The War in Korea


Japan ruled Korea from the early part of the twentieth century (1905) to their defeat in August 1945. Following this the country was divided into two zones, the Russians having authority over the northern area and the United States over the southern.

Then on the 27th June 1950 the North Korean Army invaded South Korea across the 38th Parallel. South Korea had a very small army without tanks and heavy artillery, where as the North had heavy artillery and tanks of Russian origin, also a small airforce to compliment this.

The United Nations Security Council authorised military assistance for South Korea. Within weeks, fifteen countries had pledged to fight alongside the South Korean and American troops. Also five other countries promised medical units. After a bitter three years of war the armistice was signed on 27th July 1953, but the country still remains divided to this day.

Getting reliable statistics of United Nations troops serving in the Korean War and numbers of wounded and killed has not been possible as various authors have variations in their published literature. However the following is a good indication of numbers in respect to Commonwealth Troops: -

•The total number of Commonwealth Troops in the Korean War Theatre = Unfortunately this was one statistic I could not get; however it is left open for inclusion, hopefully at a later date.

•Number of deaths =2,017

•Number of casualties = 14,103 plus an unknown number of non-battle casualties.

•Of those numbers 80,000 troops were from the UK, which sustained 1,109 deaths and 2,674-wounded (source British Defence Attaché, Seoul). 729 held as Prisoners.

•With regard to American forces 1,319,000 troops served in the war, 36,940 died and 105,785 were wounded.

Max Hastings, in his book “The Korean War”, states that the South Korean Army lost 415,000 killed and 429,000 wounded. The Americans estimated that the total number of North Korean and Chinese dead was in excess of 1.5 million.