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Enemy Attacks - November 1951

Meanwhile, the enemy, too, took the offensive. Beginning in mid-October, as a reaction to Operation Commando, the Chinese mounted a series of attacks which continued, with increasing intensity, into November.

On the night of November 2-3, the enemy attacked the centre of the Canadian front held by "A" and "C" Companies of the Royal Canadian Regiment. The first assaults were repulsed, but in an early morning attack the forward platoon, short of ammunition and reduced by casualties, was forced to withdraw. It did so while fighting an effective delaying action. The enemy continued to threaten the company, but under fire by artillery and mortars he eventually withdrew.

On November 4, the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade suffered extremely heavy shelling followed by strong attacks. After a bitter struggle Hill 217 fell to the Chinese that evening, and Hill 317 followed during the night. While the fighting was still in progress on the 28th Brigade's front, the enemy launched a series of attacks on a company of the 1st PPCLI. The first attack was broken up by artillery and mortars; a second and third were repulsed by the fire both of supporting arms and the company's own weapons. After the failure of the third attempt the enemy withdrew.

The next action in which the Canadian troops were involved was another raid on Hill 166 on November 9, by "C" Company of the Royal 22e Régiment. In this raid two platoons reached their intermediate objectives and the right forward platoon reached a point within 100 metres of the top of the hill. But now the enemy mounted a heavy counter attack, and the whole force, having essentially completed its task, was withdrawn.

An adjustment to the divisional frontages at this time narrowed the Commonwealth sector by some 4,600 metres. Hill 355 which dominated the centre of the front line passed to the American 3rd Division. The Canadian brigade assumed responsibility for a front of almost seven kilometres extending northeast from the Samichon River.

The Canadians, with all three battalions forward, completed occupation of their new area on the morning of November 22. That same afternoon the enemy began an intensive bombardment of the American-held Hill 355 which spread to the area of the Royal 22e– particularly "D" Company. The shelling continued throughout the night. Rain changed to snow and the resulting mud made it extremely difficult for the engineers to keep open the roads to the beleaguered companies.

Next day the enemy stepped up the shelling. This was followed late in the afternoon by an attack on both positions. The Canadian company held its ground, but by early evening the bulk of Hill 355, which had borne the main brunt of the assault, was in enemy hands. In the meantime the Chinese had also reoccupied Hill 227.

The permanent loss of Hill 355 would have been a serious threat to the United Nations Forces. It would have given the enemy control of the lateral road running through the American sector and would have made the Canadian positions untenable. Already the enemy presence on Hills 227 and 355 had left the Royal 22e Régiment in danger of being encircled. During the nights of November 23-24 and November 24-25 the shelling and attacks continued in increasing intensity on both fronts, as Hill 355 passed from Chinese to American to Chinese hands and back again. Each time the enemy gained control the Royal 22e Régiment was exposed to further attack. On the evening of November 25, after four days and nights of continual shelling, Hill 355 was again in American hands, and "D" Company of the Royal 22e Régiment, although in a state of near exhaustion, still held its ground.

As cease-fire negotiations were renewed, orders were given on November 27 that no further fighting patrols were to go out and that artillery action was to be restricted to defensive fire and counter-bombardment.

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