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

the 1st Platoon, could see that the 3rd Platoon's position was untenable. He had his men
set up a base of fire to cover the pinned-down Marines so they could pass through his
men to safety. The 1st Platoon let go with a steady rate of red tracers stabbing into the
horseshoe shaped portion of the ridge above them and relieved much of the pressure
from the 3rd Platoon. By 1900, the message reached the 3rd Platoon about the plan to
help them withdraw.25
At dusk, Colonel Stiff (he was actually a LtCol, but LtCols are referred to as
"Colonel" both as an abbreviation when referring to them in print, and as a courtesy
when talking or writing directly to or about them) finally made successful radio contact
with Fox's CO. He wanted to know, since the platoons were so near the objective, if
they could have it in hand before dark. Captain William E. Melby, the Fox CO realized
that the enemy positions were strong and that his units were riddled with casualties (and
were badly shaken from the near-miss of the friendly air strike). He sent back that it was
not a likely possibility. Therefore, Colonel Stiff gave him permission to withdraw to a
defensible night perimeter.26
By 1915, the 3rd Platoon began the move to withdraw through the 1st Platoon. It
then moved to the saddle between the 749 hill mass and Hill 812 to set up a perimeter.
Darkness caused the enemy fire to lessen enough soon after that the 1st Platoon, too,
could withdraw to a defensible night position under covering artillery fires. The Fox
Company FO called in the shells. The position for the night was slightly northeast of the
3rd Platoon in the same saddle. As for the 2nd Platoon, it fought until dark, when the
platoon leader received word the other two were withdrawing. Lt Roth opted not to

190

25Ibid., 33.
26 Ibid.

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 24, 2014.