April, 1951: Battle of Imjin River Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Having failed to maintain their hold on Seoul during the first offensive of 1951 (January through March), Chinese communist forces, under by General Peng Dehuai, launched a second offensive in April against the United Nations forces, under Lieutenant General James Van Fleet. The main goal of the Chinese Sixty-third Army, about 27,000 strong, had been to recapture the South Korean capital. The British Twenty-ninth Brigade Group, including a Belgian infantry battalion, held the ground north of the Imjin River. Only 63 men from the Belgian battalion reached safety, the unit having run out of ammunition, food, and water. Although the brigade group was forced to fall back, they inflicted such heavy casualties on the Chinese army that it was no longer capable of recapturing Seoul.

Having failed to maintain their hold on Seoul during the first offensive of 1951 (January through March), Chinese communist forces, under by General Peng Dehuai, launched a second offensive in April against the United Nations forces, under Lieutenant General James Van Fleet. The main goal of the Chinese Sixty-third Army, about 27,000 strong, had been to recapture the South Korean capital. The British Twenty-ninth Brigade Group, including a Belgian infantry battalion, held the ground north of the Imjin River. Only 63 men from the Belgian battalion reached safety, the unit having run out of ammunition, food, and water. Although the brigade group was forced to fall back, they inflicted such heavy casualties on the Chinese army that it was no longer capable of recapturing Seoul.

Chinese casualties were estimated at 11,000; U.N. casualties at about 1,000. The fighting resulted in a U.S. Presidential Unit Citation and the awarding of Victoria Crosses to Lieutenant Colonel J. P. Carne and Lieutenant P. K. E. Curtis. By mid-May, communist forces were forced to withdraw to the north, and by July 1, they had agreed to discuss a possible cease-fire.

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