The Battle of the Broken Bridge, Kujin, Korea (Korean War, 25 October 1950 to 26 October 1950)

About This Campaign

The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR)  was the first and major Australian ground force element committed to the Korean campaign, as part of the Commonwealth Brigade. When it joined the Brigade it brought nearly 1,000 men to join the other two Battalions each of which had about 600 men.  3RAR thus boosted the Brigade by a significant margin.  Consequently 3RAR participated in the advance north following the relief of Pusan and the landing at Inchon.  It distinguished itself at the Battle of Broken Bridge.  

The battle was fought between 3 RAR and elements of the 17th Tank Brigade of the Korean People's Army over a key bridge across the Taeryong River near Kujin, North Korea on 25/6 October 1950.  

The bridge had been demolished by North Korean engineers as they withdrew north.  The Australians manged to cross the gap and get elements on the far side of the river.  The Koreans attacked with tanks and artillery and later intense small arms fire.

After clearing nearby Pakchon, 3 RAR succeded in getting two companies onto the far bank where they established a defensive perimeter. Using mortars  to deflect enemy attempts to dislodge them, they were subsequently reinforced further.

Further North Korean counter attacks caused Australian casualties which later had to be evacuated across the fast flowing river, at night.  During the course of the evacuation some casualties were tipped into the river as their boats came under accurate small arms fire. 3 RAR drum-major (the battalion band acted as stretcher bearers in combat) Sgt Tom Murray dived into the freezing water and rescued the men, for which he was subsequently awarded the George Medal.  

The Australians on the far bank then ambushed a North Korean column advancing towards them inflicting heavy losses with only some tanks managing to escape.  By 12.00 the North Koreans had withdrawn, leaving the bridge in Australian hands.

A more detailed description can be accessed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kujin (en.wikipedia.org)

3RAR had a long association with South Australia because it was for many years (1969-81) based at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills.

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Names

Showing 1 person of interest from campaign

BLACKETT, Trevor

Service number 2/3513
Private
3rd Battalion
The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR)
Australian Army (Post WW2)
Born 30 Mar 1928