What Is UDT In Korea: Everything You Need To Know About UDT’s History

With the war in Korea, Navy Underwater Demolition teams (UDT) played a critical role in various missions and operations. As precursors to modern-day Navy SEALs, these elite units showcased their expertise in both conventional and unconventional warfare tactics. In this blog post, we'll examine the contributions of UDTs during the Korean War to pivotal moments such as night coastal demolition raids, support for amphibious landings, and daring rescue missions.

We'll explore night coastal demolition raids targeting key infrastructure as well as their support for amphibious landings during Operation Chromite. Additionally, you'll learn about daring rescue missions conducted by UDT to save stranded sailors.

Beyond traditional underwater demolitions, we will discuss direct action missions such as sabotage operations and search-and-rescue efforts supporting other military units. Furthermore, we will examine how this period marked a pivotal moment for Naval Special Warfare development with a shift towards unconventional warfare tactics that ultimately led to the evolution from UDT to modern-day Navy SEALs.

Last but not least, we will pay tribute to Draper Kauffman - Father of Underwater Demolition Teams - who established the first UDT school during World War II and influenced bomb disposal training. The impact of UDTs in WWII and beyond is undeniable; through their crucial contributions to various operations, they have left an indelible mark on future generations of special forces.

Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) played a crucial role during the Korean War, participating in night coastal demolition raids against railroad tunnels and bridges.

They supported Operation Chromite at Inchon and Wonsan Harbor, rescuing 25 sailors from two minesweepers sunk by North Korean mines.

On Christmas Eve that same year, they destroyed waterfront facilities at Hungnam using over 20 tons of explosives.

These highly skilled underwater demolition units conducted daring nighttime missions to destroy vital enemy infrastructure such as railroads and bridges, disrupting supply lines and hindering troop movements.

Support for Amphibious Landings During Operation Chromite

In addition to their demolition work, UDT men were instrumental in supporting amphibious landings during major operations like Operation Chromite.

Their expertise allowed them to clear obstacles and ensure safe passage for landing craft carrying troops ashore.

UDTs played a crucial role in the Korean War, conducting daring night raids to destroy enemy infrastructure and supporting amphibious landings. #KoreanWar #UnderwaterDemolitionTeamsClick to Tweet

Expanding Beyond Traditional Underwater Demolitions

In the Korean War, UDTs went beyond their traditional underwater demolition duties to include sabotage operations and other direct action missions.

Sabotage Operations: Going Beyond Underwater Demolitions

UDTs were also responsible for carrying out direct action missions, such as sabotage operations, which required them to infiltrate enemy territory and destroy key infrastructure or equipment.

Search-and-Rescue: Supporting Other Military Units

UDT men played a vital role in search-and-rescue efforts during the Korean War, using skills developed through rigorous training at institutions like the Naval Academy and their unique capabilities honed from World War II experiences such as those during Normandy landings.

These amphibious experts were invaluable assets on both land and sea rescue missions, supporting other military units by locating downed pilots or stranded sailors and bringing them back safely behind friendly lines.

During the Korean War, Navy Underwater Demolition Teams went beyond their traditional duties to carry out sabotage missions and support search-and-rescue efforts. #USNavy #KoreanWar #UDTClick to Tweet

Pivotal Moment for Naval Special Warfare Development

The Korean War was a turning point for Naval Special Warfare, expanding roles beyond traditional underwater demolitions and leading to the development of modern-day Navy SEALs.

UDTs adapted to new challenges during the Korean War, focusing on unconventional warfare tactics like sabotage and search-and-rescue.

Today's elite Navy SEAL teams specialize in direct action, special reconnaissance, and underwater unconventional warfare, skills that trace back to UDT experiences during the Korean War.

The Korean War was a pivotal moment for Naval Special Warfare, expanding roles beyond traditional underwater demolitions and leading to the development of modern-day Navy SEALs. #UDT #NavySEALs #KoreanWarClick to Tweet

Draper Kauffman - Father of Underwater Demolition Teams

Meet Draper Kauffman, the man who established the first Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) school during World War II after witnessing the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Kauffman's UDT training program included swimming, diving, explosives handling, and other essential skills needed by underwater demolition units.

Kauffman's dedication to improving safety measures and honing specialized skill sets within military ranks also led to the establishment of bomb disposal schools for both Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

Thanks to Kauffman's pioneering efforts, the United States Navy has a rich history of elite special forces, including UDT men, SEAL teams, and the Naval Academy's heritage command.

Source: Naval History and Heritage Command

"Meet Draper Kauffman, the father of Underwater Demolition Teams who established the first UDT school during WWII and influenced bomb disposal training. #NavalHistory #UDT #MilitaryTraining"Click to Tweet

The Impact of UDTs in WWII and Beyond

Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) were the OGs of the United States Navy SEALs, and they were badass.

  • Pacific Theater: UDTs cleared obstacles and gathered intel before amphibious landings at places like Tarawa, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
  • European Theater: They surveyed beach conditions under cover of darkness, providing valuable reconnaissance data for the Normandy landings.

Their legacy lives on in the modern-day Navy SEALs, who specialize in direct action missions, special reconnaissance operations, and unconventional warfare tactics such as sabotage or search-and-rescue efforts needed due to changing nature of conflict faced at that time.

UDTs were the OGs of Navy SEALs, clearing obstacles & gathering intel before amphibious landings in WWII. Their legacy lives on. #USNavy #UDTClick to Tweet

FAQs UDT in Korean War

What were the Underwater Demolition Teams in the Korean War?

The Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) in the Korean War were badass units within the US Navy that scouted beaches, blew stuff up, and did covert ops.

How many UDT teams were there?

There were 11 active UDT teams in Korea, each with around 16-20 highly trained soldiers who kicked butt and took names.

What is a UDT soldier in Korea?

A UDT soldier or "frogman" was a total boss who did underwater demolitions and sneaky reconnaissance missions during wartime.

What were the UDT teams at Iwo Jima?

The UDT teams at Iwo Jima were rockstars who scouted Japanese defenses and cleared the way for American forces to land safely on the beach.


The UDTs played a crucial role in securing victory for the Allied Forces during the Korean War, conducting daring night raids and demolitions of key targets.

These brave men were also involved in Operation FISHNET, targeting North Korea's food supplies, and their legacy lives on in the modern-day Navy SEALs.

Draper Kauffman, who established the first UDT school during WWII, was a true pioneer who also set up bomb disposal schools for the US Navy and Marine Corps.

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