THE BATTLE FOR CHIPYONG-NI: THE TURNING POINT OF THE KOREAN WAR
The battle at Chipyong-ni was a decisive turning point in the Korean War. Defeat after defeat at the hands of the Chinese had the United Nations forces demoralized. The logistics trains and supply routes were labored due to the Chinese infiltration of friendly lines. The battle at Chipyong-ni showed our determination and exposed many Chinese and North Korean vulnerabilities that were not known.
The battle for Chipyong-ni took place from the February 13th to the 15th, 1951. Although we only discuss the actions and fighting that occurred on the southern perimeter, the allied forces at Chipyong-ni were embattled from all directions.
After the failure of TF Smith, a successful United Nations (UN) campaign led by the United States pushed the North Korean forces out of the South Korean borders and well past the 38th parallel. For reasons thoroughly debated and not fully understood, China joined the North Koreans in combat against the allied forces. The Chinese offensive campaign was swift and unrelenting. The Chinese and North Korean armies quickly regained the ground they had lost effectively putting the United Nations back to square one. Unexpectedly, the Chinese army stopped offensive operations and retreated their main body north of the 38th parallel.
From the end of 1950 to February, 1951 United Nations forces conducted offensive operations to regain the South Korean territory. As the operation neared Seoul and the 38th parallel, the Chinese army launched an audacious counter offensive. Although the United Nations line was pushed south, the 23rd Regimental Combat Team was continuing victoriously. After a successful operation at the battle of the twin tunnels, orders were given to the 23rd to occupy the nearby village of Chipyong-ni. On February 3rd, the 23rd arrived and began establishing a defensive perimeter. However, the allied positions adjacent to Chipyong-ni were falling at an alarming rate.
By February 4th, the 23rd’s position at Chipyong-ni was a northern bulge holding onto the allied line for dear life. COL Paul Freeman, the 23rd Regimental Commander requested to fall back to allied lines and the support of adjacent units. LTG Matthew Ridgeway, the commander of the Eighth Army, denied COL Freemans request and decided it was time to make a stand at the village of Chipyong-ni.
Preparation went into high gear after the stay and defend orders were received. On February 13th, 1951 the daylight patrols returned reporting increased enemy activity in all directions. Arial observation planes confirmed large numbers of Chinese to the north and east. Ground reconnaissance units confirmed a large enemy element to the south. COL Freeman once again requested to move south to the town of Yoju. MG Edward Almond, the commander of X Corps, flew to Chipyong-ni to discuss the decision with COL Freeman. It was...