Canadians honour Kapyong veterans

Canadian Senator Yonah Martin, with Veterans Affairs Canada and the RoK Embassy is hosting a ceremony and reception in honour of the veterans of the Battle of Kapyong. The ceremony will take place at 13:00 on 15 April 2011 at National War Memorial in Ottawa.

The Battle of Kapyong (Korean: 가평전투)  was fought between 22–25 April 1951.  During these three days, the United Nations (UN) forces 27th Brigade —primarily Australian and Canadian—defended Hill 504 and 677 respectively from the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.

Despite outnumbering the UN Forces by a factor of 5 to 1, the Chinese Army was vastly outgunned. It is said the battlefield was littered with the corpses of Chinese soldiers. And yet, despite their ultimate defeat the battle demonstrated that the Chinese were tough and skilful soldiers capable of inflicting heavy casualties on the Australians and forcing their eventual withdrawal, albeit both intact and orderly. [Horner, David; ed (2008). Duty First: A History of the Royal Australian Regiment (Second ed.)]

Australian losses were 32 killed, 59 wounded and three captured, while Canadian casualties included 10 killed and 23 wounded. [Coulthard-Clark, Chris (2001). The Encyclopaedia of Australia’s Battles (Second ed.)] In contrast, Chinese losses were far heavier, and may have included 1,000 killed and many more wounded.

The fighting helped blunt the Chinese offensive and the actions of the Australians and Canadians at Kapyong were important in assisting to prevent a breakthrough on the United Nations Command central front, and ultimately the capture of Seoul. The two battalions bore the brunt of the assault and stopped an entire Chinese division during the hard fought defensive battle. The next day the Chinese withdrew back up the valley, in order to regroup. Today, the battle is regarded as one of the most famous actions fought by the Australian and Canadian armies in Korea.

Veterans Affairs Canada on the Korean War

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