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                                   *Images courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

The Battle of Kapyong has come to be known as the most significant and important battle for Australian troops in the Korean War.

In April 1951 the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) launched their Spring Offensive, aimed at retaking the city of Seoul. 

The PVA overran Republic of Korea (ROK) forces defending the valley of the Kapyong River. Further south, the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade hastily occupied defensive positions in the  Kapyong Valley, on a key route south, in an attempt to halt the Chinese advance. As part of this, on 23 April, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), and the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), occupied prominent hills on either side of the seven-kilometre-wide valley. 2 PPCLI occupied Hill 677 while 3 RAR occupied Hill 504.

They were supported by headquarters units, tanks and artillery, particularly the 16th Field Regiment (16 NZFR) of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery. Also present were other 27 Bde units, such as the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment and US attachments. The Kapyong Valley was large, and the brigade was spread thinly even with these attachments.

Throughout the night of the 23rd of April, 1951, the Chinese repeatedly attacked 3 RAR positions on Hill 504, attacking over their own dead and wounded. Contact with higher command was lost overnight and the battalion was presumed overrun.

Fighting continued throughout 24 April with 3 RAR holding their positions through attacks and counter-attacks, which included close-quarters combat with grenades, bayonets and hand-to-hand fighting. By late 24 April, with their position on Hill 504 now untenable and back in contact with higher headquarters, 3 RAR were forced into a fighting withdrawal down a ridge to the valley, where they rejoined 27 Bde. Chinese attacks on 2 PPCLI continued, however by the afternoon of 25 April the road through to the Canadians had been cleared and 2 PPCLI was relieved. On Anzac Day 1951, the Australians rested after a long fight.

32 Australians were killed, 59 were wounded and 3 captured during the battle. The determination, courage and sacrifice shown by the Australian soldiers at Kapyong has ensured it will forever be remembered as part of the Anzac legend.

For their actions, 3 RAR were awared the US Distinguished Unit Citation (now Presidential Unit Citation) and the battle honour 'KAPYONG', which the unit still bears on it's colours today.

The Cove proudly brings to you the fourth instalment in our Australian Army Battle Honours Series, the history of Australia's Battle of Kapyong.

This video has been a collaboration between The Cove, Australian Army History Unit, Interserv, and Effective Animations.