3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) "Old Faithful"

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About This Unit

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The 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) 'Old Faithful'

Raised: 23 November 1948.

Current Location: Lavarack Barracks Townsville QLD

Structure: Mechanised Battalion.

Band: Pipes and Drums.

Regimental March: Band: Our Director. Pipes and Drums: Our Director.

.Slogan: Old Faithful.

Lanyard: Rifle Green.

Website: 3rar.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com//3RAR.Australian.Army

Following the end of the Second World War, Australia consolidated its forces in the SW Pacific on the island of Morotai in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Papua New Guinea and began despatching troops back to Australia for demobilisation.

However it formed three new infantry battalions from volunteers on Morotai, who were to be deployed to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF (/explore/conflicts/13)). The new Battalions were designated the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions respectively  The three new Battalions, plus supporting troops, were sent to Japan as part of the BCOF (see campaign entry), based near Kure, a former Japanese Naval base.

These three Battalions were to form the nucleus of the post War regular Army, and in late 1948, the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) was created.  The three Battalions were re-designated the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment, abbreviated as 1RAR, 2RAR and 3RAR respectively.

As the situation in Japan progressed and stabilised, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were repatriated back to Australia by the end of 1949, leaving 3RAR in Japan.  The Battalion had settled into the routine of garrison duties, but all that was about to change, when the "Cold War" went "hot" in Korea in 1950.  (See the Korean War entries (/explore/conflicts/4)).

Korea

Reinforced with combat veterans of WW 2 who re-enlisted as "Kanga Force", 3 RAR went on to serve throughout the Korean conflict distinguishing itself at battles such as "The Apple Orchard", "Broken Bridge", and most particularly at "Kapyong", for which it was awarded a US Presidential citation, and at "Maryang San" very late in the war.

3RAR earned the sobriquet "Old Faithful" during the Korean War.  It was arguably the best trained, most professional and experienced ground force element ever put in the field by Australia.  This is not said lightly but rather in the context of the fact that it possessed a higher proprotion of combat experienced personnel and that it acquitted itself admirably in all four phases of conventional warfare (advance, attack withdrawal and defence) often against an enemy well equipped with tanks and artillery, and in many cases against daunting odds.

On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. 3RAR was still in Japan but the other two Australian battalions had returned home. On 30 June the Australian Government announced the commitment of air and naval forces to Korea and preparation was commenced in late July to commit 3RAR to Korea following a request from General Macarthur.

The Battalion was eventually brought up to strength, was fully equipped, trained for war and deployed to Pusan on 27th of September, joining the 27th Brigade which was renamed The 27th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade. The 16th Field Regiment of the Royal New Zealand Artillery also joined shortly after.

The situation in Korea, which had been dire, had changed dramatically following a daring amphibious assault at Inchon which forced the North Koreans to retreat. The Brigade joined the 1st US Cavalry Division in pursuit. The UN advance quickly reached Pyongyang the capital of North Korea and approached the Chinese border, which later sparked a massive intervention by Chinese forces.

The first major encounter with the PRK Army occurred in a battle which became known as the Apple Orchard. It resulted in a resounding victory for the Australians following a hard fight.

The 27th Brigade then advanced towards the Yalu river. The Pakchon – Chong-ju area was the farthest north reached by the brigade. The CO of 3RAR, Lieutenant Colonel Green, was unfortunately killed by an artillery shell on 5 November. He was replaced briefly by Lieutenant Colonel Walsh who was removed from command by the brigade commander and replaced by the battalion 2IC, Major I B Ferguson.

On 1 November the 27th Brigade was pulled back to Pakchon and on 5 November experienced the first encounter with the new enemy which attacked a nearby American Artillery unit. 3RAR and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders s were sent to restore the situation, which they were able to accomplish. The Brigade was then withdrawn further to an area near Anju. 3RAR was forced to fight in order to occupy their new position. The next two weeks were taken up with aggressive patrolling during which there were numerous small contacts with the Chinese.

The 8th Army had renewed the offensive on 25 November, but due mainly to the collapse of the II ROK Corps it failed, forcing a major withdrawal. Some American units collapsed but the 27th Commonwealth Brigade retained its discipline throughout and occupied a defensive position at Uijongbu near Seoul, where it remained until the new year.

However, by now the weather had become bitterly cold and was a factor in causing medical problems among the troops. The 8th Army Commander General Ridgeway ordered an advance to commence on 25 January in order to rid the troops of the memory of the disastrous retreat. The 27th Brigade was ordered to assist American and French units which got into in trouble around the town of Chipyong-nii and their intervention saved the day.  

In March the advance continued steadily and by now the Brigade had been strengthened by the arrival of the Second Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.  (2PPCLI) RAR was also provided with reinforcements from their Reinforcement Holding Unit (RHU) in Japan.

Kapyong

The 27th Brigade’s objective was the Kapyong Valley. Following a short engagement to remove a small Chinese force from one of the objectives, the Brigade moved into reserve. During this period it was renamed the 28th Commonwealth Brigade as the HQ and British battalions were replaced.

On 22 April a ROK Division was attacked by a strong Chinese force and broke. The Commonwealth Brigade was ordered to establish a blocking position north of the village of Kapyong to re-establish the allied line as the Chinese were continuing to attack.

3RAR and 2PPCLI were deployed to high ground and the battle commenced in the early hours of 24 April. The Chinese attempted to envelop the defensive positions but were repulsed after heavy fighting and with high casualties This battle restored the allied defensive line and prevented a rout. It became known as the Battle of Kapyong and 3RAR, 2PPCLI and an American Heavy Tank Company were awarded the US Presidential Citation for their gallantry. Coincidentally this battle represented the last concerted large attempt by the Chinese to defeat the UN forces.

Following Kapyong the Brigade moved into reserve again, occupying a position near the Imjin River, where it remained for the next two years

In late July, the 1st Commonwealth Division was created. There were many replacements to 3RAR because of casualties and time expired World War 2 officers, senior NCO and soldiers.

Peace Talks commenced at Kaesong in July, although the UN Force continued a steady advance. In October 1951 the 1st Commonwealth Division which included the 28th Brigade with 3RAR under command commenced Operation Commando. Over five days of continuous fire and movement 3RAR captured Hill 317, named Maryang San and adjacent hills, under the command of Lt Col F. G.Hassett OBE. Robert O’Neill, official historian of the Korean War described the “Victory of Maryang San as probably the greatest single feat of the Australian Army during the Korean War.

In April 1953 the three Australian Battalions were in Korea together for the first time, and at a parade involving all three battalions,  the parade Commander, Brigadier Thomas Daly referred to 3RAR as “Old Faithful”. The name has stuck and is still used today. 3RAR served in Korea for four years from the otset and in all phases of war, so the compliment was well deserved. The unit returned to Australia for the first time since its formation in Morotai  in October 1945.

This period effectively ended the mobile phase of the war, which was replaced by strong defences and vigorous patrolling. The Commonwealth Division was in the front line of these defensive operations  for 17 of the next 19 months.

The ceasefire came into effect at 11.00pm on 11 July 1953 and both sides withdrew to create a demilitarised zone. However, there was no reduction in the Australian commitment until 1954.

Malaya First Tour

3 RAR deployed to Malaya in September 1957 via Singapore, replacing 2RAR as part of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve. (BCFESR) and 28th Brigade. The Battalion travelled to Kota Tinggi, the Jungle Training Centre in Johore, and the families went to Penang where they were to live. Once the jungle training was complete the troops moved to the north of the Peninsula into operational bases. The Battalion commenced operations on 1 December. But there were only two inconclusive contacts until January.

Then the Battalion was switched to a major food denial operation which involved the whole Brigade. The Battalion Area of Operations (AO) was 3100 square kms. Again there were only several minor and inconclusive contacts. This operation entitled Ginger continued until April 1959, following which the state of Perak was declared safe. From early 1959 each company in turn was required to undergo two months of major war training in order to maintain these skills, while the counter insurgency operations continued.

The first successful 3RAR contact occurred on 23 April 1958, when C Company encountered and killed two terrorists. In July a patrol from B Company captured a member of a local Communist Terrorist  Committee who agreed  to provide intelligence to the security forces. This led to the elimination of several terrorist cells.

In August and September there were three more small inconclusive contacts, but in November a patrol from A Company killed three terrorists one of whom was a District Committee member, who had been involved in the murder of the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, in 1951.

The Battalion returned to Australia in September 1959. It was replaced by 1RAR.

Malaya Second Tour

3RAR returned to Malaya in August 1963, this time occupying the new camp at Terendak, and becoming part of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve (BCFESR). However, the training cycle was interrupted when the Malayan Government requested that the Australian and New Zealand battalions be made available for counter terrorist operations. 3RAR was deployed to the Thai border on 20 February and remained there until handing over to 1RNZIR on 4 April. There were no successful contacts but the jungle experience was valuable.

The security situation in Malaya deteriorated throughout 1963 and Indonesia was strongly opposed to the proposed formation of Malaysia, which would link Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah. It transpired that Brunei opted out but a revolt was launched by rebels trained and supported by Indonesia, which had to be put down by British troops.  There were also raids into Sarawak and Sabah increasingly made by regular Indonesian troops.

In April 1964, the Malaysian Government requested a significant increase in Australian troops, approval to deploy Australian troops to the Thai border and for Australian troops to deal with incursions on the mainland.  RAAF and RAN units were approved and the deployment of the existing Australian troops was agreed, but the request for more Army units was declined.

In September 1964, 3RAR less one company deployed to the Thai border. The operation, which was quite successful, concluded on 30 November.  On 29 November there was an Indonesian incursion south of Terendak. The fourth 3RAR company and other BCFESR units deployed forcing the infiltrators to surrender.

In January 1965 the Malaysian Government successfully requested Australia to provide an SAS squadron and 3RAR for operations in Borneo.

3RAR deployed on 23 March 1965, directly into operational positions close to the Indonesian border. The battalion participated in a major operation named Operation Claret (/explore/campaigns/20)which created a three tier cordon designed to catch any Indonesian infiltrators by patrolling and ambushing. Approval was also given to pursue infiltrators across the border. 3RAR was very successful in numerous contacts with Indonesian regular forces and was never bested. The Battalion was highly regarded by all with whom it served. 

Following a very successful deployment the Battalion was replaced by 4RAR on 4 October 1965.           

The deteriorating security situation in South East Asia concerned the Australian Government, particularly in Indonesia, so the size of the Defence Force was increased from 22,750 to 37,500 by means of selective conscription / National Service. This ultimately led to the increase in the number of RAR Battalions to nine.

Vietnam First Tour

The First Australian Task Force was originally built around two RAR Battalions. However, in December 1967 it was decided to increase the number to three. 3RAR was deployed from Woodside South Australia at short notice.

It was not long before the Battalion was involved in heavy fighting in the province. On 1 February 1968 the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces launched the infamous Tet (New Year) nation-wide offensive.  2RAR and 7 RAR had already been deployed outside the province due to large movement of enemy units but 3RAR remained at Nui Dat.  A and D Companies quickly became involved in heavy urban fighting. A Company supported by a troop of APCs recaptured the province capital (Ba-Ria) from a Viet Cong battalion and D Company cleared a major village, Long Dien, of a large Viet Cong force. The enemy had withdrawn by 6 February having been soundly defeated..

On 9 February 3RAR was deployed on Operation Capital to the north of Phuoc Tuy province to interdict withdrawing enemy forces. A Company defenced Fire Support Base Anderson, which was unsuccessfully attacked three times.

On 27 February the Task Force launched Operation Pinnaroo which was designed to clear the Hong Hai Hills (The Min Dam Secret Zone), a major and long standing enemy base area in the middle of the province. All three battalions were involved initially to provide a cordon around the hills during a series of B52 strikes. C Company 3RAR then successfully assaulted the eastern hill and were  joined by A Company at the top. The other companies continued to patrol in the low ground.

The two companies up on the hills supported by Assault Pioneer and Engineer mine clearing teams then searched for underground bases which were protected by anti-personnel mines cleared from the Australian laid minefield. They discovered an extensive base area much which was then destroyed by the Engineers. However, it was so large that the whole task was well beyond them. The base area was re-occupied by the enemy later in the year much to the disgust of 3RAR which had suffered a number of mine related casualties.

Despite massive casualties to Viet Cong forces during the Tet Offensive, there was still a great deal of enemy movement as North Vietnamese troops quickly replaced the Viet Cong units which had been destroyed. 3RAR was deployed to the Hat Dich zone, another notorious base area near the north -west corner of the province, but by then the area was clear of enemy.  

Following a short rest the Battalion was deployed again to the north. After securing a Fire Support Base for 1RAR, 3RAR moved to a new operational area and set up a Fire Support Base named Coogee. The patrolling companies which had been deployed to interdict withdrawing enemy forces, experienced only light contact.

Meanwhile Fire Support Base Coral was subjected to two enemy attacks, one by a battalion on 12 May and the second by a full regiment on 15 May. The Battalion fought gallantly on both occasions and managed to repel the enemy, ably assisted by Australian and American artillery and American aircraft.

3RAR was deployed to a new battalion position to the east of Coral called Fire Support Base Balmoral which was attacked on two occasions firstly on 25 May and second on 28 May by a regiment which on both occasions probed A Company but attacked D Company. The attacks had been expected and the Battalion was well supported by a tank troop, an APC troop  and  had the support of both Australian and American artillery and airpower. The enemy suffered heavy casualties. The Battalion returned to Nui Dat on 6 June for a welcome rest.

For the next five months which included the severe wet season, the Task Force was engaged in pursuing the Viet Cong in and around their base areas. There was constant light contact throughout. 

In October, in the Tua Tich area, yet another traditional enemy base location, 2 Platoon A Company was attacked by a strong Viet Cong force which counter attacked after being ambushed. Thanks to timely support from 3 Platoon and extensive fire support the company was able to break contact.

On 20 November 3RAR was replaced by 9RAR following a challenging and successful tour of duty. As a member of the 1st Australian Task Force (Forward) 3RAR was awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry for an outstanding and courageous performance during the battles of Coral and Balmoral.   

Vietnam Second Tour

3RAR’s second tour of duty in Vietnam commenced on 12 February 1971 replacing 7RAR. The Battalion was allocated responsibility for the eastern half of the province except for the areas around the villages. The first contact took place only four days after arriving in Vietnam, and the following night the enemy probed a D Company defensive position for nine hours before being beaten off.

The first operation, Briar Patch, was a search and destroy operation to the north and east of the Horseshoe. In March, intelligence reported that D445 VC Battalion was back in the province.  On 17 March there was a contact between  

9 Platoon C Company and a small group of VC and, on 20 March half of 8 Platoon C Company contacted the HQ of D445 VC Battalion.

The Task Force mounted a major operation in response in which 3RAR, reinforced by companies from 2RAR /NZ (ANZAC) and supported by the tanks of C Squadron, was to drive the enemy on to a blocking force of 2RAR.The enemy was located on 31 March and a fierce battle ensued before they  withdrew.

In May and June, intelligence reported that D445 and the 33rd NVA Regiment were located along the border of Phuoc Tuy and Long Khanh provinces. This led to the last Australian Task Force operation of the Vietnam War, Operation Overlord, being mounted on 5 June with 3RAR plus the tanks driving the enemy to blocking positions occupied by the newly arrived 4RAR/NZ(ANZAC) battalion and  2/8 US Cavalry.

On 6 June 5 Platoon B Company encountered a bunker system and on 7 June launched an assault. The bunkers were occupied and the platoon was pinned down. D Company plus tanks were ordered to assault and did so. After heavy fighting and considerable fire support the reinforced company linked up with B Company and defeated the enemy which eventually withdrew.  While the operation continued until mid- June. There was no further major enemy contact.

On 18 June the Battalion deployed on Operation Hawker during which there was minor enemy contact with the Assault  Pioneer Platoon, 2 Platoon A Company and 9 Platoon C Company.  

Next was Operation Iron Fox commencing on 28 July on which the Battalion established a blocking position west of Route 2 for an assault by 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion which experienced heavy contact with 1/274 VC Regiment.

This operation successfully denied the enemy the opportunity to establish base areas in the north-west of the province.

On 6 August, Operation Inverbrackie was launched in the Xuyen Moc area when B Company and 8 Platoon C Company experienced small enemy contacts.  Subsequently Operations North Ward and Cuddlee Creek, which were based on both sides of Route 2,  kept pressure on the enemy in the north of the province.

On 18 August the Australian Prime Minister announced that the Task Force would withdraw from Vietnam by Christmas 1971.

The last contact with the enemy was with B Company on 31 August and 1 September. 3RAR departed from its second tour of duty on 6 October satisfied that they had done their best to keep the enemy forces at bay while the Vietnamisation of the province proceeded. They arrived back in Adelaide on 16 October 1971 to a warm welcome.

The Battalion retrned to Woodside Barracks where it lived and trained until 1981 when an Army restructure saw the Battalion re-locate to Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney, to join the rest of the 1st Brigade of which it was part.

Airborne Role

In 1983 the airborne role was transferred from a Company of 6RAR, to 3RAR, which was also to provide a parachute capability for insertion of the Operational Deployment Force (ODF) based on 3 Brigade. The battalion was also required to be able to deploy to support the ODF within 28 days.

In 2006 the airborne role was reallocated to Special Forces Command and 3RAR reverted to being a standard infantry battalion. In 2017 the battalion was re-rolled and became a mechanised battalion. 

East Timor

In 1999, Indonesia reluctantly agreed to a ballot to determine the future of East Timor. It was supervised by an unarmed UN Assistance Mission named UNAMET. The ballot led to a vote of almost 80% for independence and immediately Indonesian sympathetic militias began looting and killing.

On 20 September an SAS Squadron secured Dili airport for the fly in of 2RAR and then 3RAR, the first elements of INTERFET, which eventually included 22 nations.

The small Australian force began patrolling, establishing vehicle checkpoints, disarming and arresting militia members in and around Dili. They were so successful that 2RAR was moved to the Indonesian border area around Balibo and commenced patrolling. In October 3RAR joined 2RAR in the border area and together they secured the area.  3RAR returned to Australia in early 2000.

3RAR returned to East Timor in April 2002 for six months. .By this time East Timor had gained its independence. During this deployment there was much positive interaction with the local population as well as ensuring security throughout their area of operations.

By 2006 the security situation had deteriorated again, this time through deep internal problems.  Australia agreed to assist to restore peace and law and order. The operation was to be called Operation Astute. A company from 4RAR Commando secured the Dili airport in May..

The Australian component was based on 3RAR, reinforced by two companies of 2RAR, one from 1RAR, 4th Field Regiment  and a Commando company. The force also included troops from Malaysia and New Zealand and numbered around 900.

The problems in East Timor were serious and deep seated and it was assumed that assistance would be needed beyond 2006.  Accordingly the 3RAR Battle Group was replaced by one led by 6RAR in September.

Iraq

In late 2003, 3RAR provided a reinforced rifle company for security duties in Iraq as part of Operation Catalyst. The company was responsible for the security of the Australian diplomatic mission in Baghdad.  From February 2006 to 2007 3RAR provided rifle companies to Bagdad. Following the capture of the city, there was a need for a security force for the capital to mount patrols, man check points, escort vehicle convoys and provide security for the Australian Embassy. They included cavalry detachments and were entitled SECDET. 3RAR provided the infantry element for SECDET IX and X. They were generally successful.

The Solomons

In May 2005 a 3RAR company was deployed to the Solomons, replacing a 1RAR company following the shooting of an AFP officer, and violence in the capital Honiara. The deployment was successful in restoring peace.

In March 2006 a 3RAR company was deployed to the Solomons  to reinforce a 1RAR Company again following violence in Honiara. Peace was restored again and the company returned home in May

Afghanistan

In March 2008 3RAR provided a company as the infantry component of the Reconstruction Task Force (RTF) 4. The main task was to protect   engineers while they carried out a number of construction tasks for the province and assisted the local people. However, the role also included extensive patrolling, establishing a forward operational base in the Baluchi Valley, liaison with the local people and assisting the Afghan National Army. There was also a very short notice deployment outside the AO to protect the Engineers while they constructed a number of critical bridges. The company returned home in November 2008.

Summary

3RAR went on the serve during the 1950s and 60s pretty much wherever there was trouble in which Australia committed ground forces.  It served in the Malay peninsula during the Emergency (see entry (/explore/conflicts/7)), in Borneo during Konfrontasi  (/explore/conflicts/8)between Malaysia and Indonesia and then when Australia's commitment in Vietnam began, "Old Faithful" was once again in the field serving two tours of duty; the first in 1968 and then again in 1970/1.  The Battalion was heavily engaged in the former at Fire Support Bases Balmoral and Coral (See campaign entry under conflict "Vietnam (/explore/conflicts/5)"),  where it repelled a major enemy attack which threatened to overrun the base.

It is the 'most moved' Battalion in the Royal Australian Regiment, having served outside Australia for nearly 20 years of its existence and having had three bases on mainland Australia in the past 40 years.  From the mid 1960s until 1981, 3 RAR was based at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills. In 1981 it was re-located to Sydney to the Holsworthy base and was assigned the role of the Airborne (parachute) Battalion, adopting the distinctive "cherry beret" and 'para wings'.  It remained in Sydney as part of the 1st Brigade until in 2012, under a re-organisation, it relinquished the 'para' role (and the beret) and relocated to Townsville at Lavarack Barracks as part of the 3rd Brigade, a light infantry battalion once again. It has subsequently been re-roled again as a Mechanised Infantry Battalion. 

Along the way the Battalion or elements of it served in the Solomon Islands (/explore/conflicts/12), East Timor, Iraq (/explore/conflicts/10)and Afghanistan (/explore/conflicts/18)between 2001 and 2013.

3RAR retains its identity and heritage as "Old Faithful" - which after nearly 70 years of distinguished service, in some of the key engagements of the Regiment's history, it undoubtedly is.  

Its large family of veterans is bound by the pride of their service in a unit that has done the nation proud and served with distinction wherever the bugle called.

Composite article edited from original work by Steve Larkins 2014 / Major General Brian Howard AO, MC

 

Steve Larkins was a Second Lieutenant Platoon Commander with A Coy and Spt Coy 3RAR 1977-79

Major General Howard was the Commanding Officer of 3 RAR 1976-77.

 

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Stories

Award of the US Presidential Citation - Kapyong Korea 22-25 April 1951



BATTLE HONOURS – By direction of the President, under the provisions of Executive Order 9396 (Sec I, WD Bul. 22, 1943) Superseding Executive Order 9075 (Sec III, WD Bul. 16, 1942) and pursuant to authority in AR 260-15, the following units are cited as public evidence of deserved honour and distinction.

3RD BATTALION, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT

2ND BATTALION, PRINCESS PATRICIA'S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY COMPANY A

72ND HEAVY TANK BATTALION (UNITED STATES)

are cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of combat duties in action against the armed enemy near Kapyong, Korea, on the 24 and 25 April 1951. The enemy had broken through the main line of resistance and penetrated to the area north of Kapyong. The units listed above were deployed to stem the assault. The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, moved to the right flank of the sector and took up defensive positions north of the Pukham River. The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, defended in the vicinity of Hill 677 on the left flank. Company A, 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion, supported all units to the full extent of its capacity and, in addition, kept the main roads open and assisted in evacuating the wounded. Troops from a retreating division passed through the sector which enabled enemy troops to infiltrate with the withdrawing forces. The enemy attacked savagely under the clangor of bugles and trumpets. The forward elements were completely surrounded going through the first day and into the second. Again and again the enemy threw waves of troops at the gallant defenders, and many times succeeded in penetrating the outer defences, but each time the courageous, indomitable, and determined soldiers repulsed the fanatical attacks. Ammunition ran low and there was no time for food. Critical supplies were dropped by air to the encircled troops, and they stood their ground in resolute defiance of the enemy. With serene and indefatigable persistence, the gallant soldiers held their defensive positions and took heavy tolls of the enemy. In some instances when the enemy penetrated the defences, the commanders directed friendly artillery fire on their own positions in repelling the thrusts. Toward the close of 25 April, the enemy break-through had been stopped. The seriousness of the break-through on the central front had been changed from defeat to victory by the gallant stand of these heroic and courageous soldiers. The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; and Company A, 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion, displayed such gallantry, determination, and espirit de corps in accomplishing their missions under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set them apart and above other units participating in the campaign, and by their achievements they brought distinguished credit on themselves, their homelands, and all freedom-loving nations



BY COMMAND OF LIEUTENANT GENERAL VAN FLEET:

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Korea

Korea, 1950–53

3 RAR arrived in South Korea in late September 1950. The Battalion became part of the 27th Commonwealth Brigade and took part in the United Nations offensive into North Korea. In October 1950, the Battalion distinguished itself at Chongju during the UN northward advance to the Yalu River preceded by actions at the Apple Orchard and Broken Bridge were well executed, the latter against a large enemy force equipped with tanks. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Green, it attacked and captured a large North Korean defensive line in a combined arms operation with tanks and artillery. Green was later killed by artillery fire while the Battalion was resting in a forward area.

3RAR Korea veteran Max Eberle reminds us that there was more to Korea than just Kapyong and Maryang San.

"I recently attended a luncheon at Paddington Woollahra R.S.L. There were many friends there and all had a good time.

However, I must disagree with the remarks of the guest speaker when he mentioned that Kapyong was the first major battle in which the Australians were involved in Korea.

I feel I should mention the Apple Orchard when our youngest troops, those young fellows in C Company who, in their first encounter, went "up the Guts" with fixed bayonets. It was fortunate there were so few casualties, very fortunate. When the bullets are flying they are all big battles.

Then there is the Battle of Broken Bridge, 16 wounded and 8 Killed in action. How many have to die to qualify for a big battle? How about Chongju with 35 wounded and 9 Killed and again Pakchon on November 5 when there were 32 wounded and 14 killed.

After a couple of other minor skirmishes there was Hill 410 with 31 wounded and 12 killed. Another skirmish?

The early battles were attacks against North Koreans dug in on the top of hills and our boys had the task of climbing those hills in open ground. Most of the early battles were won in about half a day or a little more and for such a short time I would consider the casualty lists quite horrendous.

However they were only' skirmishes' in the minds of some who were not there, those that can only see the situations they were in as being of any great importance. Unfortunately the men who lost their lives in those early "skirmishes" are just as dead as those who were killed at Kapyong.. "Lest we forget".

This is not to denigrate those who served in the Kapyong battle, they fought a tremendous action and were well worthy of the Honour bestowed upon them by various governments. The young diggers who had their baptism of fire at the Apple Orchard, when they went in with a bayonet charge without the support of artillery or mortars, also deserve high praise, not eo be forgotten entirely.

There is a tendency today to speak of the Korean War as if it commenced on April 23 1951 and there are those who scoff and say it started at Maryang-san or The Hinge. Anything that went before is not worth mentioning.

I am sorry to say, you will always get an argument from myself, Charlie Green, and the 255 casualties which preceded Kapyong. I guess it all depends on when one heard the "Call of the Bugle"."

Max J. Eberle



As the United Nations forces were pushed south by the Chinese who had entered the war, 3RAR's defining moment came at the Battle of Kapyong on 22/25 April 1951, when, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Ferguson it and adjacent units stemmed the Chinese advance which threatened to break through into the Central Front of the UN forces. In a difficult defensive action supported by the 16th New Zealand Field Regiment, 3RAR , the 2nd Battalion Princes Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and A Company of the US 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion succeeded in defeating an entire Chinese Division, and were awarded US Presidential citations for their efforts.

In July 1951, relinquished command and was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hassett. Over the period 3–8 October 1951, 3 RAR fought the Battle of Maryang San, which is widely regarded as one of the Australian Army's greatest accomplishments of the Korean War, and a copybook example of a deliberate Battalion attack over successive enemy defensive positions.

3 RAR remained in Korea until the war ended in 1953 and was later joined by 1 and 2 RAR on rotation. 3RAR sustained total casualties of 231 men killed. Upon return to Australia in 1954, 3 RAR was based in at Ingleburn and Holsworthy Barracks, in New South Wales, before once again embarking for overseas service in Malaya.

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