The Attack on Chail-li

Kakhul-bong dominated the line of advance of the 2nd Royal Canadian Regiment. Therefore, a battalion attack was organized against this feature and the village of Chail-li that lay beyond it.

The battalion plan was for "A" Company to seize the village of Chail-li to the north of the hill; "B" Company was to secure the left flank by occupying Hill 162 to the west; and "C" Company was to capture Hill 269 between Chail-li and Hill 467. The main assault of Kakhul-bong was assigned to "D" Company. The battalion was supported by the 2nd Regiment RCHA.

The operation began early in the morning of May 30 in a driving rainstorm. "A", "B" and "C" companies reached their objectives with relative ease, but "D" Company met strong resistance and suffered casualties from enemy machine-gun fire.

Early in the afternoon the Chinese, while still holding the hill, counter-attacked against "A" Company and the village of Chail-li, circling to the rear to surround and cut off the company. Meanwhile "C" Company, located on Hill 269 between the two points, was unable to provide effective aid to either. Poor visibility made it difficult to identify the troops in the valley, and the distance was too great for company gun-fire to reach the enemy.

Kakhul-bong was vital to the Chinese supply lines and their system of communication across the Chorwon Plain and they strongly resisted "D" Company's advance. Repeated attempts failed to dislodge the defenders who took advantage of an extensive trench system and a well placed machine-gun on the pinnacle of the hill. In addition the brigade's overall situation was precarious. The advance had created a deep salient in the enemy lines leaving the brigade flanks without protection. Since it appeared that the Royal Canadian Regiment could not continue to hold Chail-li or take Kakhul-bong, Brigadier Rockingham ordered a withdrawal in order to form an organized defensive position. With the Chinese pressing closely, the RCR fought their way back to their new position.

The action at Chail-li was the brigade's first serious engagement and it had acquitted itself well. The casualties – six killed and 54 wounded – testified to the sharp engagement which had been fought.

On May 27, the 2nd PPCLI , which had remained with the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade during this period, moved south to rejoin the Canadian command it had left more than six months before in Fort Lewis.

Date modified: