We moved up the hill and learned quickly to walk on the trails that the
North Koreans had used; the rest of the hillside was covered with land mines and
That night we sat our gun on top of the skyline in a bomb crater. Five of us
move back to another large hole. There were no trees, bushes-not even twigs.
The whole mountaintop was bare, the soil, from the pounding it had received,
was like silt.
We began catching incoming rounds. We heard the POP in the mortar
tube, then along the ridgeline to the right, POW! We began to count the
explosions and soon realized they were coming closer; the North Koreans were
walking the rounds toward us. We hunched as low as we could get. The next
round hit to our left. The one after that exploded to our right. They had bracketed
our hole. The next round would land on top of us. We prayed out loud. A round
hit next to us. One guy screamed and began to run. The section leader reached
up and tripped him. We held the man down. I held my breath and waited.
CRASH! A flash of light. I could smell and taste the powder. We lay in a heap for
I don't know how long. A lieutenant had been hit. He had shrapnel in his back,
head and legs. We lay in that hole all night. It was very difficult to evacuate the
We got word later that we would be relieved by the 1st Marines. We had
lost too many men to effectively resume the attack in the morning. [The relief
would not begin to occur until the next night. There would be another 7th Marines
attack the next morning.]9
Later that day, 1/7 began to help with the assault on Hill 749, but because of low
ammo, had some delays. Jack L. Cannon was still with the action:
As we... secured 673 and continued the attack out on Ridgeline 749, we
were low on ammunition and extremely low on grenades. Some of the men were
going back to the bunkers on the face of 673 and gathering up North Korean
grenades and "potato mashers". . . Some of them still had wet paint. I had gone
back to the bunker which was to the left of the one that the flame thrower
operator had cooked. I set my rifle down outside the bunker and went in to get
grenades. This one had a "T" entrance. That is, as you entered, you went back a
few feet and could then go either right or left into it.
As my eyes were adjusting to the dimness, I saw an enemy soldier with a
"burp gun" cradled in his lap, sitting against the wall. I was sure I saw him blink.
There was no time to think about it; I had to close the gap between us as fast as
possible and at the same time unsheathe the commando knife (Fairburn-Sykes)
that I always carried on my belt. I drove the knife into the chest area and was
surprised how easily it slid to the hilt. He had been hit in the body earlier, so he
couldn't move too fast ....10
9 Oral account of PFC Troy Hamm, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 297- 98.
10 Jack L. Cannon, "Attack on Hills 673 and 749," 25.
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 22, 2015.