The Battle of Pork Chop Hill comprises a pair of related Korean War infantry battles during the spring and summer of 1953. These were fought while the U.S. and the Communist Chinese and Koreans negotiated an armistice. In the U.S., they were controversial because of the many soldiers killed for terrain of no strategic or tactical value.
The United Nations, primarily supported by the United States, won the first battle when the Chinese broke contact and withdrew after two days of fighting. The second battle involved many more troops on both sides and was bitterly contested for five days before United Nations Command conceded the hill to the Chinese forces by withdrawing behind the main battle line.
The hill, 300 meters (980 ft) high, first was seized by the U.S. 8th Cavalry Regiment in October 1951, again in May 1952 by Item Company of the U.S. 180th Infantry Regiment, then defended by the 21st Thai Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Division (United States) in November 1952. Since December 29, 1952, the outpost was part of the 7th Infantry Division's defensive sector. Pork Chop Hill, itself, was one of several exposed hill outposts in front of the Main Line of Resistance (MLR), defended by a single company or platoon positioned in sand-bagged bunkers connected with trenches.
Opposing the 7th Infantry Division were two divisions of the Chinese Communist Forces: the 141st Division of the 47th Army, and the 67th Division of the 23rd Army. These were veteran, well-trained units expert in night infantry assaults, patrolling, ambushes, and mountain warfare. Both armies (Corps-equivalent units) were part of the 13th Field Army commanded by General Deng Hua, who was also deputy commander of Chinese Volunteer Army forces in Korea.
The opposing forces in this sector were roughly equal in size, the 7th Division (Major General Arthur Trudeau, commanding) totaling 11 infantry battalions (including attached battalions from Colombia and Ethiopia), a battalion of armor, and 6 battalions of artillery, while the Chinese forces totaled 12 infantry, 10 artillery, and the equivalent of one tank battalion.
Both the United Nations Command and the Chinese had used military operations to gain leverage or make political statements relevant to the armistice negotiations since early 1952. The first battle on Pork Chop Hill occurred near Operation Little Switch, the exchange of ill and injured prisoners-of-war scheduled for April 20. The Chinese command authorized the April attack to demonstrate that agreement in contentious negotiations did not equal unwillingness to continue fighting, if necessary.
Four of the thirteen U.S. company commanders were killed. Total U.S. casualties were 243 killed, 916 wounded, and nine captured. 163 of the dead were never recovered. Of the Republic of Korea troops ("KATUSA") attached to the 7th, approximately 15 were killed and 120 wounded. Chinese casualties were estimated at 1,500 dead and 4,000 wounded. At SOG we carry many Korean War collectibles.