Battle of Chuam-ni
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (September 2014)|
The Battle of Chuam-ni was a battle fought between 14–17 February 1951, at Chuam-ni, South Korea, as part of the Chinese and North Korean offensive towards Wonju during the Korean War. The battle was for control of the supply line Route 24.
Due to insufficient strength in troop numbers, a gap of about 12 miles (19 km) between the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment and the 23rd Regimental Combat Team. The Chinese having become aware of the gap, prepared to exploit the gap in its offensive on Wongju. On 12 February 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment manning positions upon Hill 444 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Chip'yong-ni were attacked by two Chinese battalions and was withdrawn to positions northwest of Wonju. During the morning of the 13 February, air observers noted Chinese troop movements towards the gap toward the 2nd Division's 2nd Reconnaissance Company east of Chuam-ni.
The 2nd Reconnaissance Company having been sent out to patrol Route 24 in the gap in the defensive line around Wongju, were reinforced with "L Company", 9th Infantry Regiment at 12:00 on 13 February. Almost immediately they were attacked by a Chinese forces from the northeast, which was repulsed. The Chinese then tried to encircle the two companies bringing about the withdrawal of the companies to a blocking position on Route 24 at Chuam-ni.
On 14 February at 05:00, the Chinese, consisting of a regiment of the 116th Division of the 39th Army, launched an attack against the 2nd Reconnaissance Company and "L Company", 9th Infantry at Chuam-ni. Suffering large casualties, the two companies withdrew south along Route 24. Having been surrounded, the companies fought a fighting withdrawal suffering further casualties. The total casualties suffered by the 2nd Reconnaissance Company and "L Company", 9th Infantry were 114 killed and 98 wounded. Chinese casualties were also heavy. The result of the withdrawal was that the 23rd Regiment had been cut off.
The 27th British Commonwealth Brigade, consisting of the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, the 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the 60th Indian Field Ambulance, and the 16th Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery, were ordered to open Route 24 to the 23rd Regimental Combat Team and cover the gap in the defenses. Meeting the remnants of the 2nd Reconnaissance Company and "L Company", 9th Infantry 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Chuam-ni and while pushing north slowly through Chinese blocking the route.
Moving slowly north along Route 24, the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade heading towards Chip'yong-ni, were initially held up by a battalion sized force on 15 February, however on 16 February, the Chinese had withdrawn and Chuam-ni was occupied on 17 February.
With the Chinese and North Korean forces withdrawing, a United Nations offensive was undertaken, known as Operation Killer. It was found that 68 soldiers of "L Company" had been killed by Chinese forces while sleeping and were found still in their sleeping bags.
- Mossman, 1988, Chapter 15.
- Mossman, Billy C. (1990). Ebb and Flow: November 1950 – July 1951, United States Army in the Korean War. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army. ISBN 978-1-4102-2470-5.