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

shaking of the ground, praying all the while he survives, seventy shells can seem like a
million and destroy a man's nerves. More than one combat veteran has broken under
less pressure. In a barrage where no one was injured for instance, "an 82mm mortar
shell landed in a foxhole beside the Marine occupant and failed to explode; the nervous
strain was so great that this Marine was evacuated to the rear aid station."19
Genrich recalled setting up defenses that night:
Once we were on top [with] George Company, what was left of How
Company set up defenses. We had a large hole on the reverse slope that gave a
good field of fire for the machine gun....
Someone came up with a couple of trip flares and I talked a Marine into
going with me down the hill. I needed his rifle for protection. We went about 75
feet. We were on the side the enemy had retreated from and most likely the way
they would come back in a counter attack. It was just starting to get a little dark
and I set the trip wires for the flares in two open areas between trees.20
That night at 2250, How Company repulsed a fifteen minute enemy counterattack.
Jon Charles Genrich described this, too:
We crawled into our foxholes and took turns catching an hour of sleep
each until about 2300 hours, when somebody thought they had had heard a
noise. We were all alert when we heard a bugle start to blow a charge. I laughed
with disbelief because they had told us about the blowing of bugles before a
charge during advance training. The next minute one of my flares went off and
everyone started firing down the hill. Then the second flare went off. I felt better
about my contribution to the battle. I was satisfied that my flares had both worked
and had given us a little light the first minute or longer. After I fired off my eighth
round clip, I reloaded and decided to wait just in case some Koreans broke
through on our flank. I thought I might need a full clip to protect the machine gun.
The new Lieutenant was running up and down the ridge, throwing bandoleers of
ammo to the men while the firefight was going on. I felt that maybe I had judged
the Lieutenant too hard over the last two days.
We sat back and waited for the next charge while the artillery lay in a
barrage. The first two or three rounds were short rounds that hit the tree tops with
an air burst. Several men were hit with shrapnel and I heard more were hurt in
George Company. This was not too surprising as the maps being used in many
areas had been made by the Japanese during their occupation of Korea. Several
errors were often found in maps when trying to drop artillery shells just over the
19 Second Battalion, 5th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 78.
20 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 November 29, 2015.