exchange of fire was heavy with J. B. and Richard on the gun. I started digging
but it was mostly solid rock with just a little dirt. In what seemed like hours, but
was more likely about ten minutes, I had a hole two feet deep.42
It was now past noon. The engaged companies waited in place while supporting
arms (artillery and mortars) worked over the objective. Finally, airstrikes added napalm
and strafing to the mix. The Marines then made two assaults, but each time the enemy
sensed the supporting fires had lifted and came up out of their emplacements. The
Marines ended up being pushed back down the hill to near their starting points.
Darkness found the assault companies dug in (with some shifting of positions) 300
yards short of the objective to await the next day.43
More technically, the above actions proceeded thusly: At 0908, Item Company,
while How was under heavy mortar fire and had just lost two platoon leaders, was
ordered to move up near George Company on Hill 602, prepared to go to How
Company's aid by assaulting the 680 from the opposite slope from How Company.
Baker 1/5 had taken How's position on the Hays Line at 0530, then was given
responsibility for the entire section of the 7th Marines's sector of Hays, the section from
602 east to the river. How Company reported at 0915 that it was still in a hot fight and
could not get closer than fifty yards to the crest of Hill 680. Even the CP of the 81mm
platoon received heavy enemy 82mm mortar fire and lost some men. Item Company
then got word to jump off in the attack as soon as an airstrike arrived to soften its part of
the objective. Item, too, took enemy 82mm mortar fire. However, the airstrike did not hit
until 1355. Immediately thereafter, Item jumped off to help How Company and both
42 Oral Memoir of Jon Charles Genrich.
43 Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 5.; 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.
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 December 21, 2013.