A chronology of the Korean War

1950

Sunday 25 June

North Korean People's Army (KPA) invades South Korea

  • North Korean People's Army (KPA) crosses the 38th parallel to launch an all out offensive on the Republic of Korea (ROK).

3rd RAR placed on alert

  • 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) in Japan, placed on alert, and commences preparation of local defences.

Monday 26 June (Australian time)

UN Security Council calls for cessation of hostilities

  • UN Security Council resolves that the attack by North Korean forces constituted a breach of peace and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of North Korean forces to the 38th parallel.

3RAR placed under US command

  • Acting Australian Prime Minister Fadden announces that an Australian Army contingent would be placed under US General MacArthur's command for operations in Korea.

Tuesday 27 June

UN Security Council requests assistance to restore peace

  • Security Council passes a further resolution requesting members of the United Nations (UN) to furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the attack and restore peace and security to the area.
  • US President Truman removes all restrictions on US air and naval operations in support of the South Koreans, south of the 38th parallel.

Wednesday 28 June

North Korean People's Army captures Seoul

  • Close to the north-south border Seoul was vulnerable to attack. The North Korean People's Army captured it within three days of opening its offensive.

British forces placed under US command for operations in Korea

  • British Government places Royal Navy ships directly under authority of US General MacArthur for operations in support of UN resolution to repel aggression.

Thursday 29 June

Naval blockade of North Korea

  • US President Truman orders naval blockade of North Korea.
  • Australian Government places HMA ships Shoalhaven and Bataan at disposal of General MacArthur.

Sunday 2 July

RAAF first combat mission

  • Australian No 77 Squadron, RAAF, flies first combat mission over Korea.

Read more about:

Wednesday 5 July

First US ground combat at Osan

  • Task Force Smith, the first American ground combat unit to arrive in Korea, encounters North Korean troops at Osan.

Friday 7 July

US General MacArthur appointed Commander-in-Chief, UN Command

First Australian battle casualty

  • Four Australian aircraft strike east coast railway near Samchok. Squadron Leader G. Strout is killed.
  • HMAS Shoalhaven patrols west coast of Korea to assist with blockading

Wednesday 26 July

3RAR committed to Korean operations

  • Acting Australian Prime Minister Fadden announces commitment of Australian ground forces for service in Korea.

Tuesday 1 August

Australian articulates contribution to Korean War to US

First Australian naval engagement

Friday 4 August

Naktong River perimeter established

  • Driven back to Pusan UN Command establishes the Naktong River (Pusan) perimeter.

Monday 14–Friday 18 August

Prime Minister Menzies visits Japan.

  • Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies visits Japan, talks with US General MacArthur, inspects Australian forces preparing for Korea.
  • Read more about the Australian forces – as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) in the Korean War.

Wednesday 23 August

3RAR ordered to Korea

  • Lt Gen Robertson orders 3RAR to move to Korea as soon as it is up to strength.

Tuesday 29 August

HMAS Warramunga arrives

  • The RAN is reinforced by the arrival in Pusan of HMAS Warramunga.

Thursday 31 August–Wednesday 6 September

Battle of Pusan perimeter reaches climax.

  • The last North Korean attack on the perimeter is repulsed and UN Command prepares for a breakout to coincide with the Inchon landing.

Monday 11 September

3RAR makes final preparations

  • 3RAR reaches full establishment of 960 all ranks and prepares to depart Japan for Korea.

Friday 15 September

US landing at Inchon

  • The X US Corps makes amphibious landing at Inchon and outflanks the North Korean forces.

Sunday 17 September

Australian Army elements arrive in Korea

  • The Australian Army advanced party arrives in Pusan to establish a base for 3RAR.

Monday 18 September

Kimpo airfield captured

  • Advancing from Inchon UN Command captures Seoul's airport at Kimpo.

Friday 22 September

Eighth US Army breaks out of Perimeter

Wednesday 27 September

3RAR leaves Japan

  • 3RAR embark for Pusan aboard Aiken Victory.

HMAS Bataan in action

  • HMAS Bataan bombards Youjiko Island in support of South Korean marines' attempt to capture it from the North Koreans. HMAS Warramunga supplies food to starving coastal islanders.
  • Read more about the Royal Australian Navy in the Korean War including the roles of HMAS Bataan and HMAS Warramunga.

Thursday 28 September

UN Command forces recapture Seoul

  • As Seoul is recaptured UN Command forces from Pusan and the Inchon landing link up and drive north towards the border.

3RAR arrives in Korea

Sunday 1 October

South Korean forces enter North Korea

  • The 3rd Division of the Republic of Korea crosses the 38th parallel, the border of North and South Korea.

Monday 2 October

Fears China will enter the war

  • Chou En-lai warns Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador in Peking, that if the Americans cross the 38th parallel China will enter the war.

3RAR begins operations

  • First Australian operational patrols of the Korean War mounted.

Sea mines become a problem

  • HMAS Warramunga and Bataan provide close support for five American minesweepers which come to clear approaches to Kunsan. Mine warfare becomes a serious problem.

Tuesday 3 October

3RAR suffers first casualties

  • Two 3RAR personnel are killed when their vehicle runs over a mine.

Saturday 7 October

American patrols cross the 38th parallel

  • United Nations General Assembly resolves to authorise the UN Command forces to pursue the North Koreans across the 38th parallel and establish the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea (UNCURK).

Monday 9 October

Main advance of the Eighth Army begins

  • The US 8th Army advances into North Korea via Keasong towards Pyongyang.

Thursday 12 October

MacArthur sets up administration of North Korea

RAAF arrives in Korea

  • Having previously conducted air operations from their base in Japan, No 77 Squadron RAAF moves to Pohang, Korea.

Saturday 14 October

China enters the war

  • Unknown to the UN, nine Chinese armies, totalling over 300,000 men, begin to cross the Yalu River from China into North Korea.
  • Read more in China Intervenes in the Korean War on this website.

Saturday 17 October

3RAR in action

  • British 27th Brigade occupies Sariwon. 3RAR, one of battalions in the brigade, captures almost 2000 prisoners.

Thursday 19 October

UN Command takes Pyongyang

  • Four months after the war began The Eighth US Army captures Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

Friday 20 October

RAAF supports US paratroops

  • An American regiment parachutes into area north of Pyongyang, under protection of No 77 Squadron, RAAF.

Sunday 22 October

3RAR fights first major action

Tuesday 24 October

UN command advances on the Yalu

  • US General MacArthur removes all restrictions on the advance of non-Korean forces towards the Yalu River.

Thursday 26 October

Battle of Broken Bridge

Friday 27–Tuesday 31 October

Chinese launch offensive

The first phase Chinese offensive is launched by Chinese forces previously concealed in the central mountains of North Korea.

Sunday 29 October

3RAR in combat near Chongju

Monday 30 October

Lt Col Green killed

Tuesday 31 October

3RAR withdraws in the face of strong Chinese attack

  • Strong Chinese attack on Eighth US Army at Unsan forces its withdrawal south of the Chongchon River. 27th Brigade, with 3RAR, ordered to withdraw to Pakchon in face of increasing Chinese activity after their first phase offensive.

Wednesday 1 November

Chinese air force enters war

  • Flight of 6 Chinese MiG-15 jet fighters crosses the Yalu River to attack US aircraft.

Sunday 5 November

US General MacArthur orders a heavy air offensive

  • US General MacArthur orders a heavy air offensive over North Korea, including the Yalu River bridges to China at Sinuiju. This direction violates Joint Chiefs of Staff directive which forbade bombing within eight kilometres of the Yalu River. US President Truman lifts prohibition and further attacks are made on 8 November.
  • Read about General Macarthur and other anti-communist leaders in The Cold War and the crisis in Korea: Anti-communist leaders and their policies.

3RAR in battle at Pakchon

  • 3RAR blocks major enemy attack south of Pakchon. Major I B Ferguson replaces Walsh as Commanding Officer.

First RAAF missions in support of the Australian Army

  • For the first time in the war No 77 Squadron RAAF flies missions in support of the Australian Army near Pakchon.

Sunday 19 November

RAAF moves north

  • No 77 Squadron transferred to Hamhung (Yonpo) airfield on east coast of North Korea, resumes flying operations.

Saturday 25 November

Chinese launch second phase offensive

  • After the period of preparation the main Chinese offensive begins.

Chinese attack ROK near Tokchon

  • The 2nd Republic of Korea Corps is smashed by Chinese attack in central sector near Tokchon.

Sunday 26 November

Chinese attack Eighth US Army

  • Over 200,000 Chinese attack the Eighth US Army north of the Chongchon River and inflict heavy casualties.

Monday 27 November

US Divisions withdraw south of Chongchon River

  • Held in reserve 27th Brigade moves with 3RAR to Kunu-ri to protect the UN right flank.

Monday 27 November–Thursday 14 December

Battle of the Chosin Reservoir

  • For 17 days from 27 November 1950 the Chinese 9th Army attempted but failed to destroy retreating units from the United States Army and Marine Corps.

Tuesday 28 November

'An entirely new war'

Thursday 30 November

Possible use of atomic bomb in Korea

3RAR in action at Yongwon-ni

  • The 2nd US Division is ambushed in a steep valley near Yongwon-ni. 27th Brigade assists in keeping open the road south of Yongwon-ni.

Friday 1–Sunday 3 December

Taedong river crossing held

  • 27th Brigade assists 7th Regiment of 1st Cavalry Division in protecting Taedong River crossing. 3RAR deploys around Taedong River, demolishes bridge and withdraws from Yopa-ri.

Monday 4 December

UN Command withdraws south

  • Continuing the UN withdrawal, 3RAR arrives at Hayu-ri 150 km to the south of where their retreat began.

Royal Australian Navy in action in the Taedong River

  • A Destroyer Group, including HMAS Bataan and Warramunga, sails up the Taedong River to Chinnampo to assist in evacuation of soldiers and refugees.

Tuesday 5 December

Pyongyang abandoned by Eighth US Army

  • UN forces evacuate Pyongyang under pressure from Chinese attack.

Wednesday 6 December

3RAR at Singye

  • 3RAR moves to road junction town of Singye, 30 km south of Hayu-ri.

Thursday 14 December

Indians join UN Command

  • 60th Indian Field Ambulance joins 27th Brigade.

Friday 15 December

UN Command forces continues withdrawal

  • Unable to halt the Chinese offensive UN Command forces withdraw south of the 38th parallel.

Friday 22 December

RAAF aircraft shot down

  • Pilot D Ellis of No 77 Squadron shot down and killed in the vicinity of Pyongyang.

Saturday 23 December

General Ridgway new Eighth US Army commander

  • General Walker, Eighth US Army commander, killed in a vehicle accident and General Ridgway appointed to succeed him.

Sunday 24 December

North Korea returns to communist control

  • With the evacuation of US X Corps from the Hungnam beachhead North Korea returns to communist control.

Friday 29 December

RAN on the west coast of Korea

  • HMAS Bataan and Warramunga patrol west coast as Chinese Army advances south to Seoul. Bataan is given respite after six months strenuous service.

Sunday 31 December–Friday 5 January

Chinese third phase offensive is launched

1951

Wednesday 3–Thursday 4 January

Seoul evacuated

  • UN Command forces withdraw south of Seoul to the line Pyongtaek-Wonju-Samchok.

Saturday 6 January

Further RAAF losses

  • Pilot G Stephens of No 77 Squadron killed when his aircraft crashes while on an armed reconnaissance mission.

Saturday 6–Wednesday 31 January

3RAR patrols

  • 3RAR in Haengsimchon area, patrolling forward to Ichon; five Australians are taken prisoner, three of whom are released by the Chinese.

Thursday 11 January

Ceasefire proposed

  • The Ceasefire Group proposes five principles for an armistice in Korea.

Saturday 13 January

UN General Assembly approves Ceasefire

  • United Nations General Assembly First Committee approves the Ceasefire Group's proposals, by a vote of 50-7, with one abstention.

Wednesday 17 January

Chinese Government rejects the Ceasefire

  • Chinese Government instead calls for a seven-nation conference in Far Eastern problems.

Friday 19 January

RAAF pilot captured

  • No 77 Squadron raids suspected Chinese headquarters in Pyongyang. Flt Lt Harvey crash lands and is captured by the Chinese.

Saturday 20–Monday 22 January

New Zealand artillery arrives

  • 16th New Zealand Field Artillery Regiment joins 27th Brigade.

Thursday 25 January

Operation Thunderbolt

  • General Ridgeway launches Operation Thunderbolt, a counter-offensive northwards to the Han River by I and IX US Corps.

Monday 5 February

HMAS Warramunga in action

  • HMAS Warramunga participates in the siege of Wonsan. Allied ships bombard several road and rail junctions and buildings.

Thursday 11–Sunday 17 February

Chinese launch fourth phase offensive

  • The fourth phase Chines offensive is unsuccessful. UN forces drive back the Chinese.

Wednesday 14–Sunday 17 February

3RAR at Cuam-ni

  • 3RAR involved in heavy fighting near Chuam-ni.

Sunday 18 February

Canadians join Commonwealth forces

  • The 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Light Infantry (2PPCLI) joins the Commonwealth 27th brigade.
  • Read about the role of the 2PPCLI at the Battle of Kapyong during the time of the Chinese intervention in the Korean War.

Monday 19 February

HMAS Warramunga at Wonsan

  • HMAS Warramunga participates in the siege of Wonsan. Allied ships bombard several road and rail junctions and buildings.

Sunday 24–Tuesday 27 February

3RAR captures Hill 614

  • In an advance north of the Han River 3RAR fighting side by side with 2 PPCLI captures a series of hills from the Chinese.

Wednesday 7 March

Operation Ripper begins advance across the Han River

  • Operation Ripper begins in central and eastern sectors with advance across the Han River by the IX and X US Corps. 3RAR and Canadian Army 2PPCLI involved in heavy fighting got Hills 410 and 532 respectively during advance. 3RAR suffers serious casualties.

Sunday 11 March

3RAR attacks

  • 3RAR in action near Chisan during advance to the Albany line. The following day C Company captures hill 703.

Wednesday 14–Thursday 15 March

Seoul retaken by the Eighth US Army

  • Seoul retaken by the Eighth US Army.

Friday 16 March

US asks for more Australians

  • US State Department renews pressure for increased Australian force commitment to Korea.

Tuesday 20 March

Flight Sergeant Sly rescued

  • Dramatic rescue of RAAF Sgt Sly who was shot down in enemy held territory north of Seoul.

Wednesday 22 March

Operation Courageous is launched

  • UN forces cross 38th parallel into North Korea.

Thursday 23 March

77 Squadron assists US paratroopers

  • Pilots of No 77 Squadron RAAF assist in escort of 187th Airborne Regiment which parachutes into Munsan.

Wednesday 28–Saturday 31 March

27th Brigade in action

  • 27th Brigade, including 3RAR joins in Operation Courageous and advances to the Benton line.

Tuesday 3–Sunday 15 April

Operation Rugged

  • 27th Brigade participates in Operation Rugged, and advances up the Kapyong Valley to the Kansas Line. C Coy 3RAR takes Salmon Hill.

Friday 6 April

77 Squadron attacks Chinese convoy

  • No 77 Squadron aircraft destroy twelve Chinese truck convoy.

Saturday 7 April

77 Squadron to change to Meteor jets

  • 27 Mustangs of No 77 Squadron take off from Pusan East for Iwakuni, Japan, to prepare for conversion of the squadron to Meteor jets.

Wednesday 11 April

General MacArthur replaced by US General Ridgway

  • Owing to General MacArthur’s disagreement with US President Truman, Truman relieves MacArthur and appoints US General Ridgway in his place.

Read more about:

Sunday 22–Saturday 28 April

Chinese fifth phase offensive launched.

  • The first stage of the Chinese fifth phase offensive, their last attempt to drive into South Korea, is launched.

Monday 23–Tuesday 24 April

Battle of Kapyong

  • 3RAR holds positions defending the Kapyong Valley. After heavy fighting, 3RAR withdraws intact. The Chinese attack is broken and they withdraw. The Australian battalion is awarded a US Presidential Citation.
  • Read about the Battle of Kapyong during the period of Chinese intervention in the Korean War.

Thursday 26 April

3RAR transferred

  • 3RAR is transferred from 27th to 28th British Commonwealth brigade.

Saturday 28 April

Menzies Government returned to office

  • Prime Minister Robert Menzies coalition government is re elected.

Monday 30 April

UN Command forces halt Chinese offensive

  • UN Command forces, after withdrawing to a new defence line, halt a renewed Chinese offensive north of Seoul and the Han River.

Monday 14 May

Australia unable to provide more troops for Korea

  • Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies informs American President Truman of Australia’s limited defence resources and inability to provide more forces for Korea.

Sunday 20 May

Chinese offensive halted

  • UN Command forces halt the Chinese and begin to advance north.

Sunday 20–Thursday 31 May

Australians approach Imjin River

  • 28th Brigade, now including 3RAR, advances to within a few kilometres of the Imjin River.

Wednesday 30 May

Kansas line taken

  • The Eighth US Army regains the Kansas line, lost during the Chinese fifth phase offensive.

Friday 1 June

Operation Piledriver begins

  • Operation Piledriver begins: elements of I and IX Corps advance towards the Wyoming Line, some 30 km north.

Thursday 7 June

3RAR on patrol

  • 3RAR patrols sent across the Imjin river and commence to win control of the north bank. Patrols form the major activity of 3RAR for the following few months.

Friday 6 July

Lt Col F G Hassett takes command of 3RAR

  • After commanding 1RAR in Australia Hassett, a WWII veteran, is appointed to take over 3RAR in Korea.

Tuesday 10 July

Peace negotiation begin

  • At Kaesong just behind communist lines United Nations and communist negotiators meet for the first time to discuss ending the war.

Saturday 28 July

1st Commonwealth Division formed

  • Three British Commonwealth Brigades, the 25th Canadian, the 28th British Commonwealth (including 3RAR) and the 29th British, concentrate to form the 1st Commonwealth Division.

Sunday 29 July

First RAAF Meteor jet mission

Wednesday 22 August

Meteor losses

  • Two RAAF Meteor aircraft collide in mid air and Australian pilots Lamb and Mitchell are killed.

Thursday 23 August

Communists suspend armistice negotiations

  • Communist delegates to peace talks refuse to continue negotiating. Talks resume after several months.

Wednesday 29 August

Meteors v MiGs

  • First clash between Meteors and Chinese MiG15 fighters flown by veteran Russian pilots. One Australian pilot missing, One Meteor lost and another badly damaged against no Chinese losses.
  • Read more about the air war fought – for the first time in history – with jet aircraft, in: Stalemate, the war in 1952–1953: MiGs versus Meteors.

Saturday 1 September

Signature of ANZUS Treaty

  • At San Francisco the United States, Australia and New Zealand sign the ANZUS treaty to co operate in defence matters.

Sunday 2 September

2nd US Division attacks Heartbreak and Bloody Ridges

  • The 2nd US Division open attacks against Heartbreak and Bloody Ridges.

Wednesday 5 September

Second Meteor v MiG air battle

Friday 7 September

3RAR advances

  • 3RAR seize bridgehead across Imjin River.

Saturday 8 September

Operation Minden

  • The 1st Commonwealth Division begins an offensive called Operation Minden which culminates in the battle of Maryang San.
  • Find out more about the Battle of Maryang San during the period of Chinese intervention in the Korean War.

Wednesday 26 September

Third Meteor v MiG air battle

Wednesday 3–Friday 5 October

Battle of Maryang San

  • In several days fighting 3RAR supported by New Zealand artillery and American tanks, takes a hill feature known as Maryang San or Hill 317.
  • Find out more about the Battle of Maryang San during the period of Chinese intervention in the Korean War.

Friday 5 October

HMAS Sydney commences operations.

  • For the first time an Australian aircraft carrier, HMAS Sydney, is engaged in combat operations.
  • Find out more about the role of the HMAS Sydney during the Korean War.

Saturday 6–Tuesday 9 October

3RAR begins patrolling forward of Jamestown Line.

  • 3RAR strengthens grip on summit of Hill 317, and drives towards the Hinge, beating off strong counter attack. Chinese abandon hills 217 and 317.
  • 3RAR moves to the eastern flank of Hill 317, commences preparing strong defences and begins pat

Last updated: 12 February 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), A chronology of the Korean War, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 25 September 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/korean-war-1950-1953/korean-war/cold-war-and-crisis-korea/chronology-korean-war
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