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

Night positions for 3/7 were as follows. George was in a long irrigation ditch just
north of the river. How and Item were in defensive positions near the top of 680. The
night was no picnic for 3/7. "The first night about 2200 hours they started heavy mortar
fire and it shook the ground all around us. We knew we couldn't sleep at night anyway,
and learned the ones that we heard before they hit would miss us."52
The attack of 1/7 on September 11 was towards Hill 673. Baker Company was on
point and stepped out at 0300. Able Company followed in close support. Charlie was
the reserve, but close at hand. Charlie and Baker began taking SA fire at 0730 from
Check Point 2. By 0825, Baker was pinned down. Able was in column behind Baker and
began deploying eastward. Able and Baker surged into an attack at 1100 under heavy
SA, AW, artillery and mortar fire. Dust, mud, blood, and exploding steel filled the air.
Each explosion was a flash and then a KRAAAKOOOOM like the sound of a gunshot
only deeper and elongated to ten times the length in duration. It was also many times
louder. The smells of cordite, sweat, dirt, and death were heavy. The Marines pushed
on with parched throats and smoke-stung eyes. Some felt the fragments or bullets that
hit them like the kick of a mule or the smash of a hammer. Others, even badly wounded,
didn't feel the metal that pierced them at all, only realizing they were hit when their
strength began to bleed out with their life. Concussions lifted men from their feet or
pushed them hard against the earth, tore off helmets, or knocked over kneeling
corpsmen tending wounds. The sound of gunfire was a constant ripple, an unrelenting
staccato like the drumming hits of a hard hail on a tin roof. The fire became so a man
could no longer stand it lest the fabric of his mind shred apart like rents in wet paper and
52 Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 8; Oral memoir of Jon
Charles Genrich.


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. Accessed January 22, 2017.