After retreating before the invading Communist North Korean forces since June 1950, U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces withdrew behind the Naktong River near the port city of Pusan, a position which the United Nations (UN) Command was determined to hold.
The area held in southeastern Korea resembled a rectangle. The southwestern side was guarded by the 24th and 25th Infantry Divisions to prevent a breakthrough to Masan. The 1st Cavalry Division was deployed on the west to guard the Taegu railroad approaches. The northern front was defended by ROK divisions from south of Hamch’ang to just south of Yongdok on the east coast.
On 4 August, Lieutenant General Walton Walker announced the strategy of trading space for time had ended, and ordered a final stand along the 140-mile perimeter around the port of Pusan, which had become a well-stocked Eighth Army supply base and the hub of a rail and road network leading to the battle front.
By now the enemy’s lengthened supply lines were under constant air attack, enemy naval opposition had been wiped out, and the blockade of the Korean coast had been clamped tight. During the next month and a half, fourteen North Korean divisions dissipated their strength in piecemeal attacks against the Pusan perimeter. Walker rapidly shuttled forces to meet the greatest threats and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and prevented serious penetrations.
The North Koreans, determined to annihilate the Eighth Army and take Taegu and Pusan, massed for a two-pronged attack across the Naktong, one prong from the west and the other from the southwest.