Battle of Hill 282

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Battle of Hill 282
Part of the Korean War
Date September 23, 1950
Location Hill 282, near Songju, Korea
Result Stalemate
Belligerents
 United Nations
 North Korea
Casualties and losses
 United Kingdom 17 dead or missing
79 wounded
Total: 96 casualties (60 of which were caused by friendly fire)
Unknown

The Battle of Hill 282 took place on September 23 during the Korean War, and involved the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in an assault on this position as part an operation by 27th British Commonwealth Brigade on the Naktong River.

On September 22, 1950, the Battalion of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders moved up to attack Hill 282 near Songju. Starting before dawn on September 23, B and C Companies after an hour's climb seized the crest of Hill 282 surprising there a North Korean force at breakfast. Across a saddle, and nearly a mile away to the southwest, higher Hill 388 dominated the one they had just occupied. C Company started toward it.

But North Korean troops occupying this hill already were moving to attack the one just taken by the British. The North Koreans supported their attack with artillery and mortar fire, which began falling on the British. The action continued throughout the morning with North Korean fire increasing in intensity. Shortly before noon, with American artillery fire inexplicably withdrawn and the five supporting U.S. tanks unable to bring the North Koreans under fire because of terrain obstacles, the Argylls called for an air strike on the North Korean-held Hill 388.

Just after noon the Argylls heard the sound of approaching planes. Three F-51 Mustangs of the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing circled Hill 282 where the British displayed their white recognition panels. The North Koreans on Hill 388 also displayed white panels. To his dismay, Captain Radcliff of the tactical air control party was unable to establish radio contact with the flight of F-51's. Suddenly, at 12:15, the Mustangs attacked the wrong hill; they dropped napalm bombs onto the Argylls position and also strafed them with 50 calibre machine-gun fire.[1]

The terrible tragedy was over in two minutes and left the hilltop a sea of orange flame. Survivors plunged fifty feet down the slope to escape the burning napalm. Maj. Kenneth Muir, second in command of the Argylls, who had led an ammunition resupply and litter-bearing party to the crest before noon, watching the flames on the crest die down, noticed that a few wounded men still held a small area on top. Acting quickly, he assembled about thirty men and led them back up the hill before approaching North Koreans reached the top. There, two bursts of automatic fire mortally wounded him as he and Maj. A. I. Gordon-Ingram, B Company commander, fired a 2-inch mortar. Muir's last words as he was carried from the hilltop were "The Gooks will never drive the Argylls off this hill".[2]

But the situation was hopeless. Gordon-Ingram counted only ten men with him able to fight, and some of them were wounded. His three Bren guns were nearly out of ammunition. At 15:00 the survivors were down at the foot of the hill.

The next day a count showed 2 officers and 11 men killed, 4 officers and 70 men wounded, and 2 men missing for a total of 89 casualties; of this number, the mistaken air attack caused approximately 60.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A.A.P.-Rueter (25 September 1950). "U.S. Planes Bomb British Units by Mistake". The Canberra Times. 
  2. ^ The Argylls in Korea; author - Lt Col G.I. Malcolm of Poltalloch, Publisher - Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd, London 1952
  3. ^ South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu

External links[edit]