The Arrival of the 25th Brigade

Note

There have been recent changes to the Korean alphabet. For example, Pusan now reads Busan and Kapyong reads Gapyong. In order to maintain historical relevance, the older versions of the names are used in this article.

On February 21, 1951, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Brooke Claxton, announced the decision to send the remainder of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade to Korea as originally planned.

The brigade landed at Pusan at the beginning of May and, after a short period of training, moved north to join the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade (which had relieved the 27th Brigade) on the Han River. They came into the line as the United Nations forces began their third general advance to the 38th Parallel. The artillery regiment was committed almost immediately in support of the 28th Brigade north of the Han, firing its last operational round on May 17.

Since opinion in the United Nations still favoured stabilization of the military situation and negotiation, the overall aim of the new operation was to relieve pressure on the embattled sectors, while preventing Communist armies from recovering their strength and launching another massive offensive.

Battle tactics and strategies were determined by the relative strengths and nature of the opposing forces. With air supremacy and superior material strength, the battlefield aim of the United Nations forces was not "to close with and destroy the enemy," but to force him back behind the mountain barriers along the 38th Parallel, using manpower sparingly. On the other hand, Chinese tactics were dominated by their chief asset, manpower. Thus, when an offensive failed to meet its objective, they tended to withdraw while reinforcements and supplies were brought forward for another attempt.

As a result, the UN operation was essentially a matter of regimental groups moving forward, singly or in conjunction with flanking units. The action by Canadian troops was similar to that in other sectors along the front.

On May 24, 1951, the 25th Brigade was placed under command of the 25th US Infantry Division and moved to an area north-east of Uijongbu. The brigade's first operation, code-named Initiate, was an advance through a series of phase lines to the line Kansas south of the Imjin River. It was preceded by Task Force Dolvin, a combined tank-infantry battle group designed to move rapidly forward to seize and hold the objective until the main force arrived to establish strong defensive positions.

The brigade's axis followed the valley of the Pochon River. One battalion, supported by tanks and a detachment of the Royal Canadian Engineers, advanced along each side – the 2nd Royal Canadian Regiment on the left and the 2nd Royal 22e Régiment on the right.

Advancing in the face of light resistance, the brigade reached positions on line Kansas on May 27. It took over from Task Force Dolvin on May 28 and the next day began an advance north of the 38th Parallel. It halted near a burnt-out village at the foot of a formidable mountain barrier named Kakhul-Bong (Hill 467).

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