Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 90
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attacks south towards the Hays and Kansas Lines. D-day was to be 11 September.5
(See Map # 15)
The lull was tactically unfortunate because enemy units moved south into the
sector to the division's front in force despite efforts by the Marines to, "patrol vigorously
to the front to maintain contact with the enemy and prevent his reinforcing defensive
positions." ("Spike" Selmyhr stated that he hated the term "maintain contact," "because
what it really meant was that we moved toward their positions until we received fire, and
then immediately withdrew to report where it came from.") One enemy unit was the 2nd
NKPA Division, Ill Corps. This unit fortified Hill 673, though some fortifications already
existed there, and put in many mortar emplacements. It would take flamethrowers,
satchel charges, grenades, tanks, rifles, automatic-weapons, and Marine blood to get
them out.6 (See Photo # 3)
Jack L. Cannon was one Marine who would have to help take it. "We had looked
at this hill and wondered how long it would be before the division had to attack it and
what it would be like . . . [Soon] we were going to find out. The 91st Regiment of the 45th
North Korean Army [Division, actually] would be annihilated here on 673 and Ridgeline
749, and we would lose a lot of good men in the process."7
The rifle companies spent the time patrolling forward of their lines and
consolidating defenses on Yoke Ridge. If heavy resistance was encountered, like one
patrol of the 7th Marines near Hill 673, the patrol would withdraw and call in supporting
a Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 180; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 8,
11; Korean Institute of Military History, Korean War, Vol. 3, 154.
6 1 Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 1; Garlen L. "Spike" Selmyhr Interview, 2000; Lynn
Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 182; "Tactical Study of Mandae-ri Area," July 1951, 6; 1st Mar
Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 8-14.
7 Jack L. Cannon, "Attack on Hills 673 and 749," Leatherneck 72 (March, 1989), 23.
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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War, thesis, August 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/m1/105/?rotate=270: accessed March 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .