Kapyong Day Date in the current year: April 24, 2024

Kapyong Day Kapyong Day is observed on April 24 in the Canadian and Australian armed forces. It commemorates the Battle of Kapyong, also known as the Battle of Jiaping, which was fought during the Korean War between United Nations Command and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.

The Battle of Kapyong was one of the most important victories of the United Nations during the Korean War. It occurred during the Chinese Spring Offensive of 1951. According to the plan of the offensive developed by the joint command of the People’s Volunteer Army of China (PVA) and the Korean People’s Army of North Korea (KPA), joint PVA/KPA forces were to launch an offensive on all fronts and eventually capture the largest South Korean cities (Seoul, Pyeongchang and Gangneung).

The route to Seoul, the South Korean capital, lay through the Kapyong (also spelled as Gapyeong) Valley in Gyeonggi Province. Entrance to the valley was blocked by the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade, which included British, Canadian and Australian infantry units, New Zealand artillery, and Indian medical personnel.

The two forward battalions of the brigade – 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment – hastily developed defenses on both sides of the valley, and the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery provided artillery support.

When thousands of South Korean soldiers began their retreat to Seoul through the valley on the evening of April 23, 1951, the Chinese infiltrated the brigade position under the cover of darkness and attacked the Australian battalion on Hill 504. Although the PVA heavily outnumbered the UN forces, the brigade managed to hold their positions into the following afternoon. By evening, however, the 3rd Battalion withdrew to positions in the rear of the brigade. Both the Chinese and the Australians suffered heavy casualties.

Following the Australians’ withdrawal, the Chinese turned their attention to the Canadian battalion on Hill 677. During a fierce night battle, the PVA were unable to dislodge the Canadians and were forced to withdraw. The Battle of Kapyong resulted in the decisive victory of the UN forces: PVA losses included 1,000 people killed and many more wounded, whereas the United Nations Command losses included 47 people killed (most of them Australians) and 99 wounded.

The Battle of Kapyong enabled South Korea and its allies to slow down the Chinese offensive and prevent a breakthrough on the central front and, eventually, the capture of Seoul. Having taken the main blow, the Canadian and Australian battalions stopped an entire PVA division and made it withdraw back up the valley to regroup.

Because of this, the victory at Kapyong is regarded as one of the most significant military achievements of the Canadian and Australian armed forces, so the anniversary of the decisive day of the battle – April 24 – is an important commemoration for them. On Kapyong Day, they honor the memory of those who died in the battle, as well as in the Korean War in general.

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Kapyong Day, Canadian observances, Australian observances, Battle of Kapyong, Korean War