Troops of "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Crossing a Log Bridge, North Korea, ca. February 1951.
National Archives of Canada (PA-115034, photo by Bill Olson).

Troops of "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Crossing a Log Bridge, North Korea, ca. February 1951.

 

On 18 December 1950, 2 PPCLI arrived in Korea. Most of Canada's Korean contingent, however, did not reach South Korea until 1951. General Douglas MacArthur's victory at In'chon in September 1950 had convinced the Canadian government to send only one, partially trained, battalion to Korea, instead of the entire 25 CIBG. The UN success at In'chon had seemed to mark the beginning of the end for the North Koreans, and Canada believed that the commitment of further troops would not be necessary.

Plan of Attack, Korea, 11 March 1951.
National Archives of Canada (PA-114890, photo by Bill Olson).

Plan of Attack, Korea, 11 March 1951.

Major G.A. Flint, Company Commander of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry, points out the next objective and briefs his men.

By the time the PPCLI arrived, however, the situation had drastically changed. MacArthur intended his offensive of 24 November to be a final blow to end the war, but the assault precipitated a massive Chinese counteroffensive in the west on 26 and 28 November. MacArthur wanted complete victory. Ultimately, his determination to achieve that victory at any cost, regardless of his president's orders, would force Truman to relieve him of his command. MacArthur's move also ensured that the war would drag on for months. And it indirectly changed the Canadian government's position on the war. In light of the Chinese counteroffensives, the government decided to send the rest of 25 CIBG to the battle zone.

The commander of 2 PPCLI, Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Stone, moved his battalion into a training area northwest of the port of Pusan so that his inexperienced soldiers could ready themselves for war. As ordered, Stone reported to United States 8th Army Headquarters. The Americans ordered 2 PPCLI to move to a position near Seoul and to serve as a reserve for American troops fighting at the front. Stone balked at the orders, arguing that the battalion was not yet prepared for combat. When the Operations Commander of the 8th Army failed to listen to Stone, he decided to go directly to Lieutenant-General "Bulldog" Walker, commander of the 8th Army. Although Walker was sympathetic to the plight of 2 PPCLI, he contended (correctly) that "green" American units were also being deployed at the front. Ultimately, the issue was resolved when Stone produced his Canadian government orders, which indicated that his battalion was to have eight weeks of training in Korea. Walker relented and gave 2 PPCLI its training time.

Contact, by Edward Fenwick Zuber.
Copyright Canadian War Museum (CN 90036).

Contact, by Edward Fenwick Zuber.

Canadian troops are depicted in the midst of an intense battle. In 1951, the Canadians achieved successes against the Chinese army, a well-prepared and tenacious enemy.

After training was complete, 2 PPCLI entered the war on 17 February 1951. The UN Command placed the battalion under the direct command of the 27th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade (27th BCIB). The PPCLI's entry coincided with the beginning of a new UN offensive. The battalion was part of the 8th Army's advance north towards the 38th parallel. Over the next few months, other infantry regiments would join the PPCLI and serve in a variety of engagements. The battles at Kap'yong and Chail-li would be among the most important.

 

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