Battle of the Hook: first and second Battalions Royal Australian Regiment
Also known as the Battle of Samichon, the Hook was fought from 24 to 26 July 1953...
The Korean War ended the next day. The Chinese (CPV) had attacked the Hook three times in the preceding year. This was last their last chance before the ceasefire – rumors of which reached the Australians in the front trenches during the battle.
By patrolling at night the CPV identified the boundary between the United States Marines and 28th Commonwealth Brigade commanded by Australian Brigadier John Wilton. The 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) held the Hook on the Commonwealth left and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment held the right of the Marine line. The boundary between units is often a weak point, one which the Chinese hoped to exploit.
The first signs of a CPV attack was an increase in patrol clashes between the trench lines and a strong artillery bombardment of the Australian and American position. The preliminary move of the battle followed the first intense bombardment on the night of 19/20 July. The CPV attacked Hill 111, a kilometre south west of the Hook, held by the Marines and an Australian machine gun section. The Marines lost the outposts 'Berlin' and 'East Berlin' which further exposed the Hook, now a salient jutting into enemy lines. D Company 2RAR held the Hook itself, a knoll on a ridge curving towards the enemy. C and A companies were to D's rear on the left and right. B Company was in reserve.
On the night of 24 July 1953, the Chinese 137th Regiment attacked 2 RAR and the Marines, aiming for the gully between the Hook and Hill 111. D and C companies of 2RAR, as well as the Australian machine gun section with the Marines on Hill 111, bore the brunt of the attack but lost no ground. During the day the Chinese artillery, provided by the Soviet Union and much stronger than at any previous stage of the war, bombarded the Australians and Marines.
The following night the CPV attacked again using the same approach. They reached the Australian wire, where they were dispersed by the immense weight of United Nations artillery fire. Nowhere did the CPV penetrate to the Australian trenches. On the morning of 26 July, the Chinese abandoned the attack after losing 2000 casualties.
In the last two weeks of the war while holding the Hook, 2RAR lost 17 killed and 31 wounded. The battle honour The Samichon was awarded to the Royal Australian Regiment.