Battle of Imjin, Korea, 1 RUR attacked.

Mon, 04/23/1951
McCord MC Korea Imjin
This map was hand drawn by Korean veteran Brigadier M N S McCord CBE MC.

St Georges Day, 23 April 1951.

This was the first full day of fighting in the Battle of the Imjin River. The Chinese Spring Offensive now fell on the British 29 Independent Infantry Brigade whose infantry included the 1st Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles, the 1st Battalion The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment and the Belgian UN Command (with its Independent Belgian Battalion north of the Imjin).

During the night of 22 April, the Chinese had crossed the Imjin and moved to surround the Glosters now consolidated on Hill 235. They had also displaced the Fusiliers from their hill positions forward on the Imjin. After first light the Chinese began to lie up in cover across the battle area to avoid UN airstrikes. During this comparative lull, 1 RUR adjusted its positions around Hill 398 to the east of Route 11.

That morning, Second Lieutenant M N S McCord, a veteran of the action at the Han River in January 1951 (for which he would be gazetted for the Military Cross in the coming July), was leading a patrol to liaise with the Glosters on 1 RUR's left to the west of Route 11. Approaching an intervening mountain feature, Kamak San, he sighted enemy in great numbers and called for artillery fire. Realising that he was no longer able to complete his mission he returned to Battalion Headquarters and reported his sightings. He felt that many believed he was exaggerating the enemy numbers.

By evening the Brigade had lost any control of the river line once the Belgian Battalion was extricated south across the Imjin. After last light on 23 April, the Chinese moved reinforcements across the river and fierce night fighting resumed with increasing casualties on both sides. By the evening, the situation facing the Rifles was relatively stable but there was a growing realisation that McCord's patrol had not exaggerated the enemy numbers. On 29 Brigade's left, the Chinese were attempting to annihilate the Glosters on Hill 235. The Battle of Imjin was only just beginning.