Military History

This Week in History | Week 44

By The Cove October 26, 2020

Week 44 | 26 October - 01 November


27 October 1950 | Chinese enter the Korean War

Having secretly moved at least 180,000 men into North Korea, Chinese forces began attacking south, surprising UN Command. The battle of Pakchon marked the furthest point that the Australians reached into North Korea. It was also the first time Chinese forces were encountered in large numbers.

Unbeknownst to UN intelligence sources, Chinese troops had been infiltrating North Korea across the Yalu River, and in late October they began an offensive, annihilating several UN divisions and badly mauling others before seeming to melt away. The ensuing weeks saw an eerie quiet settle over the battlefield. In November, buoyed with a false sense of security, UN forces under MacArthur’s direction once again began to advance north towards the Yalu River.

On 25 November the Chinese launched the next phase of their offensive and by January 1951 had pushed the UN forces back across the 38th Parallel. During the retreat, the 27th Commonwealth Brigade had fought many rear-guard actions, allowing formations from the US and South Korea to pass through their positions.

The brigade was the last formation out of Seoul before the city once again fell to Communist forces in January 1951.


28 October 1916 | First conscription referendum

Dismayed by heavy losses at Fromelles and Pozières on the Western Front, Prime Minister W.M. Hughes proposed that conscription be introduced for overseas service. The proposal was defeated.


29 October 1950 | Australians reach Chongju

Australian troops of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, reach Chongju, the most northerly point of their advance into North Korea. In two days of fierce fighting against a determined North Korean opposition, the Australians clear Chongju and the surrounding ridges.


31 October 1917 | The charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba

At Beersheba the 4th Light Horse Brigade's bold charge against Turkish positions at Beersheba, seized critical wells that enabled British empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza and advance into Palestine.

“We got mounted, cantered about a quarter of a mile up a bit of a rise lined up along the brow of a hill paused a moment, and then went at 'em, the ground was none too smooth, which caused our line to get twisted a bit . . . Captain Davies let out a yell at the top of his voice . . . that started them all, we spurred our horses . . . the bullets got thicker…three or four horses came down, others with no riders kept on going, the saddles splashed with blood, here and there a man running toward a dead horse for cover, the Turk’s trenches were about fifty yards on my right, I could see the Turk’s heads over the edge of the trenches squinting along their rifles, a lot of the fellows dismounted at that point thinking we were to take the trenches, but most of us kept straight on, where I was there was a clear track with trenches on the right and a redoubt on the left, some of the chaps jumped clear over the trenches in places, some fell into them, although about 150 men got through and raced for the town, they went up the street yelling like madmen.” Trooper Edward Dengate.


01 November 1914 | First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) sails

The first Australian and New Zealand contingent sails from Albany, Western Australia, bound for Egypt. Only one in three of those who sailed in the first convoy would return physically unscathed at the end of the First World War.





The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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