P R E F A C E
Republic of Korea Armed Forces: 47,000 killed; 183,000 wounded; 70,000 missing.
British Commonwealth: 7,268 casualties of whom 1,263 were killed in action.
United States of America: 32,629 killed, 105,785 wounded.
North Korea: 520,000 armed casualties (estimated).
Chinese Communist forces: 900,000 casualties (estimated).
For our young regular army and our K Force diggers, it was a difficult and costly battle, not only against a numerically superior enemy, but in an extremely hostile climate and terrain. Australia's infantry soldiers fought on the slopes of massive, rocky mountains, in paddy fields and rivers. Many battles were fought in the open, our troops protected only by bunkers and pits in the ground. The climate was another enemy: suffocating heat and disease in the summers and frigid, bone-chilling sub-zero temperatures and frostbite in the winters. It was tough in the field where soldiers lived with the sky for a roof, a rock for a kitchen and a dugout for a bed. At the start of its campaign, the Regiment was inadequately provisioned and supported, and thrown into battle with American and British troops with operational urgency. The demand for courage, military skill and morale from the Regiment's soldiers was extraordinary.
As in the past, the diggers, with their own unique brand of mateship, bravery and determination, overcame the extraordinary obstacles hurled at them by the Korean War and established a battlefield record second to none. The magnificent trio, Battalions 1, 2 and 3 of The Royal Australian Regiment, was born and blooded in this environment.
The battles of the Korean War are now legendary. From the frantic mobile advances to the Yalu and, later, the withdrawal, Sariwon, the Apple Orchard, the Broken Bridge, Pakchon, Salmon and Sardine to the heroic stand at Kapyong.
From the magnificent Operation Commando assault at Kowang San 355, Maryang San 317 and The Hinge to the dogged defence and punishing patrols of the Static War on 355, 227, 210, Blaze, Fauna, Flora, Buffalo, Songgok, and The Hook, the Regiment paid the price with 1,536 casualties: 303 killed, 1, 210 wounded, and 23 prisoners of war. Yet these soldiers forged a reputation with their United Nations allies which remains unchallenged today. The kin of the veterans of the first and second world wars and subsequent operations maintained the finest Australian fighting tradition.
Korea, as an extended campaign, is unique to the Regiment. It was the first battle engagement for the newly formed Regiment and it was the first and last time since World War II that the battalions engaged in large-scale conventional warfare. The detailed skills and tactics of the various phases of war in contrasting terrain and climate tested the mettle of the newly formed Regiment. These skills remain the foundation of the very different operations of today which are conducted with the same measure of success.
All three battalions of the Regiment, 1 RAR, 2 RAR and 3 RAR, served in Korea:
3 RAR - September 1950
1 RAR - June 1952
2 RAR - March 1953