Battle of Heartbreak Ridge

In the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, which took place during the Korean War, the United Nations forces fought against the North Korean and Chinese armies, from September 13 to October 16, 1951, about 8 miles north of the 38th parallel in the southern sector of North Korea. The UN forces that took part in this battle consisted of the US 9th and 23rd Infantry Regiments and a French Battalion, these three units being part of the US 2nd Infantry Division, led by General Thomas de Shazo. The Heartbreak Ridge was an eight-mile-long ridge in Mundung-ni valley, situated about one mile from Bloody Ridge.

Preceded by heavy artillery barrage on the Communist positions on top, the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge began on the morning of September 13, when the American and French troops charged up the rugged slopes to capture North Korean bunkers and machine gun nests. Despite the initial success, with an American platoon taking an enemy position, the Communist forces launched a counter-offensive that pushed the Allied troops off the summit and back to their former positions. Soon, the Americans would launch another attack which would lead to a gory clash with the enemy, fighting desperately for the ridge summit. The Battle raged on like this for more than a month, with Chinese troops participating in several combats. Finally, with the help of armored units and the elements from the South Korean 8th Infantry Division, the Americans and French managed to definitely conquer the summit.

The fighting for the Heartbreak Ridge had been so vicious and savage that it took on a surreal and nightmarish appearance. At the end, about 15,000 North Korean and Chinese men lay dead in the battlefield. The Americans and French had sustained 3,600 casualties, 1,450 of which were killed in action.

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