1 RUR withdraw after Battle of Chaegunghyon, Korea.

Wednesday, 3 January, 1951
Chaegunghyon (Happy Valley) Battle Map

The Chinese Third Phase Offensive aimed to cross the 38th parallel and force the UN and the US to abandon Korea and concede the first global victory in what was being called the 'Cold War' The first major action for the 1st Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles was on 3 January 1951, when the Battalion, as part of 29 Brigade, covered the withdrawal of UN forces to the south of the Han River and at the Battle of Chaegunghyon (better known as 'Happy Valley') checked the enemy advance.

The Rifles had moved into their position on 1 January and were well established around Chaegunghyon on 2 January, awaiting an expected Chinese attack.

In summary, following 1 RUR's actions to repel the Chinese, Headquarters 29 Brigade then ordered 1 RUR to withdraw during the night 3-4 January as the Chinese were already infiltrating behind them.

Shortly after the withdrawal began, a 'friendly' (US) aircraft dropped flares in error and thus alerted the Chinese who dominated some of the heights overlooking the withdrawal route. A hail of mortar and machine-gun fire disrupted the long column of Riflemen. A confused period of close fighting in the dark followed but eventually the Rifles broke contact. The next day the casualty return revealed that there were 208 killed, wounded and missing; however, this was reduced to 157 as many returned from medical treatment centres or from evading enemy capture. The Rifles moved to Pyongtaek on 5 January 1951.

For a detailed account of events on 3 January, please click on the Story of the Battle of Chaegunghyon.