North Korean Leaders in the Korean War - Lieutenant General Kang Kon

Background and History Kang as born on June 23, 1918 in South Korea. After a time in Russia, Kang returned to North Korea to help establish the Korean People's Army (KPA) and became its chief of staff (September 1949), playing a key role in planning the North Korean invasion of South Korea (25 June 1950). While serving as KPA chief of the General Staff, he was killed in action by a land mine (8 September 1950). Lieutenant General Nam II succeeded him. The Kang Kon Military Officers Academy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is named for him.

By September 1, 1950,Kim Il Sung's final offensive, involving 133,000 ill-trained troops, to crush the Pusan perimeter, came to a grinding halt at the Naktong River. For the first time, the UN forces matched the North Korean Army in numbers and firepower. By now the entire infantry fighting manpower of America was in Korea. Between both North and South Koreans, the toll was proving to be debilitating. On August 4, 1950, a 500-pound bomb exploded on the roof of an abandoned factory 20 miles from Pusan at the North Korean People's Army Front Command Headquarters. The bomb broke General Kang Kon's arm and nearly missed General. Kim Chaik, the front commander. It destroyed the radio room and left only a single radio still operating.

General Kim Chaik realized that he had missed a golden opportunity to take Pusan; he had wasted too much resources and time in his ill-conceived mop up operations in South Cholla Province. Kang was awarded the title of "Hero of the Republic" and the Central Military Academy No. 1 was renamed Kang Kon Military Academy in recognition of the exploits he performed in building revolutionary armed forces.

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