March-July, 1953: Battle of Pork Chop Hill Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Named because of its shape, Pork Chop Hill became a test of endurance for U.S. and Chinese military forces during the last five months of the Korean War. Located less than sixty miles north of Seoul, Pork Chop possessed little strategic value. However, the Chinese, led by Peng Dehuai, wanted to take possession of the hill before the conclusion of the Panmunjon Peace Talks to demonstrate China’s will to continue fighting if necessary.

Soldiers wounded in the Battle of Pork Chop Hill are evacuated from the combat zone. (U.S. Department of Defense)

Named because of its shape, Pork Chop Hill became a test of endurance for U.S. and Chinese military forces during the last five months of the Korean War. Located less than sixty miles north of Seoul, Pork Chop possessed little strategic value. However, the Chinese, led by Peng Dehuai, wanted to take possession of the hill before the conclusion of the Panmunjon Peace Talks to demonstrate China’s will to continue fighting if necessary.

The Chinese mounted three attacks on Pork Chop Hill between March 23 and July 11, 1953. The first two attempts were unsuccessful, although on March 26, the Chinese did secure Old Baldy, a hill near Pork Chop. In mid-April, a second attack took and held Pork Chop for two days but then lost it to U.S. counterattacks on April 18, thanks to help from an allied artillery barrage of more than 77,000 rounds during the two-day battle.

The third and final Chinese attack began on July 6, just three weeks before the end of the war. For three days, there were U.S. counterattacks, until General Maxwell Taylor decided that increasing the number of casualties was not commensurate to the strategic value of the hill. Pork Chop was evacuated on July 11, 1953. After the armistice on July 27, Pork Chop became a part of both North Korea and the demilitarized zone.

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