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The Art of Mort Künstler / The American Spirit / 20th Century Military / Korean War

Here you will find a pictorial chronicle of the drama and excitement of American History. These paintings give the viewer an insight into the tumultuous life of this young nation that mere words cannot achieve.

Cowboy Artillery at Soyang

Historical Information

Among the hundreds of Army National Guard units ordered into active Federal service as a result of the Korean War was the 300th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Wyoming Army National Guard. The battalion arrived in Korea in February 1951 and entered combat in early May. On the night of May 15, 1951, three corps of the Chinese People's Volunteers launched a major offensive against the 2nd Infantry Division. The 300th AFA Battalion, attached to the 2nd Division during the Battle of Soyang, delivered devastating artillery fire for seven days inflicting thousands of enemy casualties.

During the morning of May 18 the battalion was given the mission of destroying an enemy road block. The batteries of the 300th poured both direct and indirect fire on the roadblock allowing retreating U.N forces to fall back to more secure positions. The heroic and determined stand of the 2nd Division and its attached units allowed the Eighth Army to regroup and stop the enemy envelopement. For its gallantry, in action, the battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, the first of four awards that the 300th would earn. Today's 1st and 3rd Battalions, 49th Field Artillery, Wyoming Army National Guard carry on the gallant traditions of the Cowboy Artillery.

Mort Künstler's Comments:

“The 300th AFA Battalion from Wyoming in an action during May of 1951 made a heroic and determined stand that earned them a Presidential Unit Citation. I worked with historians from the National Guard in order to recreate this scene as accurately as possible. Later I was thrilled to receive a letter from Adjutant General James L. Spence of the Wyoming National Guard commending me on my efforts. He told me that Bill White, a crewman on the Lucky Seven, said my painting was ‘perfect,’ and added, ‘I couldn't have hoped for more. That’ s how it was.’ I have never recieved a higher compliment or one that pleased me more.”

Date Created: 1983

Medium: Oil on canvas

Image Size: 24" x 32"


All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2018. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.