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
Much of the units early history is mentioned by Dr. Charles H. Briscoe in an article titled 1st L&L in Korea, A Photographers Record, 1952-53, Veritas, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011.
The 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company arrived in Korea in October 1950. By April 1951, they began making loudspeaker broadcasts and propaganda leaflets for use by UN troops.
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 newly activated unit then consisted of eight officers, ninety-nine enlisted men, three printing presses, twelve loudspeakers, and twenty-seven vehicles authorized. The unit administratively fell under the Eighth U.S. Army Special Troops Command, but the G-2 (Intelligence Section) exercised operational control. No priorities were given for equipment, U.S. Army Psywar School-trained personnel, or required language skills.The unit was reorganized in January 1951 and assigned to a newly created Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) operating within G-3 (Operations Section) of the Eighth Army in Korea. The 1st L&L Company became operational April 1951 when it found much of its original equipment lost in Japan, got them shipped to Korea, and collected critical TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment) equipment to become combat effective. 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.
Those early days are also mentioned in an undated and unsigned 10-page document in my files. It says in part:
In the early days of 1951, the groundwork for a Psychological Warfare School was being laid at the Army General School at Ft. Riley, Kansas, an old cavalry post. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel John O. Weaver, the PSYWAR Division of the Army General School was born. By June of 1951, it had not only graduated its first officers’ class, but it was also training several PSYWAR troop units. Shortly afterwards, several additional units were also added, and two Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet groups and two Loudspeaker and Leaflet Companies had received assignments to Europe and the Far East Command.
With the advent of the Korean War, military psychological warfare was carried on under the auspices of the United Nations. It is difficult to measure the effect of PSYWAR by land taken, victories won, enemy troops killed, or the number of prisoners captured. Yet, General Mark Clark, the Commander in Chief of the of the United Nations Forces in the Far East, credited PSYWAR with contributing greatly to the war against the Communists in Korea. Speaking in 1952, General Clark revealed that more than 65% of all prisoners taken were “directly influenced” by the intense United Nations propaganda campaign.
The Psywarrior A Weekly Newsletter Printed by the Publications Platoon
Paul A. Wolfgeher mentions the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company in an article entitled Psychological Warfare submitted to the Korean War Educator. He says:
The 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company in Korea earned credit for participating in eight campaigns during the Korean War and was awarded two meritorious unit commendations and a Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (ROKPUC). The 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company served as the Armys Tactical Psychological Warfare unit until the end of the Korean War. This unit was the first of its kind to serve in a combat zone, with loudspeakers on vehicles and aircraft, and which also disseminated propaganda from the aircraft. Some of the leaflets promised medical treatment for frostbite, undermined faith in their officers, and similarly instilled fear for soldiers safety. Another theme told of the mounting enemy dead.
An Introduction to Psychological Warfare
Since the United States had not kept up with the concept of psychological warfare since the end of WWII, this small booklet was issued to the troops about 1950 to explain the background of the specialty, the types and duties of units, and the concept of themes such as symbols, emotive words, sociological information, negative propaganda, and dozens more. The book mentions the concept of the Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company:
This is the unit which the combat soldier can call on for direct support. With its 90 enlisted men and 8 officers this unit conducts tactical propaganda operations of a field army, the word “tactical” implying direct assistance to the combat soldier during action. The composition of this company is as follows:
Publication Platoon. Responsible for printing leaflets, newsletters, booklets, and whatever else is needed.
Propaganda Platoon. Operates the Intelligence Section, intercepts enemy radio, interrogates enemy prisoners.
Loudspeaker Platoon. Composed on nine teams, each with a Jeep-mounter loudspeaker.
PSYWAR – A Major Weapon
This 15-page information bulletin number 11 is an official publication of the United States Army Europe. It is dated 30 December 1952. The cover depicts a group of Communists in a bullseye as what might be an American B-25 bomber flies over them dropping leaflets. We also see radio towers and loudspeakers. The bulletin starts by saying, “PSYWAR is not a new weapon, it is as old as war itself.” The bulletin is meant to be used as a guide to the troops and explain all the facets of PSYWAR. It says regarding the Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company:
A Captain commands the three platoons, Propaganda, Publications, and Loudspeaker, which make up a Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. The new tactical PSYWAR unit has an authorized strength of eight officers and 99 enlisted men. Flexible organization of the Company allows it to be broken down into small teams which can be assigned to divisions or smaller units.
Prisoner interrogators and intelligence personnel in the Propaganda Platoon aid propaganda specialists in preparing leaflets and broadcasts. The Propaganda Platoon also supervises monitoring of enemy propaganda.
The Publication Platoon corresponds to the Reproduction Company in the Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. A press Section equipped with light, portable, photo-offset presses print leaflets, posters, and other printed propaganda from plates prepared by the Camera and Plate Section. A Processing Section packages propaganda for delivery.
Teams, or Sections, in the Loudspeaker Platoon are equipped with amplifiers, which can be mounted on jeeps or tanks or set up in forward positions and have a range of more than one mile. Each team has an announcer-linguist, a loudspeaker technician, and a driver. Teams are usually assigned for short periods and for specific missions to combat units.
Major Steve A Fondacaro mentioned the 1st L&L in his 1988 Command and General Staff College Master of Military Art and Science Thesis titled: Strategic analysis of U.S. special operations during the Korean Conflict, 1950-1953. He said in part:
In June, 1947, the Army activated its first operational unit since the war, the experimental Tactical Information Detachment. Consisting of a total of 20 personnel, its loudspeaker and leaflet teams participated in Army training throughout the U.S. over the next three years. It was not until November, 1950 that the first psychological operations unit to conduct missions in Korea, the Tactical Information Detachment from Fort Riley, arrived in Korea. Responsible for tactical level propaganda, it was redesignated the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company and assigned to the Psychological Warfare Branch, G-2, Far East Command (FECOM) to begin tactical operations. FECOM reassigned the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company to Eighth Army upon creation of the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) in the EUSAK G-3 (Operations) in January, 1951. The Psychological Warfare Section, FECOM, created in June, 1951 was a special staff section of the General Headquarters, and focused on theater-level, strategic operations.
Later in the war, the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, furnished ground loudspeaker teams to each field division. Audible at a range of up to one mile under good conditions, these teams required sufficient protective cover, a sufficiently quiet environment, and a relatively static situation in order to be effective. The difficulty in identifying targets and creating the proper conditions for the teams to operate resulted in an extremely low broadcast rate: less than one per team per week from June through August, 1951. The ideal targets were hard-hit, isolated enemy soldiers under continuous pressure. The stabilized conditions along the military line of resistance produced few such targets and contributed to the low broadcast rate.
Weekly Loudspeaker Team Talk
Weekly Loudspeaker Team Talk provided 1st L&L personnel in the field with training materials and news from the rest of the company. Team Talk also quickly became the primary means of distributing tactical information to the loudspeaker teams, including broadcast scripts and leaflet drop schedules
Veritas, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2010
First Lieutenant Marvin R. Warshaw (Ret.), says in the winter 2004 issue of The Falling Leaf:
Fort Riley at the time was headquarters for the Adjutant Generals Publishing and Printing Department. I recruited a staff for my printing company by going to the department, and offering promotions to anyone applying for transfer to my outfit.
As commanding officer of the printing company, I worked with a civilian from a printing press making company; together he and I designed a mobile printing press, sitting on a steel bed that could be jacked up and leveled in the field.
I asked a B-29 squadron leader for permission to modify an empty 500 pound finned bomb casing by cutting the casing in half vertically, and having five shelves welded into half of the casing, so that when the casing was closed and held together by a proximity fuse, the shelves each covered the entire interior diameter of the casing. We used these bombs by inserting what we called leaflet pies curled up and held together by a piece of string.
Psychological WarfareThe United States Army produced a classified propaganda film about their PSYWAR forces in the Korean War titled Psychological Warfare – A Combat Weapon in Korea. The first reel was mostly about the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group; the second reel was mostly about the 1st Loudspeaker and leaflet Company.
Tactical Leaflets Printed by the L&L Company’s own Presses
which can Operate in Building or in Vans
Leaflets can be Dropped by Aircraft or Fired by Artillery
Here a Leaflet Shell is Prepared.
A Historical Look at the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company
1st L & L Patch
1st Loudspeaker & Leaflet Company
I have read reports of the units activities during the war and add some brief summaries from official military records.
Colonel Jack K. Norris says in his U.S. Army War College Paper entitled Tactical Psychological Warfare:
On paper, the 1st L&L Company contained about 100 personnel divided into two platoons and a headquarters element. The heart of the 1st L&L was the hog callers (loudspeaker teams) The loudspeaker platoon contained three loud speaker teams on paper but during the Korean War the 1st L&L operated closer to twenty-one teams on the battlefield.
Charles H. Briscoe discusses the 1st L&L Company in 1st L&L in Korea, a Photographers Record 1952-1953, Veritas, Vol. 3, No. 4, 2007. He says in part:
The 1st L&L mission was to conduct tactical propaganda for a field army and to provide qualified Psywar specialists as advisors to the army and subordinate corps staffs. Dissemination of tactical propaganda was to be done by leaflet, information sheets and loudspeaker
The Korean War veterans of the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, Eighth U.S. Army, held their first reunion at Ft. Bragg, N.C., in May 2007. Four Psywar veterans who were killed in action in Korea were commemorated when their names were added to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Memorial Wall.
Members of the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company load a Leaflet Bomb
Charles H. Briscoe writes about the company again in Veritas, Volume 7, No. 1, 2011. He adds:
Chinese and Korean propaganda scripts and taped broadcasts were approved by the Projects Branch Chief of the G-3 Psywar Division before being distributed to loudspeaker teams. English, Chinese and Korean translations were done by university-educated writers isolated from reality in Seoul. Most scripts were too sophisticated for majority of the target audience uneducated conscripted Chinese and North Korean peasants.
The Publications Platoon turned the artwork, photography, and written messages prepared by the Propaganda Platoon into paper leaflets, information sheets, and poster dissemination for loudspeaker teams, Air Force and Army aircraft and artillery. Leaflets were delivered to a nearby Army ordnance company where they were packed into 105 mm artillery shells for shipment to howitzer battalions supporting the front line units. Artillery delivery of leaflets was the most accurate.
Still, the primary means was to airdrop packages of leaflets with time fuses from C-47s. The leaflet packages were shoveled, kicked and thrown out like they had been in WWI and WWII. Some 15 million propaganda leaflets were dumped on enemy front line troops each week by Psywar units.
Leaflet rolls being loaded into 105 mm Smoke shells at the Eighth U.S. Army - Korea
Ammunition Supply Point prior to being shipped to Corps artillery units
My favorite mention of the Company was written by Mark R. Jacobson in his PhD dissertation Minds then hearts: U.S. Political and Psychological Warfare during the Korean War, the Ohio State University, 2005:
Perhaps the most incredulous commentary on the contempt American soldiers had for PSYWAR operations comes from the letters of Corporal Jerry Rose, a Korean War veteran and member of one of the loudspeaker platoons of the 1st L&L. Writing about 40 years after the end of the war, Rose described the conventional units feelings toward the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company:
Never in the recorded history of warfare, including that of the United States Army, has there ever been a unit that was HATED by BOTH sides. The loudspeaker platoons engendered great feelings among both friend and foe:
It performed missions at night, and incredibly, in daylight as well, on an almost daily basis sometimes two in a 24 hour period and it invariably drew fire...most of them a lot of fire. This did not sit well with our troops who were counting points and hoping that a live and let live period would result in a rotation home or a cease-fire. When we appeared, everyone headed for the bunkers after giving us a heartfelt finger or drawing it across their throats.
On at least one mission, the Chinese machine gun and mortar fire traced Roses loudspeaker team back to friendly lines, resulting in seven casualties among the infantry unit entrenched nearby. As a result, in Roses words, a sergeant pulled a .45 on us and meant to kill us then and there. He meant it but there were too many witnesses.
Conversely, the Communists loathed the PSYWAR teams, probably due to their effectiveness; it was lost on the conventional U.S. soldiers that the Chinese offered a $10,000 bounty for any captured PSYWAR personnel and threatened to hang them as war criminals if caught.
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.
Letter of Commendation on the first Anniversary of the
First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company in Korea
from the acting Chief of Staff, EUSAK G3
A Loudspeaker Tank used by the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company
What are the duties of a Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company? A Korean War era publication of the Fifth L & L says: The L & L Company is a combat support weapon. It does its job with loudspeakers, set up close to the front line, hurling out messages to the enemy, and with leaflets thrown out by the thousands over enemy troops from airplanes or artillery shells. An L & L Company is also an American propaganda agency. It is the voice of the United States Army addressing the enemy. Its words are as official as the commanding generals signature. Thus, each broadcast and each written message must be carefully prepared, must be accurate, and must conform to established policy. In a sense, the L & L men are simply the transmitters of messages from a whole people."
What was the Policy Guidance? Early in the war the very first Psychological Warfare guidance was as follows:
l. To speak always from a U.N. and not a U.S. viewpoint.
2. To treat the conflict as aggression and not as civil war.
3. To attack Communism in terms of its visible effects on everyday life and not in ideological and theoretical terms.
4. To concentrate on simple and concrete subjects, simply expressed, with direct bearing on Korea.
1st L&L Impressions (images) Chart
The fact that so many former members kept scrapbooks and samples of the leaflets made this research relatively easy. We know that the greatest leaflet production occurred in the second half of 1952 12,500,000 leaflets a month. More leaflets were printed in August of 1952 than any other month 19,968,000. Twice as many leaflets were printed in Korean than in Chinese. One section in the Report on the Psychological Warfare conducted by Eighth Army Units in Korea show no less than six pages of 1st L&L leaflets starting with leaflet number 8174 dated 17 July 1951 to leaflet number 8449 dated 17 July 1953. We should note that there are missing numbers and some of the leaflets were not printed. To facilitate radio and leaflet propaganda and reach all educational levels of the target audience, members eventually compiled a 4,000 character Chinese-English dictionary used to produce effective propaganda material. The 1st L&L was apparently first assigned to the Far East Command G2 (Intelligence) for tactical operations. It was then assigned to the Eight Army Psychological Warfare Division G3 (Operations) in January 1951.
1st L&L Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Christmas Card for 1952
It was not only leaflets and posters that the unit printed. Because they have artists and printing presses, PSYOP units are always in demand to print fancy award certificates, personal illustrated stationery, menus, Christmas cards and a host of other objects. Here is the 1952 menu and Christmas card that the unit printed for its members.
In the late stages of the Korean War the Chinese put a bounty of ten thousand dollars in gold for captured loudspeaker personnel and threatened to hang them if captured. In the above painting by 1st L&L artist PFC Richard Zayac, a loudspeaker team working forward of the front lines is attacked and their abandoned equipment has been overrun by Chinese forces.
Veritas, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2010
Another propaganda picture by PFC Richard Zayac. This one shows a small American aircraft dropping thousands of leaflets over the Korean landscape while the enemy rushes to pick them up.
Veritas, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011
I placed this leaflet here because it is another artistic product of Richard Zayac. I like this leaflet because it is an escape map. Going back as far as WWI propagandists used maps to show the enemy where to go to surrender safely. It is a large leaflet, about 8.5 x 11-inches. This 2 September 1952 map shows the Chinese how to go through their own lines and be welcomed by the Americans. It targets the 113th Chinese Division. 100,000 copies of this leaflet were printed. The text on the front says in part:
This makes-the-rounds paper [A Chinese term for leaflet] points to the escape road from Communist ghost hands [A Chinese term for control]. Communist Party members of the 113th Divisions 339th Regiment are not invited to look upon this makes-the-rounds paper. This makes-the-rounds paper is given only to those true, hot blooded descendants of Huangdi to look upon. [Huangdi: the Yellow Emperor, was the third of ancient Chinas mythological emperors, a culture hero and patron saint of Daoism in other words, this leaflet should only be read by true patriots].
The back says in part:
Obstinate Communist Party members need not walk this road. True descendants of Huangdi, however, should clearly remember the map-pointed road. Walk along this road in the space of one night. The break of day will bring safety.
This was drawn by artist Dick Zayac of the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company. The leaflet depicting a map and routes through the lines was actually reconnoitered by Zayac himself. He wanted to assure himself that the map depicted everything in its proper perspective.
1st L&L artist PFC Richard Zayac
Private First Class Paul A. Wolfgeher checks a print run on the Harris Press
(Photo courtesy of VERITAS magazine)
My old pal Paul A. Wolfgeher who was a printer for the unit during the Korean War said about the 1st L&L:
The 1st L&L evolved from a technical information detachment (TID) of four officers and twenty enlisted men stationed at Fort Riley Kansas. The TID was the PSYWAR detachment of aggressor forces for army maneuvers countrywide. Major Homer Caskey took the technical information detachment overseas. After the TID was expanded to become the First Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, it was subsequently commanded by Majors John T. Dabinett and Douglas Osgood and Captains Herbert Avedon and Oliver W. Rodman.
On 12 April 1952, Captain Herbert Avedon assumed command of the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, the only tactical Psywar unit in Korea supporting the Eighth U.S. Army. In the above picture Captain Avedon sits at his desk in the 1st L&L. Notice the Psywar leaflets posted to the wall behind him.
VERITAS, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2012
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.
I want to make a quick comment here on something that bothered me when I read these reports. The leaflets generally just have a code number and no unit identification, but they are claimed by the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company in these monthly reports. But, when I read the official end-of-war reports they are usually claimed by Eighth Army G3 (Operations). How can that be?
We know that when the war started the Far East Command (FECOM) started preparing leaflets immediately in mid-1950. The responsibility then went to Eighth Army G2 (Intelligence) and then G3 (Operations.). In November 1950, the first personnel of the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company began to arrive to help with the preparation and printing of psychological Warfare (now psychological operations) leaflets. The 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet (RB&L) Group arrived in Tokyo, Japan, on 6 August 1951. In theory there were three different units preparing leaflets.
I then had a revelation. As can be seen by the chart above, the Company is clearly under the control of the Eighth Army G3. So, although the company was always careful to place their name on training and war game leaflets, in Korea their leaflets were claimed by the controlling G3 organization. I believe that the purpose of the Korean War, the 1st L&L Company was the Eighth Army G3.
PSYOP print facility during the Korean War
Clayton D. Laurie evaluates early American PSYOP in Korea in a section entitled "Psychological Warfare," in The Encyclopedia of the Korean War, ABC-CLIO, 2000. He says:
Leaflets, radio broadcasts, and loudspeakers were credited as a major factor in the heavy increase in prisoners after July 1951, and interrogations of Communist Chinese prisoners of war showed that one in three were influenced to surrender by leaflets. Interrogations of civilians in North and South Korea further revealed that UN radio broadcasts reached a considerable audience and stirred some civilian opposition to the Communist regime. One authority has determined that Chinese enlisted men were found the most amenable to UN psychological warfare messages, while the hardcore North Korean officer corps was least inclined to believe or act on such appeals.
The leaflets told the enemy why and how they should surrender. Sometimes the leaflets would actually show the enemy how to use a leaflet. 1077 is a case in point. It shows and explains in great detail how all of the surrender leaflets and safe conduct passes should be used. An enemy soldier surrendering while in possession of the leaflet was guaranteed safe conduct to the rear. It depicts a line of North Korean soldiers surrendering holding Safe Conduct passes. On the back of the leaflet three panels depict starvation, air and shell fire, and exhaustion. This leaflet was aimed at the Koreans. The same leaflet was prepared with Chinese text and coded 7064. The text says in part:
The Communists offer North Korean soldiers only three options, death by starvation, death from UN firepower, death through exhaustion.
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.
In the Volume 1, number 2, issue of Veritas, the Journal of Army Special Operations History, Charles H. Briscoe talks about the successes of the unit later in the war in an article entitled Volunteering for Combat: Loudspeaker Psywar in Korea.
It was April 1951 before the company was combat effective, and nine loudspeaker teams were dispatched to the divisions on line. By the end of June 1951, the company had eleven loudspeaker teams in action.
Briscoe also mentions the recruiting methods of the Company, quoting Private Gerald Rose. Rose is on a troop train when it suddenly came to a stop:
a soldier entered the darkened railroad car and asked if anyone had training in psychology.
Rose, who had taken a basic psychology course in college, said, I have.
the shanghaied Rose was put on a train to Seoul.
In less than one year Rose completed 253 tactical loudspeaker missions, was awarded a Bronze Star, a Combat Infantrymans Badge, and two Purple hearts for wounds received while on loudspeaker teams on the front lines.
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. 1,250,000 leaflets were printed. 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. 1,000,000 leaflets were printed. 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.
The 581st Air Resupply Group
Joe Avanzato and a pal from the 581st Air Force Group
Since the highly secretive Air Force Group is mentioned above, I thought we might take a quick look at that outfit. We know they were attached to the 1st L&L Company and that one of their missions was disseminating aerial propaganda leaflets. Phillip Avanzato sent me some pictures of his father Joe; an Airman First Class assigned to the 581st Resupply Group. Curiously, his Ration Card and Liberty Pass both say that he was a member of the 1st L&L. This tells us that he was one of the men assigned to that Army Company. Joe’s primary specialty was 71252 (Bindery Worker).
The Korean-language Leaflet Bomb Sign of the 581st Group
The 581st Air Resupply and Communications Group consisted of four squadrons: The 581st Air Resupply and Communications Squadron (later Air Resupply Squadron - ARS), the 581st Airborne Materials Assembly Squadron, the 581st Holding and Briefing Squadron, and the 581st Reproduction Squadron. The mission of the 581st ARS was the infiltration, resupply, and exfiltration of guerrilla-type personnel, and the aerial delivery of psychological warfare (PSYWAR) materiel (leaflets and other similar materials). Of the four squadrons assigned to the group, the 581st Air Resupply Squadron (ARS) was the lone squadron devoted to flying operations.
The 581st saw extensive combat in the Korean War, printing and then dropping millions of surrender leaflets on the enemy in countless PSYWAR operations. It supported the Central Intelligence Agency by performing agent drops and extractions, and resupplying South Korean partisans operating behind enemy lines. Its B-29s were modified for low level agent and special team drops. Except for tail guns, all armament was removed, and its aircraft were painted black underneath.
Members of the 581st on Liberty in Seoul, South Korea
Joe Avanzato in the center, two pals, both named “Bill” on either side.
Two of the men are armed with .45 Colt 1911 pistols.
The man at the far right probably has the M-1 Carbine used by the USAF in Korea.
In January 1953, the 581st lost one of its B-29s and its entire fourteen-man crew while flying a leaflet drop mission over North Korea near the Chinese border. The aircraft had already dropped leaflets over five North Korean towns and was beginning its last run over the village of Cholson. Some of the leaflets carried war news, but others warned of an impending bombing attack by United Nations forces. The aircraft was attacked and shot down by two MiG-15 fighters. The Chinese released the eleven surviving airmen on 3 August 1955, making them the last Korean War American prisoners to be released by the Chinese communists. We might add more to this section in the future.
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. 1,000,000 copies of this leaflet were printed. 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. 100,000 copies of this leaflet were printed. 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. 200,000 copies of this leaflet were printed. 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!
Although the Korea War theoretically ended in 1953, that did not mean that the propaganda stopped. There were still left behind Communist troops in the mountains and sleeper agents within the country. The United States Eighth Army still needed to point out the Communist threat and at the same time convince the South Koreans to support their government. A newspaper was the answer. All through the war, the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group had published the Free World Weekly Digest. This Korean-language newspaper was airdropped by the United Nations forces on the enemy weekly from about February 1952 to December 1954, well after the end of the war. My highest issue number is issue 180. There was also a Chinese-language version with code numbers in the 5,000 series about the same time. My highest issue is number 94. Besides the news, the paper featured photographs and a cartoon strip.
The Eighth Army now gave the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company the duty of producing the weekly newspaper. I have seen about two dozen copies of this postwar newspaper, starting shortly after the end of the war. I depict a newspaper coded 216 above, disseminated on 30 May 1955. I like this one because it features the American B-52 heavy bomber, still in use over five decades later. Also depicted is Lieutenant General Claude Birkett Ferenbaugh, who in 1955, was assigned to South Korea as deputy commander of the Eighth United States Army, remaining in this assignment until his 1958 retirement. The third picture is Harold Stassen who sought the presidential nomination at the 1952 Republican National Convention and helped Dwight D. Eisenhower win the nomination by shifting his support to Eisenhower. He then served in the Eisenhower administration. Some of the stories are:
Romulo of the Philippines lauds United Nations accomplishments.
Stassen see Free World outstripping the Soviet Union.
Koreans view America’s “Power for Peace.”
American troops to aid the Republic of Korea Red Cross.
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.
VERITAS, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011
Speaking of non-PSYOP printed items, the unit apparently gave a remembrance or farewell gift to members leaving the unit. I suspect it was a scrap or photo book showing scenes of their tour. Curiously, what it was is never mentioned. However, we do have a photo of the cover, depicting loudspeaker use, preparing propaganda text, illustrating a leaflet and printing a leaflet or newspaper. Sergeant Herbert Shevins, a photo lithographer took most unit official photos with a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera and later became the company photographer. He is reported to have compiled Remember so we might surmise it was a booklet filled with his photographs.
Upon completion of this article the five reports were returned to their owner. Shortly afterwards they were sold on EBay for $720.
Sergeant Joseph Lissberger
The Korean War Legacy Foundation placed an interview by Joseph Lissberger, formely of the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company on YouTube.
Joseph Lissberger was born on March 24, 1930, in Havre de Grace, Maryland. After high school graduation, he enlisted and served in the US Navy from 1947-1950. He transferred to the Army in April 1950 and served as a basic training platoon sergeant during the first years of the Korean War. At some point he was assigned to the Armor School and while there was assigned to the print shop for two years. He did not know it, but this was his early training in psychological warfare. He was sent to Korea and arrived in Pusan in February of 1952 on St. Valentine’s Day and was attached to the 1st Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company, 8th Army Headquarters, in Seoul for the next 22 months. He served as a platoon sergeant tasked with carrying out psychological warfare. He said about his wartime activities:
We were printing leaflets and putting loudspeaker teams on the front lines, broadcasting to the enemy and trying to break their morale. We needed to use it and psychologically destroy the enemy and it worked. Lots of Chinese surrender because they figured they would get a better life as a prisoner than they would on the front lines. We were assigned to the Eighth U.S. Army. We were not assigned to any divisions, we supported all the Corps, I Corps, IV Corps, and X Corps. We printed the leaflets, rolled them, loaded the bombs into artillery shells and then took them up to the artillery people. We also loaded leaflet bombs and took them to Kimpo airfield to be loaded on aircraft and dropped on the enemy. We also sent leaflet bombs to the Philippines where the B-29 bombers were stationed. The Chinese and North Koreans claimed we had contaminated the ink with biological warfare. That was a lie.
We had five of our people killed on the front lines. They would take their loudspeakers out there beyond the front lines and had no protection at all. The infantry would not protect them because the loudspeakers drew the enemy’s attention and fire. We were lucky we only lost five men during the three years we were in combat. We lived good but we worked hard. I was the platoon sergeant and my platoon worked 72 hours and then got 8 hours off. They didn’t even get time off for chow. The mess hall brought the food to them where they were working. We had three combat soldiers that were too severely wounded to go back on the line assigned to my platoon. I had four men break down under the strain be removed in strait jackets. There were problems. We ordered citric acid from Japan to clean our machinery and they sent us sulfuric acid. I burnt and scared all my fingers trying to use it. I was told to have my fingers bandaged and get back to work. If you got injured doing something you were not supposed to do, you were offered two choices, take courts martial or forget about it and go back to work. That is just the way it was. We were hit several times by Communist guerrillas that knew who we were and wanted to take us out. They failed.
Lissberger was sent home in October 1953. He continued service in the Army until retiring in 1967.
Several members of the 1st Loudspeker and Leaflet Company lost their lives in Korea. Four of them are:
Corporal Joseph C. Ratti was killed on 30 April 1952 in the vicinity of Wonsan
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. We were told at the time that his body was never found. In 2020, researcher Domenic Pastore Jr. wrote to tell me more about Bernard Almeida. He said in part:
Almeida's former Team Sergeant told me what actually happened. Sergeant Carmen Elleto, from N.Y. was initially chosen to perform that night's Broadcast Mission on Hill 255 (Pork chop Hill) and was there along with his two-man Interpreter Team [1 Korean, 1 Chinese]. Private Almeida was already there and was awaiting their arrival at the base of the hill. Sgt. Eletto arrived around 1800, and everyone began setting up the equipment for that night's mission. Once the Sergeant and interpreters were ready, they proceeded to load their Jeep and Trailer. At that point, Almeida said to Sergeant Eletto, “Hey Sarge, you're way too tired to go out tonight, I'll go and will be back in a couple of hours, OK Sarge?” Apparently, Eletto had been driving all over the roads that day delivering new equipment to 3 other Teams. With that, he said “OK Butch, just be careful.” About 2220, Almeida's Team was beginning their Broadcast that would be in both Korean and Chinese. At about 2235, the U.S. Positions began hearing enemy voices screaming and yelling, and immediately afterwards they were hit by an intense enemy Mortar Barrage. According to Eletto, Almeida's Team never had a chance. The Mortar rounds were zeroed in on the team, destroying their Jeep and killing all 3 men. According to the eyewitness report of a U.S. Soldier, Almeida was last observed rapidly firing his M1 Rifle from behind his jeep until he was obliterated by a direct hit. So, because of the circumstances of his death, his remains were never recovered.
On 27 May 2010, The United States Army Special Operations Command Memorial Wall, at Fort Bragg, NC, was dedicated. It honors those members that have died in the line of duty. The inscription is:
IN MEMORY OF OUR FALLEN SPECIAL OPERATIONS SOLDIERS
Welcome Kinsman, Comrade, Friend. Recorded here on this humble Wall are the names of our fallen Heroes. They were and will always be cherished Soldiers of Army Special Operations, our comrades in arms. Know that they eagerly sought and accepted our Nation’s most difficult missions against our most dangerous enemies. Know that they willingly endured hardship and danger and, at the end, sacrificed all for us. With solemn pride, know that in doing so they proved true to their oath to the Constitution and duty to the Citizens of the United States of America. To them, their example and their memory we humbly dedicate this memorial.
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 Loudspeaker and Leaflet Company 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.