Battle of the Hook

The third Battle of the Hook was a battle of the Korean War that took place between a United Nations force, consisting mostly of British troops, supported on their flanks by American and Turkish artillery units against a predominantly Chinese force.

There had been two previous engagements at the Hook earlier in the Korean War when first the United States Marine Corps and later the Black Watch, a British regiment, had successfully held the Hook against Chinese assaults. The Hook was defended on a fourth occasion immediately prior to the armistice by two Australian battalions, for which they were awarded the Battle Honour the "Samichon."

The Hook was a vulnerable but heavily defended section of the UN frontline, that protected other UN positions in the Samichon valley. Here, Australian soldiers took part in their last engagement of the war; the armistice declared only one day later. Positioned at The Hook were the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) and the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), as the forward troops of the 1st Commonwealth Division. Other vital positions to the left of the Australians were held by the 7th Regiment of the US Marines.

On 24 July, Chinese forces launched their final attack of the war. Probing 2 RAR's position with small infantry parties after dark, the Chinese later subjected it to extended to a heavy night bombardment, followed by waves of assaulting infantry. The alternating bombardment and infantry assault continued through the night, but the Chinese were unable to penetrate the Australian positions.

Throughout 25 July, the Australian troops were shelled, and endured heavy mortar and artillery fire that night. The American position, to the left of the Australians on The Hook, was now under an infantry attack. With fire support from the Australian positions, the Americans managed to hold off the Chinese infantry, but continued to receive heavy bombardment. By the early hours of the next day, the Chinese had given up their attack.

Five Australian soldiers were killed; 24 were wounded. The next day, the armistice was signed at Panmunjom. The action at The Hook was one of the major engagements of the stalemate period - and having just fought a hard action for three days, it was difficult for Australian troops to believe that the war was finally over.