Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 164
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sounds. (The North Koreans would also yell things in English at the Marines as they
attacked like: "Harry Truman eats shit!!" And, "Marines die, we die, all die!") The
Marines brought the enemy attacks, five waves, each attacking through the one before
it, to a halt with determination and spirit. The NKPA would have to get used to the idea
that the Marines were no pushovers and that Hill 749 was Marine territory. "Although
during the attack, ammunition supply became critical, at no time was the perimeter
defense penetrated. Elements of the battalion were successfully shifted during the
attack to replace casualties inflicted by the enemy."39
PFC Lyle Conaway remembered the beginning of the attack:
We dug in, knowing the gooks would counterattack. It got dark. Word
came down, "Get Vittori's BAR and a rifleman forward." I could see our squad
leader in his hole about forty yards away. I shouted the message to him. Then I
yelled that I'd go with Joe. In a few minutes Vittori came by. I strapped on ammo
and stuffed my pockets with grenades. I also had a Thompson submachine gun
as well as my M-1.
It was quite black by the time we got to the point. I made a mental note
that the heavy machine gun was seven holes away. In between were some light
machine guns and BARs with riflemen. Up toward the heavy was the artillery
The moon came out and lit the area. I remember, too, there was a wind
We began to get probed, and so as not to give away our positions by
firing, we threw grenades. Word was passed back to get more grenades up front.
They were promptly delivered by Sergeant Kesler, our platoon sergeant, who
missed us and walked into no-man's-land. We shouted for him to come back.
Someone said, "Hey, S'arnt, whose side 'ya on?" Everyone laughed.
A cloud covered the moon. We heard the North Koreans moving toward
us. The wheels on a machine gun squeaked as they rolled it forward. A gook
officer issued orders, then it seemed to me, he began to curse. I clearly heard
their troops grunting when they tried to move something heavy. We got into a
shouting match with them. I had picked up some gook curses when I served in
China in '46. I called them "turtles," which is supposed to be as insulting to an
oriental as calling an American an SOB. I shouted, "Hey, you rickshaw-pulling
39 Burton F. Anderson, We Claim the Title, 355, 369; Second Battalion, 1st Marines, "Historical Diary,"
September 1951, 9; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 3, 20; First Marine Regiment,
"Historical Diary," September 1951, 16; Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 192; 1 Mar Div
"Historical Diary", September 1951, 19-20.
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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/m1/179/?rotate=90: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .