Background of Participation
On September 18, 1950, Colombia informed the UN of its dispatch of one frigate, the Almirante Padilla, to Korea after the UN Secretary-General had requested for military support in the miple of July. The Colombian government decided on November 14th to send one army battalion composed of 1,000 soldiers on the condition that the US would supply all support needed.
Columbia established the 1st Infantry Battalion on December 26, 1950. Lieut. Colonel Jaime Polania Puyo was appointed as commander. The unit was re-equipped with American armaments and given twelve weeks of training.
In the miple of April 1951, the Padilla departed from San Diego. On May 21st, the Infantry Battalion departed from Colombia via US transport ships. The unit arrived in Pusan on June 15, 1951.
Activity of Ground Forces
The Colombian Battalion, which had been attached to the US 24th Division, dispatched a small scale reconnaissance unit to Hill 851, north of Heuguntoryong on August 6th. It was attacked by Chinese troops, causing 11 casualties.
When the US 24th Division launched an attack on Keumsong on October 13th, the Colombian Battalion also attacked Hill 570, north of Heuguntoryong. In this offensive, the Battalion killed 34 of the enemy, and captured 4 prisoners and a number of armaments. It suffered considerable casualties, including the injury of its commander.
On January 28, 1952, the Colombian Battalion was assigned to the 31st Regiment of the US 7th Division because the US 24th Division had returned to Japan. On May 10th, the battalion began to defend the main resistance line for the first time when it took over the Missouri line near Tap-dong, north of Kimhwa. On June 21st, the 3rd Platoon of the A Company launched a surprise attack against a Chinese strong point on the Hill 400. In this combat, the platoon destroyed 11 positions, killed 28, and captured 2 prisoners with 2 Colombian soldiers killed and 15 wounded.
After training and maintenance, the Battalion returned to the resistance line near Tap-dong on July 13th. The battalion dispatched two reconnaissance units to the enemys position on August 17th. But the informed enemy attacked them with concentrated fire using trench mortars and HMGs. In this battle, two officers and 94 soldiers of the unit were killed. Owing to this disaster, the Colombian soldiers became extremely demoralized. Thus, the Battalion withdrew to Wasu-ri for rest on August 20th.
From February 27, 1953, the Colombian Battalion was committed to the duty of reserve unit of the 31st regiment in Dukhyon-dong. On March 10th, the battalion attacked Hill 180, one of the Chinese outposts. This combat lasted only 25 minutes. The Colombian soldiers destroyed all of enemys covered trenches and firearms positions killing over 150 of the enemy.
Two days after the Hill 180 battle, the Battalion took over the central region of the US 31st Regiment, in which the Hill Bulmo was located. On the evening of March 23rd, CCF made a surprise attack on the hill. As a result, the A and B Companies fell into confusion, retreating to the southeastern ridge and giving up the Hill Bulmo. The Battalion, united with the US 32nd Regiment, made a number of counterattacks to recover the hill in vain.
Until the armistice, the Colombian infantry force carried out its duty as the main resistance line unit and the reserve unit alternatively in the Jamestown line where the Hill Bulmo, Hill Porkchop, and T-bone Ridge were located.
Activity of the Navy
The frigate, Almirante Padilla, was assigned to the Yellow sea blockading fleet led by the British Navy on May 11, 1951. The Almirante Padilla began coastal patrol operation between Cho Island and Suk Island in the Yellow Sea from May 14th.
After attaching to the East Sea blockading fleet, the Almirante Padilla mainly performed the mission of protecting supply ships, coastal patrol, and naval gunfire support in the East Sea. At the end of October, the Colombian frigate hit the enemys seashore artillery unit with its 75mm guns.
On February 12, 1952, the Captain Tono took over the Almirante Padillas mission. The Captain Tono carried out the duty of covering UN mine sweepers and protecting transport ships in the East Sea from the miple of May. The Capitan Tono was awarded a citation from the ROK Navy on November 4th.
The Capitan Tono was replaced by the Almirante Brion. From June 29, 1953, the Almirante Brion began its mission of protecting UN supply ships in the East sea, which lasted until September 6th.
A total of 4,314 Colombian soldiers participated in the Korean War. Of this number, 143 were killed, and 567 wounded. The Army withdrew from Korea in October 1954, and the Navy in October 1955.