Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 128
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Marines had taken the short end of the stick in blood. The enemy had given almost as
well as he had received. Enemy dead actually counted numbered 30, and 22 prisoners
were taken. Many more were estimated as KIA; the Marines had not yet had the luxury
of time and absence of intense fire to go around and count so it is possible the enemy
had taken greater losses.35
All through the day mortar fire struck the Marines. It hit even in rear areas and the
enemy was very accurate with it. Burton F. Anderson recalled:
I went back to my hole after talking to Brydon and settled in for a C-ration
fruit for breakfast. Some time after 0800, the Doc, one of our corpsman [sic],
came over to brag about his son. He stood beside my hole, telling me about his
new baby boy that he had never seen and reading from a recent letter from his
wife. He was a very proud papa; he knelt down to show me pictures.... Since
the hills were alive with gooks, it is not surprising that spotters, gook observers,
were behind our positions. This would have to be an explanation for a salvo right
on target, particularly on the reverse slope. And yet the gooks would zero in their
positions by mortars and artillery before a heavy attack. Of course, we were in
holes the gooks had occupied the day before.
In any case, without warning, a gook mortar barrage salvoed into our
positions.... After the explosions, I felt a stinging in my back [flak vests were not
yet issued regularly and were still being tested]. With one hand, I reached around
and could feel pieces of metal. When I looked my hand was bloody. Then I
realized that the corpsman was lying there outside my hole, face down. The
same mortar that landed beside my hole, landed at his feet. The front part of his
body had been gutted; he was killed instantly. I looked down hill at the mortar
section. Most of them had been blown out of their holes. The barrage was a
direct hit. In an instant, most of the mortar section were [sic] killed or wounded.36
The evening of September 12 marked the arrival of the 1st Marines at the front.
(They had been released from X Corps reserve on September 10. They were to have
been part of Task Force Able, but because that task force was never assembled and
Plan Apache had been canceled, the 1st Marines was released back to parent control.)
This Marine regiment relieved the 7th Marines, which was hurting from the previous
35 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 15, 31.
36 Burton F. Anderson, We Claim the Title, 352-53.
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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/m1/143/?rotate=90: accessed February 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .