Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 240
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rattle with no targets in sight-a sure sign of increasing nervousness. Just tickle
that trigger to bolster your confidence. I had to give one of the gunners a smart
rap on the helmet with my .45 to get him to knock off firing. He looked back over
his shoulder, saw who it was, and gave me a grin of embarrassment .. 72
Soon, the North Koreans were attacking again. Averill called in the supporting
Rapid booms in the distance, the swish and swoosh of incoming 105mm howitzer
shells, the sound of the 4.2-in. mortars firing at regiment, the steady thumping of
the 81mms kicking out of the tubes in the valley behind us. The east-west ridge
line blossomed into a solid sheet of red, crimson, orange, yellow, and blinding
white. Enemy soldiers could be seen darting to the rear, sprinting forward,
leaping from the ridge line. That fire was close-the kind you read about in the
manuals but seldom see, the kind you dream about when you are about to play
out your last card. Other concentrations came down on Hills 980 and 1052, a
thousand meters of pulsating flame reaching from Hill 812 to the peak of 1052.
Now the eight-inch guns added their power, splitting rocks, tearing out chunks of
earth, disintegrating trees, throwing bits of enemy soldiers into the air. The
barrage moved west, and the east again-searching, searching.73
"About 0330, the enemy mortar fire that had been pummeling the nose of Hill 812,
moved back onto Easy Company positions and reached its crescendo." Easy's CO was
worried the enemy would head down the trail and hit the 81mm mortar positions as well
as keep pushing his main attack. The "remaining squad" of Easy-2 was given the job of
heading to a finger ridge of 812 branching towards the south as flank security so enemy
could not slip past and attack the mortars. Averill radioed the Battalion CO at 0445, "I'm
going to counterattack with Fox." He also had a message sent to 3/5 asking it to
"neutralize" 1052 with fire. Simultaneously, another message requested that an OY
plane go up and observe enemy artillery flashes and try to direct some counterbattery in
72 Ibid., 273.
73 Ibid., 273-74.
74 Second Battalion, 5th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 70.
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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/m1/255/?rotate=270: accessed March 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .