Photos From Korea to the Falkland Islands - colourised images of conflicts after World War II.

Airborne troops of the 187th Regimental Combat Team ("Rakkasans") board a C-119 "Flying Boxcar" of 314th Troop Carrier Group for their drop behind enemy lines north of Pyonyang, Korea.

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It took place on 20th October, 1950 as part of an airborne assault on the North Korean towns of Sukchon and Sunchon which laid 48km north of Pyongyang. The mission objective was to cut off an estimated 30,000 retreating North Korean soldiers and rescue US Prisoners of War believed to be with those forces.

Departing from Kimpo Airfield near Seoul, this was the first operation in the history of the airborne that paratroopers would be dropped from C-119, and the first time heavy equipment would be dropped into enemy territory. During this operation 4,000 men, 600 tons of equipment and supplies were dropped. These included twelve 105 mm howitzers, 39 jeeps, 38 1/4-ton trailers, four 90 mm antiaircraft guns, four 3/4-ton trucks, as well as ammunition, fuel, water, rations, and other supplies.

Once airborne, the planes fell into formation over the Han River and began their journey towards the drop zones, supported by US fighter aircraft which rocketed and strafed the ground in preparation for the landings. Lt. Col. Ronald Speirs and the rest of the 3rd Battalion were parachuted into Drop Zone William – which laid southeast of Sukchon. Once on the ground the paratroopers moved south and took up defensive positions on the low hills south of Sukchon where they established roadblocks across the highway and railway.

Though the airborne drop itself was a success and the town of Sukchon seized, roads and railroads blocked, no prisoners were rescued. Many prisoners – carried in a train concealed in a tunnel as the 187th RCT jumped into the area, were shot by the North Korean soldiers guarding them. The American paratroopers were subsequently ordered to return to Pyongyang.


(Source - NARA FILE#: 111-SC-35149)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
 
A US Marine at the 1st Marine Division outpost near the “No Fire” truce site at Panmunjom, Korea. June/July 1952

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(An unpublished 'Life' magazine photograph by Michael Rougier)

(Colorized by Noah Werner Winslow)
 
This particular image is of Corporal Willie King from the 16th Aviation Group photographed outside of Chu Lai, Vietnam, January, 27, 1970. Where the Army was now using the base after the US Marine Corps had departed that same year.

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Corporal King has a pretty interesting story. King enlisted into the US Army in June of 1968, volunteering for Airborne & Pathfinder School. Attending AIT at Fort McClellan, then being deployed to Vietnam in March of 1969. Where he would arrive at Cam Ranh Bay when the US base was being attacked by mortars. When he arrived in Vietnam, King was originally assigned to the 4th Infantry Division as a pathfinder. At the time was actually the only African American pathfinder in the entire division, while in country at the time.

Towards the end of his time in the Army he would earn the Bronze Star for assisting in recovery of a helicopter that was shot down along the Cambodian Border. In May of 1970 when the US launched the incursion to Cambodia, King was one of the many American servicemen that took part in the incursion. This time being assigned to 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry.

During the incursion King was responsible for an LZ coordinating aircraft, coming in and out. During this he eventually had to egress after being cut off from friendly forces during the engagement around the LZ.

Towards his final time in Vietnam he would be assigned to the 173rd Airborne for the remainder. Eventually returning home while escorting a fallen friend back stateside. He was discharged in June of 1971. Many years later King would later be interviewed in July 23, 2019 where he gave a more detailed account. Which can be found on West Point's Center for Oral History.
 
US Marines take cover behind a M26 Pershing tank while it fires on Communist troops ahead in the Hongchon Area, May 22, 1951

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(One Marine with Mosin 1944 carbine).

Photo by Sergeant John Babyak, Jr., U.S. Marines
(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)
 


Soldiers of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, secure the landing zone for the remainder of their company during an air assault operation in the Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam, Oct 1967.
 
Soviet soldier feeding polar bears with condensed milk tins, during a routine military expedition to Chukchi Peninsula, Russia SFSR, USSR, in 1950

This explains a lot. The lore of big, bulky beasts handing out treats must have travelled through time and space among the polar bears all around the Bering Sea.

53 years later north off Alaska: Knock, knock. "Can I haz milk pleaze?!"
April 27th 2003, a Russian AIBM (Attack Ice Bear, Medium) attacks USS Connecticut (SSN-22) in the Beaufort Sea.

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British troops keep watch over Aden (1957). Original Publication: Picture Post - 9105 - RAF And Cameron Highlanders In Aden - unpub. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Getty Images)
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SGT Ronald A. Payne

Here's an amazing image of SGT Ronald A. Payne entering a tunnel in search of Vietcong with a flashlight and M1911 pistol.

Payne was a "Tunnel Rat." These brave men infiltrated and sabotaged the intensely-claustrophobic labyrinth of underground tunnels used by the Vietcong to launch surprise attacks and set up ambushes. This certainly wasn’t a job for the faint of heart.

The casualty rate for Tunnel Rat units was around 33 percent – a high number even for the Vietnam War – but knowing what these soldiers had to do, it’s a surprise that the rate wasn’t even higher than that.
 
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A Douglas A-1E "Skyraider" from the 1st Special Operations Squadron, 56th Special Operations Wing equipped with a pair of BLU-72B bombs, this napalm bomb was filled with 1020 kg of fuel. Nakhom Phanom Air Base, Nakhom, Nakhon Phanom Province, Thailand, September 29, 1968.
 


U.S. Army Long-range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team of the 1st Cavalry Division in Quang Tri, Vietnam, July, 1968.
 

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