Kapyong

Transcript

Anchor: No Canadian fighting planes are sent to Korea but the 426th Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force assures an essential link between the North American continent and the Pacific. Twenty-two Canadian fighter pilots are also detached to a US Air Force F-86 Sabre Squadron to fight Soviet made Chinese MIG-15.

The Royal Canadian Navy deploys 8 of its 11 destroyers, effectively devoting more resources to the Korean War than our land and air forces combined. These ships take part in several important rescue missions and scour Korea's coast searching junks for North Korean supporters and suppliers. They also excel at train busting; the bombardment of enemy railway supply lines from safe oceanic positions.

But it is our land forces that bear the brunt of the action and the casualties. Face to face with the enemy, the army holds the line, patrols intensively and takes part in several memorable battles.

Ray Nickerson: Kapyong was a... there was a valley ran up the centre. And there was a road, ran north, controlled the approach to the main MSR, the main supply route down into Seoul. It was a main point but it was a pin trough point because it narrowed down to, not too darn wide.
(The valley of Kapyong)
(Jeeps traveling)

William Chrysler: Turmoil, everybody's running. You had civilians, you had allied troops, and they're heading out as fast as they can. They can't, they lost control or something. The enemy had broken through and we were ordered out of our rest area, move up. Everybody, "Hey, where are we going? Jesus Murphy... they're going that way, we're still going forward!" And that's where we moved up into the hills of Kapyong there overlooking the valley.

Gerald Edward Gowing: We were surrounded on the hills of Kapyong and there was a lot of fire. We were pretty well out of ammunition and out of food too. We did get some air supplies dropped in but we were actually surrounded.

William Chrysler: We called them Charlie. Charlie's down there alright, he's not looking up into the hills. He figures we're on the run too. We knew at nightfall, when dark, they were gonna come.

Carl "Herman" Thorsen: But they didn't attack us until the second night there.

Ray Nickerson: 'A' company was down here on the 'Pimple' they called it, it was a little knob sort of thing. That's where the first contact was made when they were coming down.

Carl "Herman" Thorsen: They come around one side, they come around the other side.

Ray Nickerson: It was really eerie because they were firing parachute flares, our people were, to try and give you some light to see by.
(Soldiers fighting in the mountains)

William Chrysler: We knew we were trapped. This is why we were getting ready to fight. Like the captain said, "If we got to go, we got to fight our way out. Nobody is going to be taken prisoner."

Ray Nickerson: Everywhere we looked it was moving and there was Chinese. They just kept coming and coming, and then they stopped and more would come and stopped. It just went on continuously.

Carl "Herman" Thorsen: Well, we figured that was it. There was no way we were going to stop that size of a force. So they opened up all the machine guns on the half tracks and trucks and stuff like that.
(Opening up with machine gun fire)

William Chrysler: The colonel, from what I understand, his orders went out. 'We got to hold. If we lose, the whole area's gone.' So they held... we fired right on them. The Chinese were all through their barbed wire and that.
(Loading up shells for enemy attack)

Ray Nickerson: The company commander called artillery down on their positions, to clear the area. Everybody got down in their trenches and they called down the artillery.

William Chrysler: This is our own people but it's the only way you could drive the Chinese off them, and it did the trick. From what I understand, our own fire didn't hurt anybody, they were deep enough in, but it killed a lot of the Chinese, or enemies and drove them out of their position. It's a good thing we stayed there and moved in because Seoul would have fallen again. How far back we would have been shoved, who knows?

Gerald Edward Gowing: We were told to stay in our position and we did and we finally got out of there, but I'll tell you that was a scary moment, let me tell you.


Did you know ...

A Canadian soldier’s kit included a poncho, 2 pair socks, sweater, towel and shaving gear.

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