Australia and Canada - Korea

Discussion in 'Korea' started by canuck, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

  2. spidge


    Hi Canuck,

    Interesting indeed.

    We may have our differences but we know how to fight the good fight.
  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

  4. spidge


    Many similarities too!

    An Essay: Similarities in Australian and Canadian fiction « KevinfromCanada


    I remember I got a little "put off" on GWF when they were speaking of the New Zealanders and the Australians not getting on.

    One English chap quoted this from a book written by a WW1 British Tank Captain who was giving his thoughts on the best Commonwealth soldiers.

    The order is of no consequence:

    South Africans
    New Zealanders

    What about the Australians you say.............!
    Australians, were a bloody nuisance, they should stick to what they do best - fighting!:rolleyes:
  5. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Kapyong prevented the UN front from collapsing - the classic defensive battle - in Gloster Hill style, while becoming another center-stage for Digger and Canuck prowess; the 3RAR and the PPCLI truly saved the day.
  6. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Cool thread
    The US Company A 72nd Heavy Tank Battlion and 16 Field Regt of the New Zealand Arty also proved to be very valuable during that fight.
    1st Middlesex was their to, as a the reserve Btn for the Brigade, they were possibly amongst the final line of defence for Seoul if the CCF had got through 3RAR & 2PPLCI they would of been next to face them

  7. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Quite a lot of ex-British WW2 servicemen were recruited into the Australian Army during the Korean War.

    Peter Cundall (ex ABC-TV Gardening Australia) was one of them.

  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Canuck -
    very interesting discussion on the differences and similarities of the founding people of both countries.

    On a visit to Australia in the 90's we made our way to Long Reach in Queensland to have a look at their National Archives - and Sportsmen Hall of Fame - the archive was more than interesting with the lists of crews and convicted passengers of the first ships to arrive to found what was then the Colony - and I was particularly drawn to a very large map of the country where one could push a button to follow the trails of the initial explorers - and my fingers soon found the Scottish Explorer by the name of Canning- and today there is still a town in the Western area of the land still rejoicing in the name of Canning.

    I have never studied his relationship as in his travels he appeared to go in a very large circle to end up back where he started where he settled and called the place "Canning " !

    This reminded me too often of my own relatives and thus have claimed him as my own Scots born explorer !

    Even more interesting was a letter - from a liberated convict who had bought an acreage and was rearing sheep - addressed to his realtive and asked him to "steal a loaf of bread and get sent out here and when your time is up - you too can buy land and raise sheep" which proved to me that the horrendous stories one hears about the awful English getting rid of their unwanted was in effect a good thing for them and thus built up the country faster than the usual methods..So the hanging Judge of Dorchester was a pussy cat !

    Similarly the Commision men built up North Vancouver and assisted in the building of the Lions Gate Bridge with money from over 'ome namely the Guinness family
  9. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Quite a lot of ex-British WW2 servicemen were recruited into the Australian Army during the Korean War.

    Peter Cundall (ex ABC-TV Gardening Australia) was one of them.


    Yes they did and lot of Brits joined RAR during the Viet Nam years as well.
    Australia had men from many nations fighting in Korea

    For service in Korea, Australia had a special force of recruits called 'K' force who were men with experience fighting during WW2, most of the senior Officers and senior NCO's and about half the original infantry troops of 3 Btn RAR were 'K'Force. Junior officers were recent graduates of Duntroon and half of infantry men who had joined the Australian regular army infantry forces post WW2. As the war went on more of
    the troops were young men with no previous war experience but who had been training for some time. However the WW2 vets still were represented for the duration with many staying in the regular army.
  10. spidge


    Referring to Korea and the Aussies insistance on controlling "No-Man's land" many had served under Sir Leslie Morshead who led the Aussies at Tobruk and who in turn learnt his tactics from General Sir John Monash.
  11. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Kapyong prevented the UN front from collapsing - the classic defensive battle - in Gloster Hill style, while becoming another center-stage for Digger and Canuck prowess; the 3RAR and the PPCLI truly saved the day.

    40 km northeast of Seoul, Republic of Korea, and south of the Demilitarized Zone, the Kap'yong River loops southward to join the Pukhan. Near the confluence of the two rivers is the sprawling town of Kap'yong. About five km north of the town following the snake-like curves of the Kap'yong River Valley is a two-km series of interconnected ridges known during the Korean War as Hill 677.
    Hill 677 was a defensive position held by Canadian troops. The fighting that took place there was one of a multitude of battles across the Korean Peninsula in an attempt to stop a major offensive by the Chinese Communist Forces. In the years that followed, the hill became a focal point in reference to Canadian military operations during the Korean War. It was known as the Battle of Kap'yong.
    On April 22 the CCF commenced their 1951 spring offensive, ramming heavily into United Nations Forces along the front line from the west coast to the Soyang River in the east. One of the main thrusts by the Chinese was toward the Kap'yong Valley, a direct route to Seoul. This sector was held by the U.S. 1 and IX Corps. Under heavy pressure the Americans withdrew, leaving two regiments of the 6th Republic of Korea Division to block the enemy drive. The South Korean troops were hit hard and forced to withdraw. Four days earlier the Calgary- based 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (the first Canadian infantry unit to see action in Korea) had moved out of the line to a rest area near Chongchon-ni, 25 km south. On the morning of April 23 the Patricias were shocked to learn the front was collapsing. They were ordered to immediately establish defensive positions on Hill 677, a feature within corps reserve, 20 km behind the lines.
    By mid-afternoon Lt.-Col. "Big Jim" Stone, commanding officer, 2nd Battalion PPCLI, had deployed his four rifle companies, battalion tactical headquarters and supporting arms on the hill. Able, Baker and Charlie Companies faced the main east-west curve of the valley. Dog Company occupied the left flank. Because of the terrain, interlocking fire support between companies was limited. The platoons in each company supported each other, with gaps between the companies fire-tasked by battalion machine guns and mortars as well as by a New Zealand artillery regiment. The 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, supported by a company of the U.S. 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion, held high ground five km across the valley to the east.
    The men on 677 dug in. It was a tough task. The soil was rocky and this resulted in many slit trenches being only two to four feet deep. Rock parapets were built for extra protection. Potential enemy assault routes were trip-wired and booby-trapped with grenades and mortar bombs.
    Capt. Owen R. Browne, officer commanding Able Company, later wrote in a regimental journal:
    "It was then, about mid-afternoon (April 23), that the rumour of the collapsing front acquired a meaning. From my arrival until then both the main Kap'yong Valley and the subsidiary valley cutting across the front had been empty of people. Then, suddenly, down the road through the subsidiary valley came hordes of men, running, walking, interspersed with military vehicles — totally disorganized mobs. They were elements of the 6th ROK Division which were supposed to be ten miles forward engaging the Chinese. But they were not engaging the Chinese. They were fleeing! I was witnessing a rout. The valley was filled with men. Some left the road and fled over the forward edges of "A" Company positions. Some killed themselves on the various booby traps we had laid, and that component of my defensive layout became worthless . . . between 1530 hours and 1800 hours all of A" Coy speeded up its defence preparations and digging as it watched, helpless to intervene, while approximately 4000-5000 troops fled in disorganized panic across and through the forward edges of our positions. But we knew then that we were no longer 10-12 miles behind the line; we were the front line."
    The evening was quiet, the sky clear, a moon rising. The Patricias watched and waited. Just after midnight the sky suddenly turned bright with illumination flares drifting over the Australian positions across the valley. Rifles, machine guns, mortars, and artillery simultaneously smashed the silence. The Chinese had struck. The first phase of the Battle of Kap'yong had begun. All during the night the RARs fought the enemy on the hill slopes and in their trenches. They regrouped and tightened their perimeter. At dawn April 24, the Chinese withdrew then attacked again. In the late afternoon, after battling wave after wave of Chinese assault troops for 16 hours, and running low on ammunition, the Australians were ordered to withdraw.
    Now the only infantrymen left to stop the Chinese advance through the Kap'yong Valley were the Patricias on Hill 677. They were alone.
    With the withdrawal of the RARs, Lt.-Col. Stone moved Baker Company to his right flank overlooking the abandoned, thatch-covered huts of Naech'on village and facing the former Australian positions. It proved to be a tactically-sound decision.
    About ten o'clock that night enemy mortar bombs showered Baker Company and machine-gun tracer bullets pierced the darkness with fingers of light, indicating the enemy assault route. Amidst the cacophony of Chinese bugles, whistles and exploding mortar bombs, the enemy stormed Baker Company's forward platoon throwing grenades into the trenches as they advanced. The stutter of Chinese burp guns and the scream of flying shrapnel added to the din. The air hung heavy with the acrid smell of battle. The defenders fought fiercely, but overwhelmed by numbers, the platoon withdrew farther into the company perimeter and prepared for a counterattack which was ultimately and successfully executed.
    While Baker Company was under fire a party of 100 Chinese attempted to probe tactical headquarters. The battalion’s 81 mm mortars combined with withering fire from .50 calibre and .30 calibre machine guns drove them off the hill.
    Elements of the CCF attempted to ford the river below the Canadian positions. They were easy targets in the moonlight. Over 70 died and bloodied the waters of the Kap'yong.
    The men of Baker Company held their positions while the Chinese kept coming, hundreds at a time. With fixed bayonets the Patricias desperately fought on through the night.
    About 1 a.m. April 25, a Dog Company platoon was attacked from three sides by large numbers of enemy troops. Two Patricias manning a Vickers machine-gun where killed. Waves of Chinese spilled into the company area. It was hand-to-hand-fight-for-your-life combat. Dog Company was on the verge of being overrun. The company commander, Capt. Wally Mills, requested that artillery be fired on his own positions. The New Zealand gunners obliged. The defenders hugged the bottom of their trenches while artillery shells roared in overhead. The shells scoured everything above ground level, driving off the Chinese. But they returned. More artillery fire followed. 2300 rounds hammered Dog Company positions.
    There were many acts of heroism that night. Pte. Ken Barwise single-handedly recaptured the Vickers machine gun lost to the enemy early in the firefight, then took down a number of the enemy advancing towards him. Pte. Wayne Mitchell, a Bren gunner, used the light machine-gun with devastating effect on the enemy. Despite being wounded twice, he fought on even though weak from loss of blood. He was eventually evacuated. L/Cpl. Smiley Douglas, attempted to throw a live grenade out of harm's way to save injury to men in his section. He wasn't quite quick enough. He lost a hand. Ken Campbell, a Dog Company section commander at the time, was severely wounded in a firefight with Chinese swarming his positions. First, three burp gun slugs hit him in the shoulder. He fell, then took two more in the back. One bullet lodged in the lining of his heart; two others collapsed a lung. He eventually recovered.
    Before first light April 25, the CCF ceased their assault on Hill 677 and withdrew. The day dawned clear and quiet. The supply route to the rear was held by the enemy. The battalion was cut off from other UN troops and their reserve supply of ammunition and rations were depleted. An airdrop was requested. Six hours later, at 10:30 a.m., four U.S. C-119 "flying boxcars" lumbered over the PPCLI positions at 200 feet and jettisoned parachutes bearing supplies.
    With supplies replenished, the battalion prepared for the resumption of fighting. However, the two regiments of the CCF — totalling 6,000 men — that had entered the Kap’yong Valley had been badly mauled by the Australians, Canadians and their supporting arms and they did not return to Hill 677. The Battle of Kap’yong was over. Supply lines were opened and UN Forces subsequently re-established its lines and pushed the CFF farther to the north. Seoul would not be threatened again.
    The PPCLI casualties were amazingly light – 10 killed, 23 wounded – considering the viciousness of the fighting and the Chinese troops’ overwhelming numerical advantage. Post-battle military analysis and historian hindsight determined that the PPCLI success at Kap’yong was due to a number of factors. Many of the 2nd Battalion officers and NCOs were battle-experienced Second World War veterans. As a battalion they had trained hard in Canada as well as in Korea and had been blooded in action prior to Kap’yong. The men were in excellent physical condition, well-disciplined with good morale and, determined to maintain the traditions of their regiment that had won battle honours in the First and Second World Wars. The Chinese, although having numerical superiority, entered killing grounds of Hill 677 through valleys, re-entrants and other approaches which were inter-locked by machine gun, mortar and artillery fire tasks. Also, by the time the Chinese entered the Kap’yong Valley in their rush to recapture Seoul, they had outdistanced their supply lines. This, coupled with heavy casualties, no doubt reduced their will to continue fighting at that time.
    The actions of 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, A Company 72nd U.S. Heavy Tank Battalion and, ultimately standing alone, 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, prevented the Chinese Communist Forces from exploiting their breach of United Nations lines. These three units under UN Command were each awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation.
    The award reads in part: ". . . recognition of outstanding heroism and exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services . . ."
    The PPCLI is the only Canadian unit to ever receive this award.
  12. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Their are not that many non US units who have been awarded the USA DSU or as it is now called, US Presidental Unit Citation most especially in the 1950's.

    Distinguished Unit Citation
    3d Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (23 and 24 April 1951) 2d Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (24 and 25 April 1951) Company A, 72d 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 to the area north of Kapyong. The units listed above were deployed to stem the assault. The 3d Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment moved to the right flank of the sector and took up defensive positions north of the Pukhon River. The 2d Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, defended in the vicinity of Hill 677 on the left flank. Company A, 72d 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 clangour of bugles and trumpets. The forward elements were completely surrounded going through the first day and into the second. Again and again the enemy threw waves of troops at 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 toll 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. Toward the close of 25 April, the enemy break-through had been stopped. The seriousness of the break-through on the central front had been changed from defeat to victory by the gallant stand of these heroic and courageous soldiers.The 3d Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; 2d Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; and Company A, 72d Heavy Tank Battalion, displayed such gallantry, determination, and esprit-de-corps 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 brought distinguished credit on themselves, their homelands, and all freedom loving nations.
  13. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    for a quite detailed account on the Australian battalion during the battle for Kapyong see. Battle of Kapyong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I like the story of Major ODowd who on the morning of the 24th gained contact with 1st Marine Div (all other comms were down) the Marine General did not believe that it was the Australians and that he must be speaking to a Chinese spy as he believed the Aussies had been completely wiped out the night before. ODowd replied I got news for you, we are here and we are staying here.
    Major ODowd was a WW2 vet with much experience spending the war with Infantry units, he had demobbed at end of war and was living peacefully in 1950 when the Korean War broke out I don't know if he intended to go to Korea. However when he heard his 2/11th Btn AIF CO from 1945 had been given command of 3RAR for Korea, he contacted army and was reenlisted with 'K' Force for action in Korea and also given his old rank . Now imo that's loyalty. The CO of 3RAR Lt Col Charlie H. Green was 31 years old first having been given a pernament commanded of a AIF Battalion in the field aged 25.

    Greens WW2 number was NX121 meaning he was the 121st person in NSW to enlist for WW2 on 25th October 1939, while O'Dowd joined 7 Nov 1939 with the number WX377 meaning the 377th person in Western Australia to enlist. According to his AWM WW2 Nominal roll O'Dowd remained in the Army after Korea staying on till 1973
    Green died of wounds 1st November 1950, the 3RAR had stopped for the day after some fighting and the CO's tent was set up he ordered it moved due to something to do with a big tree, he then laid down to catch some sleep when (this is well after fighting had finished) a sole and stray Arty round ricocheted of the tree and some hit Green in the stomach area, the RAAMC Doctor was called and Green was rushed to a MASH however the wounds were to much and he died as a result. He was the type that instilled confidence in all around him and it would of been expected for him raise to very senior rank.
  14. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Quote: Quite a lot of ex-British WW2 servicemen were recruited into the Australian Army during the Korean War.

    Peter Cundall (ex ABC-TV Gardening Australia) was one of them.} End Quote

    George Sixa Platoon.
    R. K. Cashman Korean War Photo Collection
    Please click on George Link at top of page.

    In the immediate post war years many men with a lot of experience fighting in WW2 had found themselves with out a free home land and subsequently immigrated to Australia. Many of these men were quite anti Communist. So when a war against communist forces started they jumped at the chance.
    George a Polish veteran of Arnhem was one of these great men. Being deployed to Korea as a RAInf Lieutenant in command of a infantry Platoon.
    canuck likes this.
  15. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Great post Cobber

    and also a great quote in there, "Such is war. They say that there are only "The quick and the dead", but sometimes the quick pay a price as well."
  16. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

  17. spidge


  18. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Thanks for posting that I haven't heard it for a long time, though I think they missed several verses (the singers not sure about musicians.)

    Their are some differing versions with three written.
    Waltzing Matilda
    The Pogues also sing a version along with other Australian colonial style ballads which are quite good.
    Basically it's a story of a drifter who steals a lamb and then commits suicide by drowning to prevent being arrested for rustling.

    Handy Hints!

    walking along a bush track


    a bedroll


    an unemployed drifter


    Aboriginal word for a waterhole


    Aboriginal word for a type of Australian tree


    a tin with a wire handle used for boiling water and heating food


    Aboriginal word for sheep

    Tucker Bag

    bag containing food (tucker)


    a landowner


  19. Cobber

    Cobber Senior Member

    Sorry Double Post

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