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Battle of the Apple Orchard

22 OCT 1950: Korea, and today sees the Battle of the Apple Orchard at Yongju. Kapyong and Maryang San in 1951 are the two better-known Australian battles of the Korean War. However three less well-known battles occurred the year before, in the early months of the war, when 3 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) established its reputation in an intense eight days of fighting during the United Nations Command’s advance into North Korea.

C Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, was involved in their first major action of the Korean War in an apple orchard near Yongju.

Racing north to link up with American paratroopers who had dropped ahead of the advance, 27th Commonwealth Brigade, with 3RAR the leading battalion, headed for Sukchon on 22 October.

The Battalion was suddenly fired upon by an element of 239th Regiment of the North Korean Army (KPA) hidden in an apple orchard beside the road. C Company fixed bayonets and, with US Sherman tanks in support, swept through the enemy position.

As Lt Colonel Charles Green redeployed his force, another KPA attack made for his headquarters. D Company, in reserve, was called up to drive them off. Their morale broken after a three-hour fight, the KPA began to retreat. The Australians advanced once again, taking 239 prisoners. By midday contact was made with the American paratroopers.

In an incredible victory only seven Australians were wounded while 104 KPA were killed. Photo: Troops from C Company, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment 3RAR, watch for the enemy while a village in the valley below burns. The village was set on fire by incendiary bullets. More;

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