Battle of the Imjin River


Battle of the Imjin River

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of the Imjin River
partof=Korean War


caption=
date=22 April - 25 April, 1951
place=Imjin River, Korea
result=Pyrrhic Chinese victory
combatant2=flagicon|China People's Republic of China
combatant1=flag|United Nations forces: flag|United Kingdom
flag|Belgium
flag|Luxembourg
flag|Philippines
flag|United States|1912
commander2=General Peng Dehuai
commander1=General Matthew Ridgway
strength2=70,000
strength1=4,000 of the 29th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
casualties2= est. 10,000
casualties1= 1,091 |

:" For the similarly named battle during the Seven-Year War, see Battle of Imjin River (1592).

The Battle of the Imjin River took place 22 April – 25 April 1951 during the Korean War. Chinese Communist forces attacked UN positions on the lower Imjin River in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough and recapture the South Korean capital Seoul. The attack was part of the Chinese Spring Offensive, also known as the Fifth Phase Offensive, whose aim it was to regain the initiative on the battlefield after a successful UN counter-offensive in March 1951 had allowed UN forces to establish themselves close to the 38th parallel.

The part of the UN line where the Battle of the Imjin River took place was defended primarily by British forces of 29th Infantry Brigade. 29th Infantry Brigade consisted of three British and one Belgian infantry battalion supported by tanks and artillery. During the course of the battle, British forces were also supported by U.S. and Philippine units. Despite facing a numerically superior enemy, 29th Infantry Brigade held its positions for more than 2 days. When the units of 29th Infantry Brigade were ultimately forced to fall back, their actions in the Battle of the Imjin River together with those of other UN forces, for example in the Battle of Kapyong, had blunted the impetus of the Chinese offensive and allowed UN forces to retreat to prepared defensive positions north of Seoul where the Chinese were halted.

“Though minor in scale, the battle's ferocity caught the imagination of the world” [ [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397347562 Office of the Defence Attache, British Embassy Seoul: Battle of the Imjin] . Retrieved 2 April 2008.] , especially the fate of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment which was outnumbered and eventually surrounded by Chinese forces on Hill 235, a feature which became known as Gloster Hill. The last stand of the Gloucestershire Regiment together with other actions of 29th Brigade in the Battle of the Imjin River have become an important part of British military history and tradition. [According to Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 250, “just once, the British played a part which captured the imagination of the Western world”.]

Background

The battle took place during the Chinese Spring Offensive, an offensive aimed at recapturing Seoul. The Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese and North Korean Communist Forces in the Field, General Peng Dehuai, issued an operational directive that summarizes the initial objectives of the offensive as follows:

“First of all, we will mass our forces to wipe out the 6th Division of the Puppet Army, the British 27th Brigade, the American 3rd Division, the Turkish Brigade, the British 29th Brigade and the 1st Division of the Puppet Army [...] .” [quoted in Farrar-Hockley: "The Post War Army 1945-1963", p. 324.]

In order to achieve the objective of recapturing Seoul, it was necessary to overcome the resistance by those UN forces mentioned in the operational directive. Peng planned to converge on Seoul with III, IX and XIX

At the time of the Chinese attack, 29th Infantry Brigade (commanded by Brigadier Tom Brodie) consisted of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (also called "The Glosters"), under Lieutenant-Colonel James P. Carne, the 1st Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (RNF) under Lieutenant-Colonel Kingsley Foster, the 1st Battalion, The Royal Ulster Rifles (RUR) under the temporary command of Major Gerald Rickord and the Belgian battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Crahay to which Luxembourg's contribution to the UN forces was attached. The British soldiers were a mixture of regular soldiers, reservists and National servicemen. Their supporting units included artilley and tanks which were attached to the brigade. [Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 324.] 29th Brigade was under the command of U.S. I Corps and one of several UN formations responsible for holding the western flank on the lower Imjin river, the others being the 1st Republic of Korea (ROK) Division and the US 3rd Infantry Division (see map). [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 250.] The right flank of the ROK 12th Regiment, the nearest position of the ROK 1st Division, was a mile to the southwest of the Gloucestershire Regiment while the US 3rd Infantry Division stood east of 29th Brigade. [Mossman: "Ebb and Flow", p. 385.]

The deployment of UN forces meant that 29th Brigade with its four battalions had to cover a front of twelve miles. [Farrar-Hockley: "The Post War Army 1945-1963", p. 324.] As a consequence, gaps between units had to be accepted because there was no possibility of forming a continuous line with the forces available. As a result, “Brigadier Brodie determined to deploy his men in separate unit positions, centred upon key hill features”. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 251.] On the left flank, the Glosters were guarding a ford over the Imjin, known as Gloster crossing; the RNF were deployed near the centre, around two miles northeast of the Glosters; the Belgians on the right were the only element of 29th Brigade north of the river, occupying a feature called Hill 194. Their connection with the rest of the brigade depended on two pontoon bridges about half a mile apart from each other. These bridges connected the Belgians with Route 11, 29th Brigade’s main line of supply and communication and thus made vehicular movement between the north and the south bank of the river possible. The Royal Ulster Rifles served as the brigade’s reserve and were deployed along Route 11 (see map showing the situation at 9 a.m., 25 April below for different routes in the area). [ For the deployment of 29th Brigade compare Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 251; Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 324; Mossman: "Ebb and Flow", p. 385—386.]

The scattered deployment was one aspect which complicated the defense of 29th Brigade’s position. Another aspect was the lack of heavy artillery. Fire support was provided by 45 Field Regiment, RA, equipped with 25 pounders under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel M. T. Young and by 4.2 inch mortars of 170 Heavy Mortar Battery, RA. No heavier artillery support was available. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 251, and Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 324, 326.] Further support was provided by Centurion tanks of C Squadron, 8th Hussars, under the command of Major Henry Huth and by 55 Squadron, Royal Engineers. However, defensive preparations were not carried out very extensively because the British expected to hold the position for only a short time. As a result, neither minefields, deeply dug shelters nor extensive wire obstacles existed. The British position on the Imjin river "was deemed safe" but vulnerable in case of an attack. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 253.]

Battle

The first night of attacks

The battle opened on the night of 22 April 1951. A Chinese patrol on the north bank of the river moved around the Belgians on Hill 194 and continued to advance east towards the two bridges on which the Belgians depended. [Mossman: "Ebb and Flow", pp. 386—387.] Elements of 29th Brigade’s reserve, the 1st RUR, were deployed forward at about 10 p.m. in order to secure the crossing but were soon engaged by Chinese forces trying to cross the river. The Royal Ulster Rifles were unable to secure the bridges. [Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 326.] This development meant that the Belgian battalion on the north bank of the river was in danger of being isolated from all other elements of 29th Brigade.

Chinese forces following the initial patrol either attacked the Belgian positions on Hill 194 or continued their advance towards the bridges. Those who were able to cross the Imjin attacked the Fusiliers’ right rear company, Z company, on Hill 257, a position close to the river and almost directly south of the crossings. [Mossman: "Ebb and Flow", p. 387.] Further downstream, Chinese forces managed to ford the Imjin and attacked the Fusiliers’ left forward company, X company, on Hill 152. The retreat of X company from Hill 152 had serious consequences for Y company which occupied the right forward position of what can be described as a squarish fusilier position marked out by four widely spaced company perimeters at the corners. [Mossman:"Ebb and Flow", p. 387.] Although Y company was not attacked directly, Chinese forces threatened its flanks by forcing Z and X company from their positions. After unsuccessful British attempts to regain those lost positions on Hill 257 and 194, Y company’s position was abandoned, the retreat being covered by C Squadron, 8th Hussars. [ Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 326; Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 256.]

On the left of the brigade’s line, a forward deployed patrol of sixteen men repelled four attempts by a battalion of 559th Regiment, 187th Division to cross the river but was eventually forced to fall back after inflicting 70 casualties without any own losses. [Mossman: "Ebb and Flow", p. 388; Battle of the Imjin River at [http://www.glosters.org.uk/textonly_timeline/7 Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum] . Retrieved 26 April 2008.] During the rest of the night, the Glosters’ right and left forward companies, A and D company, engaged Chinese units trying to cross the Imjin. By morning the next day, A and D company had suffered severe casualties; only one officer in A company remained in action. Casualties included A company’s commander, Major Pat Angier, who was killed during the night. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 256—257.]

The Glosters' withdrawal to Hill 235

On 23 April, attempts by the Fusiliers and American forces from the 3rd Infantry Division's reserve to regain control of areas lost during the night failed. A U.S. attack by the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry on Communist forces near Hill 257 was ordered to support the Belgian withdrawal from the north bank of the Imjin River. Despite losing seven vehicles, the Belgian battalion successfully executed its withdrawal which was coordinated with the beginning of the American attack on Hill 257. The Belgians escaped to the east and took up new positions south of the Glosters and the Fusiliers before they moved to the vicinity of 29th Brigade's command post. [Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 327; Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 258; National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/american.htm American actions during the Battle of Imjin River. Precis of 3d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, Section III, Narrative of Operations.] Catalogue reference: WO 308/47 (April 1951), p. 2. Retrieved 15 April 2008.]

At around 8.30 p.m. on 23 April, the forward companies of the Glosters were withdrawn from their positions after suffering heavy casualties. Apart from A and D company, C company under Major Paul Mitchell retreated as well but because of enemy pressure it was impossible for B company under Major Denis Harding to disengage and join the battalion’s remaining elements on and near Hill 235, a position between the Imjin and the Seolmacheon stream that became known as Gloster Hill. The men of B company faced seven Chinese assaults on their position before they were also able to withdraw to Hill 235 the next morning. Only 17 men of B company remained in action after reaching the remainder of the battalion. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 259.]

During the night in which the Glosters’ B company faced numerous attacks, the Chinese 188th Division crossed the Imjin and attacked the Fusiliers and the Royal Ulster Rifles on the right of the brigade’s line. The 187th Division also engaged the brigade’s battalions on the right, while the 189th Division kept up the pressure on the left. [Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 327.] Most dangerous for the unity of 29th Brigade was the Chinese penetration of the line between the Gloucestershire Regiment and the Northumberland Fusiliers. As a result of this deep penetration, the Glosters were cut off. In order to have additional forces available to counter the Chinese attack and to protect the Glosters from being completely surrounded, the Philippine 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) was temporarily attached to 29th Brigade. A combined force of M-24 tanks of the 10th BCT and Centurions of the 8th Hussars supported by infantry reached a point 2000 yards from Hill 235 on 24 April but failed to make contact with the Glosters when the leading M-24 tank of the relief column was hit, blocking the route and making any further advance against heavy resistance impossible. [Beleg] At this point, according to an official American narrative of operations, "the brigade commander considered it unwise to continue the effort to relieve the Gloucester Battalion and withdrew the relief force". [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 260; National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/american.htm American actions during the Battle of Imjin River. Precis of 3d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, Section III, Narrative of Operations.] Catalogue reference: WO 308/47 (April 1951) p. 2. Retrieved 15 April 2008.]

The retreat of 29th Brigade

Continued Chinese pressure on the UN forces along the Imjin prevented a planned attack by the 1st and 3rd Battalions, 65th Infantry to relieve the Glosters. When two further attempts by a tank platoon to link up with the Glosters failed, Brigadier Brodie left the decision whether to attempt a break out or to surrender to Lieutenant-Colonel Carne. No further attempts to relieve the Glosters were undertaken because at 8 a.m. on 25 April, I Corps issued the order to execute Plan Golden A which called for a withdrawal of all forces to a new defensive position further south. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 268; National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/american.htm American actions during the Battle of Imjin River. Precis of 3d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, Section III, Narrative of Operations.] Catalogue reference: WO 308/47 p. 3 (April 1951). Retrieved 15 April 2008.]

In accordance with orders issued by I Corps and supported by C Squadron, 8th Hussars, and 55 Squadron, Royal Engineers, the 1st Battalion, the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the 1st Battalion, the Royal Ulster Rifles, and the Belgian battalion tried to reach the safety of the next UN position. The Belgians occupied blocking positions west and southwest of 29th Brigade's command post in order to allow the other units of 29th Brigade which were still further north along Route 11, the main line of retreat, to fall back through the battalion’s positions (see map). [National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/american.htm American actions during the Battle of Imjin River. Precis of 3d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, Section III, Narrative of Operations.] Catalogue reference: WO 308/47 (April 1951) p. 3. Retrieved 15 April 2008.] However, the withdrawal while being under intense enemy pressure was made even more difficult by the fact that Chinese forces dominated parts of the high ground along the line of retreat and were thus able not only to observe any movements by elements of 29th Brigade but also to inflict heavy casualties on the retreating units. Among those killed was the CO of the Fusiliers, Lieutenant-Colonel Foster, who died when his jeep was hit by Chinese mortar fire. In the words of Major Henry Huth of the 8th Hussars, the retreat was "one long bloody ambush".Quoted in Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 264.] When B company of the Ulsters which had acted as rear guard during the retreat reached the safety of the next UN line, all elements of 29th Brigade except for the Glosters had completed the withdrawal. [For the retreat of 29th Brigade compare Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 327—-328, Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 263-267 and National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/american.htm American actions during the Battle of Imjin River. Precis of 3d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, Section III, Narrative of Operations] . Catalogue reference: WO 308/47 p. 3 (April 1951). Retrieved 15 April 2008.]

The Glosters on Hill 235

The Glosters' situation on Hill 235 made it impossible for them to join the rest of 29th Brigade after it had received the order to retreat. Even before the failed attempts to relieve the battalion on 24 April, B and C company had already suffered such heavy casualties that they were merged to form one company. Attempts to supply the battalion by air drop were unsuccessful. [ Battle of the Imjin River at [http://www.glosters.org.uk/textonly_timeline/7 Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum] ] Despite their difficult situation, the Glosters held the positions on Hill 235 throughout 24 April and the night of 24/25 April. In the morning of 25 April, 45 Field Regiment could no longer provide artillery support for the Glosters. Since Brigadier Brodie had left the decision whether to attempt a break out or to surrender to Lieutenant-Colonel Carne, the Glosters' CO "gave the order to his company commanders to make for the British lines as best as they could" on the morning of 25 April. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 268.] Only the remains of D company under the command of Major Mike Harvey escaped successfully from Gloster Hill and reached the safety of friendly lines after several days. The rest of the battalion was taken prisoner, including Lieutenant-Colonel Carne. [For the Glosters' last stand on Gloster Hill see Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 259, 267—269.]

Aftermath

Importance of the battle

Had the Chinese achieved a breakthrough in the initial stages of their assault, they would have been able to outflank the 1st ROK Division to the west and the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division to the east of 29th Brigade. Such a development would have threatened the stability of the UN line and increased the likelihood of success for a Chinese advance on Seoul. Although the Chinese benefited from 29th Brigade's scattered deployment and a lack of defensive preparations, they were nevertheless unable to overcome the positions before UN forces could check further advances. In three days of fighting, the determined resistance of 29th Brigade severely disrupted the Chinese offensive, causing it to lose momentum and allowed UN forces in the area to withdraw to the No-Name Line, a defensible position north of Seoul, where the Chinese were halted. [Brian Catchpole. "The Korean War". London: Constance and Roninson Ltd, 2000; Anthony Farrar-Hockley. "The British part in the Korean War: Vol 2, An honourable discharge". London: HMSO, 2000; Col. E D Harding: "The Imjin Roll". 3rd edition 2001.]

Casualties and memorial

According to a memorandum presented to the British cabinet on 26 June 1950, 29th Brigade suffered 1091 casualties, including 34 officers and 808 other ranks missing. [ [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/account.htm Memorandum to the British Cabinet] , Catalogue reference: CAB 21/1985 (26 June 1950). Retrieved 15 April 2008.] These casualties represented 20 to 25 per cent of the brigade’s strength on the eve of battle. [20 per cent according to Farrar-Hockley: "The Post-War Army 1945-1963", p. 328, and 25 per cent according to Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 270.] Of the 1091 soldiers killed, wounded or missing, 620 were from the Gloucestershire Regiment, which could muster 217 men on 27 April. [For the casualties suffered by the Gloucestershire Regiment compare [http://www.glosters.org.uk/textonly_timeline/7#item1 1953 – The Trials and Release of the P.O.Ws.] Retrieved 2 May 2008. Note that Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 270, states a different number of soldiers who were left with the Gloucestershire Regiment after battle. According to him, “169 of 850 Gloucesters mustered for rollcall with the brigade after the battle". [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397347562 The British embassy’s account of the battle] also provides differing numbers. It states that only 67 officers and other ranks remained with the regiment after battle. Information retrieved 2 May 2008.] 522 soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment became prisoners of war. [ [http://www.glosters.org.uk/textonly_timeline/7#item1 1953 – The Trials and Release of the P.O.Ws.] Retrieved 2 May 2008. [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397347562 The British embassy’s account of the battle] states that 526 soldiers were taken prisoner, not 522. Retrieved 2 May 2008.] Of those taken prisoner, 180 were wounded and a further 34 died while in captivity. [ [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397347562 Office of the Defence Attache, British Embassy Seoul: Battle of the Imjin] . Retrieved 2 May 2008. 30 men died in captivity according to Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 269.] 59 soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment were killed in action. [ [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397347562 Office of the Defence Attache, British Embassy Seoul: Battle of the Imjin] . Retrieved 2 May 2008.] Based on estimates, Chinese casualties in the Battle of the Imjin River can be put at around 10000. [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 270, refers to several "campaign histories" when he puts the number at around 10000 but underlines that the number of Chinese casualties was "arbitrary" and based "upon the minimum that seemed credible".] As a result of the casualties suffered during the battle, the Chinese 63rd Army, which had begun the offensive with three divisions and approximately 27000 men, had lost over a third of its strength and was pulled out of the front line. [ [http://www.glosters.org.uk/textonly_timeline/7#item1 1953 – The Trials and Release of the P.O.Ws.] Retrieved 2 May 2008.]

Today, a memorial stands at the foot of Gloster Hill coord | 37.944198 | 126.936035 | display=inline | region:KR_type:landmark , beside the Seolmacheon stream and the British Embassy in Seoul organises services for veterans on every anniversary of the battle. The annual service is officially called the Gloster Valley Memorial Service by the British embassy. In 2008, it took place on 19 April as part of formal commemoration ceremonies that were held throughout the period 14 - 20 April. [ British Embassy: [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1093348586792&a=KArticle&aid=1203952728069 British Korean War Visit 2008] . Retrieved 29 April 2008.] The outline of the commemorations in 2008 encompassed a service of commemoration, including the laying of wreaths and the presentations of Gloster Valley Scholarships as well as a picnic lunch which offered visitors the possibility to mingle with veterans. About 70 British veterans as well as the British ambassador to South Korea took part in the event. [The Gloster Valley Scholarship Scheme provides financial assistance to deserving children in the area where the battle took place. All information about the Gloster Valley Memorial Service in 2008 is based on an outline of the service published by the British embassy in Seoul on its [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1093348586792&a=KArticle&aid=1203952728069 website] . The outline can only be [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1093348586792&a=KArticle&aid=1203952728069 downloaded] as a MS Word document. All information retrieved 29 April 2008.]

Awards and citations

Individual awards

In the Battle of the Imjin River two Victoria Crosses and one George Cross were awarded to soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment:
*Lieutenant-Colonel Carne, who commanded the battalion, was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was also awarded the U.S. Army's Distinguished Service Cross. [ War Department [http://www.homeofheroes.com/valor/1_Citations/05_korea-dsc/dsc_18korea_foreign.html General Orders No. 3 (January 20, 1954)] . Retrieved 11 April 2008.]
*Lieutenant Curtis, who had recently learnt of his wife's death and who died in a lone counter-attack on enemy machine-guns, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
*Lieutenant Waters, who died in captivity, was awarded a posthumous George Cross for his conduct shortly after capture.

In addition, several soldiers were awarded the Distinguished Service Order:
*Captain Anthony Farrar-Hockley, 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. xvii.]
*Major Henry Huth, Officer Commanding, C Squadron, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 264.]
*Major John Winn, Officer Commanding, Z Company, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers [Hastings: "The Korean War", p. 256.]

The Military Cross was awarded to:
*Captain Mike Harvey, 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, for his leadership of a group of 5 officers and 41 men of D Company who escaped and evaded the Chinese encirclement.

* Captain Peter Ormrod, 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars [The Times [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article2780371.ece obituary] of Colonel Peter Ormrod, 1 November 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2008.]

*Lieutenant Guy Temple, for his actions when a platoon from C Company, 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment stopped four attempts by Chinese Communist Forces to cross the river on 22 April, only withdrawing when the platoon ran short of ammunition.

Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Crahay received the U.S. Army's Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership of the Belgian battalion during the battle. [Department of the Army: [http://www.homeofheroes.com/valor/1_Citations/05_korea-dsc/dsc_18korea_foreign.html General Orders No. 54 (May 29, 1952)] . Retrieved 11 April 2008.]

Unit citations

Three Commonwealth Regiments were awarded the United States Distinguished Unit Citation for their part in the Battle of the Imjin River and the Battle of Kapyong:
* The 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, together with C Troop, 170 Heavy Mortar Battery, Royal Artillery
* The 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, (Battle of Kapyong April 22-25, 1951).
* The 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment. (Battle of Kapyong April 22-25, 1951)

On the 8 May 1951, by the command of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, General James Van Fleet presented the President's Distinguished Unit Citation to the Glosters, together with C Troop 170 Heavy Mortar Battery, which had given invaluable support throughout the battle. The citation says:

:"HEADQUARTERS":"EIGHTH UNITED STATES ARMY KOREA (EUSAK)":"Office of the Commanding General":"KPO 301"

:"GENERAL ORDERS":"NUMBER 286"

:"8 May, 1951"

:"BATTLE HONOURS – CITATION OF UNITS":"BATTLE HONOURS – By direction of the President, under the provisions of Executive Order 9396(Sec 1, WD Bul. 22.1943), superseding Executive Order 9075 (Sec.III, WD Bul.II, 1942) and pursuant in authority in AR 260-15, the following units are cited as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:-"

:"The 1ST BATTALION GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT, BRITISH ARMY and TROOP C, 170TH INDEPENDENT MORTAR BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY, attached, are cited for exceptionally outstanding performance of duty and extraordinary heroism in action against the armed enemy near Solma-ri, Korea on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of April, 1951. The 1st BATTALION and TROOP C were defending a very critical sector of the battle front during a determined attack by the enemy. The defending units were overwhelmingly outnumbered. The 83rd Chinese Communist Army drove the full force of its savage assault at the positions held by the 1st BATTALION, GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT and attached unit. The route of supply ran Southeast from the battalion between two hills. The hills dominated the surrounding terrain northwest to the Imjin River. Enemy pressure built up on the battalion front during the day 23 April. On 24 April the weight of the attack had driven the right flank of the battalion back. The pressure grew heavier and heavier and the battalion and attached unit were forced into a perimeter defence on Hill 235. During the night, heavy enemy forces had by-passed the staunch defenders and closed all avenues of escape. The courageous soldiers of the battalion and attached unit were holding the critical route selected by the enemy for one column of the general offensive designed to encircle and destroy 1st Corps. These gallant soldiers would not retreat. As they were compressed tighter and tighter in their perimeter defence, they called for close-in air strikes to assist in holding firm. Completely surrounded by tremendous numbers, these indomitable, resolute, and tenacious soldiers fought back with unsurpassed fortitude and courage. As ammunition ran low and the advancing hordes moved closer and closer, these splendid soldiers fought back viciously to prevent the enemy from overrunning the position and moving rapidly to the south. Their heroic stand provided the critically needed time to regroup other 1st Corps units and block the southern advance of the enemy. Time and again efforts were made to reach the battalion, but the enemy strength blocked each effort. Without thought of defeat or surrender, this heroic force demonstrated superb battlefield courage and discipline. Every yard of ground they surrendered was covered with enemy dead until the last gallant soldier of the fighting battalion was over-powered by the final surge of the enemy masses. The 1st BATTALION, GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT and TROOP C, 170th INDEPENDENT MORTAR BATTERY displayed such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing their mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set them apart and above other units participating in the same battle. Their sustained brilliance in battle, their resoluteness, and extraordinary heroism are in keeping with the finest traditions of the renowned military forces of the British Commonwealth, and reflect unsurpassed credit on these courageous soldiers and their homeland."

:"BY COMMAND OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL VAN FLEET."

:"OFFICIAL"

:"LEVEN C ALLEN":"Major General US Army.":"Chief of Staff."

:"L. W. STANLEY.":"Colonel AGC.":"Adjutant General." [National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/presidential.htm American Presidential Citation] , Catalogue reference: WO 32/14248 no.1B (8 May 1951). Retrieved 15 April 2008.]

The Belgian United Nations Command, which was attached to the British 29th Brigade and replaced the 900 men of the Royal Ulster Rifles on 20 April 1951, initially held the brigade's right flank on the north bank of the river. It also included a Luxembourg platoon. It fought the Chinese there and then conducted a fighting withdrawal, supported by U.S. forces, before taking position in the center of the brigade's line, ahead of brigade headquarters, for the attempts to relieve the Glosters. The Belgian battalion was awarded the United States Distinguished Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for their conduct during the battle.

Notes

References

Online references

* National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/presidential.htm American Presidential Citation] , Catalogue reference: WO 32/14248 no.1B (8 May 1951).
* National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/account.htm Memorandum to the British Cabinet] , Catalogue reference: CAB 21/1985 (26 June 1950).
* National Archives: [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/popup/american.htm American actions during the Battle of Imjin River. Precis of 3d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, Section III, Narrative of Operations.] Catalogue reference: WO 308/47 p.1—4 (April 1951).
* [http://www.homeofheroes.com/valor/1_Citations/05_korea-dsc/dsc_18korea_foreign.html Citations] for non-US recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross.
* The Times [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article2780371.ece obituary] of Colonel Peter Ormrod, 1 November 2007.

Printed references

* Farrar-Hockley, Anthony. "The Post-War Army 1945-1963". In: Chandler, David G., and Beckett, Ian. "The Oxford History of the British Army". Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 316—342.
* Hastings, Max. "The Korean War". London: Pan Books, 2000.
* Mossman, Billy C. [http://www.history.army.mil/books/korea/ebb/fm.htm "The United States Army in the Korean War: Ebb and Flow, November 1950-July 1951] ". Washington D.C.: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1990.

Further reading

* Barclay, Cyril Nelson. "The First Commonwealth Division: The Story of British Commonwealth Land Forces in Korea, 1950-1953". Aldershot U.K.: Gale & Polden, 1954.
* Catchpole, Brian. "The Korean War". London: Constance and Roninson Ltd, 2000. ISBN 1-84119-413-1
* Cunningham-Boothe, Ashley, and Farrar, Peter (eds). "British Forces in the Korean War". London: The British Korean Veterans Association, 1988.
* Farrar-Hockley, Anthony. "The Edge of the Sword". London: Frederick Muller, 2007.
* Farrar-Hockley, Anthony. "The British Part in the Korean War: Vol.1. A distant Obligation". London: HMSO, 1990.
* Farrar-Hockley, Anthony. "The British Part in the Korean War: Vol 2. An honourable Discharge". London: HMSO, 2000.
* Green, David. "Captured at the Imjin River: The Korean War Memoirs of a Gloster". Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2003.
* Harding, E.D."The Imjin Roll". 3rd edition 2001.
* Holles, Robert Owen. "Now Thrive The Armourers". White Lion Publishing, 1972.
* Kahn, Ely Jacques. "The Gloucesters: An Account of the Epic Stand of the Gloucestershire Regiment in Korea". London: Central Office of Information, 1951.
* Rottman, Gordon. "Korean War Order of Battle. United States, United Nations and Communist Ground, Naval and Air Forces, 1950-1953". Praeger/Greenwood, 2002.

External links

* [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/battles/korea/buildup.htm The National Archives web page] on the Korean War and the Imjin battle in particular, including documents, maps and images.
* [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397831756 The British Embassy’s web page] on the Korean War in general and the British involvement in particular.
* [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1101397347562 The British Embassy’s web page] about the Battle of the Imjin River including a map showing the deployment of 29th Brigade’s units.
* [http://www.glosters.org.uk The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum] which holds the archives of the Gloucestershire Regiment including documents and artefacts related to the battle.
* [http://www.remuseum.org.uk/corpshistory/rem_corps_part19.htm#korea Royal Engineers Museum] Royal Engineers and the Cold War (Korean War)
* [http://www.remuseum.org.uk/rem_col_online.htm Royal Engineers Museum] Royal Engineer pictures of the Korean War
* [http://www.geocities.com/gpvillain/1997-11mar1.html Obituary of Bernard Leroy Martin (one of three Bermudian Glosters at Imjin)] in the Royal Gazette.
* [http://www.geocities.com/peftok/10thbct3.html The Philippine contingent during the Korean War] including their efforts to relieve the Gloucestershire Regiment.
* [http://hendrik.atspace.com/eng/Bunc.html The complete story of the Belgian United Nations Contingent] with reports of the battles they participated in, unit awards and personal decorations.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Naval Battle of the Han River (1951) — Naval Battle of the Han River Part of the Korean War …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Imjin River (1592) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Imjin River (1592) partof=Imjin War date=May 1592 place=Imjin River result=Japanese victory combatant1=Joseon Dynasty Korea combatant2=Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi commander1=Kim Myeong won Yi Il Yi… …   Wikipedia

  • Imjin River — Infobox Korean settlement title=Imjin River imgcaption=Imjin River koreanname=North Korean name context=north hangul=림진강 hanja=臨津江 mr=Rimjin gang rr=Rimjin gang koreanname2=South Korean name hangul2=임진강 hanja2=臨津江 rr2=Imjin gang mr2=Imjin gangThe …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of the Hook — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of the Hook partof=Korean War caption= date=28 May 29 May, 1953 place=coord|38|1|44|N|126|50|13|E|type:landmark|display=inline,title|name=Battle of the Hook, near Kaesong, Korea result=United Nations… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle honour — This article is about a military award in British tradition. For the American equivalent, see Campaign streamer. A battle honour is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Ch'ungju — Battle of Chungju (Choryang Pass) Part of Imjin War Date June 8 1592 – 28d 04m 1592 (according to Lunar Calendar) Location Tangumdae Hill, near Chungju …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Okpo — Part of Imjin War Date May 7, 1592 Location Okpo Bay, Jeolla, Korea Result Decisive Korean Victor …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Danghangpo — Harbor Part of Imjin War Date 4 June 1592 Location Goseong or Jinhae, Korea Result …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Kapyong — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of the Kapyong partof=Korean War caption= date=22 April 25 April, 1951 place=Gapyeong County, South Korea result=Decisive United Nations victory combatant1=flag|United Nations *flag|South Korea *USA… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Myeongnyang — Part of the Imjin War Date October 26, 1597 (September 16 according to Chinese Lunisolar Calendar, September 13 according to Korean Lunisolar …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.