Dog Company, 2nd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment
First Marine Division
KOREA 1950-1955


Seoul, Dog Seven's Baptism of Fire
Over the Hills to Uijongbu
Operation Yo-Yo
Wonsan Landing
Sudong-ni and a New Enemy
On to Koto-ri, Hagaru-ri and Yet Another Enemy: The Chosin Reservoir
On to the Yalu River; Thanksgiving and Yudamni; The Chosin Reservoir
Yudamni, Hill 1240 and the Chinese
The Battle Continues
Damnation Battalion
Dog-Easy Takes the Point
A Bridge to Freedom - The Last Leg
The Bean Patch: Rest, Resupply, Replacements
Pohang Dong
Pohang Guerrilla Hunt
Operation Killer
Phase II - Operation Killer
Operation Ripper
A Chinese Offensive
Operation Mousetrap


June 25, 1950 came alive with North Korea's unannounced invasion of South Korea. On June 28th, Commandant Cates urged that the Fleet Marine Force be deployed to the area, and on July 7th, the 1st Provisional Brigade was activated, formed primarily from the 5th Marine Regiment.

On July 10th, Lemuel Sheperd, Commanding General FMFPAC (Fleet Marine Force Pacific), at a meeting with General MacArthur, assured MacArthur that the 1st Marine Division could be available for a landing at Inchon, South Korea, by September 15, 1950.

Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith assumed command of the 1st Marine Division on July 18, 1950. The Division on that date consisted of 3459 officers and men, after the Brigade was formed. President Truman, on July 19th, authorized the mobilization of the Marine Corps Reserve, and by July 31st the first reserve units reached Camp Pendleton, California. The main body of the 1st Division, minus the 7th Marine Regiment, sailed for Korea on August 13th and 14th. Generals Cates and Shepherd concluded that the 7th Marines could be raised, but not in time for the Inchon landing on September 15th.

The formation of the 7th Marines was accomplished by:

        32% - 1,822 officers and men from the 2nd Marine Division.
        13% - 735 officers and men from the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines in the Mediterranean.
        35% - 1,972 officers and men from the Marine Corps Reserve.
        20% - 1,109 officers and men from rear echelon of 1st Division, posts and various stations.

Col. Homer L. Litzenberg, Jr. took command of the 7th Regiment. The day prior to embarking, the Regiment was assembled in bleachers and Col. Litzenberg addressed the troops for the first time, outlining our mission and what he expected of us as Marines. He said "I have a Purple Heart for every man in the Regiment".

Dog Co. sailed from San Diego, California aboard the USS Thomas Jefferson (APA 30). Many of the Reservists had not attended boot camp and were therefore not versed in the crew served weapons to which they had been assigned. During the voyage, the platoon's squad and section leaders held schools in the lower holds of the ship, teaching the basics of the crew served weapons.

As the ships neared Japan the seas became very heavy; it was typhoon season and the convoy was encountering 20 foot swells. The ships were in this storm a couple of days before reaching the Japanese coast. The convoy anchored in a harbor to ride out the storm. It also appeared that most of the sharks in that area had taken shelter in the same harbor.

The ships arrived at Kobe, Japan, where they were combat loaded. Part of Dog Co. sailed from Kobe to Inchon aboard the USS Bayfield while the remainder stayed aboard the Jefferson. The ships entered Inchon harbor on the afternoon of 21 September. The Company went ashore in the early evening and boarded trucks for the movement north. As the convoy started its movement, darkness settled in. The Company was transported a short distance and then began a long, difficult march under field transport packs and a full issue of ammunition. This pattern of long marches, with temperatures in the 80-90 degree range, continued for the next few days in an attempt to physically prepare the troops for the tasks that were ahead.


Seoul, Dog Seven's Baptism of Fire

25 September, a hot, dusty day, Dog Company moved out in a southwesterly direction along the Kaesong-Seoul highway - it's longest march to that date and probably 15 plus miles in length. In the early evening, the Company arrived at its objective a few miles northwest of Seoul. Its assignment was to establish a roadblock to cut off any of the North Korean Army fleeing the city from the advance of the 5th Marines.

Prior to dawn on the 26th, the Company was ordered to "saddle up"; Dog Company was going into the City. As we approached the outskirts of Seoul, Korean citizens lined the road, cheering and waving flags. A bridge had been destroyed and the N. Koreans had laid land mines. We threaded our way through the minefield and proceeded up a steep incline. At the crest, the blacktop road became a steep descent for about one-half mile and then leveled out. Near the base of this hill, on the west, was a school building. Native houses stood on the east side of the road with a wide deep drainage ditch between them and a hill. Abutting the road on the west side, south of the school, sat Soedaemum Prison. A substantial portion of the north end of the east prison wall had been destroyed.

As the Company came abreast of the prison a savage rain of small arms fire slammed into it's ranks, and the Company could not advance. The N. Koreans occupied the prison and the high ground on all sides; the company was totally enveloped. This would be the first of many times that Dog Seven would be isolated by enemy troops. The battle raged for the better part of the day until late afternoon when the order was passed to pull back to the high ground to the north. This skirmish cost Dog Seven 13 dead Marines and 30 wounded. Capt. Richard Breen, the CO, had been wounded and evacuated. Capt. Milton Hull replaced him.

That night the Company was to hold in defensive positions on the hills to which the unit had withdrawn. We learned that three Marines from the machinegun platoon had been cut off and left in Seoul near the south end of the prison. All three avoided capture and came out the next morning, one seriously wounded. The night passed without serious incedent. It was learned that the North Koreans had nicknamed the Marines the "Yellow Legs" because of our leggings. They appeared to fear the "Yellow Legs".

The next morning Dog Seven moved north and east over one of the steepest hills in South Korea. The new objective was to set up on the road leading to Uijongbu, again with the mission of intercepting any fleeing North Korean troops. As the Company neared it's objective, enemy mortar fire rained down on the area. It was one of the heaviest concentrations of mortar fire the Company would receive in the first year of the war.


Over the Hills to Uijongbu

On or about 1 October, the 7th Regiment commenced an attack along the Uijongbu highway, with the 1st and 3rd Battalions in the attack and the 2nd in reserve. Heavy resistance was met almost immediately and progress was slowed over the next two days. The road had been heavily mined and tanks could not advance until the road was cleared of mines. On the morning of 3 October, the attacked resumed with the 2nd Battalion on the road, flanked by the 1st and 3rd. Things now moved quickly and the Battalion entered Uijongbu in the late afternoon. The road was littered with destroyed Russian T34 tanks and the Battalion captured large stores of North Korean artillery pieces, ammunition and supplies. Commandant Cates had observed this battle, the last 1950's engagement in South Korea for the 1st Marine Division.

The 7th Regiment moved into staging areas near Inchon on 7 October. Dog Seven set up camp adjacent to an old Japanese submarine factory. Korean musicians and dancers entertained us with a musical show in one of the factory buildings. This would be the only entertainment provided Dog Company, at least for the first year.


Operation Yo-Yo

Near the middle of October, Dog Seven boarded an LST, manned by a Japanese crew, ready to sail for a landing at Wonson, North Korea. The fleet sailed from Inchon on the 15th or 16th of October. When loading supplies aboard our LST someone had goofed and loaded only rice. For the next 10 days we had rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fixed in a myriad of ways. The Japanese crew would not trade their ration of greens for our rice. To make matters worse, the water tanks had somehow become contaminated with diesel fuel and each time one took a drink from a "scuttlebutt" (water fountain) they burped diesel.

The fleet sailed south in the Yellow Sea, around the southern tip of Korea, then north into the Sea of Japan. One afternoon, as the convoy sailed north, it suddenly came about and commenced sailing south. The scuttlebutt (rumor) immediately spread throughout the ship that we were headed for Japan and then home. The next morning, much to everyone's chagrin, we were again sailing north. The convoy did another about face that evening and sailed south. This pattern continued for several days and the voyage to North Korea became known as "Operation Yo-Yo". It was later learned that the North Koreans had heavily mined Wonson Harbor. The fleet had to remain clear during the mine clearing operation. During this period, the seas had become very heavy, with swells breaking over the bow of the LST. The enlisted men were assigned the duty of "mine watch". The watch consisted of assuming a post on the bow of the LST and looking for mines. The seas were so bad that the mine watch had to strap himself to the rails of the ship ... and so dark at night that a hand held before your eyes could not be seen. Needless to say no mines were spotted and/or reported.


Wonsan Landing

Operation Yo-Yo came to an end on 25 October when the amphibious fleet arrived at Wonsan, North Korea, approximately 80 miles north of the 38th parallel, and prepared for an administrative landing, rather than a hostile assault. Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith, in his operations plan, had chosen Kalma Peninsula as the point of assault, with two beaches, Yellow and Blue, on the eastern side of the peninsula. The 1st Marines were to hit Yellow Beach and the 7th Marines, Blue Beach.

By 10 October troops of I ROK Corps (Republic of Korea) had advanced rapidly up the East Coast of Korea and entered Wonsan. It was decided that the Marines would land over Yellow and Blue Beaches as originally planned. With ROK forces having secured the Wonsan area, aircrews arrived at the Wonsan airfield and established operations by 13 October. Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell were flown to the landing area on the 24th where they put on a USO show spiced with quips at the expense of the 1st Marine Division, still waiting on ships. Hope commented, "This was the first time I have landed before the Marines". Probably more than one Marine was thankful that Bob Hope was there, rather than North Korean or Chinese armies.

The weather was clear and warm as Dog Seven advanced through what was left of Wonsan. Naval gunfire and air bombardment had leveled almost every structure. The march took the Company north along railroad tracks. Walking was difficult because of the gravel and ties. St. Benedict's Monastery was the Company's home for the next two days. The Monastery was located between Wonsan and Hungnam. The buildings, although severely damaged, were better than the average North Korean structure. There were growing plants and vegetables, but the troops were ordered not to eat any native produce because it had been fertilized with human waste. Colonel Homer Litzenberg opened the 7th Regimental CP (command post) at St. Benedict.

On 28 October, the Company moved out aboard trucks heading north. Hamhung was the destination. Hamhung was reached in the early evening of 30 October. The company camped in a large warehouse. The next morning the 2nd Battalion, 7th moved north by truck in trace of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. That night the Company dug in near a battery of the 11th Marines (artillery). The night passed without incident.


Sudong-ni and a New Enemy

2 November was a clear, mild, day as Dog Seven moved out on foot, entering the Sudong Valley, about one-mile south of the town of Sudong-ni . As the Company entered the valley, ROK soldiers were encountered, running south and pointing north, saying excitingly "Chinese, Chinese"! The Company was ordered to attack and secure hill 698, it being the high ground on the west side of the road. The hill designations are the hill altitude in meters. Hill 698 was not high for this mountain range, but it was one of the steepest. Dog Seven moved to the attack and immediately came under heavy automatic weapons fire. The attack was pressed throughout the day and into the early evening, with the Company sustaining many causalities. The steepness of the terrain made climbing extremely difficult. As darkness came, the Company had not yet gained the crest of the hill. Ammunition supplies ran low and the casualties were mounting. It became obvious that the Company needed to be reinforced or relieved. Easy Company, 7th entered our lines and relieved Dog Seven of it's positions. The Company started it's descent from Hill 698 taking it's dead, wounded and equipment. Descending the hill was as difficult as climbing it and the troops did more sliding than walking. The Company reached the road and dug in for the remainder of the night in what appeared to be an orchard. The night passed without further action. The entire Company was physically and mentally drained. It was quickly determined on the 2nd that we were not engaging the North Korean army, but a new enemy, the Chinese Peoples Army.

Morning on 3 November came all too quickly. The troops ate "C" rations, saddled up, formed in columns of two on the road, and moved out north. The mission was to go to the aid of the 1st Battalion, 7th which had been isolated by the Chinese. The advance had gone less than 50 yards when the Company came under heavy automatic weapons fire from the hill to the northeast. All hands dove for cover in the roadside ditch, listening to the rounds whistle over their heads.

Enemy fire prevented the Company from advancing on the road. Capt. Hull ordered that the advance continue over the hills to the west of the road. The unit advanced about one mile without enemy opposition. The column swung east and started its descent towards the road. As the Company neared the road Chinese troops could be seen on the hill directly east, across the road and river. Captain Hull called for an air strike and then artillery. The machine guns were set up on the east side of the road to deliver overhead fire for the assault. The riflemen crossed the road, waded the river, and commenced the assault as the machine guns delivered overhead fire to keep the enemy seeking cover.

As darkness began closing in, Dog Seven had secured it's objective and commenced digging in for the counter attack that was sure to come. The sight of the dead enemy was awesome. This was the first time that many in the Company observed at close range the results of napalm on the human body. The enemy trenches were loaded with Chinese bodies, cooked and blackened, their arms and legs split like roasted hot dogs.

In the early hours of November 4th, the Chinese launched a fierce counter attack against Dog Company, preceded by heavy mortar fire. The Chinese penetrated the main line of resistance and Capt. Hull ordered the Company to fall back towards the crest of the hill. The grenades, machine gun and rifle fire prevented the Chinese from dislodging Dog Seven from the hill. One of the machine gunners didn't get the word to fall back. He remained on the gun killing and wounding many of the enemy. The machine gun jammed and a Chinese soldier grabbed the front leg of the tripod and was trying to wrest the gun from the Marine, who stubbornly held onto the pistol grip. It seemed as if this tug-of-war would go on forever. The Marine finally pulled out his .45, shot the Chinese soldier, and then ran like hell for the crest, leaving the inoperable machine gun to the Chinese.

During the night battle of 3 November and that of the day of November 4th, the 7th Regiment and Marine air killed 696 enemy troops of the 124th Chinese Division. Total Chinese casualties were estimated to be nearly 3,000 in this 24-hour battle. The 3rd Battalion 7th was ordered to advance through the 1st and 2nd Battalions and continue the assault north. The battle for the area of Sudong-ni came to an end around 7 November. Prisoners captured during this period indicated that the 7th Regiment had defeated the 124th Chinese Division so badly as to make it militarily ineffective and unable to return to combat until the spring of 1951.


On to Koto-ri, Hagaru-ri and Yet Another Enemy:
The Chosin Reservoir

On 7 November Col. Litzenberg sent a long-range patrol north of Sudong. This patrol, made up of D Company volunteers, covered 24 miles in 26 hours and after a minor skirmish with CCF forces, returned through 3/7 lines to report Koto-ri clear of any enemy. While the patrol was on it's mission the 7th Regiment moved north to the Koto-ri plateau, sending patrols in all directions. The 7th occupied the plateau in strength by 10 November, the 185th birthday of the Marine Corps. D company, with another 2nd Battalion company, took up positions on the slopes of a high ridge west of the road and approximately 1000 yards to the north of the village of Koto-ri. No contact was made with the Chinese forces.

This first night on the plateau would see the 7th Marines' new enemy, Mother Nature. In the afternoon and night the temperatures dropped to a minus 8° with winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour. As D Company reached the positions it would occupy the first night, it began to snow. Foxholes were dug and by dark, the Marines settled in for the frigid night. The effect on the men was severe, with many collapsing, nearly all became disoriented and respiratory problems became epidemic. One such Marine, whose running nose collected in a sizable icecube in his newly formed mustache, cried in agony. Heat and stimulants had to be used. The next three weeks would see the weather become colder, but would not impact the troops as severely as the first onset of freezing temperatures as the Marines became acclimated to the temperatures. Mother Nature did not side with either the Chinese or the UN Forces, but extracted a heavy toll on both.

At daybreak the next morning, D Company received orders to move off the ridge and to new positions an additional 1000-1500 yards to the north. Shortly after beginning the descent, carrier-based Corsairs were observed flying low over Koto-ri, to the north and out of sight beyond the hills. Numerous explosions were heard and the planes left the area. As the company moved up the road and into the approximate area of the Corsair attack, it passed several burned out T-34 tanks, other miscellaneous vehicles and several dead enemy.

Several hundred yards beyond this scene, the company moved off and to high ground on the east side of the road. The position covered the entrance of a broad gully that entered the valley from the hills beyond. Later in the day, a platoon sized patrol scouted the gulley for a distance of several hundred yards but no sign of the enemy was detected.

After a peaceful night, D Company found itself on the road again and by late morning, travelling on foot and by truck, it reached the outskirts of a fairly large village - Hagaru-ri.

The company moved into an area of small buildings and rail cars and took up positions on what later was to be known as East Hill.

The balance of the Second Battalion, 7th Marines, now under the command of Lt. Col. Lockwood, moved out of the Koto area towards Hagaru-ri on 14 November. . The temperature had dropped considerably and the march was slow, as it became necessary to stop and build warming fires. The 2nd Battalion had traversed the 10 miles and occupied Hagaru-ri by 1300 on the 14th. No enemy contacts were made and it appeared the Chinese had vanished into the hills. By mid-day on the 15th the 7th Marines had consolidated on the southern shore of the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir. The 1st Marine Division had suffered no battle casualties by 15 November, but Mother Nature had rendered ineffective about 200 Marines with illness and frostbite.

Hagaru-ri and East Hill became the home of D Company, 7th Marines, for the next several days. There was no sign of the enemy.

These few days of respite in Hagaru-ri enabled the company to rest and regroup. PX rations appeared as did fresh bread and a hot chow wagon. Cold weather gear was issued to those who had yet to receive it. A day long company patrol searched the area to the west of the village but, again, no sign of the enemy was detected.

A company inspection was scheduled and all men were ordered to shower down at a portable shower located about 200 yards out on the frozen reservoir. All were to change to clean dungarees and to shave, however, the shower broke down and the inspection was cancelled.

The local pig population provided a change from daily c-rations but this ended when a fire accidentally destroyed a "hootch", several small arms and a quantity of ammunition. As a result, D Company was ordered to relocate to East Hill for the duration of its stay in Hagaru-ri, thankfully, only a day or two.

Other problems plagued the troops because of the freezing temperatures. Canteens had to be carried inside the clothing and the C-rations froze. When frozen or partially frozen rations were eaten it resulted in severe intestinal problems. As a result the troops ate only the dry portions of the rations, which resulted in dehydration and lowered calorie intake, and as a result the troops at Chosin lost an average of 20 pounds during the engagement. The cold had an adverse affect on weapons, ammunition and equipment as well. The government gun lubricant proved to be to heavy, resulting in malfunction of most weapons. The troops found that Vaseline and Wildroot hair oil was a great substitute when a thin coat was applied. The artillery pieces became sluggish, and the atmospheric conditions shortened the range. The reservoir received its Marine name the "Frozen Chosin."

The cold weather gear also proved to be unsuitable. The cold weather boots that were issued proved almost immediately to be inadequate. The Shoe-Pac consisted of a rubber foot, leather top and felt insoles. During marches the feet would perspire in the boots, and when one stopped the water would freeze and result in frostbite. It was necessary to change socks and insoles numerous times a day. During contact with hostile forces there wasn't time to change socks and insoles and as a result many Marines suffered severe frostbite resulting in amputation of fingers, hands, toes and feet.


On to the Yalu River; Thanksgiving and Yudamni
The Chosin Reservoir

The 1st Marine Division was now stretched over an area 70 miles from Hagaru-ri in the north to Sasu-ri in the south. All Regiments conducted long range patrols, with the 2nd Battalion, 7th patrolling south from Hagaru without enemy contact. Litzenberg moved with caution. Supplies were moved to Hagaru and the Marine engineers was building an airfield and widening the road north. This planning would prove to save many lives in the days to come, if not the entire Marine Division.

1st Battalion, 7th Marines was ordered to move into blocking positions in the area of Yudam-ni, fourteen road miles north of Hagaru-ri. For the movement over Toktong Pass, Dog Company 7th and a battery of 105 howitzers were to reinforce the 1st Battalion.

The day before Thanksgiving, D Company moved out from Hagaru-ri and by mid-afternoon, reached and took up positions on the ridge some 300-400 yards west from Toktong Pass. The night was bitterly cold ... but peaceful. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner was served on the road on the reverse slope of the ridge however it became a race to see if it could be eaten while still warm and before it froze. Fresh fruit, oranges or apples, didn't help the intestinal problems suffered by many Marines.

Thanksgiving Day was cold and snowy, but all the troops, except 1st Battalion 7th, were treated to the traditional roasted turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Contact was made by elements of the 1st Battalion with Chinese troops in the valley leading into Yudam-ni. With artillery and air support the Chinese were driven off.

For the readers to better understand the terrain and the road leading to the reservoir the following is a description of the road as described by Andrew Geer in his book, The New Breed, Harper & Brothers, 1952 at pages 260-261:

"……..Hagaru lies twenty-five hundred yards south of the southern tip of Chosin Reservoir and to the west of the Changjin River which flows into the vast storage basin.

"A road runs north of Hagaru along the east shore of the reservoir passing through the villages of Sugnong-ni, Pokko-chi, Sasu-ri and on to Sinhung-ni. This road follows the shoreline on a level journey until north of Sasu-ri where it bends east into the hills. Further on it rejoins the shoreline twelve hundred yards south of Sinhung-ni. From this point it generally borders the reservoir until it marries the road from the western side. Once joined the two continue along the watershed to the Yalu.

"The road from Hagaru to Yudam-ni is considerably different than its east shore counterpart. This route follows a northerly course for some fifteen hundred yards and then swings to the west (away from the reservoir) and twisting and turning in tortured fashion leads into the rugged mountains forming Toktong Pass. The altitude of the pass is forty-seven hundred feet and slips by Toktong-San Peak on a sourthern shoulder.

"Beyond the pass the road twists downward through Sinhung-ni (not to be confused with Singhung-ni on the eastern shore of the reservoir) and drops rudely into the valley of the Munon-ni River. Here it turns northward. The Munon-ni compartment cradles a gentle floor between steep walls of hills and carries northward to a confluence with two other river valleys. The village of Yudam-ni is built on the flatlands formed when these hills fade out and the valleys join on their approach to a protruding arm of the reservoir. It is eight airline miles from Hagaru to Yudam-ni; hairpin turns increase the road mileage to fourteen.

"This road continues to the north of Yudam-ni and forms the union already mentioned with the east shore road. From the village there is also a road leading to the west which joins the north-south artery between Kanggye and Pyongyang."

The day after Thanksgiving, D Company moved down the valley another 1000 yards and took up positions on the west side of the road. After another frigid but peaceful night, D Company moved back onto the road and into the valley of Yudam-ni.

The Village of Yudam-ni sits in a rather broad valley surrounded by steep mountains to each side. The road approaching from the south passes through the village and then forks, with one fork heading northwest and the other north towards the Yalu river.

The road junction is overlooked by two hills that would be critical in the defense of the 1st Marine Division units at Yudam-ni. Hill 1282, just north of the village, would be occupied and defended by E/2/7 and Hill 1240, to the northeast, by D/2/7 The hills are separated by a ravine approximately 800 yards wide.

It should be noted that the 2nd Battalion CO, with his H&S Company, was unable to make the advance with Dog and Easy companies. They remained in Hagaru-ri and the two orphaned companies were placed under the operational control of Lt. Col. Raymond Davis of the 1st Battalion 7th.


Yudamni, Hill 1240 and the Chinese

The Company's 214 officers and men moved into position on 1240 and attempted to construct defensive positions. However, the ground was frozen solid and entrenching tools would ricochet off the ground as if it were concrete. Vegetation was sparse except for outcroppings of "buckbrush" and the hill was host to a three or four inch layer of snow. The defensive perimeter was on the south side of 1240 overlooking the village, road junction and elements of the 11th Marines (artillery), that had moved in on the 27th and set their guns in a position directly south of Hill 1240.

The night of 26 November saw the temperatures drop into the -20° to -30° range with strong winds from the north. It was nearly impossible for the troops to stay warm so sleep was almost nonexistent. The night passed without incident from enemy forces. At daybreak fires were built, coffee made, and C-rations heated. The hot coffee and food did wonders for bodies that were chilled to the bone. It seemed to take forever to heat a can of rations, as they were frozen solid. We had discovered earlier not to eat half frozen rations as it resulted in horrible cases of dysentery, not something one needed on long marches in minus 30 degree temperatures.

The Company was advised that it would patrol an area north and east of our base on 1240. From our hillside position we watched the 5th Marines forming in the valley below in preparation for its attack to the west. It was around 0800 when the attack commenced and Dog Company moved out on it's patrol. The arctic temperatures greatly reduced the stamina of the troops.

D/2/7 had advanced about 2 miles along high ground and was descending into a flat narrow valley in which there was a small village. A small frozen stream traversed the valley floor. Suddenly two or three Chinese soldiers appeared with their hands up, indicating they wished to surrender. A fire team was dispatched to take them prisoner, but each time they got closer the Chinese would back up the hill to the east. A squad then moved out to assist. Suddenly the entire area erupted with automatic weapons fire from several directions. The Chinese, in control of the high ground, gained fire superiority. After an intense firefight with the entrenched enemy along the ridge-line to the north of the small village, an air strike was called to cover the Company as it disengaged the enemy and it began its return to positions on Hill 1240. Dog Seven sustained 15 to 20 killed and/or wounded.. The Company returned to 1240 with it's dead and wounded.

Once there, the CO advised all to return to their respective positions and to maintain 50% watch as it was a certainty that we would be attacked by the Chinese. An additional order, "No fires!", was given.

Because of the 800 yard ravine between Dog and Easy Companies, patrols from each company were established to meet midway every hour during the night. In the early eveing the Chinese commenced light probing attacks, primarily on or near Easy company's positions. Just before midnight Easy Company engaged and killed all members of a Chinese patrol. The patrols were canceled.

For some never explained reason, one of the machinegun squads had disregarded the "No fires" order and had a small fire near their gun position. One of the gunners was chopping small pieces of wood for the fire with his bayonet when he looked up and saw two Chinese soldiers warming themselves at the fire. Needless to say, this caused panic and a during the ensuing struggle with one of the Chinese, one of the gunners received severe scalp lacerations when he was hit with an entrenching tool by one of the Chinese. The Chinese escaped.

Near midnight the Chinese began taunting the Marines on 1240 with "Hey Marines, we kill you, sonobitch, Marines you die". The taunting died down and then began the irritating sound of noise makers - the kind you rattle on New Years Eve. Then the bugles blared, whistles blew and flares lit the sky. The Chinese attacked in mass with the main thrust of the attack at the center of Dog Company's defensive positions.

Three such assaults were repelled by Dog Company. Although inflicting huge numbers of casualties on the enemy, the Company sustained many casualties itself. On the fourth assault, the Chinese were able to penetrate the defensive line and hand to hand fighting erupted along the perimeter. The Chinese overran the CP. The order was passed for all troops to withdraw from their positions to the area of the Company Command Post. Assessing the situation, the CO ordered the company to withdraw to the base of the hill. No troops were available for reinforcement.

There were about 40 Marines that were still able to stand although most of them were wounded. Capt. Hull contacted Regimental HQ by radio and advised that the Company had lost the hill, and he was promptly ordered to assault and retake the position. Capt. Hull at first refused, stating that he had only 30 or 40 Marines capable of bearing arms and attacking. The voice from regiment stated, "Captain, I only have to remind you that all of our artillery is right behind you. If we lose it, we lose it all!" Whereupon Capt. Hull, although wounded twice, gave the order to attack and led the troops up 1240 to regain possession of the hill.

The Marines got a foothold on the reverse slope of the hill, while receiving heavy automatic weapons fire from the Chinese. Hull was wounded for the third time, but refused evacuation.

All night long the Marines attacked, defended and counterattacked. Their numbers were soon reduced to 16 men to carry on the battle. The Marines of Dog Company did carry on the battle and held onto Hill 1240 until dawn when a platoon from the 5th Marines relieved the 16 remaining warriors of Dog Company.

It was noted by Andrew Geer in his book, "The New Breed", 1952, Harper & Brothers, at page 277, "Two of the most savage battles fought on the night of the twenty-seventh of November were waged on the hills to the north of Yudam-ni, Hills 1282 and 1240......These two hills, less than a thousand yards apart, were to be fought over with savagery unmatched in the annals of small unit warfare."


The Battle Continues

The battle at Yudam-ni raged throughout the night of the 27th. With daylight on the 28th it was evident that the Chinese had paid a heavy price in it's attack on Hill 1240. The hill was littered with enemy dead. The Marines of Yudam-ni fought long and hard to maintain a perimeter on the high ground surrounding the village, while much heavy fighting continued in various locations in the valley. The entire defense at Yudam-ni was in peril by mid morning of the 28th as all units of both Regiments had sustained heavy casualties. Dog and Easy Companies had sustained such heavy losses they were no longer considered as viable fighting forces.

On the morning of the 28th Gen. Smith cancelled the 5th Marines attack to the west, and consolidated his positions on Yudam-ni. The 7th was ordered to open the road between Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri. Had the 5th continued its attack west, contact with the 7th would have been lost, and the 7th with its depleted forces would not have been able to hold Yudam-ni the second night. Without question, Smith's decision to cancel the westward attack and hold the 5th in Yudam-ni saved the 1st Marine Division from total destruction at the hands of the overwhelming number of Chinese.

While the Marines at Yudam-ni were heavily engaged on the 27th there was no Chinese activity at Hagaru-ri or Koto-ri. However, by mid afternoon on the 27th Chinese forces had successfully established numerous roadblocks between Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri, and also between Hagaru and Koto. The 1st Marine Division was now totally enveloped by Chinese troops. The units at Hagaru and Koto came under heavy attack, and were able to repel the Chinese. Great concern was expressed over the situation with Fox Co. 7th, holding Toktong Pass. Col. Litzenberg formed a composite unit of two companies from the 1st and 3rd Battlions, 7th to push south and relieve Fox Company. On the morning of the 28th this unit moved south and soon came in contact with a numerically superior enemy force halting his march. Litzenberg cancelled the movement and ordered the unit to return to the perimeter of Yudam-ni.


Damnation Battalion

On the 28th because of the high casualties Dog Company 7th was disbanded and combined with Easy Company 7th. The total strength of the two companies were but seventy-five Marines, including men that had been wounded and rejoined the company after treatment at aid stations. Reinforcements were received from the Artillery Battalion. Major Hal Roach was given command of the unit. Roach after reorganizing the unit rejected his assigned radio call and reported in as "Damnation 6", the name stuck and the unit thereafter was known as the Damnation Battalion. Damnation was assigned to hold the shoulders of the high ground through which the troops would move in the attempt to open the MSR (main supply route) to Hagaru.

When the composite companies were unable to break through in its effort to reach Fox Company, Col. Litzenberg on the 29th directed Lt. Col. Davis to take his 1st Battalion 7th Marines overland in an effort to reach and reinforce Fox. The Damnation Battalion was to follow in trace of Davis. After due deliberation with Litzenberg, Roach had his doubts about the success that might be had because of the composite of the Damnation Battalion. The unit had no staff, and was made up of two severely crippled rifle companies, without support. The mission was cancelled and the Damnation Battalion disbanded.

Lt. Col. Robert Taplett and his 3d Battalion, 5th Marines lead the attack south on the MSR, at 1500 hours, 1 December supported by the lone tank at Yudamn-ni, D23. Dog-Easy Company held defensive positions in the southeast portion of Yudam-ni., and were hit by light probing attacks by the Chinese. 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines had continued the assault south against heavy resistance from the enemy. By dawn of 2 December casualties had brought the attack to a standstill. Lt. Col. Murray advised Lt. Col. Taplett that he was going to attach Dog-Easy Company to his Battalion. When asked how he wanted them deployed, he replied "straight down the MSR. Dog-Easy assumed the point in the attack to the south.


Dog-Easy Takes the Point

Dog-Easy Company was ordered to attack down the road between George and How Companies, 5th Marines. The Company encountered enemy resistance almost immediately when it encountered a Chinese roadblock near a deep stream bed, where a bridge had been blown. An air strike was called, the Company attacked and the roadblock was quickly erased. G and H Co.'s, 5th Marines attacked south on the ridges while Dog-Easy Company attacked along the road behind our lone tank, D23. It is important for the reader to keep in mind, the temperatures remained in the 15 to 30 below zero range, having severe effects on men and equipment.

Most of the Marines in close proximity to D23 developed a deep ambivalence towards it. It's firepower was cherished when confronting enemy roadblocks, but truly hated it for the small arms fire it drew from the Chinese. The ricochets were unnerving to say the least.

The number of enemy roadblocks encountered were many, but it seems as if there was one every few hundred yards and certainly around every corner. With each such encounter we sustained more and more casualties while inflicting heavy losses on the enemy

In the late afternoon or early evening of 2 December the column came to a halt. D23 had apparently run out of fuel. The officer supposedly in charge of the point crawled inside D23, leaving the unit without leadership. Lt. Col. Taplett arrived at the head of the column a short while later and inquired why the halt in movement and who was in charge. He was informed that the officer in charge had entered the tank. Taplett directed a Marine to get on the intercom phone at the rear of the tank and tell the officer to exit the tank. After what seemed several minutes, Lt. Col. Taplett grabbed the intercom phone and ordered the officer out of the tank. The order was not obeyed. Leadership was provided, fuel brought up from the rear and the column prepared to continue the attack. As the tank started to move the right track of the tank slid into the ditch along side the road, and could not extricate itself even with all hands around the tank pushing. A tractor was brought up by the engineers and after a couple of attempts, D23 was back, fully on the road again. It was now past midnight. Typically, during this period enemy small arms fire continued.

The attack towards Hagaru resumed and several more road blocks were encountered before Dog-Easy Company joined up with Lt. Col. Ray Davis' 1st Battalion, 7th Marines at Toktong Pass about mid day on 3 December. Davis and his 1st Battalion took over the point of the column for the remainder of the trek to Hagaru-ri, and Dog-Easy Company was once again part of the 7th Marines. The Company spread out along the column of vehicles in trace of the 1st Battlion.

At approximately 1900 hours on 3 December, about a quarter of a mile north of Hagaru-ri, the point came into contact with elements of the Hagaru perimeter defense. The Yudam-ni Marines of the 5th and
7th Regiments stopped, dressed columns and marched into Hagaru-ri to the cadence of our shoe pacs on the frozen ground. As the column entered the main perimeter tears could be seen on the cheeks of the Hagaru Marines. Without doubt every Marine at Hagaru-ri felt that now that most of the 1st Division had joined, although greatly reduced in numbers, that there were not enough Chinese in Asia to stop the Division from reaching the sea.

The troops were directed to tents that lined the runway of the tiny landing strip. Before we could even remove our parkas we were ordered to saddle up and move north to assist clearing a couple of road blocks. We had traveled less than a mile when the movement was canceled, and we were able to return to the warmth of the tents, and much needed sleep. Those that didn't sleep away the time were treated to their first hot food in several days. From the 27th of November to the 3rd of December the 1st Marine Division had suffered 2,260. 358 had been killed, 153 were missing, 1,749 had been wounded and 1,072 had become non-battle casualties mostly from frostbite.

We should keep in mind that during the struggle of the 5th and 7th Marines in it's attack from Yudam-ni, the Marines at Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri suffered and fought off numerous attacks by the Chinese.

Division command decided to delay the attack south until 6 December to give the troops time to rest and regroup. At 0400 on 6 December Hagaru-ri came to life in preparation for the attack down the MSR. Fox Company 7th Marines in the van followed by Dog-Easy Company.

Less than a mile south of Hagaru-ri, the point encountered a Chinese roadblock. A railroad track paralleled the road on the east. The terrain leveled out for several hundred yards to a low hill running in a general east-west direction, from which the column was receiving automatic weapons fire. An air strike was ordered, and the troops watched with delight as the F4U Corsairs strafed and napalmed the enemy stronghold.

The attack continued through sporadic small arms and mortar fire. By mid afternoon the column had advanced about two miles when another enemy position was encountered. The enemy could not be dislodged by artillery and mortar fire so an attack was ordered. Dog-Easy made a flanking attack while Fox Company made the frontal assault. The enemy position was cleared as the light of day began to wane.

As darkness overtook us the column had advanced nearly five miles south of Hagaru. As usual with the onset of night the Chinese become much bolder, and the column began receiving heavy automatic weapons fire from the ridge on the left flank. This was in Hell Fire Valley where Task force Drysdale had encountered the Chinese as it attempted to break through and reinforce Hagaru-ri a few days earlier. After two hours of fighting, cannon fire from our supporting tanks eliminated the enemy firing positions.

We had moved less than a mile when the column came to a stop because of a blown bridge. The engineers repaired the damage and we moved out only to be stopped again by another destroyed span. During the time the engineers were repairing the bridges the column was under heavy fire from the Chinese. It was during the attack near the second blown bridge that the regimental chaplin, Fr. Cornelius Griffin, was shot through the jaw by a burst of machine gun fire, while he was administering last rites to a wounded Marine in a well marked ambulance. The Chinese gave no mind to the red cross clearly painted on a white background that adorned our ambulances. In fact they seemed to like to use it as a target.

During the attack from Hagaru-ri the order was to destroy all buildings. We were not to leave the enemy any place of warmth or shelter. All buildings were torched as we moved south. The burning buildings cast an eerie light in the cold darkness. In this light, Chinese troops could be seen darting in and out of cover no more than 30 yards to our front. Another destroyed bridge was encountered and the engineers called to render it passable. When this was accomplished we advanced to Koto-ri without further enemy contact. 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines was the first to enter Koto-ri, some 20 plus hours after attacking south from Hagaru. Objective number two for the Yudam-ni Marines had been earned. After a brief rest the 2nd Battalion was ordered back north again to establish blocking positions to secure an open road for the rest of the Division. During this assignment the 2nd Battalion found a couple of dozen British Marines that had been stranded since the Drysdale force had been attacked in the last week of November. The rear guard of the Division entered Koto-ri around 2100 on 7 December, Pearl Harbor Day.


A Bridge to Freedom - The Last Leg

The night of 7 December was cold with snow flurries and by morning, Marines in sleeping bags were covered with several inches of snow. All hands were concerned that with the coming of morning and an attack south, the overcast skies would prevent close support by Marine air. Near morning a clear spot appeared in the sky and a lone star shed it's light, giving all hope that the overcast would lift and air support would be available for the task before us.

Heavy snow fell as the 7th Marines attacked south from Koto-ri about 0800 hours on 8 December. 2nd battalion 7th was held in regimental reserve while the 1st and 3rd battalions led the attack. Because of the heavy snows air operations were suspended. Shortly after 1200 hours, 2nd battalion was committed and attacked west of the road in an attempt to flank the Chinese preventing the advance of the 3rd battalion. During this movement we came upon positions occupied by what appeared to be dead Chinese soldiers. However, we noticed eye movement in some and discovered that most were still alive, but so badly frozen that they could not move any body parts except their eyes. These were eliminated, more out of compassion than military necessity. Dog Company was unable to gain it's objective by nightfall, so dug in for the night and resumed the attack in the morning gaining it's objective.

The attack south was brought to a halt about a mile and a half below Funchilin Pass. The Chinese had destroyed a 29 foot span section of a one way concrete bridge. The drop off down the mountain was sheer without possibility of building a by-pass. Before the attack could continue a bridge had to be built if the Division was to bring out its equipment, dead and wounded.

The 1st Engineering Battalion had earlier made an aerial reconnaissance of the area and it was decided that a Treadway bridge would be used to span the chasm. Fortunely an army engineer unit had available trucks especially designed to haul and place into position sections of a Treadway bridge. Marine Air Delivery was contacted to air drop Treadway sections into the Koto perimeter. Each section weighed about 2500 pounds and was difficult to handle. Rigging them with parachutes to safely carry them to the ground was complicated.

The bridge sections were flown to Koto by eight Air force C-119's. At 0930 hours the C-119's arrived over Koto and after one dummy run the first section was dropped, followed by five more. One section fell in Chinese positions, but all other landed on target with little damage.

9 December was clear and cold. Our prayers had been answered and Marine air support was on station. With the support of air and artillery the 7th Regiment gained control of the high ground from Koto to the bridge site. Enemy resistance and been nearly eliminated and what remained was ineffectual. The Treadway sections were moved from Koto to the bridge site, arriving at about 1230 hours. By 1530 hours, the bridge was in place, and the engineers gave the okay for the column to begin it's descent. The long convoy of men and equipment streamed across the span all night long on 9-10 December

Resistance from the Chinese had become almost nil from the bridge to Chinhung-ni. Enemy soldiers captured in this movement made known that their losses from battle and non-battle casualties had been devastating. Leading elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th, arrived at Chinhung-ni at 0245 hours, 10 December. As transportation became available men were loaded on and the next stop was Hungnam and relative safety.

The 1st Marine Division had battled it's way through 10 plus Chinese divisions, bringing with it, most of it's equipment, it's wounded and most of it's dead under conditions of deadly cold and outnumbered 8 to 1 by an enemy force that had but one objective, to annihilate the 1st Marine Division. They failed! Earlier at Hagaru-ri one of the regimental officers had stated, "We are coming out with our wounded, our dead and our equipment. We are coming out as Marines, or we are not coming out at all". He was right in his prediction.



The lead elements of the 1st Marine Division reached the seaport of Hungnam the morning of 10 December. The MSR (main supply route) was now under the protection of the army's 3rd Infantry Division. By 2100 on 11 December, all units of the 1st and 7th Divisions, with the exception of the tanks, had reached the port of Hungnam, and by 2330 the tanks had arrived. Thus ended the breakout of the 1st Marine Division.

On arriving at Hungnam the Marines were treated to pancakes from a galley set up by an engineering group. Most if not all had disposed of their mess gear, so many received the pancakes and syrup in their bare, dirty hands. The temperatures seemed warm from what the troops had experienced the past month, although the temperatures were still in the freezing range or below. The sun was shining and many had removed clothing and sat about with bare chests.

It was the understanding that the 1st Marine Division would occupy a defensive area southwest of Hungnam. However, the command upon arriving at Hungnam was notified that the Marines would immediately embark by ship for redeployment in South Korea. The first elements of the Division to arrive at Hungnam began loading on ships before the last elements of the Division reached Hungnam.

During the outloading of the Marines the 3rd and 7th army divisions defended the perimeter, supported by artillery, naval gunfire and air support by Navy, Air Force and Marine planes. Loading the Division aboard ships was completed by 14 December. The Marines were transported to Pusan, South Korea, and some by smaller ship or land transport to Masan, other were transported by truck.

By 20 December the 7th Division had embarked from Hungnam and the 3rd Division manned the shore defenses alone, with command of the defenses passing to Admiral Doyle. The 3rd Division was to board LST's at 1100 on 24 December. All beaches were clear by 1430 and, as the last troops loaded on ships, the demolitions were set off and the entire Hungnam waterfront was blown in one large eruption.

In addition to the 1st Marine Division, the army's 3rd and 7th Divisions and the attached ROK troops, the 10th Corps also evacuated in excess of 100,000 North Korean civilians escaping from the communist regime. Someone said "they voted with their feet."

"The running fight of the Marines and two battalions of the Army's 7th Infantry Division from Hagaru to Hamhung--40 miles by air but 60 miles over the icy, twisting mountainous road--was a battle unparalleled in U.S. military history," Time, the Weekly Newsmagazine, lvi,no. 25 (18Dec50). "It had some aspects of Bataan, some of Anzio, some of Dunkirk, some of Valley Forge, some of the 'Retreat of the 10,000' (401-400 B.C.) as described in Xenophon's Anabasis."


The Bean Patch:
Rest, Resupply, Replacements

The Chosin Marines of Dog Seven arrived at what was to be its new home on the 13th or 14th of December. The new assembly area was a bean patch on the northern outskirts of Masan. Masan is a small seaport about 40 miles west of Pusan. The Bean Patch had been the assembly area of the 1st Marine Brigade in August, prior to the Inchon landing.

The Bean Patch was large enough for all three infantry regiments. The remainder of the Divisions' units were stationed in the northeast and southern outskirts of Masan. The area seemed peaceful to the troops. However, the mountains to the northwest of Masan had been for many years the hideout of Korean bandits. In order to secure the safety of the area, Division immediately assigned subsectors to the various units of the Division to patrol. Fortunately no hostile actions were engaged in during the time that the Division occupied the Bean Patch.

Upon reaching the Bean Patch, Dog Company consisted of eight enlisted men and no officers. The men obtained a squad tent, a stove and set up house keeping. Their solitude was short lived when replacement officers and men started arriving. Men from aid stations and hospital ships began returning to duty after treatment of their wounds. Within a short time the engineers had laid out the camp and tents were rigged in military order.

Maj. Gen. Oliver Smith reported that the Marines had received fresh rations on only three days since landing in Korea. Naval Forces, Far East immediately ordered 50,000 rations of turkey to the Marines at Masan. Softball and football games became popular as the men started recuperating from the fatigue and tensions of the Chosin campaign. Christmas was observed with great spirit by the troops that truly had much to be thankful for. I might mention that many of the Christmas packages from home had been lost to the Chinese when the convoys were attacked and destroyed in North Korea.

During the Christmas season many photographers and press people visited Masan for pictures and interviews. Gen. Smith was informed that a motion picture company was going to produce a film entitled "Retreat, Hell", and was asked if he had said, "Retreat, Hell! We are just attacking in a different direction." He said that he pointed out to correspondents at Hagaru that the drive to Hamhung was not a typical withdrawal or retreat, and thus "the statement attributed to me described my thinking, that of my staff and unit commanders, and my situation." (US Marine Operations in Korea, Vol. IV, page 6)

During the stay at the Bean Patch, liberty was enjoyed in the several small cafes-bars in Masan. A limited amount of food was available and sake served with peanuts was plentiful. One such café had a sign proclaiming it to be the "Brack Cat".

The battlefront straddled the 38th Parallel during the last week of December. The Marines were at this time 200 miles south of the 38th. This would not last long and all effort was being made to restore the Division to combat readiness. Division equipment was in serious shortage of all essential items with the exception of the M-1 rifle.

The first Christmas in Korea lifted the spirits of the men. Carols were sung and improvised Christmas decorations were hung. Of course there was the wonderful turkey dinners with all the trimmings. The last of the 105,000 X Corps troops had embarked from Hungnam on Christmas Eve without the loss of a single life due to enemy action.

President Truman in a letter to Gen. MacArthur said: "Wish to express my personal thanks to you, Admiral Joy, General Almond, and all your brave men for the effective operations at Hungnam. This saving of our men in this isolated beachhead is the best Christmas present I have ever had." U. S. Marine Operations in Korea, Vol. IV, page 5

On 23 December it was learned that Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, Eighth Army commander, had been killed in a vehicle accident. Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway was named as his successor. After taking command, Ridgeway commented that the spirit of the Eighth Army gave him concern. He said there was a spirit of apprehension as evidenced by an air of nervousness and uncertainty. These criticisms were not applicable to the 1st Marine Division. Brigadier Gen. Edward Craig, the assistant division commander, commented, "Our men were in high spirits and busily engaged in getting ready to fight again." Further stating that in his travels about the various units of the Division "I never even once noticed any air of nervousness of apprehension. When Gen. Ridgeway visited the Marines at Masan and observed the training and general arrangements, he stated that he was satisfied with the 1st Marine Division and its quick comeback after Chosin.

Pohang Dong

On New Years Eve of 1950 the Division was detached from X Corps and assigned to operational control of Eighth Army. The Division was directed to continue training so that it could be employed in either blocking positions, or taking over a sector along the main line of resistance (MLR). Within an hour this order was rescinded and the Division was directed to move to the Pohang-Andong area to be in a position to block any CCF penetrations.
On 9 January 1951 the Division was moved to Pohang with the following mission:
       (a) Prevent enemy penetrations in force south of the Andong-Yongdok road;
       (b) Protect the MSR connecting Pohang, Kyongju, Yongchon, Uihung, and Uisong..

Pohang Guerrilla Hunt

It took nearly a week to move all units of the Division from Masan to Pohang. All units were in place by 17 January. On the 18th the Division was assigned the following mission:
       (1) the protection of the Pohang-Kyongju-Andong MSR;
       (2) the securing of Andong and the two airstrips in the vicinity; and
       (3) the prevention of hostile penetrations in force to the south of the Andong-yongdok road.
(U. S. Operations in Korea, Vol. IV, page 42.)

The 7th Marines were assigned Zone C, an area 20 to 25 miles wide from east to west and extending north from the latitude of Pohang to the Andong-Yongdok road.

Captured documents had indicated that enemy forces had infiltrated through gaps in the Eighth Army's Line. Guerrilla activity was reported throughout the area. The Division's new area of operation was about 1600 square miles most of which was mountainous. The Marines had learned in WWII the effectiveness of guerilla warfare. On 18 January a patrol of the 1st Marines came into contact with a number of North Korean troops east of Andong. Information learned from prisoners indicated approximately 6,000 NK troops in the area of operation. The NK troops, after the Inchon - Seoul operation, had crossed north of the 38th Parallel, where they were reorganized by the Chinese for guerrilla operations. In late December they returned to South Korea with a mission to infiltrate UN lines and to disrupt communication and harass rear installations.

During the first few days of the guerrilla hunt it became obvious that the greatest problem was in locating the North Korean forces. As a result a systematic patrolling of the Division's area would be necessary. Hence the formation of "rice paddy" patrols numbering from fire team size to company patrols that ranged over wide areas. Without a doubt no better training for the replacements could have be devised. Many times these patrols would reach into remote areas necessitating supply by air. Little contact was made with enemy forces, but limited sniper fire and potential ambushes kept the replacements on their toes.

After the 1st Marines made contact with enemy forces on 18 January, they drifted southeast from the zones of the 1st and 5th Regiments into 7th Marine territory. On the 24th, the 1st Battalion 7th engaged in a firefight with about 100 guerrillas when the command post was attacked. The enemy was dispatched after a 90-minute battle. Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion 7th occupied Hapton-ni and easily repulsed an enemy counterattack.

Marine pressure throughout the first part of February wore the guerrillas down until only small groups could be located. Korean civilians reported daily activity from large groups of enemy. However, Marine patrols found only groups of ten or less half starved North Korean soldiers.

On 5 February, Gen. Smith reported, "The original 10th NKPA Div forces in the 1st Marine Division area have been dispersed into many groups, reduced to an effective strength of 40 per cent, and are no longer capable of a major effort while dispersed. It is considered that the situation in the Division area is sufficiently in hand to permit the withdrawal of the Division and the assignment of another mission at any time a new force to be assigned the responsibility for the area assumes such responsibility and the 1st Marine Division can be reassembled."

Patrolling continued during the 2nd week in February without incident and the Marine area of operation remained peaceful. As a result of the "rice paddy" patrols the replacements were ready for combat and the Division was organizing a rotation draft for return to the states. 600 men had been selected on a basis of combat time, wounds and length of service. Gen. Craig, the ADC (assistant division commander), who had commanded the 1st Marine Brigade was amongst those chosen and he was also promoted to Maj. General. Chesty Puller was promoted to Brig. Gen. and replaced Gen. Craig as ADC.

All the Division's missions in the guerrilla hunt had been successfully accomplished. They would be relieved by the 2nd ROK Division. Casualties for the 10th NKPA Division were great and this Division was destroyed as a fighting force. Marine casualties from 18 January to 15 February were 19 KIA, 7 DOW, 10 MIA, 146 WIA, and 1,751 nonbattle casualties, largely from frostbite

At midnight on 11 February the CCF (Communist Chinese Forces) attacked the central front. On 12 February Gen. Ridgway directed the 1st Marine Division to be prepared to move to Chungju, in the rear area of the IX Corps front where the heaviest Chinese attacks were taking place. The next day orders were issued from the Eighth Army to initiate these movements on 15 February. And so, the guerrilla hunt came to and end and the 1st Division was on its way to the battle line of the Eighth Army.

Operation Killer

The Division began its move to Chungju on 15 February by rail and motor transport. While this move was in progress the CCF counterattack was in full force along the central front. By the 15th Hoengsong had fallen to the CCF and the front extended southward to the outskirts of Wonju.

On 18 February 1951, IX & X Corps units had probed forward without opposition and it was determined that the enemy was withdrawing. As a result Gen. Ridgway decided to launch a limited offensive by the entire Eighth Army. The 1st Marine Division was detached from X Corps and placed under the operational control of Gen. Moore of IX Corps. The Marines had been a part of X Corps in 1950, but always under tactical circumstances which permitted more or less independent operations. The Division was now to be closely integrated with other IX units, the 24th Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry division, the 6th ROK division and the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade.

The Marines were to relieve elements of the X Corps and attack northeasterly through the Wonju basin in order to cut off enemy forces that had penetrated south and east of Hoengsong. Operation Killer commenced on 21 February with only a few rounds of rifle fire being encountered until late afternoon when two long distance fire fights erupted. The enemy withdrew and Marine casualties amount to three Marines being slightly wounded. The 22nd brought more long distance small arms, but no close contact with the enemy.

On the 23rd enemy resistance increased with brisk fighting by the 1st Regiment. However, Marine objectives were easily won with minor casualties as the first phase of Operation Killer came to a close at dusk on 24 February.

Gen. Moore, Commanding Officer of IX Corps died as the result of a helicopter accident on 24 February 1951. Gen. Ridgway named Gen. Oliver P. Smith as his successor, pending a permanent appointment. Only twice before in Marine Corps history had a Marine commanded major U.S. Army units. Maj. Gen. John. A. Lejeune had headed the 2nd Infantry Division in WWI, and Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger led the U.S. 10th Army during the Okinawa operation in WWII. Brig. Gen. Puller took command of the 1st Marine Division.

The Division would continue its deployment along the Hoengsong-Hongchon corridor. Ridgeway called a halt to the fighting on 25 February so that enough ammunition, fuel and other supplies could be bought to the front. Supply was made difficult because of the muddy conditions of the roads and the entire operation may have come to a halt without air drops.

The second phase of Operation Killer was to commence on 1 March. Ridgway was not totally satisfied with the result of the first phase and therefore informed his staff that the new operation was "having the primary intent of destroying as many enemy and as much equipment as possible and, by continued pressure, allowing the enemy no time to mount a counteroffensive."
(Eusak Cmd. Prt., Mar 51, Sec. 1.53).

Phase II - Operation Killer

The Marines held the high ground south of Hoengsong. It's Phase II objective would be the hills to the north of the town. Hoengsong occupied a valley at the confluence of two rain swollen streams. This area of flat ground had to be taken in the final phase of Operation Killer. This task fell to the 1st and 7th Marines with the 5th Marines in reserve. Before the attack could begin the 7th Marines had to fight its way to the point of juncture after relieving elements of the 6th ROK Division.

On March 1, 1951, the 2nd Battalion, 7th, on the left flank, encountered stiff opposition from Chinese Forces. Before noon both battalions of the 7th Marines were brought to a near halt in the difficult terrain which the CCF had booby- trapped. Neither artillery nor air strikes had an effect against an enemy sheltered by log-covered bunkers. The delays resulted in postponing the advance until the next morning.

The assault continued in the morning of 2 March with the only determined opposition in the zone of the 2nd Battalion, 7th. In spite of air strikes and heavy artillery fire the Marines could only inch forward over the rocky terrain which the CCF defended ridge by ridge.

At daybreak on 3 March, the 1st & 7th Marines could see their final objectives to the north. Five hills lay along Phase Line Arizona from west to east. Hills 536 and 222 in the zone of the 7th Marines, and Hills 321, 335, and 201 in the zone of the 1st Marines.

It was in the zone of the 7th Marines that Chinese resistance was hottest. The 1st battalion was called to cover the regimental left flank and aid the attack of 2/7 on Hill 536 while 3/7 struggled for Hill 333. On 4 March the 7th Marines prepared to attack against an expected last-ditch stand by the Chinese on Hills 536 and 333. A light mist of snow was falling as the attack commenced at 0800 following intensive artillery fire. The Marines met an eerie silence in the objective area. The Chinese had pulled out under cover of darkness, leaving only a rear guard for delaying action. Operation Killer came to an end in the evening of 4 March, except for mopping up actions the following day. The Marines casualties during the 8 days of fighting were 48 KIA, 2 MIA and 345 WIA. Enemy losses were 274 counted dead and 48 prisoners. The actual figures of Communist losses were much higher, since the CCF buried their dead and took their wounded with them.

Operation Ripper

On 4 March 1951 Maj. Gen. William Hoge, U.S. Army, arrived at Yoju and took command of IX Corps, relieving Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith. Gen. Smith returned to the 1st Marine Division command post and resumed command of the Division, and Gen. Puller resumed his duties as ADC.

The new operation was scheduled for 0800 on 7 March. The plan called for the drive of IX & X Corps toward the 38th Parallel on the central front. The primary purpose of the operation was to inflict as many casualties as possible on the CCF, and to keep the enemy off balance in his buildup for a new offensive.

UN forces held a line extending across the Korean peninsula from Inchon in the west, by way of Hoengsong, to the east coast in the vicinity of Chumunjin. The 1st Marine Division was to maintain lateral contact with the 1st Cavalry Division on the left and the 2nd Infantry Division on the right. Hongchon and Chunchon lay directly in the path of the IX Corps zone of advance.

On 7 March it was cold and clear. The Hoengosong-Hongchon road, winding through Kunsamma Pass, paralleled the boundary between the two Marine assault regiments, the 7th Marines on the left and the 1st Marines on the right. They attacked in line abreast, employing all three battalions when the terrain permitted. The 5th Marines patrolled in the Hoengsong areas as Division reserve.

Both regiments, except for scattered machine gun fire, met little resistance and both took their assigned objectives with little trouble. Total casualties for the day were seven wounded. As the second day of the operation commenced it became obvious that the enemy was putting up a limited defense while pulling back before the Marines could engage them. Again the log bunkers became an essential part of the enemy plan where a squad could stand off a company while larger units withdrew.

The Marine advance came to a halt on 9 March to wait for Army units to catch up on the right. Patrols were sent out on both flanks in an effort to regain lateral contact. The operation resumed on 11 March with light enemy resistance. The two Marine regiments occupied ground on the 12th and 13th and by the 14th all units were dug in along Phase Line Albany.

During the first phase of operation Ripper, the enemy sustained 6,543 KIA and 216 POW. IX Corps losses for the same period were 158 KIA, 965 WIA, and 35 MIA.

Shortly after March 15, 1951 Dog Company was pulled off the front lines to a rest area awaiting much needed replacements to bring the company to acceptable combat strength. Several men of the 6th Replacement Draft, which were first allocated to the 1st and 5th Marine Regiments, were quickly reassigned to elements of the 7th Regiment.

During the period of April 1 -17, 1951 the 7th Marine Regiment was placed under the control of the CG 1st Cavalry Division, US Army for the purpose of completing the seizure and reinforcing of the Kansas Line southwest of Hwachon Reservoir. Marching orders were received by Dog Company and other elements of the 7th Marine Regiment to move in a north easterly direction to seize and secure the hills presently occupied by elements of a Chinese division. Scattered small arms fire was received by some units of the 7th Marine Regiment the first couple of days of April as limited contact with the enemy was made.

The morning calm of April 5 was soon broken by the chatter of machineguns and mortars as Dog Company and other elements of the 7th crossed their lines of departure to attack the enemy and seize their designated objectives. A fierce fire fight, with Dog Company in the lead of the assault ended several hours later with the enemy retreat. Casualties for D/2/7 were listed as 2 KIA and 6 wounded. One of the KIAs was a Navy Corpsman who was later written up for his heroic endeavors in coming to the aid of 4 wounded Marines. The Corpsman, HN Richard DeWert, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Dog Company continued it's advanceing, moving each day north of Chungchon and through the hills east of Hwachon Reservoir.

On April 10, 1951, as the Company was advancing, heavy and prolonged fighting broke out along the 7th Marine sector with Dog Company receiving 26 casualties in an all day pitched battle to secure their objective and drive the Chinese from their bunkers. Once the dead and wounded were evacuated to aid stations the men dug in for the night to await a counter attack.

A Chinese Offensive

Regimental orders were issued directing all units to consolidate and strengthen their positions and to continue putting pressure on the enemy by sending out combat patrols on a daily basis in front of their lines.

Small enemy probing attacks during the night were repulsed by alert Marines who shot and killed 2 Chinese as they tried to infiltrate the Marine positions.

On the night of April 22, 1951 a much different situation prevailed as reports were filtering into the Battalion and Regimental CPs that the whole UN sector west of the Marines was being over run and the Chinese were pouring through the gap in the lines. This break through endangered the left flank of the Marines, placing them once again out on a limb and exposed to being cut off - similar to the Chosin situation.

The men of Dog Company could see and hear the tracers, mortar shell explosions and the staccato of automatic weapons. One could also hear the bugles and trumpets the Chinese used to signal their troops as the fight continued.

Dog Company was ordered to maintain and hold their positions until other units on their left and right flanks were able to withdraw to the Pendleton line. It is noted in the records that a major enemy effort to turn the Marine Division's left flank was stopped with the enemy suffering heavy casualties.

Dog Company held their position as the Chinese attack progressed. The holding of their position was accomplished by systematically calling in accurate artillery and mortar fire a mere 50 - 100 yards in front of D/2/7 positions as they leap frogged backwards their machine guns to give themselves covering fire.

Operation Mousetrap

Following the onslaught and breakthrough by the Chinese in the collapsing sector of the 2nd ROK Regiment, just west of the Marine lines, the U. N. armies fell back about 20 miles and quickly reorganized and solidified their front line defensive positions. Despite these shortcomings morale among all the front line Marine units was extremely high.

Once a solid stable defensive line was established Marine patrols were sent out daily some 4-5 miles to their front positions. However, nightly enemy probing attacks, designed to locate weaknesses in these new sectors, were constantly beaten off. This daily patrolling and night "fire fights" occurred during some of the most miserable cold wet rainy days during most of the month of May.

Logistical problems were a "nightmare" as the wet rainly weather created a quagmire of mud, flooding rivers and washed out bridges limiting the normal supply of food, ammo and water to the troops on the front lines. Central to this problem was the lack of fresh drinkable water for the units located high on the ridges as well as in the valleys.

Many of the men were suffering from severe cases of diarrhea. Regimental and Battalion command posts had also been receiving reports that "Typhus" was spreading throughout the Korean civilians all along the front.

About May 24, Dog Company and other 7th Marine units relieved the 32nd Army Regiment just north of Hongchon. Dog Company was ordered to advance well to the front of other units. This maneuver prompted the Chinese to attempt another massive strike to break through the lines. Actually this was designed to trap the Chinese between two Marine units. The result was that about 450-500 enemy were killed as Dog Company suffered about 18 casualties.

As we moved through the killing zone Marine bulldozers were already in the process of digging a mass grave to bury the enemy dead. The 7th Regiment S-2 (intellegence unit) was able to obtain much information which would prove invaluable in future engagements with the enemy.



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