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

The battalion sent Item Company to attack from the southwest to lift enough
enemy pressure that How Company could move forward. How Company then infiltrated
towards the crest while receiving heavy machine gun and mortar fire. They were fifty
yards from it when enemy fire pinned it in place again. Item Company in the confusion
had moved to How Company's part of the hill, so the attack, instead of a converging
movement from two directions, became one from a single direction.41
One Marine machine gunner, Jon Charles Genrich, remembered How 3/7's attack
that day:
In the dim morning light we started up the ridge on the trail. The climb was
very steep the first several hundred yards. We were spaced out about ten feet
apart, which didn't seem like very much space as we followed the path. After
climbing about half an hour, we stopped and everyone took a little break. We
figured they must have had a patrol scouting ahead of the company. I was
somewhat surprised as this didn't seem like the way we had been taught to
advance on a hill.... We proceeded up the trail, unable to see much for about
half a mile because of the tall trees and wooded area. Then everything happened
at once. The enemy pinned us down with automatic gun fire, trimming limbs from
trees and pounding us with mortars, mostly hitting the main body of the company.
It reminded me of an amphibious landing on a beach as they let the first few
waves "land" and then tried to blow the remainder out of the water. The few
closing in on the enemy were in a heavy ground fight.
We had heavy automatic fire coming from our left flank and mortars
exploding all around. We hit the deck and the little branches rained down on us
from the heavy firepower chopping up the trees. They yelled, "Machine guns up"
and the squad leader, gunner, and assistant gunner moved out up the path . . . I
grabbed an extra can of ammo, dropped my pack, and started running up the
path with my rifle and three boxes of ammo. Gunny Sergeant Studebaker yelled,
"Get down. You're going to get hit." I yelled back., "They don't have ammo for the
machine guns," and kept running. Brave? No. I was just doing my job. The limbs
and twigs kept falling all around, but I felt the squad was depending on me.
I didn't know how far ahead they had gone but I finally caught up with
them. They had the gun set up on the left flank, firing at a smaller ridge about
200 yards away. I dropped the ammo and told them I didn't think the rest of the
ammo was coming. Murph said for me to get back behind them and start digging
a hole as they needed cover. They hadn't been able to dig in yet as the
41 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 183; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 14;
Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 7-8; Seventh Marine
Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 5-6.

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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 September 22, 2014.