In October 1952, the U.S. 7th Infantry Division occupied a sector of the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) in central Korea near Kumhwa. Opposing the division, the Chinese 45th Division held elevations to the north, including Hill 598, also called Triangle Hill. Both sides were well dug-in. Battle lines had not changed significantly in almost a year.
After peace talks began in November 1951, the Eighth Army assumed an "active defense" posture and combatants on both sides marked time awaiting the outcome of the talks.
The "War of the Hills" had begun. For six months, this war played out as artillery/mortar exchanges and minor skirmishes that did little to change the situation. Then, in spring 1952, as frustration over the failure of peace talks increased, "active" defense gave way to active engagement. Operation Showdown began to take shape.