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Maryang San

Outline Chronology of Events

By Major-General Jim Hughes AO DSO MC FAIM Dip FP

In 2004, Jim Hughes put together in note form the following outline of the battle we know as Maryang San. As it is the 60th anniversary of the battle, it seems appropriate to reproduce it here. If you don't know who Jim Hughes is then you are either a new members of this Association (welcome aboard) or...shame on you! You really should pay more attention. Hint: have a look on the Directory on Page 2. Of course, Major General Jim Hughes wasn't always Major-General Jim Hughes. In 1951 he was the less exalted Lieutenant J. C. Hughes of 4 Platoon and took part in Maryang Sang.

Tuesday 2 October 1951: 3 RAR trucked to the right flank of the Divisional boundary. Companies then moved by foot to individual night harbour positions using a successful deception plan.

Wednesday 3 October: 0300 hrs 4 Pl 'B' Coy commenced the advance. Moonless night and thick fog rose from the River lmjin. 4 Pl advanced some 3 kms to the North. Very good navigation by rotating lead section commanders. Skirted occupied Hill 199 and reached 'Kidney' feature. 4 Pl felt lonely!

0345 hrs 'B' Coy left their night position. Married up with 4 Pl on 'Kidney' feature about 0800 hrs. 'B' Coy obtained surprise by a silent attack on Hill 199, approached in fog from the North East. Own casualties were 3 WIA (including FOO), enemy casualties 5 KIA, 1 PW and 10 WIA. No counter attack.

0415 hrs 'A' Coy left their night position. Relieved 'B' Coy at Hill 199 about 1000 hrs. 'B' Coy returned to 'Kidney' feature. Both Companies dug in helped by enemy mortar and artillery fire! 1 KOSB failed to capture Hill 355. 3 RAR asked to assist.

Thursday 4 October: 'C' Coy captured two 220 features on the North East of Hill 355 and exploited to clear the summit. By 1215 hrs 'C' Coy held Hill 355 and handed over to the Adjutant & Intelligence Officer of 1 KOSB.

Friday 5 October: 'A' Coy launched a series of diversionary attacks across the South face of the features leading up to Hill 317. 'B' Coy captures feature 'Whiskey'. 'D' Coy captures features 'Victor' and 'Uniform'. Because of D Coy's heavy casualties they were reinforced by 6 Pl 'B' Coy. 'C' Coy returns from Hill 355 tasks. Later captured 'Baldy' and top of Hill 317. Reinforced by Aslt Pnr Pl.

Saturday 6 October: 'C' Coy extends its hold on Hill 317 by 9 Pl capturing feature 'Sierra'. Fusiliers failed again to capture Hill 217 and suffer heavy casualties. 3 RAR asked to assist by capturing the 'Hinge' (halfway between Hills 317 and 217). 'B' Coy tasked to capture the 'Hinge' on 7 October and moved to Hill 317.

Sunday 7 October: 0800 hrs 'B' Coy (with supporting fire) attacked and captured the 'Hinge'. Later, 'B' Coy were reinforced by 8 Pl 'C' Coy and 'C' Coy was reinforced by A Tk Pl. Enemy artillery and mortar fire received throughout day. Problems with casualty evacuation and ammunition resupply overcome by terrific effort. From 2000 hrs enemy shelled the 'Hinge' and Hill 317 continuously for 45 minutes. That night the enemy launched three regimental sized attacks on the Australians.

Monday 8 October: The Chinese were allowed to clear the battlefield without hindrance, thus no Australian clearing patrols. 1 KOSB commenced a relief in line of the Australian positions from 0900 hrs. 1 KOSB reported to HQ 28 Brigade that there were 120 enemy KIA 'B' Coy's perimeter at the 'Hinge'.

Postscript: The above article concerned the rifle companies of 3 RAR. It would be remiss of me not to mention the magnificent efforts by Support Company and Headquarters Company throughout the battle in support of the rifle companies. Further information is contained in Robert O'Neill's Official History (Part 2) and The Battle of Maryang San monograph produced by Bob Breen, which is full of detail.

First Published in The Voice, October 2011