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

One squad of Easy-1 was surrounded before it could blink. The platoon radioed for
more supporting fire, but Averill told them to remember their rifles and MGs and fight
back with their own organic weapons. Men in a firefight could easily become too
dependent on supporting fire and forget their own weapons, a frequent occurrence
throughout the stalemate phase of Korea.61
The platoon tried to counterattack, but the enemy was too strong. The "small
counterattack succeeded in joining the platoon into a single body and thus probably
prevented fatal confusion." Lt. Matas led at the head of his platoon in this assault "into
the middle of the swarming enemy.. ." but was soon felled by a chunk of grenade
shrapnel to his neck, severely wounding him. This action confused and delayed the
enemy enough that the rest of the thin line of Marines on 812 could brace to "repel
boarders."62
One squad leader with Easy-1, Sergeant Weiss (no first name supplied), "took
charge of the two remaining squads," and managed to get Lt. Matas to safety as well as
cover the platoon's withdrawal, wounded included. "The enemy continued to press
forward fiercely, screaming and shouting to buoy op their spirits (and possibly to help
maintain contact with one another as they attempted to strike terror into the hearts of
the defending Marines)." The platoon had to fall back to the left flank of Hill 812 where
the 3rd Platoon was. ". . . it was known that any sizeable counterattack would breach
[the platoon's line] and this withdrawal did not come as a surprise." This platoon had but

236

61 Ibid., 68.
62 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 August 21, 2014.