1950 – Korean War: Task Force Smith: American and North Korean forces first clash, in the Battle of Osan.
Task Force Smith, a U.S. task force of 400 infantry supported by an artillery battery, was moved to Osan, south of the South Korean capital Seoul, and ordered to fight as a rearguard to delay advancing North Korean forces while additional U.S. troops arrived in the country to form a stronger defensive line to the south. The task force lacked both anti-tank guns and effective infantry anti-tank weapons, having been equipped with obsolescent 2.36-in. rocket launchers and a few 57 mm recoilless rifles. Aside from a limited number of HEAT shells for the unit's 105-mm howitzers, crew-served weapons capable of defeating the T-34 Soviet tank had not been distributed to U.S. Army forces in Korea. A North Korean tank column equipped with ex-Soviet T-34/85 tanks overran the task force in the first encounter and continued its advance south. photo of American soldier Robert L. Witzig with a 2.36-inch bazooka as he prepares to take aim at a North Korean tank during the Battle of Osan. On his right is Kenneth R. Shadrick, who would later be reported as the first American killed in the Korean War.