The Korean War at 50: March 1953
Hymel, Kevin M., Army
1 A company of enemy troops strike the French Battalion attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division (ID). The French soldiers beat back the attack in hand-to-hand fighting.
5 Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin dies in Moscow.
7 Communist prisoners of war (POWs) on the island of Yonchodo mount a failed attack against the prison commandant. The resulting casualties are 23 prisoners killed and 60 wounded.
12 Lt. Gen. Maxwell Taylor, the new Eighth Army Commander, issues a press release, stating that the Eighth Army has a sufficient supply of artillery shells. The lack of artillery shells had become a political issue between the Truman Administration, which said there were enough, and the Eisenhower presidential campaign, which said supplies were dangerously low.
15 In the Soviet Union, Georgi Malenkov, the top member of a collective leadership in the wake of Stalin's death, gives a speech voicing support for a cease-fire in Korea. The western press dubs his speech the launching of a "peace offensive."
20 The Joint Chiefs of Staff approve Operation Moolah to encourage communist MiG pilots to defect. A reward of $100,000 and political asylum is promised to the first pilot to land a MiG at Kimpo Airfield and $50,000 to each subsequent defector. The operation is set to begin in a month with two million leaflets being dropped on North Korea and broadcasts being transmitted in Chinese, Korean and Russian by the United Nations Command (UNC).
21 In a sign of lessening tensions between the Soviet Union and the West, Moscow radio, for the first time since the end of World War II, admits that the United States and Great Britain played a part in the defeat of the Axis Powers.
23 A battalion of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (CPVA) attacks Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Regiment of the 7th ID at Pork Chop Hill. The company fights until ammunition runs low, then withdraws from the crest of the hill. The next day Company L, with Company A, retakes the hill against light resistance. In the two days of fighting for Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill, the U.N. forces suffered 300 killed, wounded and missing while the CPVA lost between 600 and 800 men. …