We suffered through thirty minutes of shelling before the North Korean
gunners shut it off and the enemy infantry made its play around the north side of
The Rock. An attack in company strength-the main body moving against the "E"
Company Platoon on the east-west ridge line leading into Hill 812, a separate
force advancing its members cautiously, one by one, slipping far below the
Marine fighting holes, silently stealing their way into position to attack the
northern tip of Hill 812 at the junction of the two rifle companies.
Out around The Rock, the Marines and the North Korean were in a real
cat fight, tearing each other to pieces. The Marines were holding,
counterattacking in the darkness, trying to eject the enemy. In close combat the
platoon leader was badly wounded. Attempts to evacuate him destroyed the
cohesion of the defense. False priorities. They got him out, but lost the position.
The North Korean quickly manned their old strong points and started raking the
north-south ridge line with automatic-weapons fire, pinning Marines low in their
Averill then described some behavior that showed Marines do not always live up to
Marine Corps standards when in combat:
Throughout all this action the company commanders and platoon leaders within
the main battle position had been conspicuous by their absence along the line.
Here and there troopers were slipping out of the forward positions, ducking back
behind the hill. Ramsdell and I turned three of them back with bayonet and .45.
Something positive had to happen or the North Koreans just might knock us off
that hard-won hill.70
So Averill, a Major, called back to battalion during a lull and asked the colonel if he
could have operational control of the two companies. Permission was granted. He also
called in what supporting requirements he would need. It was, "no real sweat, for the
whole hill mass and the connecting ridges had been shot-in during the initial attack. It
just would amount to calling for previously coded concentrations when the time came,
but with precise timing."71
It was good Averill was there:
The troopers were getting spooky. They had reason to be. It was a sticky,
uncoordinated, confused situation. A couple of A-4 light machine guns started to
69 Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 271-72.
70 Ibid., 272.
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 July 12, 2014.