ROKS Baekdusan (PC-701) was pending in the harbor
|Builder:||Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Corp.|
|Laid down:||8 November 1943|
|Launched:||15 January 1944|
|Commissioned:||24 July 1944|
|Decommissioned:||11 February 1946|
|Struck:||June 1948; transferred to United States Merchant Marine Academy|
|Fate:||Transferred to South Korea, September 1949|
|Name:||ROKS Baekdusan (PC-701)|
|Acquired:||17 October 1949|
|Decommissioned:||21 August 1960|
|Class & type:||PC-461|
|Length:||173 ft 8 in (52.93 m)|
|Beam:||23 ft 0 in (7.01 m)|
|Draft:||10 ft 10 in (3.30 m)|
|Armament:||1 x 3", 1 x 40mm., 3 x 20mm., 2 x depth charge track, 4 x depth charge projector (K-guns), 2 x depth charge projector (Mousetrap).|
USS PC-823 was laid down on 2 June 1943 at the Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Corp. in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; launched on 15 January 1944; and commissioned on 24 July 1944.
PC-823 served in the western Atlantic Ocean during World War II, being assigned to air-sea rescue duties during at least some of that time. On 11 February 1946, PC-823 decommissioned and transferred to the United States Maritime Commission. She was transferred to the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York on 18 May 1948, and renamed Ensign Whitehead as a training ship. Her name was struck from the Navy List in June 1948. In September 1949, she was transferred to the Republic of Korea Navy and renamed ROKS Baekdusan (PC-701).
On the night of 25/26 June 1950, on the South Korean eastern coast, she patrolled against infiltrators from the north. About twenty miles from the key port of Busan its crew sighted an unidentified ship. The PC-701 challenged by flashing light and, receiving no response, turned its searchlight on the intruder. The light revealed a freighter with an estimated six hundred to one thousand soldiers crowded on her decks. Heavy machine guns were mounted aft on the freighter with which the crew quickly opened fire. The gunfire struck the PC-701's bridge killing the helmsman and seriously wounding the officer of the deck. She returned fire and in the running gun duel the freighter was sunk between Busan and Tsushima Island.
Except for the fortuitous position of the PC-701 and the fighting qualities of the craft's crew, the North Korean soldiers might have successfully landed at the vital Busan. The poor state of combat readiness at the port could easily have led to its loss. In such an event, not even the small Allied toehold on the peninsula would have remained to support the U.S. counteroffensive in Korea. This single naval action may well have prevented the fall of South Korea.
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