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Jangsa Beach

Gyeongbuk Bike Path
Learn about Jangsa Beach, which held a pivotal battle during the Korean War.

Jangsa Beach (장사해변; map; aerial view) sits at the bottom of Yeongdeok. It connects with Buheung Beach (부흥해변; map) in the north to create 2 kilometers of soft sands and shallow, calm waters.

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The beach comes equipped with:

  • A shady pine forest.
  • Bathrooms, showers, and a seaside campsite.
  • Fishing spots for flounder, flatfish, and rockfish.
  • Water skiing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides.

Stroll to the south end of the beach. Find sculptures of soldiers and a museum modeled after a WWII-era landing craft moored permanently to the beach’s shore.

What’s the story?

Jangsa Landing Operation

After WWII and the Japanese Occupation (1910~1945), communists took the north half of the Korean peninsula. Capitalists took the bottom half.

June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and started the Korean War (1950~1953). Larger and better equipped, the North Korean Army (KPA) took Seoul in three days and forced the South Korean Army (ROK) and UN Forces (USA) to retreat south until the Battle of Daegu (August, 1950), when the ROK and UN stood their ground.

South Korea’s new borders, known as the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter (부산 교두보 전투), were just a sliver of land on the southeast tip of the peninsula. But they held, giving General MacArthur time to move military equipment in from Japan and plan a counteroffensive: an amphibious assault on Incheon.

The KPA knew a counterattack was coming. But they didn’t know where it would land. So MacArthur planned diversions:

Known as the Jangsa Landing Operation (장사 상륙작전), the mission tasked 772 ROK soldiers to swing around the east coast, land on the beaches behind enemy lines, disrupt the KPA’s supply chains, and divert attention.

The problem? These guerilla soldiers were students, ages of 14 to 17, with two weeks of training.

September 13, 1950, they boarded the ROKS Munsan, a recommissioned landing craft, and sailed up the coast from Busan to Yeongdeok.

However, heavy waves from a passing typhoon tossed their ship ashore before reaching their destination. Soldiers drown. Ammunition and supplies sank into the sea.

But the young battalion regrouped. They engaged in fierce skirmishes with the KPA for six days. No food. Short on bullets. Over 129 died. 110 injured. And 40 became POWs in a hasty retreat.

Korean War historians credit the Jangsa Landing Operation for distracting the KPA. This led to the ROK and UN forces prevailing at the Battle of Incheon (Sept. 15, 1950), which turned the tide of the war.

Memorial Hall & Park

The Jangsa Landing Operation wasn’t on the minds of many Koreans. In 1997, a campaign led by the operation’s surviving members discovered the ROKS Munsan in a tidal flat.

In 2020, Yeongdeok County opened a commemorative park and museum on Jangsa Beach, where the operation took place.

The Jangsa Landing Operation Victory Memorial Park (장사상륙작전전승기념공원; map) sits on the beach. It features statues of soldiers storming the beach, a tower, and a stone honoring General MacArthur.

The Jangsa Landing Operation Victory Memorial Hall (장사상륙작전전승기념관; map) is a three-story museum built to look like the ROKS Munsan. It rests in the waters just off Jangsa Beach. The museum takes visitors through the history of the Jangsa Landing operation, including its planning, execution, and effect on the Korean War.

  • Open Tuesday ~ Sunday
    • March ~ October: 9 AM to 6 PM
    • November ~ February: 9 AM to 5 PM
    • Closed Mondays and holidays
  • ₩3,000 for adults; ₩2,000 for students and military; ₩1,000 for kids