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

Baker pulled back from the objective at 1210. Supporting arms would have to further
pound the enemy bunkers. Able and Baker Companies leapt forward again together at
1545 again to dash through steel, hit the dirt, lay down some covering fire for the next
fireteam to do the same, then get up and do it again when that fireteam's bellies found
the earth. But they were pushed back at 1700. Baker disengaged under artillery
covering fire ten minutes later.53
By 1745 Charlie joined the attack and then made a night assault through mines
and booby traps. Soon it too had to fall back to defensive positions. Total losses for 1/7
this day were 68 WIA and 4 KIA.54
In the AT section attached to Baker 1/7 was PFC Troy Hamm. He remembered
the approach to Hill 673:
We began our assault on Hill 673 early the next morning [1 1September].
Our guns were to knock out a large enemy machine-gun bunker. This particular
gun was in such a strategic location on the hill that if it wasn't knocked out we
would lose allot of men.
My squad was ordered to move up as close to the bunker as we could,
then set up and fire on it. Without warning, the machine-gun opened up. I
flattened out like a lizard. I was only 150 yards away from its muzzle.
A Marine above me on the hill was hit by the first burst. He was already on
the ground when the rounds ripped down his back and whistled over me. Our
squad leader yelled, "Ammo up!" The gun had been set up and was ready to fire.
Before we could move, another squad farther back fired at the bunker; its first
round went right into the bunker. A flamethrower was sent forward and finished
off the position. When I walked past it, I saw it had been constructed of logs, plus
about ten feet of dirt, which is why the artillery and air strikes had been unable to
neutralize it.
When we took the hill, we found some Marines who had been captured.
They had their hands tied behind them, and had been brutally murdered. [These
may have been KMCs.]55
53 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 183; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 14;
Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 5-6.
54 First Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, Chronological Narrative
for September 11, 1951.
ss Oral account of PFC Troy Hamm, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 296-97.

111

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 August 27, 2014.