The Korean War began in 1950 when the Communist North Korea invaded the South. The United Nations resolved to protect the South, and sent a force to fight alongside the South Koreans against the North Koreans and later the Communist Chinese. New Zealand sent an Artillery Regiment (16 Field Regiment) and supporting units (10 Transport Company, and Engineers and Signallers) to fight alongside other Commonwealth countries in a Commonwealth Brigade then a Commonwealth Division.

The contingent was known as K (Kay) Force. On 25 April 1951 at Kapyong, 16 Field Regiment of the Royal New Zealand Artillery distinguished itself in battle by engaging the enemy in assistance of the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), who had been under sustained attack from the Chinese infantry. The New Zealand artillery rained down a huge amount of shells, halting the Chinese attack. Both units received Presidential Citations.

Korea was the coldest theatre to which New Zealand troops had been deployed. During the winter, the New Zealand gunners had to dig their 25-pounders into the frozen ground, and sentries struggled to keep warm amongst the snow storms.

The war reached a stalemate, and an armistice was declared on 27 July 1953.