The Canadians, and their Commonwealth colleagues, fought well at Kap'yong. The actions of the 27th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade at Kap'yong won the Canadians, and two other Commonwealth units, a United States Presidential Unit Citation. The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) remains the only Canadian unit ever to have received this award.

Late on the evening of 22 April 1951, the Chinese launched a massive attack on a South Korean division. The assault threatened to isolate the South Korean division as it attempted to retreat through the Kap'yong valley. The UN Command ordered the 27th Brigade to establish a defensive position in the valley and provide a line of retreat for its Korean allies.

Holding at Kapyong, by Edward Fenwick Zuber.
Copyright Canadian War Museum (CN 90041).

Holding at Kapyong, by Edward Fenwick Zuber.

This painting depicts embattled Canadian troops during the Battle of Kap'yong, 24-25 April 1951. The Canadians managed to hold off the enemy until supplies and reinforcements arrived. Their valiant effort ensured the success of an important U.N. operation.

The Canadians went into action on the night of 24 April. Throughout the night, 2 PPCLI contended with wave after wave of Chinese assaults. Machine gun fire and grenades rained down on the Canadian positions at point-blank range. Lieutenant-Colonel Stone and his soldiers managed to fend off their determined attackers. After hours of combat, however, Stone's troops were dangerously low on ammunition and medical supplies. They were also completely surrounded by the enemy. At one point, the struggle was so desperate that a company commander ordered his men into their slit trenches and called down artillery fire on his own position to deal with the assaulting enemy. The following morning, the Americans re-supplied the beleaguered troops as supply planes dropped vital supplies. Later, American ground troops relieved 2 PPCLI.

Ultimately, 2 PPCLI, along with their Commonwealth counterparts, were able to accomplish their mission: they stopped the enemy advance, and they prevented a massive Chinese breakthrough in central Korea. 2 PPCLI lost 10 killed and 23 wounded.

 

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