Korean War 1950–53 From: http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/korea.htm The crisis in Korea originated in the closing phases of the Second World War, when control of the Korean peninsula, formerly occupied by Japan, was entrusted to the Allies, and the United States and the Soviet Union divided responsibility for the country between them at the 38th parallel. Over the course of the next few years, the Soviet Union fostered a strong communist regime in the north, while the US supported the government in the south; by mid-1950, tensions between the two zones, each under a different regime, had escalated to the point where two hostile armies were building up along the border. On 25 June a North Korean army finally crossed into the southern zone and advanced towards the capital, Seoul. The city fell in less than a week, and North Korean forces continued their southward drive towards the strategically important port of Pusan. Within two days, the US had offered air and sea support to South Korea, and the United Nations Security Council asked all its members to assist in repelling the North Korean attack. Twenty-one nations responded by providing troops, ships, aircraft and medical teams. Australia's contribution included 77 Squadron of the RAAF and the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), both of which were stationed in Japan at the time as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Commanding Officer No. 77 Squadron RAAF, Wing Commander Lou Spence straps into the cockpit of P51-D Mustang fighter in Korea AWM JK1018 When 3 RAR arrived in Pusan on 28 September, the North Korean advance had been halted and their army was in full retreat. The Supreme Commander of the UN forces, General Douglas MacArthur, was given permission to pursue them into North Korea, despite warnings from the Chinese government that it would not countenance any UN troops crossing the border. 3 RAR moved north as part of the invasion force and fought their first major action near the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. As the UN forces continued their advance towards the Yalu River on the border between North Korea and Manchuria, a series of successes led many to believe that the UN forces would soon bring the war to an end. At the same time, unbeknown to the UN commanders, the Chinese government had made good its threat and moved 18 divisions into North Korea. They struck with overwhelming force against US troops on 1 November and sent them into retreat. By mid-November, despite the continuing Chinese attacks in the harsh winter weather, MacArthur prepared a massive advance to the Yalu River to defeat the North Korean and Chinese forces once and for all. But only one day after the attack commenced the Chinese struck back, inflicting successive defeats on the UN forces and forcing them into retreat towards the 38th parallel. The Chinese halted their offensive in January 1951, Seoul once again having fallen to the invading forces. At the UN headquarters in New York, efforts were made to conclude a ceasefire with the communist coalition, but negotiations broke down before any progress had been made. By the end of February, Chinese resistance collapsed south of the Han River near Seoul, and the city was recaptured by UN forces in mid-March. UN commanders were then faced with the question of whether to cross the 38th parallel once again. Opinions were divided between those who favoured a cease-fire along the border and those, including MacArthur, who wished to renew the northward advance. On 11 April 1951 MacArthur was dismissed from his command, as it was feared in Washington that his intemperance was likely to escalate the war. Australian troops participated in two major battles in 1951. On the evening of 22 April, Chinese forces attacked the Kapyong valley and forced South Korean and New Zealand troops into retreat; other UN troops, including Australians, were ordered to halt the attack. After a night of fierce fighting, during which their positions were overrun, the Australians recaptured their positions and stalled the Chinese advance, at a cost of only 32 men killed and 53 wounded. For their contribution to this action, 3 RAR was awarded a US Presidential Citation. The second major battle for the Australians was Operation Commando, an attack against a Chinese-held salient in a bend of the Imjin, a river running north-south that crosses the 38th parallel just above Seoul. Here the Commonwealth Division, including the Australians, had two key objectives: Hills 355 and 317. The attack began on 3 October, and after five days of heavy fighting the Chinese withdrew. Twenty Australians were killed in the battle and 89 were wounded. HMAS Sydney during Typhoon Ruth, 14 October 1951. Read more at the link.