- Country Profile
country profile Location Northwest region in South American continent Capital Bogota Population 44,379,598 (June 2007) Area 1,138,910㎢ (6 times of the Korean Peninsula) Race composition Mestizo (58%), White (20%), Mulato (14%), Black (4%) and others Religion Catholic (96%) Form of government Republic system Language Spanish Currency Colombia Peso (COP) Independence Day
Jul. 20, 1810 (from Spain) Date of diplomatic relationship established Mar. 10, 1962 Military attache establishment Sep. 1975 in Colombia, Jan. 1988 in Korea
- Key Roles
Upon receiving the UN resolution to dispatch troops to Korea, Colombia declared to dispatch one battalion. However, their financial difficulties at home delayed actual dispatch of troops and they had to negotiate with the US on matters of weapon, training, and supply. Colombia first sent naval war vessels, and later sent ground troops to Korea on June 16, 1951. Among the UN member nations, these troops were the last to arrive in Korea.
Although the scale of Colombian forces was small (a frigate ship, an Army Battalion), it is noteworthy that Colombia was the only country in Latin America that dispatched troops to Korea.
The Colombian Battalion was assigned to the 24th US Division, and the Colombian soldiers had the first engagement at the battle of Heukuntoryung. At this bloody battle, the battalion suffered 11 casualties. Later at the battle of Kumsung, the battalion commander was WIA and the battalion also suffered heavy casualties, but they finally succeeded in securing the target area. Afterwards, at the battle of Bolmo Hill they fought against the Chinese forces’ massive attack, and succeeded in defending the outpost line.
Participation History Unit Participation Period Note Colombian Battalion Jun. 1951 to Oct. 1955 Assigned to the US Division
Casualty Statistics Total KIA WIA MIA POW
- Key Battles
Battle in Advancing to Geumseong (1951. 10. 13~21)
Colombian Battalion moving to the battle line
This was the battle in which the Colombian Battalion participated in advancing to Geumseong after being attached to the U.S. 24th Division and fought against the 119th Division and 200th Division under the command of the Chinese Communist 67th Army Corps. In this battle, this Battalion was operated as a battalion in the battle zone and it attacked Hill 570 in front of Heukunto Pass on Oct. 13 and the Hoe pass in the south of Geumseong on Oct. 21 to make a contribution in Division's advance to Geumseong. This Battalion faced the Chinese Communist's stiff resistance in these two locations but it captured target positions with bravery. After confronting with the Chinese Communist at the Hoe pass, this Battalion later became a reserve unit on Nov. 15.
Battle of Kimhwa Hill 400 (1952. 6. 21)
This was the battle in which this Battalion after being attached to the U.S. 7th Division launched a surprise attack on the enemy's outpost Hill 400 while performing a preliminary duty at Wasu-ri. The patrol unit formed with 1 platoon size of troops from this Battalion "A" Company launched a surprise attack on the Communist's outpost located 500m north of the friendly force’s outpost at the dawn and captured it. It then destroyed strongly built defense facilities before return.
Battle of Hill 180 (The combat patrol unit right before going into action, 1953. 3. 10)
This was the battle in which this Battalion attacked the Communist's outpost located 500m from the front of the enemy's main defense line while carrying out a preliminary duty at Mageo-ri, northwest of Yeoncheon. The Colombian Battalion "A" Company was able to secretly approach Hill 180, the outpost strongly built by the Chinese Communist Army, at the dawn but it suffered huge casualties to capture the hill due to the enemy's stiff resistance in the following battles. After capturing Hill 180, "A" Company destroyed the enemy’s defending facilities before return.
Battle of Old Baldy (1953. 3. 23~25)
Colombian soldiers visiting
the U.N. cemetery in Busan
and praying for fallen comrades
The Colombian Battalion after being attached to the U.S. 7th Division fought at the Hill 180 battle and took over the guarding duty of the main defense line of Deokeundong in the north of Yeoncheon. And then they fought against the 423rd Regiment of the Chinese Communist 141st Division at the Old Baldy Hill, the outpost of the main defense line. As "A" Company that was dispatched to the Old Baldy Hill suffered heavy casualties by continued bombings by the Chinese Communist, the Battalion decided to replace "A" Company with "B" Company. The Chinese Communist attacked on the night of Mar. 23 when the Battalion was replacing companies. The Chinese Communist approached to the front of the Battalion’s position when guarding was less secure while units were replaced. The Colombian Battalion soldiers fought hand to hand with the Chinese Communist that entered their position but had to retreat from the hill as they were outnumbered. The Regiment and Division sent reserve units later for a counterattack, but the loss was mounting and the plan to recapture this hill was abandoned. As a result of this battle, the Old Baldy Hill fell to North Korea’s hand after the cease-fire agreement.
After the cease-fire agreement, the Colombian Battalion left in Oct. 1955.