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White Horse Hill

From mid 1951 to the signing of the Cease Fire, the Korean War was a virtual Stalemate. As a political solution was sought, Washington chose not to take the risks or accept the losses necessary for actual military victory. So did the Communists, who also gave the same sanctuary to Japan that we gave Manchuria. At the front, the enemy resolutely defended their positions, yet primarily attacked only to improve them. The agreement was unspoken, Korea was not to be the trigger for WWIII, but the battles during this waiting period were savage and brutal in the extreme, for the warriors on both sides. White Horse Hill was one crucible for the ROKs.

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White Horse Hill

White Horse Hill (Hill 395), October 1952
ROK 9th Division fights off CCF assaults, October 3-12 1952

In a savage ten-day battle, the CCF 38th Army used an estimated 23,000 infantry and supporting troops in an attempt to capture the vital White Horse Hill complex which protected the Chorwon area and road net supplying IX Corps. With tanks and quad-50's protecting their flanks, and supported by massive artillery barrages totaling over 185,000 rounds, ROK 9th inflicted an estimated 10,000 casualties before the CCF finally stop their assaults. Among their diversionary attacks, the CCF assaulted Arrowhead (Hill 281) but was driven back three separate times with heavy losses, by the French battalion.

Another diversionary attack, on Jackson Heights (Hill 281), was more successful. The Puerto Rican 65th Regiment had taken heavy losses at OP Kelly and was still not fully combat ready, but bore the brunt of the fighting. When company and platoon leaders became casualties the lack of experience and depth at company combat levels became apparent and the position was lost. US 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division later counter-attacked and kept tenuous holds on a few OPs at the base of the Hill.

When Eighth Army launched Operation Showdown against the Triangle Hill Complex in October, the CCF were able to force a stop to the attack, substantially making up for their defeat at White Horse.


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