said one officer." The Marines were without cover for the last 50 to 65 meters of the
assault on every side of the hill. To close with the enemy, they had to dash across a gap
where they would be fully exposed to enemy fire. "The top of 812 is completely barren
of all except stumps, sandy soil and the lightest shrubbery; what the enemy had not
cleared away in constructing his fortifications and fields of fire had been uprooted and
knocked down by friendly artillery fire and aerial bombardment, indicated by
multitudinous pockmarks in the earth."82
The North Koreans had done away with brush, so if the hill were hit with napalm, it
would have little fuel to continue to burn. Another preventative measure utilized was to
erect lips of dirt around a bunker to divert the flow of the napalm.83
The 3rd Platoon made the bald crest at 1212, but the enemy had another surprise
in store. Hundreds of enemy soldiers readied potato-masher grenades and slipped a
finger simultaneously through the pull-loop of at least a pair. They listened and waited.
Marine feet crunched closer. Then the NKPA "literally cast up a storm of hand grenades
so that the mountainside looked 'as if it had exploded,' so many and close together
were they detonating. Lieutenant Hinson estimated that three hundred grenades were
exploded within fifteen minutes on the ridge!" The NKPA did not stick their heads up to
throw. They simply cast them blind when they knew the Marines were close and
wounded many not from accuracy but by volume.84
At 1345, Fox's 2nd Platoon gained the summit of 812 proper (the prior crest had
been a finger ridge) and attacked a series of rifle pits and bunkers from the flank; the
platoon's positioning took many emplacements designed for a forward slope defense
82 Ibid., 46.
83 Headquarters EUSAK, "Enemy Tactics," 92.
84 "Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 46.
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 16, 2014.