The Forgotten Victory - Netherlands

English 2013.07.08 17:13

Dispatch 819 soldiers Fight as for my homeland

Netherlands

 

Netherlandish participation history of the Korean War can be summed up with only 2 words: desperate struggle. Netherlands dispatched one infantry battalion of 819 soldiers and one Navy destroyer into the Korean War. Two thirds of them, equal to 548 soldiers, either died or injured and went missing. This is the evidence that Netherlandish army fought with ROKA at front lines of fierce battles, bleeding and jeopardizing their lives.

 

Netherlandish participation of the war is special in its meaning because the participation was done by citizens not by its government. At the time when UN decided on military aid to Korea, Netherlandish army was at a tough state for dispatch. In spite of not enough troops available, Netherlands dispatched one destroyer on July 16 1950 as its land force were staying in Indonesia.

 

Although the UN Secretary General requested land force for dispatch at the time, Netherlandish government expressed its difficult circumstances to dispatch. It was its citizens who claimed to help Korea despite of such circumstances. Under a situation that Netherlandish press and volunteering soldiers urged the government for dispatch, '625 volunteering soldiers ad hoc committee' was formed on Aug. 10, and Netherlandish government decided to dispatch its ground force consisted of one army company and one maritime corps squadron due to its strong demand.

 

1,217 soldiers in total volunteered for official recruitment, started on Aug. 11. Netherlandish battalion were initiated on Sept. 9 consisted of carefully selected soldiers excluding the elders, people who failed the physical examination, people who had not fulfilled military duty; the battalion arrived in Korea on Nov. 23 after they went through training and preparation period.

 

By the time when Netherlandish battalion arrived, current war situation was not favorable for ROK and its alliances. UN forces-thought Korea unification was about to be achieved by advancing to Korea and Manchuria border-were retreating back to the 38th parallel line due to Communist Chinese army's unexpected intervention.

 

Netherlandish battalion, assigned under US 2nd division 38th regiment, had its first battle against North Korean army near HoeingSeong on Jan. 3 1951. After the battalion moved to support re-counterattack operation of UN forces, the battalion faced its first critical situation on Feb. 11 as Chinese army started its attack on Feb; Chinese army, disguised themselves as ROKA, took surprise attack on the headquarters of a battalion while the Netherlandish battalion were covering ROKA and US army withdrawal. On the process, numerous important executives lost their lives including battalion commander Ouden Ltc. Despite of such losses, the battalion made a significant contribution on successful withdrawal of ROKA and US army by its soldiers fighting courageously.

 

In spite of great suffering on command group, the Netherlandish battalion had no choice but to continuously participate in battles without enough realign opportunity due to difficult war circumstances. It blocked Chienese army's attacks on Feb by frustrating Chinese army's advance into the rear; it had battles, serving as a momentum of blocking the attacks, such as Mt. Gari, Inje, Mt. Daewoo, Beol highland, and Mukgokri battles. Netherlandish land forces fought jeopardizing their lives at the very front lines of bloody battles from the time when Communist Chinese army intervened to when the Frontline battle took its place.

 

During the war, Netherlands suffered tremendous human losses: 117 land forces and 2 marines dead, 463 soldiers injured, and 3 missing, and one POW.

 

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