Jim Jacobs

Gunner, B Company, 170th Independent Mortar Battery, 29th Infantry Brigade.

"I served briefly in the B Troop, 170 Independent Mortar Battery that supported the Belgian Battalion in Korea, March to July 1951 and at the Imjin.

 I do not recall any names after so long, and at the time we were far too busy as we under attack by about ten to one in the enemy's favour. My unit supported the Belgians during the fighting withdrawal from Hill 195, and along Route 11 as we withdrew from the Imjin River. The Belgian Battalion was placed under command of 29 British Infantry Brigade while we were under strength due to the Royal Ulster Rifles (RUR) being in reserve while rebuilding, following around 200 casualties in major battles in January 1951. On the formation of the 1st Commonwealth Division in July 1951 we lost the Belgians who were transferred to US 3rd Infantry Division. It was a pleasure to serve alongside those men.

Jim Jacobs with 4.2 inch mortar in Korea
Jim Jacobs with his Battery's 4.2" mortars

I remember the men of the Belgian battalion, seemed at first rather undisciplined but were as tough as they come, the very best outfit to be with in a tough situation, as we were with B Troop [170 Mortar Battery] when supporting them at the Imjin. It is most likely that we could not have withdrawn from Hill 195, north of the Imjin, without them, having been ordered to abandon all equipment and try to walk out. When it was known that the Belgians intended to crash a way through the massing Chinese, we were ordered to go with them, first heading east over the upper Imjin, then south towards Hantan. The Royal Ulster Rifles were sent to the south bank of the Imjin to assist our extraction but we saw nothing of them. They lost more men, killed and captured in their attempt. Finally, we met up the US 7th Regimental Combat Team whose tanks aided our withdrawal south down the dirt track road known as Route 11. We made it, halting continuously to fire to assist the withdrawal of the Belgians as we fell back to the south. I thank them for their cheerful comradeship, particularly A Company with whom we had our dug our OP, thankful that most could speak enough English for us to communicate."