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

enemy bunkers, but continued advancing west along the ridge towards Objective C with
one platoon maneuvering along the southern slope (the left flank of the objective since
Item was facing west). Soon Lt Shell reported that they had encountered heavy AP
mine fields covered with MGs. He pulled back to near Objective B while calling in a
heavy dose of 4.2 inch and 81mm mortar rounds to try and explode the mines. He then
asked for artillery on Objective C but none was forthcoming. It was now 1148. To make
up for the lack of artillery, the mortars deluged the objective with another barrage and
Item bounded forward under this cover while the shells were still in the air. By 1215, the
company was again being raked with enemy bullets. Apparently the mortars had not
done the job on the minefield. Shell called in at 1225 to report that his maneuver
elements could not advance due to mines and AW fire that kept his men from clearing
them. Item again pulled back to near Objective B.13
The NKPAs were clever. This minefield was one made up of 82mm mortar shells
wired to hand grenades to activate the mortar shells. A burp-gun armed soldier was
emplaced in ambush on each side of the mine-ridden trail to keep the Marines from
clearing it, as well as to cut anyone down who might escape the mines. Too, an
estimated sixty enemy resided on this portion of the hill in "new heavily fortified
pillboxes."14
By this time, 1250, How Company was about 500 yards to the southwest
advancing towards Objective B. Fifty minutes later, Item again received orders to
"maneuver through the mines and press the assault." Within ten minutes Item was once
13 Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, "Historical Diary," August 1951, 8-9.
14 Ibid., 31.

64

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 September 15, 2014.