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B A T T L E F I E L D    K O R E A

MAEHWA SAN

MAEHWA SAN

After the action at Chuam-ni, 27 British Commonwealth Brigade advanced northeast into the very mountainous region of central Korea east of Seoul. The capture of Maehwa San, a dominating mountain peak on the right flank of the 9 Corps line of advance, was the culmination of several engagements fought as the brigade advanced from mountain to mountain. Snow and ice covered the whole area, the slopes were so steep that casualties had to be slid down near the crests, and climbers had claw their way up on all fours. The ridge tops were so narrow that the men had to move along them in single file.

On 24 February, Hill 614, which had halted the advance for several days, fell to 3 RAR. The summit was finally assaulted when a corporal and two of his men managed to crawl to within grenade range of the Chinese positions above them and then charge into the trenches and bunkers, killing or driving out the defenders and chasing them well down the reverse slope.

On 7 March, 3 RAR was again in action, capturing a ridge three miles north of Hill 614. In order to attack this feature, the advancing companies had to descend (usually sliding) into the valley, cross open paddy fields covered by enemy fire, and then scale the slopes on the other side. A Company managed to move about a third of the way up before the enemy fire became so intense that further progress up the exposed slope was impossible. D Company ran the gauntlet of the open paddy fields and tackled a spur a few hundred yards to A Company's right. Five hours later, D Company finally crossed the ridgeline and A Company was able to advance once more. B Company joined the two forward companies to consolidate the position. This action cost 3 RAR eleven killed and twenty-five wounded.

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