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

For example is the experience of Corporal Valdez (no first name supplied) of Fox's
1st Platoon. He was the gunner on one of the light MGs in the base of fire. Ten minutes
after the assault began four assistant gunners were hit and incapacitated right beside
him. The enemy MG fire continued to spray his area, searching for him and traversing
back and forth in multiple streams, the dispersion of rounds striking all around. Finally
one bullet ricocheted and hit Valdez. Nevertheless, he remained at the trigger, tickling
out bursts into enemy bunkers, the canvas belted brass shells feeding into the hungry
weapon in a steady procession of fire and chattering death.68
Jon Charles Genrich remembered this technique of neutralizing enemy bunkers:
There was a higher ridge on our right flank and [1/7 was] attacking the hill
with battalion strength or greater. Richard mentioned that this would maybe take
some of the pressure off our position if the enemy needed men and supplies on
the other hill. The airplanes were back attacking both hills and the napalm lit up
the skies.
Sometime around the middle of the day, Corporal Nash from another
machine gun section came over to our gun. He said two enemy machinegun
bunkers were giving problems to [1/7]. One machine gun was on the right flank
firing at the bunkers, but they needed help.... We moved our gun to the top of
the ridge so we could see the larger hill more clearly. We started to set the gun
up on the hard rocks and Nash said, "You need sandbags or you'll never hit
anything." Sorry, but we didn't have sand bags, and I chipped away at the rock
with my entrenching tool. I finally had a few notches in the rocks and set the
tripod down in the notches. Richard helped me set the gun up and Nash said it
was about 800 yards. I took aim at the higher bunker on the left, which was
almost straight across from my position. I looked at the aperture and aimed at the
top of the bunker about two feet directly above the aperture.
I fired the first burst of about five rounds and the tracer round went right
into the aperture the first time. The machine gun in the bunker stopped firing for
about 15 seconds. When it started firing again, I fired five or six bursts and we
saw a couple of tracers go into the aperture again. The enemy gun stopped firing
all together and we switched over to the other machinegun bunker which was
lower on the hill and further to the right. The angle wasn't very good so after
about 20 minutes we decided to leave it to the third section gun and move back
to the left flank position. This would be my proudest hour in Korea for hitting the
bunker on the first burst at 800 yards. When new men joined the squad in the
future and it was mentioned once or twice, I played it down as no big deal. I knew

205

68 Ibid., 43.

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 August 28, 2014.