UNITED NATIONS ARMY
GREEK EXPEDITIONARY FORCE IN KOREA
On June 25 1950, the North Korean army, equipped by the Soviet Union and with the participation of the Chinese Army, invaded South Korea. Following the request for assistance made by South Korea to the UN (United Nations) 53 countries decided to provide their support. 26 countries participated in the UN Army Force, including Greece.
The Greek forces consisted of 1000 infantry soldiers and 9 C-47 Αircrafs and took part in difficult combats. The Greek forces in Korea, were in continuous battles from January 1951, until ceasefire in July 1953, many times under extreme freezing conditions (-15 – 20 degrees Celsius). Similar, were the operations of the Greek Airforce, which carried supplies, casualties and assisted the United Nation Forces, under extreme weather conditions and non-existent runways. The casualties of the Greek Expeditionary Force in Korea, were 194 dead and 607 wounded.
The war lasted until July 1953, with millions of casualties between the rivals at war and civilians, dividing the country, at the 38th parallel, to North and South Korea.
The distinctions earned by the Greek Forces, were the recognition for their heroism and outstanding performance. Stated below are 2 of the numerous recognition statements.
• President of the United States – Harry Truman:
“THE GREEK FORCES SHOWED GREAT BRAVERY, UNDER EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS CONDITIONS, SO THAT THEY SUPERIMPOSED ALL OTHER MILITARY UNITS, PARTICIPATING IN THE BATTLES”
• Commanding General of the UN Forces – General Mathew Ridgway:
“THERE IS NO GREATER EVENT, THAN THE ACHIEVEMENTS EXHIBITED BY THE GREEK EXPEDITIONARY FORCES IN KOREA”.
At the initiative of the President of Korea, an imposing monument was erected in Seoul, for the Greek Fighters, as an act of admiration and gratitude by the Korean Νation, where the ancient greek quote is engraved “FOR THE WHOLE EARTH IS THE TOMB OF FAMOUS MEN”.
Hill 381, NW City of Iskcon, January 1951
The set up represents the defense of the Hill 381, northwest of the city of Ixon, from the 3rd Unit of the Greek Expeditionary Force, in January 1951, which was one of the most deadly battles against the Chinese, with the toll being, for the Chinese was approx. 700 dead and for the Greeks 9 dead and 13 injured.
The Greeks have made a fully functional shelter with machine guns, which requires hard work, as the ground is rocky and frozen.
Nearby, a Greek soldier equipped with a mine detector, locates mines placed by North Koreans, following the lead of the Greek Unit, received by the American skier, who has arrived at the Greek operation field.
During the hostilities, the Head Commander (Brigadier General), accompanied by the Commander of the Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel), visited the 3rd Unit with a vehicle M38 Willys Jeep, to encourage the Greek fighters.
Meanwhile, he stopped at the temporary first aid tent, in order to visit the wounded Greeks and congratulate them for their bravery.
Within the shelter the radio operator is equipped with:
• Carbine MIAI cal 0.30” rifle
• communication center
• power generator
He is also equipped with accessories, such as:
In the area of the shelters are 2 gunners equipped with:
• Browning 0.30” machine gun
• BAR 0.30” submachine gun
Also, there are:
• observation and bearing devices
• ammunition boxes
• 81 and 60 mm mortars
• 57 mm anti-tank recoilless rifle
• 2 bazookas
On the pole is the authentic Greek flag of the specific era, perforated by hostile fire.
The Chinese soldier carries:
• full individual gear and a Russian submachine gun
The ski-sniper carries:
• a Garand MIC rifle and a 0.45” pistol
The Greek Army vehicle is a 1950 M38 Willys Jeep and carries a Garand M1 rifle
The driver carries:
• M3AI submachine gun
Next to the vehicle the Commander of the Battalion carries:
• 0.45” pistol
• map case
• M3AI submachine gun
The Brigadier General carries:
• 0.38” revolver