The battle of Haktang-Ni October 12th and 13th 1951
by Lt-Kol Vivario commanding officer of the Belgian Battalion
The BUNC,( Belgian united nation command) now only 560 strong as a result of many of the 1st contingent of volunteers having returned home after their tour of duty, consisted of three companies : B and C-companies and the Heavy Weapons company
the battalion occupied an advance position on the hills of Haktang-Ni, about 3 kilometers in front of the main line of resistance. The "Broken Arrow" position was to serve as a patrol base for reconnaissance on the plains north of Chorwon. The limited strength of the battalion regretfully prohibited occupying the nearby Hill 317.On 10 October, the battalion arrived and set up its positions and immediately enemy artillery fire was aimed at it. Occasional artillery and mortar fire would continue the whole night and the following day and enemy patrols that night were stopped by extensive use of hand grenades.
During the night of 11-12 October, several small enemy attacks were again repulsed. On 12 October, a patrol by B-company went up to the Palli Bong (Hill 488) and exchanged a fire fight with its Chinese occupants. Artillery fire was directed at the enemy positions who were observed to be disorganized by the attack. A patrol to the neighboring Hill 317 found an enemy ammo dump on the hill and destroyed it before returning to the lines.
As night fell, the Chinese were observed to occupy Hill 317 and all through the night artillery fire would be directed on their positions there (a patrol the next day would confirm the effectiveness of the artillery fire from abandoned and destroyed weapons and traces of many wounded). No doubt this caused a serious delay of the Chinese attacks on the battalion's positions which started at 23.30 h by a severe attack on the southern part of the battalion's defenses.
The enemy managed to infiltrate between B-company and Heavy Weapons company the so that the latter was effectively cut off and attacked from all sides. Sergeant Caudron directing the fire of flamethrowers of his pioneers section, defending an outpost and MG gunner Pvt. Klausing were instrumental in repulsing these first attacks . Further attacks were launched by the enemy and the company commander, Captain Dargent, personally manned an MG on top of his command post to allow the pioneers section to withdraw within the company perimeter . Mortar and artillery fire aimed directly in front of the company's positions helped stem the enemy attacks and by 01.00 these were diminishing. All this time, B and C-companies had been under mortar and machine gun fire and now the enemy directed its attacks on those positions. A counterattack finally chased the last of the attackers which had managed to enter part of the battalion's defenses. At 02.00 h new attacks were launched on the Heavy Weapons company but again these were repulsed. Shortly after, light grenades were fired and artillery fire on the battalion's positions increased. Everyone now expected a general attack but it proved to be the sign for a Chinese withdrawal. During the rest of the night small enemy patrols were observed but these did not attack but retrieved their dead and wounded from all but the immediate vicinity of the battalion's positions.. The battalion suffered 10 killed and 14 wounded. Post-battle examinations concluded that the BUNC was attacked by several enemy battalions of which 2 or 3 companies were put against the Heavy Weapons company alone.
Early in the morning of 13 October a post was set up
on Hill 317 and a platoon from C-company went on a reconnaissance patrol
towards To Dong. Shortly after it fell under fire from the Chinese on
Palli Bong, an order from 3rd Division was received to end the occupation
of the Broken Arrow positions and to withdraw from this vulnerable
outpost. Under cover of artillery fire and smoke screens, the battalion
gradually withdrew unnoticed and savored witnessing, from its new
positions, a futile enemy artillery barrage and night assault on its
former, now abandoned, lines.
Killed in action
The Volunteer Corps for Korea is mentioned in the Daily Order of The Army for :
" Positioned as a patrol base,
completely isolated at 3 Km, in front of the UNITED NATIONS ' lines on
the hills nicknamed
" Its diminished STRENGTH NOTWITHSTANDING, has been able to maintain its positions intact after three days of heavy fighting, thereby inflicting heavy causalities on the enemy"
This citation entails the inscription "HAKTANGNI " on the colors of the unit.
Article 2 : The lanyard is conferred on the colors of the Volunteers Corps for Korea that has been already mentioned in the Daily Order of the Army by decree 447 dated 4 January 1952.
Article 3 : Our Minister of Defense is charged with the execution of this decree.
Given in Brussels, 25 June 1953