The Chinese Intervention

When the Canadians sailed from Seattle on November 25, 1950, the war in Korea seemed to be near its end. When they reached Yokohama on December 14 the picture had completely changed. Communist China had intervened.

By the end of October 1950 six Chinese armies had already crossed the Yalu River and, with an approximate strength of 180,000, were concentrated in front of the advancing United Nations forces. Conducted at night with great secrecy, these large scale Chinese movements had gone undetected by UN forward troops and air reconnaissance units. Unsupported reports by prisoners of massive build-up were not believed. On October 27, at a time when thousands of organized Chinese troops were pouring across the Yalu, United Nations high command believed they were still poised for action in Manchuria.

As the Chinese build-up developed, the United Nations forces continued their advance northward reaching the main enemy positions between Pyong-yang and the Yalu River on November 26. Then, the Chinese launched a massive attack which turned the UN advance into a retreat to new positions along the Imjin River north of Seoul.

It was in this atmosphere of unexpected disaster that the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry arrived in Korea in December 1950. The occupation role which they had expected to fill no longer existed. Instead the emphasis had shifted to the speed with which the battalion could be thrown into action. The Patricias began an intensive training period at Miryang near Taegu as grim news continued to arrive from the north.

The New Year opened with another crushing offensive by the Chinese which forced a further general withdrawal. Seoul again fell to the Communists on January 4, 1951. A new line was established some 64 kilometres south of the former capital.

While these events were taking place the Canadian battalion underwent the further training in weapons and tactics required before they could be committed to battle, and carried out limited operational tasks, such as anti-guerrilla patrols.

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