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Imjin 

 

Main river in Korea :20 - 26 April 1951

   

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Precis of 3[r]d Infantry Division Command Report, April 1951, 
                                                                      
Section III, Narrative of Operations   

CCF [Chinese Communist Field Army] began a general attack against division outposts along line UTAH (WYOMING) about 230030/I. Outposts were driven back to main positions, Positions of B Company, 10th Battalion Combat Team (Philippines) were penetrated but restored after daylight. 2[n]d Battalion, 65th Infantry, retained its positions. Belgian Battalion was attacked at 0600/I and remained heavily engaged throughout the day. 7th Infantry, in division reserve in the vicinity of SOCHONG-NI (CT 3106) was ordered at 230730/I to move one rifle company and two tank platoons to support the Belgian battalion. One tank platoon crossed the Imjin and took positions (CT 2410) supporting C Company of the Belgian [Volunteer] Battalion; the other platoon took positions (CT 2608) and engaged the enemy south of the Imjin in an effort to regain control of the Belgian Battalion's withdrawal route. The rifle company, receiving heavy small arms and mortar fire from hills south of the Hantan River (CT 2406 - 2707) remained in the vicinity of CT 2709 awaiting instructions regarding the Belgian Battalion's withdrawal. At 1330/I the 3d Division was informed that because the withdrawal route across the Imjin was blocked by enemy forces which had gotten in the rear, the Belgian Battalion believed it impossible to bring out its vehicles. It planned to burn them and withdraw on foot.

A 3d Division staff officer went by helicopter to the Belgian Battalion to work up a plan to remove vehicles with the Battalion. To help in the withdrawal, the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, which had moved during the morning to counter an enemy penetration reported near Hill 675 (CT 2200), was ordered to attack the enemy in the vicinity of Hill 257 (CT 2506). Withdrawal of the Belgian Battalion, coordinated with the attack of the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry, at 1930/I, was successfully executed. Seven vehicles were lost. Next morning the Belgian Battalion moved to the vicinity of the 29th BIB [British Independent Brigade Commando. 1st Battalion, 7th [Infantry], continued in heavy contact until 2240/I when it disengaged and withdrew to an assembly area in the vicinity of the 7th Infantry CP. The Royal Ulster Rifles Battalion (less one company) was committed on the right of the [Royal] Northumberland Fusilier Battalion to fill the Belgian Battalion's place in the line.
At 230910/I 3d Division received orders from 1st Corps to withdraw in an orderly manner to Line KANSAS. The 7th Infantry was ordered to occupy positions on KANSAS in the 65th Infantry sector. The 65th Infantry (-) withdrew south of the Hantan River during the day, passed through the 7th, and went into division reserve at CS 2797. The 3d Battalion, 65th, was attached to the 7th Infantry to occupy positions on KANSAS which had been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th.
Heaviest attack in the division sector was delivered against the 29th BIB. All elements of the brigade on the line were forced to withdraw under heavy enemy pressure. The enemy penetrated between the Gloucestershire and Northumberland Fusilier Battalions. When the 65th withdrew through the 7th, the 10th BCT was attached to the 29th BIB and moved to an assembly area (CS 2597), closing at 2000/I. This battalion was attached to provide the 29th with a reserve to counter the penetration.
The Gloucester Battalion received heavy attacks throughout the night of 23-24 April. A task force of the 10th BCT with its own M-24 tanks and half C Squadron [7 Royal Tank Regiment], 8th [King's Royal Irish] Hussars, moved out in the morning of 24 April to link up with the Gloucester Battalion and aid in its withdrawal. The task force met heavy resistance but pushed to a point 2,000 yards from the Gloucester position on Hill 235 (CT 1801). The lead M-24 tank hit a mine (or was hit by a mortar round - 3d Division states that the reports are conflicting), was disabled, and blocked the road. The brigade commander considered it unwise to continue the effort to relieve the Gloucester Battalion and withdrew the relief force.
To restore positions in the division's left the 1st and 3d Battalions, 65th, were moved to an assembly area (CS 2397) to prepare to counterattack to the northwest on the morning of the 25th, regain the Gloucester position, and destroy the enemy concentration reported on

Hill 675 (CT 2100). The 10th BCT reverted to control of the 65th Infantry. The 64th Heavy Tank Battalion (less one company attached to the 7th Infantry) was ordered to be prepared to move north along the axis CS 2497-CT 2505, then west along the 05 east-west grid line, to cut off the enemy when the 65th's attack drove them back. During this period enemy pressure against the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Northumberland Fusiliers was too heavy to permit these battalions to be disengaged and used elsewhere.
During the night of 24-25 April the enemy infiltrated to the left and centre of the 29th BIB positions to such an extent that the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 65th, the Belgian Battalion, the 10th BCT, and the 29th BIB CP were brought under small arms and mortar fire. The main supply route from the 29th BIB CP to the [Royal] Ulster Rifles and the Northumberland Fusiliers was interdicted but not cut by enemy fire. This enemy pressure prevented the planned attack by the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 65th to relieve the Gloucester Battalion. Enemy forces southeast of the 65th battalions required that they be used to prevent the enemy from getting behind withdrawing troops on the main supply route. The 3d Reconnaissance Company and the 2d Battalion of the 65th were sent at 1000/I to take positions on a line CS 2590-CS 2893 to block the enemy and drive him into the path of the 10th BCT and the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 65th as they advanced to the southeast.
1st Corps ordered Plan Golden A executed effective 250800/I. This plan called for withdrawal to Line DELTA just above the CS 90 east-west grid line. The problem of relieving the Gloucester Battalion remained unsolved. Commanders of the 29th BIB, the 65th Infantry, and the 64th Heavy Tank Battalion conferred and decided to send a platoon of tanks to open a withdrawal route. When two attempts by the tank platoon failed, the brigade commander, to save the rest of the unit and comply with the order to withdraw to Line DELTA, ordered the Gloucester Battalion to fight its way out and the 29th BIB began its withdrawal.
The Belgian Battalion occupied blocking positions west and southwest of the 29th BIB CP (CS 2597) to enable the Ulster Rifles and Northumberland Fusiliers to fall back through the Belgian Battalion to Line DELTA. The Belgian Battalion fought a delaying action to cover the 29th BIB and became rather widely scattered. The Northumberland Fusiliers and Ulster Rifles, having been heavily engaged for three days, were also disorganized as they arrived at Line DELTA. The 29th BIB was depleted in strength and its tactical unity was impaired. The brigade needed to be reorganized to restore its effectiveness. Therefore 1st Corps was asked to release the 15th Infantry from Corps reserve to the 3d Division to relieve the 29th BIB on Line DELTA. The 15th Infantry relieved the 29th at 2330/I. The 29th BIB…
(with the Belgian Battalion attached, but minus the 45th Field Regiment [Royal Artillery] which remained under division control, reverted to the 1st Corps.
The 7th Infantry, with one company of the 64th Heavy Tank Battalion attached, withdrew through successive delaying positions in constant contact with the enemy. When the 15th Infantry was released to the 3d Division, it took positions on the right half of the division sector. The 65th Infantry, with the 10th BCT attached, took positions on the left half of the division zone. The 7th Infantry was in division reserve.
On 26 April 1st Corps ordered withdrawal from Line DELTA to Line GOLDE

 

 

 

Killed in Action

 

CABUY F.

Sdt

23/04/51

IMJIN (IDONG-NI)  

CLAES A.

Sgt

23/04/51

 IMJIN (IDONG-NI)

CLAEYS P.

Sdt

23/04/51

IMJIN ( MAP-ORI)

CORNETTE R.

Sdt

23/04/51

IMJIN ( MAP-ORI)

DEGAND A.

Sdt

23/04/51

 IMJIN ( MAP-ORI)

DEGROOTE L.

Sdt

23/04/51

 IMJIN ( IDONG-NI)

DUMONT L.   Sdt   23/04/51 IMJIN (MAP-ORI)  
HENROT L.   Sdt   23/04/51 IMJIN (MAP-ORI)  
LEMOUCHE G   1Sgt   23/04/51 IMJIN (MAP-ORI)  
MASSET A   Sdt   23/04/51 IMJIN (MAP-ORI)  
PIETERS  M   Sdt   23/04/51 IMJIN (MAP-ORI)  
VAN DE PUTTE R   Sdt   23/04/51 IMJIN (MAP-ORI)  
BEAUPREZ P. Lt Res   18/03/51   TCHU-DONG
ROTTIERS F Sdt 24/03/51 JUJONGBU

 

Belgium Citation     

By Royal Decree number 447- 4 January 1952, the Expeditionary Corps for Korea is mentioned on the daily order of the Army for:


 " Having fought with the greatest courage during the battle on the Imjin river near HANTANGANG in Korea, during the period from 20 till 26 April 1951
" During the battle, the Expeditionary Corps for Korea, composed from Belgians and Luxemburg's, beat the enemy back and inflicted heavy casualties through fire and brave counterattacks  with the bayonet. After having withdrawn on orders,  the Expeditionary Corps for Korea saved his weapons, wounded and vehicles, and was put back into action on its own request. Has fought successful rearguard actions, thereby enabling neighboring units to disengage"

 

American citation

By decision of the President concurrent with the dispositions of the execution order, the following unit is mentioned on the daily order as a public testimonial of deserved honor and distinction.
The Belgian battalion with the Luxemburg detachment of the UN Forces in Korea is mentioned for EXCEPTIONAL execution of its missions and for its REMARKABLE HEROISM in its actions against the enemy on the Imjin, near  HANTANGAN, Korea during the period from 20 till 26 April 1951. The Belgian battalion  with the Luxemburg detachment ,ONE OF THE SMALLEST UNITS OF THE UN IN KOREA, has inflicted thirty fold losses on the enemy compared to its own, due to its aggressive and courageous actions against the Communist Chinese. When the Chinese troops had succeeded in occupying the positions endangering the liaison with the allied neighboring units, The Belgian battalion with the Luxemburg detachment launched furious counter-attacks with the bayonet. The enemy, surprised by the tenacity of these attacks , withdrew in disorder.
The Belgian battalion with the Luxemburg detachment has shown so much proof of courage, decision and esprit de corps in the accomplishment of its missions during these actions in difficult and hazardous circumstances, that it has to be placed ABOVE ANY OTHER UNITS participating in these actions.
The extraordinary courage shown by the members of this units during this period has bestowed extraordinary honor on their country and on themselves.

By order of
General VAN FLEET
Henri I HODES
Major general, US Army

Chief of Staff

 

 

 


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General Van Fleet US -  Lt-Kol Vivario
 

 

 

 

Korean Citation

Presidential Unit Citation
The President of Korea takes great pleasure in awarding the Presidential Unit Citation " to the Belgian Battalion and the Luxemburg Detachment Volunteers for Korea of the armed Forces of the UNITED NATIONS COMMAND for their exceptional valorous execution of their missions and their remarkable heroism.
These units are mentioned for their remarkable heroism in their actions against the enemy at
                          THE IMJIN, NEAR HANTANGANG in KOREA
during the period from 20 till 26 April 1951. The Belgian battalion have, due to their offensive and courageous actions against the Chinese Communists, inflicted thirty fold greater casualties on the enemy forces, supported by the fire of machine guns, mortars and artillery, launched heavy and repeated attacks on the positions of the Belgian battalion, but these valiantly and repeatedly repelled the fanatic attacks and inflicted considerable losses upon the enemy troops.
After the Chinese communists succeeded in occupying positions which threatened their own communication lines, the Belgian Battalion and the Luxemburg Detachment launched fearless counterattacks with the bayonet. Surprised by the daring of these attacks, the enemy became confused and withdrew in disorder. The Belgians  finally withdrew on orders from higher authority, evacuated their wounded, were re-supplied and asked to be put back in line again.
The Belgian Battalion and the Luxemburg Detachment have shown such bravery, determination and esprit de corps in the accomplishment  of their missions under extreme difficult circumstances, that they deserve to be put above all other units participating in this action.

The extraordinary courage shown by the members of this units during this period has bestowed extraordinary honor on their country and on themselves.
This citation allows each combatant of the Belgian Battalion and the Luxemburg detachment who participated in the fighting in Korea during the previously mentioned period, the right to wear the ribbon of
 "     PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION  "

Sgd  SYNGMAN RHEE
G.Vivario
LtCol  PSC

 

Commandant


   ***  Exellent british site about the battle of the Imjin

The battle of the Imjin River ( see britains-smallwars)
 "The 29 the brigade consisted of the 1st Battalions each of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the Gloucestershire Regiment and the Royal Ulsters Rifles, plus a small Belgian battalion......