firefight lasted until 0400 and was preceded by a saturating deluge of enemy mortar and
artillery preparation. The 1st Mar Div "Historical Diary" for September reported that this
barrage, "reached an intensity that was estimated to surpass that of any barrage yet
encountered by the 1st Marine Division in Korea."36
The companies of 2/1 were already reduced by casualties from the previous days,
but the artillery pounded away on their positions, regardless. Enemy fire was of large
diameter shells: 76 mm, 105mm, and 122mm were received. The enemy mortar fire
was of the 82mm and 120mm variety. (The Communists had deliberately made their
82mm mortar tubes one millimeter larger in diameter than that of the Americans so they
could use American mortar shells, but the Americans, if trying to use captured
Communist mortar rounds, could not follow suit.)37
"Flares could be seen illuminating the front lines and the rattle of small arms
exchanged by troops on both sides of the line shattered the silence of the night."38
Like the CCF, the NKPA used bugles and whistles to signal its tactical
movements, and these shrill and clamoring sounds could be most unnerving in the dead
of night to American troops crouched in fox holes. For this reason, the Marines had
trained all its replacements, while in cold weather training at Pickle Meadows in
Northern California, utilizing whistles and bugles in night attacks by a simulated enemy
to try to inure them to this effect. That early morning of September 16th was no different
in that the NKPA attack (in regimental strength) was punctuated by a cacophony of such
36 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951, 19-20; First Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary,"
September 1951, 16; First Battalion, 1st Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 2; Lynn Montross, et
al., The East-Central Front, 192; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 3.
37 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 192; 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951, 19-
38 Third Battalion, 5th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 6.
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 October 5, 2015.