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Glossary

38th Parallel:

The line of the longitude that was the initial border between North and South Korea set up in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Armistice:

A formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting. It is not automatically the end of a war but only a cessation of hostilities to allow for negotiations for a lasting peace to take place.

Artillery Barrage:

A mass of artillery fire, also called shelling, aimed at a specific location for a limited amount of time.

Battalion:

An infantry unit organization made up of several companies. At full strength, Canadian infantry battalions numbered roughly 800 soldiers. 

Brigade:

A military formation one step up from a battalion. In the Canadian Army during the Korean War, three battalions were grouped into a brigade.

Canadian Army Special Force (CASF):

A force of units specifically raised by the Canadian Army for service in the Korean War.

Chinese People’s Volunteer Army:

The armed expeditionary forces deployed by the People’s Republic of China to support North Korea.

Company:

The largest sub-unit found within a battalion. Each Canadian Army infantry battalion typically fielded four rifle companies and a support company.

Cold War:

A state of political hostility that existed between the Soviet Bloc countries, also called the Eastern or Communist Bloc, and the American-led Western Bloc countries, or Capitalist Bloc, from 1945 to 1991.

Collective Security:

A system by which countries attempt to prevent or stop wars by considering an act of aggression against any one country as an act against all other countries. The group will then act together to repel the aggressor.

Destroyer:

A fast and heavily armed warship equipped for surface and anti-submarine warfare.

Demilitarized Zone:

An area between two countries, groups, or military powers where it is forbidden to have military installations, activities, or personnel.

Guerilla:

A person who engages in irregular warfare, which can be acts of sabotage, ambushes, or terrorism.

HMCS:

His Majesty’s Canadian Ship.

Joint Security Area (JSA):

An 800 square meter area located with the Korean DMZ that is controlled by United Forces Command, along with South Korea, and North Korea. Initially, the area was used for meetings between the two sides of the Korean War. It is often referred to as the Truce Village or Panmunjom.

Korean People’s Army:

The military force of North Korea.

Military Armistice Commission:

An organization that supervises the Military Armistice Agreement between signed between United Forces Command and North Korea. It is used to discuss disputes and claims of the agreement being broken. It has not met since the 1990s.

Patrol:

A military tactic were small groups or individual units deploy to achieve a specific objective, which can be gathering intelligence on the enemy or directly fighting with them, and then return.

Peacekeeping:

Activities, including military and humanitarian, intended to create conditions that favor lasting peace in conflict areas or zones.

Military Demarcation Line (MDL):

The last line of contact between the opposing forces in the Korean War when the Armistice was signed. The MDL was used to create the dimensions of the DMZ.

Regiment:

An administrative parent military organization that raises one or more battalions for service. It may have several battalions, especially during wartime.

RCN:

Royal Canadian Navy.

RCAF:

Royal Canadian Air Force.

United Nations Command:

A multinational military force established to support South Korea during and after the Korean War. It remains active and its primary duties are to maintain the Armistice and facilitate discussions between North and South Korea.