THE BELGIAN FORCES IN THE KOREAN WAR (BUNC)
For the three day battles in the "Broken Arrow" positions, the BUNC received its second Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and was mentioned in the Belgian Army's Order of the Day on 25 June 1953. The latter citation, translated, reads :
"Article one - The Volunteer Corps for Korea is mentioned in the Army's Order of the Day :
Deployed in a patrol base, completely isolated 3 kilometers in front of the lines of the United Nations, on the hills known as "Broken Arrow" near Haktang-Ni in Korea, the Volunteer Corps for Korea heroically resisted repeated attacks by over-numerous Chinese troops between 11 and 13 October 1951. Despite its diminished strength, it succeeded, during three days of hard combat, to maintain its positions completely whilst inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy. This citation allows the battle honour "HAKTANG-NI (Korea)" to be put on this unit's flag.
Article two - The Fourragère is bestowed on the flag of the Volunteer Corps for Korea that previously was mentioned in the Army's Order of the Day, by Decree No. 447 of 4 January 1952."
Note : the fourragère mentioned above is the War Cross Fourragère (Croix de Guerre).
THE HAKTANG-NI BATTLE HONOUR
The BUNC, 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 (ZW-cie). As part of the US 3rd Division, attached to its 15th Infantry Regiment, the battalion occupied an advance position on the hills of Haktang-Ni, about 3 kilometres 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 disorganised by the attack. A patrol to the neighbouring Hill 317 found an enemy ammo dump on the hill and destroyed it before returning to the lines.
The Haktang-Ni Battles (12 - 13 October 1951)
© Hendrik Meersschaert, 2002 - 2017
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 defences. The enemy managed to infiltrate between B-company and ZW-company 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 (10), and MG gunner Pvt. Klausing were instrumental in repulsing these first attacks (11). Further attacks were launced 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 (9). 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 Haktang-Ni attackers which had managed to enter part of the battalion's defences. At 02.00 h new attacks were launched on the ZW-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. At daybreak, 98 unretrieved Chinese bodies were counted immediately in front of the lines. 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 ZW-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 savoured witnessing, from its new positions, a futile enemy artillery barrage and night assault on its former, now abandoned, lines.
The BUNC was part of the US 15th Inf.Reg. at the time and readily adopted its own version of that regiment's "Can do"-motto.