond it soared the Sidengfang mountains. The area was called Sidengfang.
In the south of it a sea of forests extends over 25 miles in the east-west direction. This was Xigang plateau, which was dotted with villages like Bapandao\and Laojusuo. The three peaks of Jiansanfeng rose over the vast primeval forest like three islands.rom our point of view, Jiansanfeng was most suitable for a battlefield because the enemy had to turn the bend leading to Xigangrom Shisandaogou\and cross several awkward mountain ridges on their way there.
In the evening our commanding officers got together\and discussed the combat plan. I stressed the need to apply guerrilla tactics instead of being caught in the enemy’s regular tactics.
For this purpose we had to occupy the mountain ridges by way of forestalling the enemy\and compel him to descend into the valley. We should avoid the stereotypical troop disposition as well, seeing to it that a large force was placed in the spots to which the enemy might expect us to pay little attention\and making sure that in the course of fighting the troops used flexible tactics suited to the circumstances—rapidly moving to the right\and to the left, for example,\and taking advantage of the forest cover.
After working out the combat plan with the commanding officers of the 4th\and 2nd Divisions, I discussed the work\orientation\and duties of the revolutionary\organizations with Kwon Yong Byok, Kim Jae Su, Jong Tong Chol\and other political workers of the homeland\and Changbai area who had come to Jiansanfeng in answer to our call. By this time it was dawn.
That morning the enemy attacked Jiansanfeng.rom dawn on it drizzled\and a mist arose. The first signal shot rang outrom the sentry post on the mountain ridge occupied by Choe Hyon’s unit. I immediately went to the command post on the mountain ridge. Choe Hyon went to the forward edge with one company, fearing that the outpost might be surrounded by the enemy. The enemy soon encircled Choe Hyon’s company.
The situation had to be straightened out immediately, because morale depended on how the battle started. I told Ri Tong Hak to take the Guard Company with him\and rescue Choe Hyon’s company as soon as possible. The Japanese attacked hard with the puppet Manchukuo troops placed in front of them as a shield, but Choe Hyon’s\and Ri Tong Hak’s companies hit hard at the enemy in cooperationrom within\and without,\and the siege crumbled. The company was rescued after bitter hand-to-hand fighting.
After reversing the situation, we hit hard at the enemy all day long, driving them into the valley time\and again.
However, the Japanese ran wild like beasts of prey, attacking tenaciously. They came at us in continuous waves, raising battle cries\and treading on the dead bodies of their companions. During the defence of Xiaowangqing we had resisted the attack of the Jiandao detachment of the Japanese army, which had come overrom Korea,\and we thought them very tenacious. But the attack of the 74th Regimentrom Hamhung was even fiercer than that. With 10 machine-guns we set up a barrage of fire in front, but the enemy continued to swarm up.
They continued attack all day long, so we had to fight a really tough fight. In some places the enemy broke into our positions\and we had to engage in close combat. To make matters worse, it kept raining. The battlefield presented an appalling sight.
We wondered how militarism could make people so tenaciously\and senselessly barbaric. The “Yamato spirit”, loudly touted everywhere by the Japanese militarists, produced a multitude of idiots who mistook injustice for justice\and evil for good, blind followers who died a dog’s death by throwing themselves before the muzzles of rifles like butterflies, yet boasted that this was the samurai spirit. These were barbarians who drank a toast\and had souvenir photos taken with a stack of dead bodiesrom some other nation in the background, lunatics who thought that when they died, the Amaterasu Omikami (celestial sun goddess) would take care of them, the emperor would pray for their souls\and the Japanese nation would remember them for ever. The Japanese warlords\and ministers praised this as the spirit of the Japanese army, likening the men\and officers who died in such manner to cherry blossoms, which bloom for a short time\and wither.
The Japanese soldiers believed that their death was a rich fertilizer for the prosperity of the Japanese empire, but this was nothing but a preposterous daydream. The “Royal spirit” led Japan to national ruin, not to prosperity.
Our men\and officers, who saw the Japanese troops in this light, looked down on them with the pride of revolutionaries\and victors who would repulse them no matter how tenaciously they attacked.
Taking advantage of the situation, we struck the enemy hard till dusk fell. While fighting, the women guerrillas sang the song Arirang, which resounded across the fighting ranks. Only the strong can sing a song in the field of heavy battle. Arirang sung in the battlefield of Jiansanfeng showed the psychological strength of the revolutionary army\and its optimism. It is not difficult to imagine what feelings the singing of Arirang aroused in the enemy.
Later prisoners of war confessed that on hearing the song they were nonplussed at first, seized with fear next,\and at last felt the futility of life. Some of the wounded wept, bemoaning their fate,\and there were even a number of deserters.
The enemy did not suspend attack in the heavy rain until the evening, although they suffered many casualties. We sent messengers to Pak Song Chol’s small unit, which was on its way backrom reconnaissance in the Bapandao area,\and to a food-procurement team, telling them to strike the enemyrom behind. Kim Sok Won was threatened with attackrom both front\and rear; in addition, dusk was falling, so he fledrom the battlefield, taking with him about 200 men, all that remained of his regiment.
The battle of Jiansanfeng produced many interesting anecdotes. Kim Ja Rin, Choe Hyon’s bugler, was in such a hot hurry that he shot a grenade-launcher by setting it on his thigh, getting his thighbone dislocated by the recoil.
Choe Hyon hurled abuse at Kim Ja Rin while annihilating the enemy that swarmed about their gun position by shooting off a grenade-launcher once\or twice. He then put Kim’s dislocated thighbone right, pulling Kim Ja Rin’s leg with both hands. We heard that Kim Sok Won was wounded by one of our grenades that day but I do not know whether it was true\or not.
The “punitive” expedition of the 74th Regimentrom Hamhung ended in a fiasco.
Some of the enemy soldiers who survived in Jiansanfeng fled to other cities instead of returning to Hamhung. According to data, an enemy soldier, Sakai, did not follow Kim Sok Won but fled to Chongjin,\where he ran a public house till the defeat of Japan. Thinking it a blessing that he survived at Jiansanfeng, he told his story to the customers whenever he found time.
According to him, although he was Japanese he spoke Korean,\and this saved his life.
The Japanese officers had apparently driven their men into the attack, telling them to climb up the mountain ridge at the risk of their lives. Sakai went half-way up the mountain, trembling. When the Japanese had nearly reached the ridge, the revolutionary army suddenly fired a volley. This caused dozens of casualties in the ranks of the Japanese.
Sakai ran back down to the foot of mountain despite himself. Then a shout “Koreans, lie prostrate!” was heardrom the direction of the ridge. Hearing the shout, Sakai who knew Korean prostrated himself beside the dead bodies of his companions in bewilderment, throwing away his weapon.
In the evening the guerrillas searched the battlefield to gather rifles\and cartridge belts. They went away leaving Sakai alone, taking him for dead. Seized with terror\and utter war-weariness, he crept down the mountain under cover of darkness\and reached an internment village on all fours.
“Luckily I knew a bit of Korean. This saved my life. So I am now studying it hard.” This is what Sakai used to say to people over a cup of wine.
Anecdotes about Jiansanfeng\and rumours about us spread widely in Chongjin\and its surroundings because of Sakai’s story. The confession of a soldier in the aggressor army, who deserted the service\and became a petit bourgeois, did much to raise the morale of our people.
Our comrades who visited the villages near the battlefield some time after the battle of Jiansanfeng returned with a detailed account of the enemy’s defeat.
The day after the battle the enemy carried away the dead bodies of their soldiers, requisitioning stretchers, carts\and lorriesrom Hyesan, Sinpha\and villages near Jiansanfeng. According to the peasants there, Jiansanfeng\and villages near it were littered with corpses of Japanese troops. The enemy covered the dead bodies with white cotton cloth\and did not allow inhabitants to come near. They feared that their defeat would be exposed to the world. When they published news about the battle at Jiansanfeng in the newspapers, they conveyed the false information that there were few casualties.
I am told that it took Kim Sok Won all day to cross the River Amnokrom Sinpha to attack us, but only half an hour to return.
There were so many casualties that heads were cut offrom the dead bodies, packed in sacks\and wooden boxes\and carried on carts to the place\where lorries were waiting. They were loaded into the lorries, which crossed the River Amnok. Peasants in the Jiansanfeng area were to have been nearly smothered for several days by the smoke\and smell of burning corpses.
A peasant, feigning ignorance, asked a Japanese soldier disposing of corpses, “Sir, what do you carry on the cart?” The Japanese soldier replied cunningly, “It is kabocha.” Kabocha means pumpkin.
The peasant ridiculed him with a grin, “You have a bumper crop of pumpkins. It will serve for good soup stock. You will have a plenty of it.”rom then on the expression “pumpkin head” spread among the people. Whenever they saw dead bodies of Japanese soldiers, they joked, calling them “pumpkin heads”.
Kim Sok Won\and his runaway troops returned cautiously to Hamhung, via Sinpha\and Phungsan, instead of passing through the busy streets of Hyesan. Hamhung Station, which had been so alive with its noisy send-off on their departure, was as desolate as a house of mourning on their arrival. Only the soldiers who had remained in their barracks came to the station to meet them. They passed down the street, hiding the wounded soldiers in the midst of their ranks. Perhaps they did such a seedy thing to hoodwink the citizens\and cover up their defeat.
Mudokjong in Hamhung was known as a fencing ground for Japanese soldiers. After the Jiansanfeng battle they did not do fencing there for some time. After Jiansanfeng, in fact, even the sound of the night watch making his rounds was said to have disappearedrom the streets of Sinpha.
Defeat at the battle of Jiansanfeng brought irretrievable disgrace to the samurai of Japan,\and the name of Kim Sok Won stood for disgrace.
The battles at Pochonbo\and Jiansanfeng completely foiled the so-called “radical strategy” that Minami, Governor-General of Korea,\and Ueda, commander of the Kwantung army, had worked out while holding their “Tumen conference” with a view to annihilate the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army.
This successfully concluded the operation for advance into the homeland by large forces, which we had planned in early 1937.
Jiansanfeng marked a milestone in the history of our anti-Japanese armed struggle. This battle, together with the battle at Kouyushuishan, consolidated the success of the Battle of Pochonbo. Kouyushuishan\and Jiansanfeng added lustre to the victory gained at Pochonbo. They can be said to be the echoes of Pochonbo.
Through these battles we shattered the myth of the “invincible imperial army”\and demonstrated once again the might of the KPRA to the world. Jiansanfeng was an important battle that played a conspicuous part in bringing the anti-Japanese revolution to its zenith after the KPRA’s advance into the area around Mt. Paektu.
By the irony of fate, our sworn enemy Kim Sok Won again confronted Choe Hyon on the 38th parallel after liberation. Choe Hyon was in command of a Guard Brigade there. Syngman Rhee supposedly sent Kim Sok Won to the 38th parallel to give him an opportunity to recover his ignominious defeat at the battle of Jiansanfeng.
According to soldiers of the “ROK army” who defected to the north, Kim Sok Won basely slandered communists while guarding the 38th parallel. Choe Hyon was on the lookout for an opportunity to give him a hard time in an encounter.
On the eve of the Korean war, Kim Sok Won made a large-scale surprise raid across the 38th parallel. Thus a battle took place on Mt. Songak. He seemed to have intended to give Choe Hyon a hard time,\or dispose of him. Enraged, Choe Hyon annihilated the troops of the “ROK army”\and pursued the runaway troops to Kaesong. He wanted to capture Kim Sok Won, chasing him to Seoul.
I gave Choe Hyon a rigid\order to withdraw immediately. I said to him, “In the past he fought as the faithful dog of the Japanese imperialists, but now he is subject to the United States. If not enough care is taken, it may become a fratricidal, all-out war. Kim Sok Won, too, is a Korean. Some day he will repent of his misdeed.”
Choe Hyon\and Kim Sok Won are dead\and gone. Now new generations in the north\and the south, which did not experience the sorrow of a ruined nation, continue to keep guard along the Military Demarcation Line, levelling guns at each other. My hope is that the new generations in the north\and the south will act as one\and pull down the artificial barrier that cuts the nation in half as soon as possible. I hope to see them lead a harmonious life in an independent, reunified country. I suppose that Kim Sok Won, too, had this same desire in his last years.
등록된 댓글이 없습니다.