Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 70
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withering steel and flame. At 0900 the NKPA began to hit Item's center with mortar
shells and SA fire. Five minutes later, How Company reported that the enemy was
massing on Hill 602, and then was itself hit by a large attack about two hundred yards
north of Hill 702, near Objective B, under support of heavy MGs and a deluge of 82mm
mortar fire. Simultaneous to this, the Marines began to shell 602 with their 4.2 inch
mortars (called "four deuces") and artillery lasting until 0945, when an airstrike of two P-
51s (Mustang fighter-bomber plane) and two Ads (Douglas "Skyraider" plane) lit into the
Item Company took another assault in its left flank at 1025 with enemy SA fire
even hitting it from the rear. An enemy element had circled around the left flank to get
behind Item. Item promptly sent a squad to take care of this harassing force, which soon
found and killed two North Koreans. That was the last of fire from behind this day. The
enemy attack blunted on Item's hard lines, but these NKPAs did not yet retreat. The
fighting devolved into a short-range torrent of fire ripping both directions with the NKPA
soldiers lying prone on the face of the hill just short of Marine emplacements. By 1045
there were thirty dead Koreans strewn about Item's left-flank position, some corpses
even in the Marine lines and foxholes, looking like piles of rags as much as anything
else. Blood, pieces of equipment, smoking bodies, dirty bandages, steel ammo clips
from M-1 rifles, and brass rifle casings were everywhere.31
The attack against How Company reached a crescendo about that same time. On
the little hill just north of 702, none were left of the company's defenders but the dead
and wounded. Thirty yards short of this hill, How Company held its ground along the
30 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 6; Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, "Historical Diary,"
September 1951, 2.
31 Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 2.
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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/m1/85/?rotate=90: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .