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

When we entered the valley, a young guy named Brun, who had married just
before coming to Korea, was in front of me in the column. There were tanks lined
up on our right. I should have known then that we were in for trouble. Tanks
almost always drew fire. We went down the road some ways when all hell broke
loose--enemy seventy-sixes, at regular intervals, came screaming in. One of the
first blasts knocked my helmet off. I thought, Now I've got no place to hide. Then
it was run and hit the deck, run and hit the deck. A shell exploded to the left. I
looked up, Brun was already on his feet and running. I jumped up and followed. I
ran about ten steps when I heard another shell coming in. This one didn't whistle;
the sound was more like someone blowing between his teeth. Brun dove to his
right, I jumped to my left. He never knew what hit him; the blast caught him full in
the chest. The Marine behind me went to pieces. I believe he finished his tour in
a rear-echelon administrative job.40
PFC Frank J. Davidson of 1/1's Heavy Weapons Company, too, remembered the
move up:
We approached the line in the night, and we could see the flashes and
hear explosions nearby. My stomach was knotted. This was my first experience
in actual combat, and I had no idea what was happening or what we could
expect.
With all the noise and the explosions so near, I had a mental picture of
incoming enemy artillery. The night just seemed full of it. Until we got close
enough to see the guns, I didn't realize that we were moving up through our own
artillery positions, and what I was hearing was our own guns firing.41
Of the experience of being relieved, Genrich, with 3/7, remarked:
The next morning they were talking about Howe Company being ready to
move off the hill into a reserve area. They started letting the Marines from Howe
Company go down the hill the way they had come up four [sic] days before. The
Lieutenant from George Company said they didn't have a machinegun to fill our
position and could we wait until they had another gun available. Richard and I
stayed until another machinegun relieved us and we then went down the hill. I
was carrying my machine gun down the hill I had heard that there were 27 left on
the hill in Howe. Another source said 35 and one book said 45. This must have
included all the stretcher-bearers who never made it back up the hill. Even today
I can still picture every hill and where each man was located around me in the
battle for Bloody Ridge.
An article in LIFE magazine my sister had read said the troops had looked
old and haggard coming off the hill. I know that I was all smiles and even skipped
a little going down the hill with the gun on my shoulder. When we got to the river
there were amphibious DUKWS waiting to take us down the river. Richard and I
40 Oral account of PFC Floyd Baxter, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 296.
41 Oral account of PFC Frank J. Davidson, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 387.

130

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 April 20, 2014.