Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

fire on the enemy position. In the patrols, accurate enemy 76mm fire was sometimes
encountered (a high velocity, flat trajectory artillery piece with a noise like a banshee
and a blast so loud one thought the world had shattered). The assaults to squelch the
sources of that fire would be no picnic.8
Men were still wounded on patrols, though they were not technically part of the
major "battle." Jack L. Cannon was one such: "I was a sniper and on September 6 was
covering for a patrol from "Baker" 1/7 that was pulling back. The heavy machine guns
firing across the valley were Maxims on wheels . . . The first of my three wounds-this
one in my legs-was taken ... from machine-gun crossfire between Hills 673 and
854.",9
Ralph B. Steele, now a BAR man with Fox Company, 2/7, described a patrol:
They sent a patrol out, and we were. . . high on a ridge. It's all timbered and it
goes down way down into a valley. It's timbered, too. There's a river down there
and you can only occasionally see the river through the trees. The other side,
those slopes were all enemy. We sent up a trail over there what they call a
reinforced patrol. It's probably a squad of guys which would be 12, 13 guys plus
a machine gun section, so you got 20 some guys and then with the corpsmen
you're like 30 guys across the river . . . and they got a big pack radio SCR300
with them . . . everybody knows that patrol is out and it's going to be a
dangerous patrol because it's one of those ridiculous orders I always thought
was, it was a recon patrol but you keep moving towards the enemy until they
shoot at you, and then you count the weapons and what caliber they're shooting
at you with. In other words, walk until somebody takes a shot at you and then lay
down and count the weapons.10
Though the casualty numbers were usually small on such a patrol, the action could
be very intense and still get a person very dead. Steele continued:
So anyway, they're out there and ... we start hearing pa pa pa, pa pa pa pa
and the radio crackles on and it says that they've been taken under fire and they
1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 8; Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 180,
182; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 8-14.
9 Jack L. Cannon, "Attack on Hills 673 and 749," 24.
10 Transcript of Library of Congress Interview with Ralph B. Steele.

91

Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed May 28, 2015.