Pic Korean War

The Battle of Kapyong

The Australians were part of a force that was defending the Kapyong Valley, some 56 km north of Seoul, during April 1951. A human sea (of Chinese troops) descended on the UN line which forced the South Korean and American units to retreat past the line partly held by the Australians. By 10 pm on April 23rd, the Australian 27th and 29th Brigades were facing the Chinese 118 division. By midnight, the battle was in full rage. Wave after wave of Chinese soldiers flung themselves at the Australian defenders. The Chinese bugles rang through the night and into the day; with each new screeching another wave of sacrifices were offered by the Chinese troops. Few survived and the battle field was cluttered with a sea of drab grey corpses.

The Australians were ordered to retreat late in the day of April 24th. Then it was the Canadians’ turn to feel the fury of the Chinese attack. They defended stoutly and eventually the Chinese assault collapsed.

The ANZAC spirit was alive and well; the 3rd Battalion had remained true to the legend. When others had retreated before an imposing enemy, the Australians stood their ground and defended their position. In doing so, they prevented a massive breakthrough from occurring that would certainly have seen the enemy recapture Seoul and with it, thousands of UN troops. By the time the Australians were withdrawn from the battle, the UN forces had secured a strong defensive position to the rear of where the Australians had been fighting.

Such courage and devotion to duty did not go unnoticed and the 3rd Battalion was awarded a US Presidential Citation. This is similar to a unit VC, and it further enhanced the Australians’ great fighting spirit. (Adapted from N. Bartlett With the Australians in Korea. Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954

From http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/korea/kapyong.html

Distinguished Unit Citation

“3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (23 and 24 April, 1951) 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (24 and 25 April, 1951) Company A, 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion (United States) (24 and 25 April, 1951).

The above units are cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of combat duties in action against the armed enemy near Kapyong, Korea, on the dates indicated. The enemy had broken through the main line of resistance and penetrated tothe area north of Kapyong. The units listed above were deployed to stem the assault. The 3`d Battalion Royal Australian Regiment moved to the right flank of their sector and took up defensive positions north of the Pukhon River. The 2″d Battalion, Royal Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, defended in the vicinity of hill 667 on the left flank. Company

72nd Heavy Tank Battalion, supported all units to the full extent of its capacity and, in addition, kept the main roads open and assisted in evacuating the wounded. Troops from a retreating Division passed through the sector which enabled enemy troops to infiltrate with the withdrawing forces. The enemy attacked savagely under the clangor of bugles and trumpets. The forward elements were completely surrounded during the first day and into the second. Again and again the enemy threw waves of troops at the gallant defenders and many times succeeded in penetrating the outer defences, but each time the courageous, indomitable and determined soldiers repulsed the fanatical attacks.

Ammunition ran low and there was no time for food. Critical supplies were dropped by air to the encircled troops, and they stood their ground in resolute defiance of the enemy.

With serene and indefatigable persistence, the gallant soldiers held their defensive positions and took heavy tolls of the enemy. In some instances when the enemy penetrated the defences, the commanders directed friendly artillery fire on their own positions in repelling the thrusts. Towards the close of 25 April, the enemy breakthrough had been stopped. The seriousness of the breakthrough on the central front had been changed from defeat to victory by the gallant stand of these heroic and courageous soldiers. The 3`d Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment: 2″d Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry; and Company A, 72 Heavy Tank Battalion, displayed such gallantry, determination and espirit-de-corp in accomplishing their missions under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set them apart and above other units participating in the campaign, and by their achievements they bought distinguished credit on themselves, their homelands, and all freedom loving nations.”

General Matthew B. Ridgeway Supreme Commander



Regt No         Rank    Name             Surname

5/400096         Pte       John                 Atkinson
3/400203         Pte       Harold             Bolitho
4/400057         Pte       Donald             Bridge
3/400119          Pte       Jack                 Burns
2/400023         Pte       John                 Carter
2/400043         Pte       Eric                  Devine
1/400045         Pte       Peter                Farquharson
2/3243              Pte       Terence           Flanagan
1/1052              Pte       Norman           Frey
2/400011         Pte       Bernard           Goldsmith
2/400308         Pte       David               Gough
2/401120         Pte        B D                   Grainger
2/400252         Pte       Jim                   Hainey
4/493                Pte       George             Harris
1/400062         Pte       Noel                 Heathwood
1/400104         Pte       Wallace            Hoare
2/400245         Pte       Royden            Ingram
3/400190         Pte       William            Jillett
3/400220         Pte       Lawrence        Jones
3/400183         Pte       Douglas            Lee
1/9915              Sgt        Lenny              Lenoy
3/400258         Pte       Claude             Looker
2/5205              Pte       Kenneth          Matchett
1/9690              Pte       John                Mealing
2/400222         Sgt       Toby                Milwood
3/400134         Cpl       William            Murphy
2/400144         Pte       Jack                 McBride
3/400198         Pte       Henry              Richey
2/400129         Pte       Allen                Rimmer
1/400064         Pte       Thomas           Smith
2/400361         Pte       Douglas           Stewart
3/2158              Cpl       Ralph               Thompson
2/3090             L/Cpl   Norman           Worth

203624            Lt         Dennis             Fielden
203605            Gnr      Richard           Kemp

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