Maryang San (Korean War, 2 October 1951 to 8 October 1951)

About This Campaign

Part of Operation Commando in October 1951, and involving the 3rd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) the Battle of Maryang San stands as an exemplar of the Battalion attack on prepared enemy positions.

Colonel Peter Scott (ret) was the Battalion Intelligence officer of 3RAR at the time and went on to command the Battalion on its second tour in Vietnam.  He provides this first hand account:

"On 23rd April 1951, after the enemy had commenced a general offensive the day prior, 27th Brigade was ordered to occupy positions astride the Kapyong Valley. The Battle of Kapyong then took place over the period 23-24 April for which 3RAR was awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation. The battalion suffered 28 KIA, 4 died of wounds, 3 were taken prisoner and 59 wounded.

The UN front was stabilised and Truce Talks began in June. 3RAR had become part of the 28th Commonwealth Brigade moving north to the Imjin River where it remained static until October. The 1st Commonwealth Division was formed on 28th July comprising the 28th Commonwealth Brigade, 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade and 29th British Infantry Brigade, as well as the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars (Centurion tanks), Sherman tanks of the Canadian Lord Strathcona’s Horse and an Artillery Regiment from Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

The Battle of Maryang San (Hill 317) took place over the period 2-7 October 1951 and 3RAR was not only involved in the capture of the division’s first objective, Hill 355, but went on to capture Hill 317 after a series of company and platoon attacks orchestrated by our brilliant CO, then Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hassett, who was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order by the 1st Commonwealth Divisional Commander, Major General Jim Cassels, immediately after the battle concluded. Casualties suffered were 21 killed, 5 of whom had already survived the Battle of Kapyong (April 1951), and 104 wounded.

As Intelligence Officer for 3RAR during this operation, I think the statement written by Australia’s official historian for the Korean War, Robert O’Neill, says it all:

In this action 3RAR had one of the most impressive victories achieved by any Australian battalion. In five days of heavy fighting 3RAR dislodged a numerically superior enemy from a position of great strength. The Australians were successful in achieving surprise on 3 and 5 October, the company and platoon commanders responded skilfully to Hassett’s direction, and the individual soldiers showed high courage, tenacity and morale despite some very difficult situations, such as D Company when the mist rose on 5 October and those of B and C Companies when the weight of enemy fire threatened their isolation of Hill 317 on 7 October. The Victory of Maryang San is probably the greatest single feat of the Australian Army during the Korean War." "

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Names

Showing 2 people of interest from campaign

SHELTON , Jeffrey James

Service number 3395
Brigadier
Born 29 Jun 1926

CLARK, Lawrence George

Service number 1116
Lieutenant Colonel
Born 17 Oct 1927