The Forgotten Victory - Ethiopia

English 2013.07.16 15:20

 

An invincible myth of

'Kagnew battalion' with 253 battles

  Ethiopia

Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, granted a name called 'Kagnew' to dispatched troops, which were sent out to help ROK, on April 1951. The Kagnew battalion did not have only two aspects during the Korean War; one is its 'defeat', and the other is 'being a POW'. The battalion won all 253 battles regardless of their sizes, and its soldiers were true warriors of warriors thinking rather prefer dying than be shameful for being surrendered then being POWs.

 

Ethiopia were invaded by Italy on December 1935. Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, asked for help to global society, but no one came for its aid. Although Ethiopian soldiers fought courageously against invaders, they had no other choice but to lost their nation after 270,000 Ethiopians were dead due to gas attacks and etc. Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, could take back its nation in 1941.

 

When the Selassie Emperior received a support request from UN Secretary General, he remembered sorrow of not being helped; he announced its will aggressively to send out its troops to ROK, where was in urgent crisis, saying "other nations should help the nation being unrighteously invaded."

Ethiopia dispatched land force with a force of a battalion, and approximately 6,000 man-days, including replacement force, put their steps in ROK. 'Kagnew', the name the Emperor granted to the battalion, has its meaning of 'not being defeated', 'destroy the enemy' in Ethiopian. Vikila Abebe-be known as the legendary marathoner later in global history-was a member of Kagnew battalion that visited ROK.

 

Kagnew battalion arrived at Busan on May 6 1951. Although the battalion went through intensive training in its own nation, where has similar topology with ROK, the battalion pulled its fighting strength into shape with basic education from US drill instructors, such as firearm manipulation, marksmanship, strategy, and etc.

 

Kagnew battalion increased its fame with its indomitable fighting spirit at several battles among 253 battles: battle near Samheon on Aug. 1951, Smagak highland battle on Dec. 1952, and YorkUncle highland battle on May 1953. Especially, the battalion received ROK government's citation for winning at YorkUncle highland battle, staring the armistice in the face.

During the Korean War, Kagnew battalion, knew nothing of fear and defeat, suffered human losses of 657 in total: 121 dead, 536 injured.

However, Ethiopian Korean War veterans suffered hardships as they returned back to their nation after the Korean War ended. Military authorities ousted Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, who helped ROK, by staging a coup d'tat, and established a communist military dictatorial government. Communist regime degraded Ethiopia to a nation full of poverty and diseases, once a powerful nation in Africa at the time, and oppressed war veterans who fought against Communists in order to protect ROK's liberty and peace. Later, democratic government was re-established, but Ehtiopian Korean War veterans' postulate of life needs aids even now.

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