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An Ill-fated Patrol

Ian Saunders adds information: "... this Ron Cashman photo includes 3 of our Aussie Missing in Action - Pte Foot, 2nd from left, Pte McKandry 6th from left and John Nicholson 7th from left. The photo was taken 13 May 1953. Our Defence department is now investigating the recovery of the remains of all our 43 MIA's who are identified on the home page of our website - www.ausmiakoreanwar.net.au and links including 'about us'."

6 Platoon mounts out

13th May 1953, patrol from 3RAR mounting out from "Little Gibraltar"

The patrol would suffer tragic loss in assaulting "Cloncurry"

Fate of Men of 6 pl. 3 RAR

The 16-man patrol suffered 3 KIA and 7 WIA

  • Man in the middle at rear of photo - missing
  • Man second from bunker entrance - WIA


Three men were abandoned to their fate, one still fighting until he was silenced. This was an instance of a still-capable fighting force leaving men to fight and die alone.

Incidents like this occur, even in the best of fighting forces, and Australians like to think they are among the best. Ultimately it's a question of leadership and a question of morality. What was the right thing to do?

A "digger" would say there was only one answer. "Never abandon a mate!"

Note the two Bren LMGs.

This excellent weapon was an example of the problem of carrying heavy firepower into the enemy while maintaining mobility. The Aussies carried Owen Machine Carbines, using pistol ammo, for final assault and close work, and used the Brens for supporting fire. The Bren was crew-served, requiring two men, and capable of long sustained firing. This was fine for fixed defensive positions, but its heavy weight made it awkward to bring forward during patrol assaults.

The US forces generally used our .30 A4 LMGs for semi-fixed defensive positions and in assault carried the needed heavy firepower support to the enemy directly, with the much less cumbersome and deadly BAR.

With four BARs per squad, our Marines in particular used this weapon with great effect.

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

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