북한군 600명을 수장시킨 백두산함
북한군 600명을 수장시킨 백두산함
  • 글 최응표 한국사바로알리기미주본부 대표/ 영역 남신우 북한인권국제연대 대표
  • 승인 2019.07.25
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[6.25, 69주년 특별기획] [10]

한국 해군의 유일한 전투함인 백두산함은 대한 해협 근해에서 북한 전투병 600여 명을 태우고 남하 중이던 북한군의 대형 수송선을 격침시키는 쾌거를 이루었습니다. 이들의 목적은 부산에 상륙해 후방을 교란시키는 것이었습니다.

만약 이들이 부산에 상륙해 요인 암살과 폭동을 주도하고 유언비어를 퍼뜨려 민심을 자극했다면 그러잖아도 전쟁 소식으로 어수선한 후방은 일선 못지않은 대혼란에 빠졌을 것입니다. 당시 백두산함의 갑판 사관으로 전투에 참가했던 최영섭 씨는 당시를 이렇게 회고합니다.

“6월에 국민들의 성금으로 사 온 백두산함이 자랑스럽고 또 생전 처음 군함을 갖게 된 기쁜 마음으로 각지를 돌며 훈련을 마치고 6월 24일 밤 12시가 다 돼서 진해에 돌아왔습니다. 다음날 오전 해군 본부로부터 북한 무장 병력이 배를 타고 동해안에 상륙했으니 빨리 출동하라는 명령을 받았습니다.

오후 3시쯤 동해 바다로 나갔고 오후 8시쯤 울산 앞바다를 북상 중 동쪽 수평선에서 괴선박을 발견, 추적하며 국제 신호를 보냈으나 아무 대답 없이 계속 남하하는 것이었습니다. 선박에 가까이 접근해보니 선채는 새까맣고 배 이름도 없는 난생 처음 보는 배였습니다.

3마일 정도까지 가까이 가서 서치라이트로 비추어보니 1,000톤이 넘는 배에 뱃머리와 배 뒤쪽에는 57mm포가 우리를 겨누고 있었으며 완전무장한 군인들이 가득 차 있었습니다. 잠시 일본군이나 소련군이 아닐까 생각도 했지만 결국 북한군으로 확신하고 전 장교가 소집 돼 전투에 들어갔습니다.

◇“죽어도 시체는 깨끗이 남기자”

전력을 다해 적선을 격침시키자는 결의를 다지고 장교들은 컵에 냉수를 따른 뒤“ 이제 살아서 마지막일 수도 있다. 싸우자!”고 외치며 건배했습니다. 나는 갑판 사관(소위)으로서 포술 갑판 분대를 소집해 함정 명령을 전한 뒤“ 적을 죽이지 않으면 우리가 죽는다. 적을 때려 부수자, 죽어도 시체는 깨끗이 남기자, 내의와 작업복을 세탁한 것으로 갈아입어라!” 고 지시했습니다.

4시간여의 추적 끝에 26일 오전 0시 30분, 우리의 3인치 주포가 불을 뿜었고 동시에 적함에서도 주포와 기관 포탄이 비 오듯 날아왔습니다. 그러나 한밤중인데다 날씨도 안 좋고 너울파도가 심해 우리나 북한군이나 제대로 서로를 맞추지 못했습니다.

이때 다시 함장의 비장한 명령이 떨어졌습니다. 군함을 사올 때 돈이 부족해 포탄을 100발밖에 못 사왔고 이게 안 맞으면 더욱 낭패라며 적선에 더욱 가까이 접근할 것을 명령해 약 600야드까지 다가갔습니다. 죽기를 각오하면 반드시 산다고 했던가요. 코앞의 적함을 향해 직사포를 퍼붓는 족족 백발백중이었습니다.

우리 병사들은 빗발치듯 쏟아지는 탄환 속에서도 기관총신을 냉수로 식혀가며 정말 죽기 살기로 싸웠습니다. 적함 마스터가 꺾이고 적함교(장교가 올라서는 지휘대)에는 불꽃이 피어올랐습니다. 우리는 누구랄 것도 없이 만세를 외쳤습니다.

기관실이 파괴된 적함은 검붉은 연기에 휩싸인 채 항속(항해를 계속하는 것)을 잃고 좌현으로 기우는 순간 적 주포탄이 조타실을 뚫 고 자이로콤파스(선박 등의 방위 측정에 쓰임)를 때렸습니다. 이때 조타수 김창학이 전사하고 김종식 소위는 발꿈치가 날아갔습니다.

3인치 주포의 집중 사격을 받은 적함은 결국 대한 해협 바다로 침몰했습니다. 그때가 26일 오전 1시 40분이었고 1시간 10분에 걸친 치열한 전투는 북한군 600여 명을 수장시키는 것으로 끝났습니다. 우리는 부산항을 지킨 것입니다.

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[영역판]

ROK’s Baekdusan Kills 600 North Koreans

The South Korean Navy received word of the invasion and immediately went into alert mode and sent out an emergency order calling for the sinking of any enemy ships attempting to land ashore. At around 4 a.m. on June 25th, ROKS 509 succeeded in sinking North Korean ships attempting to land around the Oakgye and Samcheok area in the East Sea.

Meanwhile, the only combat ship of the South Korean Navy, the ROKS Baekdusan achieved the glorious victory of sinking a North Korean troop transport that was carrying 600 North Korean soldiers and which was heading south towards South Korea. The objective of this troop transport was to land in Busan to disrupt the rear area.

If the soldiers had been successful in landing in Busan, and carried out destabilizing operations such as assassinations and instigating riots and spread rumors and provoked the civilians, the southern part of South Korea which was in disarray due to the news of the outbreak of war would have fallen into even more severe chaos and pandemonium.

Choi Yong Seop, who was the deck officer of the ROKS Baekdusan at that time and participated in the battle, recalled that moment as follows: “We returned to Jinhae on the night of June 24th, almost at 12 midnight, after visiting various places for training, with a happy heart and pride, since the ROKS Baekdusan was purchased earlier in the month with donations sent in by citizens, and because it was the first combat ship that came into our possession.

The next day in the morning we received an order to mobilize since there was a North Korean ship with soldiers that had entered the East Sea. Around 3 p.m. we headed out to the East Sea, and around 8 p.m. we were going northward in the sea near Ulsan, when we sighted the enemy ship near the east of the horizon, and we chased it and sent international communications but were ignored, and the enemy ship kept on going southward.

When we got nearer to the enemy ship, we could see the entire ship was painted black, and there was no name on it. It was so strange, something of a kind which I never saw before. We approached as close as 3 miles to that ship and turned on our spotlights, and we saw that it was a ship over 1,000 tons in displacement, and had 57mm guns at the bow and stern aimed at us, and the deck was filled with armed soldiers.

I thought momentarily that they may have been Japanese soldiers or Soviet soldiers, but we confirmed that they were North Korean soldiers and all hands went on deck and we went to battle mode. We were determined to use all that we had to sink the enemy ship, and the officers poured cold water into cups and shouted, ‘This may be the end for us, let us fight!’, and made a toast.”

“As the deck officer (Ensign) of the ROKS Baekdusan, I mobilized the deck artillery squad and relayed the orders, and gave my own orders when I shouted, “If we do not kill the enemy, we will be killed. Let us destroy the enemy ship! Even if we are to die, let’s leave clean bodies – change your underwears and your work uniforms to clean ones!”

After 4 hours of chasing, at 12:30 in the morning on the 26th, our 3-inch main gun spewed fire and at the same time the enemy ship fired upon us and rained artillery shells on us. However, it was midnight and the weather was foul and the waves were so strong, and therefore neither of us could accurately aim at each other.

At this moment the captain let out a heroic order. When we first purchased the ship, we didn’t have enough money so we were able to buy only 100 artillery shells, and if we couldn’t hit the enemy ship with any of the shells, it would have meant our death.

So we were ordered to get closer to the enemy ship, and got as close as 600 yards; it’s been said that if you are willing to die in battle, you will surely live to win. We fired at the enemy ship that was so close to us as if right in front of our noses, and all the shells hit their target. Our sailors weathered bullets that were raining down on them but still managed to man their machine guns, cooling the barrels with water, and truly fighting in a kill-or-be-killed spirit. The enemy ships mast fell and the bridge was on fire.

We all shouted ‘mansei (hurrah)’.” “The enemy ship was leaning to its left as it was engulfed in flames and dark smoke and its boiler room was destroyed. At that moment, an enemy gun shell penetrated the wheelhouse of our ship and knocked out our gyrocompass. The helmsman Kim Chang Hak was killed instantly, and Ensign Kim Jong Shik had his heel blown off.

The enemy ship, which was hit over and over by our 3-inch guns, finally went down the sea in the Straits of Korea. It was exactly 1:40 a.m. in the morning on the 26th, and the fierce battle took over an hour and ten minutes, which ended with the sinking of the enemy ship and killing all 600 enemy soldiers. We were able to defend the Busan Harbor.”  

gw2021@jayoo.co.kr

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