blast of the launcher scorched the earth and a few well-placed rockets decimated the
Averill's counterattack force then stepped out after them, a squad in-column on
point. This was the 3rd Squad of Fox Company commanded by Sergeant Covella (no
first name supplied) and reinforced with a machine gun section. The rest of the platoon
provided a base of fire. The time was 0545. "So exuberant and buoyant was Major
Averill, as he rushed from squad to squad all along the line, that his good humor
became contagious and when the troops moved out, they advanced in good spirits, a
far-cry from the near panic of some an hour earlier." His words were, "Roll 'em, boy! Roll
'em!" Covella "directed his squad through a hail of grenades and automatic fire. Marines
felled the fleeing enemy and when full daylight came, the enemy was nowhere to be
seen. Under covering fire from bazookas and MGs, this squad cleared the rest of the
ridge 100 yards past the Rock by 0630. However, no enemy was encountered in that
area, and the elements of Fox pulled back into defensive positions.88
"Some North Korean troops remained momentarily in reverse slope bunker and
foxhole positions [near the center of the line], and threw poorly aimed grenades at the
advancing Marines, but these were ineffective. As it was becoming light, the artillery
was shifted from a concentration on 'the Rock' and preceded 3rd Squad by a few
hundred meters. At approximately 0520, a flare was observed above the trail to the west
and a bugle call sounded, obviously the signal for the enemy to retreat. So intensive
was friendly artillery fire pounding the narrow ridgeline, that the enemy was unable to
87 Second Battalion, 5th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 73.
Ibid., 73; Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 275.
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 February 27, 2015.