Command Reports of the
461st Inf Bn (Heavy Mortar)
The 461st Infantry Battalion (Heavy Mortar) is the successor unit to the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion. The 461st was activated in January 1953 and took over the men, equipment and mission of the 2nd which returned to the U.S. and was given a different name, organization and mission.
These are declassified official reports of the battalion in Korea and are signed by its commanding officer, Lt Col Chester T. Harvie. We only have the monthly reports for June and July 1953, and have published them in serial form in The Red Dragon, the newsletter of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion Association, beginning with the issue of June 2002 and ending with the issue of June 2004. If you have access to reports for other months, please contact the Webmaster, Bruce Elliott. The June and July 1953 command reports are re-published below; others will be added in the future if we obtain access to them.
Section I - Significant Unit Activities 1. Introduction 2. Narrative of Tactical Operations 3. Movements 4. Training 5. Intelligence 6. Personnel 7. Chaplain 8. Medical 9. S-4 10. Communications
Section II - Commander's Recommendations 1. Operations, Fire Direction & Survey 2. Motor & Supply 3. Smoke and illuminating shell 4. Medical Detachment 5. Communications
Section I - Significant Unit Activities
During the first third of June 1953, the 461st Infantry Battalion (Heavy Mortar) was assigned the mission of G/S IX Corps artillery. Company A was positioned in the 9th ROK Division to fire in the vicinity of Sniper's Ridge (CT 678427-683432); Company B was located during this period of the month to fire in the defense of the Boomerang or Fishhook (extending from 58 to 62 grid line east and 41 to 44 grid line north; while Company C's position behind Outpost Harry (CT 508421) enabled its fires to be directed against the enemy's repeated attacks against that outpost in the 3rd Division sector. Battalion logistical support and control of the firing companies presented some difficulties because of this dispersion of the units in the Hantan and Kumhwa valleys; however, centralized location of battalion forward CP (CT 553365) and the location of battalion rear (CT 546283) behind the junction of access routes with the MSR, provided solution to many of these problems. Wire supply was always critical because of the difficulty of supply agencies in understanding the battalion's rather unusual requirements in this respect.
It was during this first part of the month, on 10-11 June, that Company C broke the battalion record for number of rounds fired by a company in a single engagement 6082 rounds from 1200 hrs on 10 June to 1200 hrs on 11 June. This action was another successful defense of Outpost Harry by the 15th Regiment, 3rd U.S. Division.
On the same date that Company C concluded this record-breaking mission, the battalion received orders to move to X Corps area. These orders were amended during the night as the battalion was en route, and the battalion went into position in II ROK Corps, 5th ROK Division sector, near Sudong-Ni (9543 grid), at 1640 hours 12 June. The battalion sector of fire extended from Outpost Florida (9346) to Outpost Texas (9945), both terrain features having been lost to CCF a short time previously. During the night of 14-15 June, a massive enemy offensive against the 5th ROK Division broke the MLR, the battalion was overrun and withdrew for regrouping, having suffered numerous casualties and severe losses in equipment. By nightfall of 15 June, the battalion was in position in the 8th ROK Division sector, and firing in the vicinity of Finger Ridge (8749 grid) and Lookout Mountain (9045 grid). The battalion's mission at this time was G/S 5th FA Group.
During the balance of the month the battalion sector was very active and firing was heavy on both sides. An interesting event of the month was the firing of the 500,000th round by the battalion (including action as the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion) since coming to Korea. This occurred on 7 June.
2. Narrative of Tactical Operations
The first nine days of June were marked by the step-up in enemy artillery fire that had begun in the latter part of May. For example, on 1 June Red platoon of Company B received about 70 rounds of incoming artillery fire in about two hours time. This fire was apparently directed by enemy observers on Papa-San (CT 6545), but because Company B was well dug in no casualties were suffered at this time. This step-up in the enemy artillery program coincided with repeated enemy company-size probing attacks across the IX Corps front.
On 5 June the battalion participated in a parade of honor of the departing IX Corps artillery commander, Brigadier General Colbern.
The battalion was instructed to participate in an increased Corps H&I program as of 6 June, and the ASR was increased accordingly. During the carrying out of this H&I program, an unknown company gunner fired the 500,000th round spent by the battalion against the enemy since landing in Korea on 8 Oct 1950.
During the two-day period 8-10 June, the companies prepared for a command inspection by pulling one platoon at a time out of firing position for lay-out inspection.
On 9 June incoming artillery became especially heavy in the vicinity of the Boomerang (Fishhook). All units were alerted for trouble in 3rd U.S. Division sector; Companies B and C each readied 1500 rounds with VT fuze; but the expected trouble never developed.
Service practice for all commissioned personnel of the mortar companies and battalion forward headquarters was held on 10 June. Late in the afternoon an F-86 was shot down by CCF anti-aircraft fire just to the southwest of Papa-San in view of personnel attending service practice, and the pilot was seen parachuting free of his plane. A report of the incident was made by the battalion to IX Corps artillery immediately.
Around 1200 hours the same day, 10 June, enemy artillery fire became heavy in the vicinity of Outpost Harry, particularly on Fox OP. A friendly daylight raid jumped off at 1600 hours with Company C firing in support. From 1655 to 1720, Company C was called on to fire smoke to cover the withdrawal of friendly raiding units, and approximately 800 rounds were fired on this mission. At 2144 hours, this portion of the 3rd U.S. Division sector became very active as the enemy began a heavy attack on Outpost Harry. The enemy used elements of two regiment in this attack and fierce hand-to-hand fighting continued until a final friendly counterattack drove the enemy from the outpost for the last time, and the sector quieted down at 0911, 11 June.
During the action, both sides used smoke, the enemy to assist their repeated attacks, and the friendly to cover evacuation of wounded as lulls occurred in the fighting. Company C fired 6082 rounds in this area during the period 101200 June to 111200 June. Enemy artillery was intense during the action and Company C had two members of the FO party on OP Fox wounded, one ammo bunker was destroyed in the company area, and the wire lines were out continuously from 2300 hours on, in spite of heroic efforts on the part of company and battalion wire men to keep them repaired. Because of the requirement to cable all wire lines, when an enemy hit knocked out land lines, all wire contact of every supporting unit was broken at the same time. At one time during the action, the wire crews of every higher headquarters and supporting unit were working in one 800-yard stretch of tangled and shredded cable.
At 1600 hours on 11 June, the battalion was alerted for movement. By 2100 hours, the battalion was assembled on the IX Corps parade field on Riverside Drive prior to moving out. After traveling all night, the battalion arrived in X Corps area shortly after daybreak. There it was learned that the movement order had been amended and that the battalion was ordered into position in II ROK Corps area in the 5th ROK Division sector east of the Pukhan River. By 1640 hours on 12 June the battalion advance party arrived at the new position (9543 grid) and the main body closed at 2000 hours. By 2205 that night the battalion was firing and, at 2305, enemy counter-mortar fire inflicted the first casualty on the battalion, a mortar crewman from Company C. This enemy fire increased and, by 0015, Companies B and C were under heavy shelling.
At 0200 Company B called for a litter jeep, and Captain Magaurn, company commander and two other casualties were evacuated from Company C at the same time. The battalion S-3, Captain Wance, went up into the company area himself to supervise the unloading of the ammo trucks and to get them out of the area being shelled. During the rest of the night and all the next day the battalion fired steadily. The ammo truck drivers worked all night and most of the next day bringing in ammunition resupply over a most difficult mountain road. The personnel of the ammunition trains, because of the action at OP Harry, the move and the heavy action immediately following the move, worked for three days and nights with only what sleep they could catch at infrequent stops when trucks were being loaded and unloaded.
At this time the battalion operation began a fire direction net conference call. All company FDCs, the battalion FDC and the OPs maintained connected phones manned 24 hours a day. This proved an eminently satisfactory arrangement during periods of active combat. By means of this conference call, all companies and FOs were kept informed automatically of changes in the tactical situation, fire missions were greatly expedited and battalion was able to maintain close control of firing and observation. This conference call paid big dividends on many occasions by speeding up reaction time of all elements of the battalion to tactical developments.
During the night of 13-14 June, many enemy sightings were reported by battalion Ops and adjacent and higher units. The battalion fired all night against enemy probing attacks of platoon or company size. Col Wetherell, commander of the 11th ROK Field Artillery Group, stated that the battalion covered its fire missions quickly and effectively and with destructive effects.
By 0920, 14 June, it was necessary to stop vehicle traffic to Companies B and C because of the amount of enemy incoming artillery.
The battalion was informed this same morning of plans for a friendly attack the next day and an attempt was made to limit fire missions to conserve ammunition for this effort.
However, at 1815 strong enemy preparation fire began hitting the friendly MLR, and requests by infantry units for fire support became urgent so the battalion began shooting. By 1840 the enemy attacking Hill 949 was known to be at least battalion size and, by 1930, another enemy battalion was assaulting Hill 739. The mortar companies were now firing at maximum rate.
At 1939, Lt Kral of Company C was reported wounded on the OP, and Lt Kruse was sent to replace him. Both these officers and their OP party were later declared MIA since they were unable to get out when the enemy overran their position.
Within the next hour and a half enemy contacts were reported all across the sector, and the enemy artillery fire in the battalion area became extremely heavy. At 2120, Company B suffered a direct hit on their switchboard and three KIA resulted; another hit in a Company A gun pit caused 1 KIA and 10 WIA. At 2150 hours another hit in a Company A gun pit set the ammo on fire and the gun crew made heroic efforts to extinguish the fire or at least keep it from spreading.
Because of the destruction of Company B's switchboard, it was necessary to radio fire missions to them or send messages from nearby Company C.
About this time, ROK infantry in groups of ten and twenty were beginning to drift south through the battalion positions. The battalion aid station was filled with American and Korean wounded.
At 2235 a series of severe ammo explosions shook A Company area, destroying three gun pits, and secondary explosions began spreading from gun pit to gun pit. As these explosions lighted the sky, the enemy began directing TOTs into the A Company area. A Company was ordered to assemble in th vicinity of the Battalion FDC. All contact was now lost with OPs, and the road adjacent to the Battalion FDC was clogged with ROK wounded and other ROK personnel falling back from the MLR. At this same time, three friendly tanks withdrew through the Battalion area followed by a large number of ROK infantry.
It was now exceedingly difficult to move around the Battalion area because of 300-400 Korean troops milling around attempting to enter bunkers and climbing into Battalion vehicles; the area guard had to be doubled and Battalion officers made an attempt to organized the ROKs.
At 2245, C Company reported that all attempts to stop ROK troops moving south were unsuccessful, and enemy semi-automatic weapons fire was already falling in B and C Company areas. By now more than 500 ROK troops were moving south through the area. Enemy artillery was very heavy and many Battalion vehicles were knocked out. B and C companies were firing minimum charges and maximum rate of fire.
At 2250 hours, Hq Company and A Company personnel were ordered to deploy in defensive positions 150 yards north of Battalion FDC. B Company's ammo had been set on fire by incoming enemy artillery, and C Company gun crews were returning enemy small arms fire coming from their front and left flank, while at the same time maintaining their firing of the mortars.
At 2310, the Battalion was ordered to move to alternate positions. All Battalion vehicles which could be moved were loaded and started back; walking personnel were assembled in a column of twos and marched out. The unit ambulance and a 2½-ton truck were loaded with American and Korean wounded and evacuated.
The movement orders were changed at 2400 hours and the Battalion was assembled at 5ht ROK Division KMAG Headquarters. The first recapitulation at that point showed the following losses: 5 KIA, 15 WIA, 17 MIA. Equipment losses were very great because of heavy enemy shelling, the fires in the company ammunition pits, the impossibility of moving equipment through the mass of friendly troops withdrawing through the narrow defile of the Battalion area, and the speed with which the CCF overran the MLR and the Battalion position. The Battalion fired over 11,000 rounds during this action.
Throughout the action the wire crews of the companies and Battalion Headquarters distinguished themselves by their courage and diligence in constantly repairing land lines to the OPs and between the companies. Only by continually re-laying multiple lines between stations was it possible to maintain any wire contact at all, so heavy was the shelling of the area.
By evening of 15 June the Battalion went into position behind the 8th ROK Division at Chipsil-Li (8745 grid). At 2100 hours, the Battalion FDC was operative and C Company was ready to fire with seven guns. Two FOs were out from each company observing terrain from west of Finger Ridge to southeast of Lookout Mountain. At 2155 hours, the sector became active and C Company began firing to the left of Finger Ridge; incoming artillery fell sporadically on all Battalion forward positions throughout the night.
By 2000 hours on 16 June all three companies were shooting, A Company with one 5-gun platoon, and B and C Companies each with one 4-gun and one 3-gun platoon.
Shortly before midnight, a CCF patrol infiltrated into the 50th ROK FA Battalion area where the mortar Battalion was located. A patrol was sent out by the ROK FA Battalion to intercept the Chinese.
During this night, 16-17 June, all companies fired almost continuously. The next day too, repeated enemy attacks down Finger Ridge were met by mortar fire from the Battalion. For the next few days enemy artillery was heavy throughout the Battalion area, but good deep foxholes in the vicinity of all gun pits, kitchens etc, prevented many casualties. At this time, the 5th FA Group directed the Battalion to attempt to remain out of lesser actions and to conserve ammunition for bigger threats, to be prepared to act as a Sunday Punch.
On 25 June, an especially heavy shelling knocked out all land lines to higher headquarters and adjacent units, but the Battalion/Companies wire net remained in because four lines had been laid between all stations in the Battalion.
Between the dates 26-29 June, Lookout Mountain (Hill 529) changed hands nine times. During these days the Battalion fired repeated preparatory and defensive missions depending on the tactical situation in the vicinity of this fiercely fought over terrain feature. Smoke missions and many TOTs were fired and the Battalion was repeatedly complimented by ROK commanders, KMAG advisers and artillery FOs on the speed, accuracy and killing power of its fires. Throughout these days the mortar crewmen of the Battalion stayed in their gun pits shooting despite a vigorous enemy counter mortar program. On many occasions it was necessary to suspend vehicle movement in the Battalion area because of heavy enemy incoming artillery and mortar fire.
On the night of 30 June, the enemy launched a strong and eventually successful attack against Hill 690 at the southwest end of Finger Ridge. During this action A Company sustained a direct hit on a gun pit which killed one and wounded nine. Despite this misfortune, another crew climbed into the gun pit while the wounded were still being evacuated, and kept the gun in action. Also during this action the Battalion fired its 100,000th round since the 461st Infantry Battalion took over the men, equipment and mission of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion.
During the month of June the Battalion made two major moves. The first move was that of 11 and 12 June relocating the Battalion from positions west of Kumwha (6538 grid) in the 3rd US and 9th ROK division sector to positions east of the Pukan River, Sudong-Ni area in the 5th ROK Division sector. This move from IX Corps to X Corps, where movement orders were amended, and finally to II ROK Corps, covered a distance of some 80 miles over very rugged mountainous terrain.
The Battalion moved as a whole during the greater part of this trip though the column was divided into four serials, one for each company. In the final stages of the move and advance party was taken from the column; this consisted of the Battalion commander, the S-2 and S-3, the company commanders, an FDC and two FOs from each company, base pieces from each platoon, the Battalion communications officer and section, and the Battalion survey section. The problems of motor maintenance arising from this move are discussed elsewhere in this report.
The second move of the Battalion during the month was performed under adverse tactical conditions and immediately following heavy losses in all types of equipment, but particularly vehicles. This was the displacement on the night of 14-15 June from Sudong-Ni area in the 5th ROK Division sector to Chipsil-Li in the 8th ROK Division sector. The reliable performance of the Battalion vehicles during this action reflected the effort that had been made to keep vehicle maintenance even in a pressing tactical situation. The Battalion was in action within 24 hours after suffering severe vehicular losses because of the TO&E allowance of two ¼-ton trucks per gun squad. This enabled the mortar companies to remain mobile ev en when heavy vehicle losses had been sustained. In a tactical crisis this type of flexibility is important.
During the period, mortar crew and FDC training was conducted daily on company level when the tactical situation permitted. Service practice was conducted for commissioned personnel of the Battalion on 10 June. Limited driver training was conducted by the Battalion motor officer, and on 29 June an FDC school and an FO school were started; this training was still in progress at the close of the period.
Enemy activity for the month of June consisted of patrol action and light probing attacks against the outpost line of resistance during the early part of the period, with enemy artillery and mortar fire relatively heavy on all firing companies of the Battalion. In all, three major enemy efforts involved the support of the Battalion during the period covered by this report.
On 10 June, the enemy launched an intense attack against Outpost Harry (CT 508421) supported by heavy artillery, mortar and tanks. On 11 June, the Battalion moved to the vicinity of Hwang Byong-Dong on the Pukhan River (grid square 9543) to fire against enemy activity in that sector. On 12 and 13 June, the enemy made limited attacks against the OPLR and MLR.
During the day of 14 June, incoming artillery and mortar fire had increased, particularly on the firing companies of the Battalion, with numerous enemy sightings and limited attacks against the OPLR observed by Battalion OPs. By darkness of the same day incoming artillery and mortar fire became increasingly heavy on all forward elements of the Battalion and the enemy had launched an intense attack against the MLR vicinity CT 972450).
At 2305 hours on 14 June, the enemy had penetrated the MLR and was advancing behind the withdrawing ROKA troops. The attacking enemy was later identified by POWs to be the 539th and 540th Regiments of the 180th Division, and the 609th Regiment of the 203rd Division.
The Battalion was ordered to displace and, on 15 June, moved to the vicinity of Chipsil-Li (grid square 8745). The enemy remained active for the remainder of the period with continuous attacks against Hill 690 (Finger Ridge at grid square 8749) and Hill 529 (Lookout Mountain at grid square 9045). Enemy artillery and mortar fire was heavy on all forward elements of the Battalion throughout the entire period.
The intelligence effort of the Battalion operated during the period principally through the OPs. Throughout the entire period each firing company manned two OPs. From 1 thru 10 June, B and C Company personnel occupied OPs jointly with artillery FO parties for observation on the Star Hill complex, Outpost Harry and the Boomerang (Fishhook) hill mass.
A Company, in the 9th ROK Division sector, manned two OPs constructed by the Battalion for observation of Snipers Ridge (CT 678427-683432), Jane Russell (CT 6642), Triangle (CT 6541) and Osong-San (Papa-San at CT 6545) hill masses.
From 12 to 14 June, all companies manned OPs jointly with artillery FO parties for observation on Hill 949 (CT 972450) and adjacent terrain. For the remainder of the period the Battalion FOs were with artillery OPs in the Chipsil-Li sector for observation on Finger Ridge (CT 8749) and Lookout Mountain (CT 9045).
Additional intelligence information, over and above that received through normal distribution, was secured by liaison with supported units and through emphasis in the Battalion on the fragment and crater analysis program. All OPs were heavily shelled throughout the entire period.
6. PersonnelStrength of organization at the close of the period, 30 June 1953:Gains during period:
Off WO EM Total %Strength Authorized 437 5 660 706 Assigned 61 4 634 709 Negro 7 1 79 87 12Losses during period:
Off WO EM Replacements 4 0 47 Returnees 0 0 6 Others 0 0 0 Total 4 0 53Battalion adjutant changed 27 June 1953
Off WO EM Battle casualties 5 0 27 Non-battle casualties 1 0 0 Disease & illness 0 0 5 Rotation 1 0 24 FECOM assignments 0 0 1 Korean reassignments 0 0 1 Other assignments 0 0 0 Emergenccy leave 0 0 2 ETS personnel 0 0 0
Battalion S-2 changed 20 June 1953
Battalion S-3 changed 20 June 1953
Discipline, law & order:
Courts-martial tried: 1 summary, no special or general Charges preferred but not tried: none Delinquency reports received: 2 Number of AWOLs: 0
Burial & graves registration: N/A
Morale and personnel services:
Morale: excellent Personnel on R&R: 4 Off, no WO, 67 EM Personnel receiving decorations: Bronze star: 1 Off, no WO, no EM Purple heart: 1 Off, no WO, 23 EM
Summary of other personnel services rendered: during the period covered by this report all members of this Battalion had access to shower facilities and had at their disposal PX supplies, Stars & Stripes, magazines and sporting goods and equipment. Religious services were held weekly. Postal money orders and mail service were available to all personnel.
Number of EM promotions approved: 93 Officer promotions: 4 Battlefield appointments: 0 WO appointments: 0 Civilian employees: 165 personnel of the 11th Company, 126 Regiment of the 105th KSC Division were attached to the Battalion as unskilled laborers until 20 June 1953.
The period 1-11 June was spent in the 3rd US Division area. At this time the three line companies were widely separated, and headquarters forward and rear were about six miles apart. This necessitated holding five services each Sunday for Protestant personnel. During this period the chaplain provided Protestant services for two artillery batteries in our general area.
Roman Catholic personnel were provided for by Chaplain (1st Lt) Richards of the 3rd Division and Chaplain (Capt) Hegge of Target or by traveling to one of the nearby artillery units.
Jewish personnel were able to attend services at either the 703rd Ordnance or the 7th Regiment of the 3rd Division.
It was possible in this situation to hold some character guidance classes and Bible classes in the companies.
Visits were made regularly to th company areas and some of the men with problems came to Battalion forward for consultation. The chaplain's location at Battalion forward proved best in this situation.
On June 11, the Battalion moved in convoy. It was possible to talk with the men at assembly points. Several came to the chaplain with problems during this move. On 12 June the Battalion moved into position in the Pukhan River area. Contact was made with Chaplain Quinn of the 5th FA Group to make arrangements for Catholic personnel. The nearest Jewish chaplain was at Tempest rear.
On Sunday, 14 June, services were held to cover the three line companies and headquarters forward. Services were brief because of inadequate shelter and the danger of incoming rounds. The altar was not set up nor was the organ used in four of the services.
After the relocation on the night of 17 June, the chaplain joined our companies at the assembly area on Route 17. Stationery was passed out to the men to enable them to write a letter home. A request was made to the Red Cross for toilet articles and this was distributed when it arrived.
In our new position our companies were close together and it was possible to contact all of them in one day. Again services were held in the open as only one company had a bunker large enough to accommodate the men. Chaplain Quinn of the 5th FA Group was able to take care of our Roman Catholic personnel.
On 18 June, the chaplain moved to our rear. It proved to be a good arrangement at this time, as rear was only six miles from our forward position. Also, on 30 June, our casualties were evacuated through the 5th FA Group aid station which was located directly across from our Battalion rear. The chaplain was able to get there in a few minutes to see our men being evacuated. The chaplain found it difficult to visit men in the hospital due to the distance and rapid evacuation which took them farther away from the unit.
During the first ten days of this period medical support of the Battalion was complicated by the wide tactical dispersion of the line companies across the division front. As has been the system used in the past, it was necessary to establish liaison between each separate company and a nearby aid station, either artillery or infantry. In the case of each company, the aid man established such liaison under the direct supervision of the Battalion surgeon. As a result, medical support for A Company was provided by the 424th FA Bn, for B Company by the 1st Bn, 7th Infantry Regiment, and for C Company by the 58th FA Bn. In all cases such arrangement was only for care of emergency cases, and regular morning sick call was held at Battalion aid station at Battalion forward headquarters.
On 11 June the Battalion received orders to move to the sector occupied by the II ROK Corps. Company aid men all moved with their respective companies while the surgeon and aid station section brought up the rear of the convoy. Despite the duration and nature of the convoy, there were no casualties en route.
On the afternoon of 12 June, the Battalion moved into position in support of the 5th ROKA Division. The line companies were located up a narrow ravine close to the MLR while headquarters and the aid station were located at the mouth of the same ravine. In this situation the aid station was able to give direct medical support to all of the companies equally and adequately. The same night there were two SWIA and one LWIA in the company areas by fragments from incoming artillery rounds. Of these, one was evacuated through Korean medical channels since it was more rapid and more gentle than an ambulance trip over the access roads could have been.
13 June was a quiet day with no wounded. Attention was focused on the many problems of sanitation involved in establishing a new area, and the surrounding territory was scoured for other American aid stations. The 176th FA Bn was determined to be the closest American unit, but the distance over steep mountainous roads precluded the idea of direct medical support from this unit. Some supplies were therefore replenished from their stock to carry over in an emergency.
The day of 14 June was again quiet and more attention was paid to sanitation and location of the aid station in a more suitable site. That evening about 2130 it was reported that there were casualties being brought from one of the companies by litter jeep, and all preparations were made for receiving them. The nature of the wounds was not known until the arrival of the men at th aid station. At that time it was quickly ascertained that the men were seriously wounded; in fact, one was dead on arrival and one of the others died shortly after being brought into the station.
From that time on, until the order was given to evacuate the area, there seemed to be a constant flow of casualties into the station. Those seriously wounded were immediately given albumin and other anti-shock treatment, while those slightly wounded were quickly checked and placed in a nearby bunker to await further treatment as time allowed.
Including the before-mentioned cases, there were two men dead on arrival at the aid station and two men who expired shortly after being admitted. In all cases the wounds were incompatible with life under any circumstances. There was also a constant flow of Korean troops past the station and those who were wounded were treated in exactly the same manner as the American troops of our own unit.
When the order to evacuate the area was issued, all wounded men were placed in the unit ambulance in order of the seriousness of their wounds. The vehicle was dispatched near the head of the convoy with at least sixteen wounded men of our command and Korean units. The Battalion surgeon then loaded emergency medical supplies in his jeep and followed the ambulance out.
At a point a few miles from the evacuated site, the ambulance was halted and the wounded were sorted again as to the seriousness of their condition. Those who were only slightly affected were taken off the ambulance and transferred to a passing 2½-ton truck. Both vehicles were then dispatched to carry the men to the closest medical facility available for care and treatment. This later turned out to be the 542nd Cl Pl (Sep), located at Hwachon.
At this point the surgeon and two assistants remained by the side of the road and screened all vehicles passing for wounded men. It was found that a part of the convoy was forming nearer the former position than where they were so they returned a part of the way on the same road to check that section of the unit. No further casualties were found at that time.
Then the surgeon and his assistants once again resumed travel in their usual position at the end of the convoy and maintained this position until the site designated for regrouping was reached. The entire equipment of the aid station had been lost in the action, so a list of supplies was quickly drawn up in the new area. As soon as al men of the medical detachment had been accounted for, the surgeon and two assistants obtained the minimum working stock of emergency supplies from nearby American units. Thus, when the Battalion returned to action the evening of 15 June, an adequate degree of medical supplies was available.
It was soon determined that there was not sufficient spave available at the site selected for forward headquarters for an aid station, so arrangements were made with the close-by 987th FA Bn to use their facilities in case of an emergency. This meant a ride of only a few minutes difference on a litter jeep for any wounded men, and at the same time provided the service of a large bunker, two surgeons and more aid men should there be any large number of casualties. The unit surgeon then moved his aid station to the rear headquarters and set up with the Battalion dentist and medical supply and records section. Routine sick call was held at this place, some seven miles by road from the line companies.
The arrangement with the 987th FA Bn seemed best considering the exposed location of this unit's forward headquarters coupled with the lack of space for treatment of more than one or two casualties at a time. This fact was proven the night of 30 June when an enemy round landed in close proximity to one of the mortar positions in A Company. These men were quickly evacuated by both medical and other personnel of the company at the same time as the surgeon was notified of the incident. He arrived at the aid station of the 987th FA Bn at the same time as the first casualties were brought in and, in conjunction with the surgeon of that unit cared for all men who were injured. In this incident there were 3 SWIA, 3 mod SWIA and 16 LWIA. Ten patients were evacuated through the 5th FAGroup to the 44th Surgical Hospital (MA). One of the SWIA later died of wounds received.
In summary, it may be seen that the medical support of this type of unit offers constantly changing problems. Many times it has become necessary, as during the beginning of this period, to obtain emergency support from other units for the different companies. At some times in the past, when one company has been assigned as area far removed from the rest of the Battalion, the surgeon has traveled with that company to give support, first arranging medical coverage for the remaining part of the unit. Other times, direct support is possible as it was on 14 June. At still other times, as at the close of the period, arrangements with nearby units who are close enough to this Battalion permit a mutual aid program to the benefit of both units. Under such a program, both units receive better emergency care that either unit could have provided alone.
During this period, innumerable wounded allied personnel of the Korean Army have also been cared for by the detachment. Whenever possible, medical transportation has been dispatched to help them as have men and supplies.
During the period 1-12 June, normal supply operations were conducted within the Battalion. The rear echelon and the Battalion supply point were located to the rear of the general area in which the mortar companies were dispersed, slightly to the rear of the most favorable road net over which the units could be supplied. From this position, the two flank companies were approximately the same road distance from the Battalion supply point. No particular supply difficulties were encountered during this period.
On 11 June, the forward elements of the Battalion displaced from their positions in IX Corps sector to positions in the area of the II ROK Corps. This move, which was made on short notice, resulted in a supply line from the rear of the organization to mortar companies of approximately 60 miles.
Plans were immediately started for displacement of the rear echelon to a more advantageous locality from which to supply the organization but, before such plans could be placed in effect, the tactical situation was changed radically by an enemy offensive on the night of 14 June. In the course of this offensive, the organization was overrun by the Communist forces, resulting in the loss of approximately 80 to 90% of the Battalion's organic equipment. As soon as the situation would permit, the forward elements of the organization were placed in a rendezvous in the vicinity of the 5th FA Group, and an immediate inventory of equipment was started.
Contact with the Battalion rear was maintained by the forward element of the Battalion S-4 section by telephone, and arrangements were started for an emergency re-supply of the equipment necessary to place the Battalion in combat operational status again. An officer representative of the Battalion S-4 section departed immediately for Seoul to act as liaison officer between the S-4 section and the technical services involved.
With the rear echelon of the Battalion supply section acting as a central collecting agency to receive and redistribute the equipment as received from the tech service supply points, and with the Battalion S-4 liaison officer keeping in contact with the situation by telephone, a working pipeline system was developed. The Battalion S-4 liaison officer in Seoul took care of the necessary paper work and contacted the tech services concerned with each type of supply, arranged to have it transported to the Battalion supply collecting point, and made any other coordinations found to be necessary as they arose. In this respect, a major amount of valuable help was obtained from the various staff sections of Eighth Army headquarters.
As rapidly as the more urgently needed items of equipment and clothing were obtained by the Battalion liaison officer, they were sent to the Battalion rear supply point in IX Corps sector by truck. These trucks were in part scheduled for issue to the Battalion to replace like items lost to the enemy and in part were from various units in the Seoul vicinity on a loan basis.
In the interim period prior to receipt of the first items of clothing and other types of equipment, the forward representative of the Battalion S-4 section obtained some items such as fire direction equipment, clothing and bedding from elements of the 5th FA Group on a loan basis.
On about 19 June, the Battalion rear echelon started moving up to a more advantageous position in the vicinity of the 5th FA Group by truck shuttle. Before, during and after this move of the rear elements, a constant flow of needed equipment was supplied to the various forward elements.
Typical difficulties encountered during this move were the necessity of determining what items of equipment were most urgently needed, and to maintain accountability for the items as they were put out by the forward section of the Bn S-4 section. Items sent forward included weapons, ammunition, vehicles, rations, clothing and bedding, in that order of priority.
By the evening of 15 June, the Battalion was in position, and during the night fired approximately 800 rounds in support of elements of the 5th FA Group. During this time, the Battalion was at about 50% total on equipment on 15 June, and over 90% complete on equipment by 17 June. Within two weeks, the organization had received practically all of the major items of TO&E, and inventory of equipment on hand could be more thorough, bringing to light and shortages or overages which would make necessary an adjustment of property. Some overages resulted from the rapidity with which items were obtained, and some shortages as a result of the necessity for priority on combat items in view of the tactical situation. The shortages are being adjusted at the present time.
Supply points for the various supply items are as follows:
1-23 June: Engineer supplies at Engineer Supply Point #4 located at Uijongbu; Quartermaster class I and III supplies at Kaiser QM Supply Point located on Route 124 near Chip'o-ri, class II and IV at 443rd QM Supply Point located at Seoul and Yungdong-Po, QM salvage at Service Center #4 located at Songa-ri; Ordnance supplies at 21st Ordnance MM Co (DS) located on Route 3 near Chip'a-ri; Signal supplies at Eighth Army Main Signal Depot located at Yungdong-Po.
23-30 June: Engineer supplies at Engineer Supply Point #2 located at KaPyong; Quartermaster class I and III supplies at QM Supply Point #38 located on Route 17 near Hwachon, class II and IV at 443rd QM Supply Point located at Seoul and Yungdong-Po, QM salvage at Supply Salvage, 58th QM Salvage Company located at Chunchon; Ordnance supplies at 7th Ordnance Company (Direct Support) located on Route 17 near Hwachon; Signal non-expendable supplies at Eighth Army Main Signal Depot located at Yungdong-Po, expendable supplies at Eighth Army Signal Supply Point #2 located at Chunchon.
The tactical employment during the month of June presented a variety of problems pertaining to communications. The first part of the period found the Battalion spread over a wide area supporting the 3rd Infantry Division. In this situation, wire lines from Battalion Operations to each of the companies ran for distances of 10, 3 and 5 miles respectively. In this sector, the IX Corps SOP required all lines to be neatly cabled. Since the enemy H&I program was comparatively light, Battalion Operations to the companies stayed in fairly well.
The only exception was on the night of 10-11 June when the enemy threw a regimental-size attack against Outpost Harry. C Company of this Battalion was supporting this sector and, on this occasion, the cable (approximately 3 inches in diameter) containing the two lines from Battalion Hq to C Company was cut in five places by enemy artillery.
The following morning found wire crews from almost every supporting artillery or administrative unit in the area grouped along a section of cable about 800 yards long, trying to match cable ends. The break was repaired in our case by splicing in to the two extreme ends of the cable and bypassing the shelled area. This experience taught us a lesson which we put to good use later in the period.
In the field of radio communication, it was necessary to use AN/GRC-9 radios for the command net. Baker Company, located behind the Fishhook (Boomerang), was the only company that could be reached from Battalion Operations by AN/PRC-10 or 608 radios. Due to the tactical situation that required each company to fire individual units and to the general excellence of wire communications, it was never necessary to use radio to transmit fire commands. This could easily have been done however, as regular radio checks found all companies loud and clear on 2075KC.
On 11 June, the Battalion moved to CT9543 in support of the 5th ROK Division. This region was characterized by very high mountains and steep, narrow gorges. The companies were emplaced in two of these gorges with Battalion Operations located generally at the base of the "V" where these valleys came together. Despite the high mountains, it was possible to maintain contact with all of the companies and most of the OPs with FM radios because of the short distances up on the hillsides. The inadvisability of cabling land lines forward of Battalion forward was again brought to the attention of the Battalion communications section and everyone concerned. Enemy artillery was massed quite heavily in this area and the roads leading to the companies from Battalion headquarters were under periodic shelling. Wire crews were instructed to lay lines a minimum of 10 feet apart so that one round would not cut two lines. In this way, a broken line could usually be repaired before the alternate line went out. Realizing the importance of communications, the headquarters wire section was augmented by personnel from other staff sections at this critical time. The section was doubled in strength and every man utilized. Except for very short periods of time, continuous wire communication with the companies was maintained until 2300 hours on the night of 14 June when the Chinese breached the MLR and the Battalion received the order to withdraw.
Wire crews at both battalion and company level displayed great personal courage and attention to duty in willingly leaving relatively safe dug-in positions and moving up and down the two narrow gorges under constant enemy artillery and mortar fire while repairing lines. When the main Chinese attack came, one of the first artillery rounds to come in scored a direct hit upon the Baker Company switchboard, killing three men and wrecking the switchboard. A new BD-71 was immediately rushed forward from Battalion. The vehicle carrying this switchboard had to pull of the road approximately 400 yards from Company B, and it was necessary to carry by hand the BD-71the rest of the way because the vast number of South Koreans streaming down the road made vehicular travel impossible. This switchboard was set up and in operation before the order to withdraw was received.
Radio communication was satisfactory but was hampered at times by friendly ROK forces who were using the same channel.
The KMAG advisors operating with the 26th and 27th ROK regiments in this area introduced the Battalion to a system that has considerable merit and is now SOP within this unit. It can best be described as a conference call system. All artillery OPs, liaison officers and regimental headquarters were connected by one line. This functioned more or less as a general information line. Whenever an OP saw significant activity, it was immediately broadcast over the conference call and everyone received the information. Intelligence from higher headquarters was likewise transmitted over this line.
It was because of this that the Battalion received such an early warning of the Chinese attack and immediately commenced defensive fires. Over this same line came the order from higher headquarters to withdraw, which would probably have been delayed if it had gone through normal channels and might have caused unnecessary casualties within the battalion. Upon moving to the 8th ROK sector, the battalion immediately set up the system presently in use.
All company FDCs were connected to a single EE-8 at Battalion FDC. This constituted a conference call system and fire missions could be transmitted to any one company or to all companies simultaneously. Company FDCs maintained a 24 hour standby on this line. Should any of the conference lines go out, any one of the other three lines to each of the companies could be routed through this single telephone and the conference call would be maintained.
The four lines to each of the companies were not cabled and the FDC lines were kept at least ten feet apart. Able Company, the only exception, had their two FDC lines overhead across a small valley. Due to the length of the overhead, it was considered advisable to run the lines together for added strength. This system of laying wire has proven both flexible and rapid, and seems to be the most dependable system utilized by the battalion so far.
Direct radio contact with the companies from battalion operations with FM radios was impossible in this situation despite the short distances involved. A large, high hill mass effectively blocked off all line-of-site communication. However, by installing a PRC-10 radio and a remote control unit on top of this hill mass, all companies and all OPs could be read loud and clear. This remote unit allowed personnel in the battalion FDC to operate the radio directly from the fire direction board, which proved very satisfactory and convenient.
During the stable tactical situation at the beginning of the period, all vehicles in the battalion received regular preventive maintenance. Weekly and monthly maintenance was performed by each company, while the battalion motor maintenance section performed all semi-annual inspections. This program was not interrupted by short local moves made during the first ten days of the month.
On 11 June, the Battalion received orders to move from IX Corps to the II ROK Corps sector. On this move the battalion convoy was organized with each of the companies making up a serial. The battalion maintenance section followed the convoy with the wrecker and towed in the breakdowns. The extremely mountainous nature of the route caused several engine failures in the ammunition trucks.
When the battalion arrived in position in the 5th ROK Div sector, mortar companies set up their own motor pools. The battalion maintenance section set up a shop with equipment and spare parts which had been brought along on the convoy. Initially this equipment was sufficient to keep the vehicles on the road until additional supplies were obtained from the supporting ordnance company. Whenever conditions permitted, vehicles were inspected, greased and refueled on the road by company drivers and mechanics.
On 14 June, the CCF launched a heavy attack. During this action, enemy artillery fire knocked out many of the battalion vehicles and others were lost because of the rapid adverse development of the tactical situation. However, the battalion was back in action the next day and hasty repairs were effected on vehicles which had suffered lesser damage from enemy action. When new vehicles were issued, the battalion maintenance section processed them prior to their being issued to the companies, in accordance with battalion policy.
When the battalion was again committed close behind the MLR, only ten vehicles per company were kept in the company forward areas. The remainder were kept in company motor pools at battalion rear where company mechanics and drivers maintained them under supervision of the battalion motor officer. Vehicles in the forward areas were systematically rotated to the rear in order that scheduled maintenance could be performed.
The tactical situation gave rise to many problems. Drivers of the battalion ammunition train had to relieved in emergencies by members of the battalion motor maintenance section, clerks and even cooks. Time was not available to train replacement drivers during the critical period, nor could vehicles be spared for the purpose. The emphasis on preventive maintenance paid off well during the move frolm IX Corps to II ROK Corps. Of 160 vehicles which made this 80-mile move, one was involved in an accident, two 2½-ton trucks burned out connecting rods, and another 2½-ton truck broke a trunnion axle. These breakdowns, however, were caused by pulling heavy loads over steep mountain passes, rather than by neglect of maintenance. Breakdowns which occurred during these tactical movements were either repaired on the spot by mechanics accompanying each serial or evacuated to the nearest ordnance by the wrecker following the convoy.
The new trucks, ¼-ton M38A1, performed very well even under difficult road conditions. Modifications prescribed by ordnance were effected on tire brackets, battery carriers and hold-down brackets. All new vehicles had loose backing plate bolts when delivered. In all instances, the star lock washers were inadequate to lock the nut of these backing plate bolts and had to be replaced with regular lock washers. Also spark plugs gave some trouble because of the carbon resistor installed in them. Battalion mechanics substituted a brass rod for this resistor with satisfactory results.
Spare parts for new vehicles were difficult to obtain since they were in critical supply even in ordnance depots. Cannibilization of wrecked vehicles was prohibited.
Vehicle casualties for the month June were as follows: ¼-ton trucks 43, ¾-ton trucks WWII 8, 2½-ton trucks 3, ¼-ton trailers 75, 1-ton trailers 18.
Section II - Commander's Recommendations[These are recommended changes to TO&E 7-45, 26 Sep 52, with the extensive tabular data omitted.]
1. Proposed augmentation in Operations, Fire Direction and Survey personnel and equipment.
During active combat phases it has been necessary to augment the fire direction center of the infantry heavy mortar battalion with more personnel than are authorized under the present TO&E. Present authorization does not provide enough personnel to man an FDC on a 24 hour basis and carry on normal operations.
With the addition of another officer, assistant S-3, there would be sufficient officer personnel in the section to provide an officer at the plotting board supervising fire missions day and night, and also permit one S-3 to be available for normal plans and operations work daily. An officer on duty at the FDC is completely occupied with fire missions, following the tactical situation, coordination of fire plans with artillery units, supervising plotting of no-fire lines, maintaining ammunition expenditure records, and many other related duties.
If the S-2 and S-3 are inflexibly tied to these duties, the reconnaissance and survey, target finding functions, supervision of observation posts, supervision of training, planning of movements, preparation of routine reports, and proper staff supervision of battalion operations are not properly carried out. During heavy fighting two or even three officers are needed in the battalion FDC, but with two assistant S-3s, the S-2 and S-3 are relieved to a great extent for performance of their normal staff functions.
Two additional radio-telephone operators are proposed for the battalion FDC. For over a year it has been the practice to maintain a switchboard, held by the battalion on a letter of special authorization, in the FDC. This switchboard is in addition to that allowed Bn Hq on the current TO&E. The currently allowed switchboard is used for routine and administrative calls in the battalion with higher headquarters and adjacent units. The additional switchboard in the FDC is used solely for battalion fire direction. Lines come into this board from the mortar company FDCs, supported infantry units, direct support FA battalions, division and corp FSCCs. Since it is maintained at the FDC, two additional radio-telephone operators are needed to keep the fire direction radios and fire direction switchboard manned on a 24 hour basis.
The four additional personnel in the survey section are necessary to enable the section to handle the workload when war of movement demands repeated surveys. The displacement of only one mortar company requires a position survey of each platoon, making the job load for one company survey practically the equivalent of a battalion survey in the field artillery. Yet the present battalion survey section is smaller than that of a FA battalion. Further, the mortar battalion has been required to displace more often than other supporting units of similar nature. Hence, it is believed that the recommended addition of two survey instrument men and two rodmen/tapemen to the battalion survey section furnishes the minimum personnel for efficient operation.
The headquarters clerk recommended is needed to prepare and maintain operations and training records and schedules, to type communication, intelligence and daily unit reports, the FDC log, command reports and routine correspondence. These tasks in the battalion operations and fire direction as presently organized are handled by withdrawing a man with typing experience from some other section on a full time basis a very unsatisfactory arrangement.
The mortar battalion Operations, Fire Direction and Survey section operates with three vehicles: two ¼-ton trucks and one ¾-ton truck. Only one light truck driver is authorized on the current TO&E. Members of the section assigned to other primary duties are to drive the other two vehicles. It has been found that constant use of these vehicles precludes the driver from performing another primary duty if the vehicle is to be properly maintained. Hence an additional light truck driver is recommended for the section to provided for maintenance of these vehicles and their ready availability for messenger and administrative errands.
The recommended changes in weapons provided carbines for each additional member of the section, with the exception of the additional driver who should be armed with a submachine gun, M3A1.
Also recommended are an additional survey set and 50 foot steel tape. With this equipment, the proposed augmented battalion survey section can operate as two survey teams.
The power telephone, TP-9, is recommended for battalion FDC because of the frequent wide dispersion of mortar companies from battalion forward headquarters. The EE-8 telephone is frequently insufficient for telephone communication between battalion and one or more of the companies. Further, distance between the battalion FDC and division or corps FSCCs is normally so great that a power telephone is necessary for adequate land line communication. The shouted repetitions of fire mission data, and too frequent misunderstandings, greatly reduce the efficiency of a fire direction circuit.
The need for the SB-22/PT switchboard has already been discussed in the paragraph dealing with the proposed addition of two radio-telephone operators. The battalion has been employing an FDC switchboard held on letter of special authorization for over a year. It is believed that combat experience has proved this switchboard absolutely essential to the operation of a heavy mortar battalion FDC. When fire missions mujst be routed through the battalion headquarters switchboard, the operator must be called repeatedly on fire missions, and the board and operator become tied up with fire mission adjustments. When the FDC has its own switchboard, the fire direction lines can be left open and the operator, being present in the FDC, can anticipate calls, keep track of the tactical situation and pass on information as needed. Also, the battalion headquarters switchboard is the left free for routine administrative calls and less urgent calls of all types.
2. Proposed augmentation in Motor and Supply Sections.
The heavy mortar battalion has 163 trucks and 154 trailers, a total of 317 vehicles. The maintenance supervision of this number of vehicles, particularly when the battalion is widely dispersed, is too much of a workload for one officer. A mortar battalion has no service company and the motor officer must supervise all battalion maintenance and records, and attempt to handle battalion road movements as well.
The assistant S-4 is needed principally to handle the ammunition supply problems. The mortar battalion faces many problems arising from its high ammunition consumption rate during heavy combat. Further, when the battalion is moving during battle, an officer must be on the road constantly to guarantee a steady ammunition supply. In carrying out this last task, the assistant S-4 is also able to supervise the movement of battalion supplies to the forward elements, a very necessary function in a fluid situation.
3. Smoke and illuminating shell
In recent combat operations the battalion has fired many smoke missions. While the pillaring effect of WP as proven excellent for blocking enemy observation from points of eminence, certain screening missions , such as covering withdrawal of patrols or evacuation of wounded from the battlefield, could be accomplished better with HC or FS shell. Also, the battalion receives many requests for illumination. Because of the speed with which a mortar unit can respond to such requests, it is felt that it would be profitable to make illuminating shells available again as part of the normal ammunition supply.
4. Medical Detachment
Due to experience in the past, it has been deemed necessary to have at least one aid man present in each firing platoon. This is evidenced by the fact that under certain circumstances firing platoons in a given company are separated sometimes as much as 200 yards. During a period of heavy incoming enemy fire and consequently a period of heavy casualties sustained by the unit, one aid man cannot efficiently serve more than one platoon. The proposed changes would provide one aid man per firing platoon, two men to work the battalion forward aid station, and two men to support the detachment from the rear aid station (supply and records section).
Experience gained during the preceding months indicate that definite changes are needed in the communication section if this battalion is to effectively fulfill its mission. As a mobile, highly flexible unit possessing tremendous fire power, this unit has been called upon time and again to move at very short notice over a considerable distance to support a portion of the MLR against anticipated enemy attacks. This has necessitated moving into a strange area, often at night, laying double and triple lines to the companies and adjacent artillery units, and often to higher headquarters, and being ready to fire the same night. When this threat has disappeared or a more critical threat materializes, the battalion is alerted by higher headquarters to move, usually with not more than one half day's notice, and the process is repeated.
Since March, the battalion moved on an average of twice a month. During the month of June, the battalion laid 200 miles of wire but, due to lack of personnel, equipment and time, was able to salvage very little of this wire. The reasons for using this quantity of wire are obvious when it is considered that the battalion has approximately the same line commitments as a light field artillery battalion with one fourth of the wire section personnel and moves much more frequently than the average FA battalion. The fact that this unit generally operated much closer to the MLR and receives a correspondingly greater amount of enemy fire means that considerably more wire is necessary to maintain communications.
[Extensive tabular data omitted here.]
Inasmuch as the mission of this organization is similar in most respects to a non-divisional light field artillery battalion, TO&E SRC 06125-220 has been proposed almost verbatim for the communications, survey and S-3 sections of this organization. However certain changes in this TO&E have been made necessary primarily by differences in the method of employment. This battalion normally operates very close to the MLR to make maximum utilization of the range available in the M30 mortar. Because of this close proximity to the MLR, this battalion is subjected to considerably more enemy artillery and mortar fire than a field artillery battalion which is located a proportionally greater distance to the rear. As a result, wire communication is correspondly more difficult to maintain.
Because of the tremendous fire capabilities of this unit, higher headquarters has often assigned this battalion the mission normally assigned a regimental heavy mortar company. That is, the battalion is separated into its component companies with each company assigned a mission of direct support to an infantry regiment. In this situation, the battalion no longer possesses the ability to mass its fire. The companies are located at such a distance from battalion operations that communications become very difficult to maintain. These considerations have been the basis for recommending the following changes to TO&E SRC 06125-220.
Radio set SCR-499 is proposed in lieu of radio set SCR- 193. The primary reason for this change is to provide for the situation mentioned above, that is each company in a direct support role at considerable distances from battalion operations. It is felt, in the interest of mobility, that reliable radio communication by voice radio should be possible between all companies and battalion operations using whip antennas.
Due primarily to mountainous terrain, FM radios will not meet the requirements. Radio set AN/GRC-9 will not meet the requirement of reliability although it is superior to the FM sets in mountainous terrain. The primary reason for the unsuitability of the AN/GRC-9 radio lies in its low power output (7.5 watts on voice) coupled with the low transmission efficiency of the vertical whip antenna. It is obvious that, using the whip antenna as a constant, the reliable range of voice radio will be increased only by increasing transmitter power and/or receiver sensitivity. Experience gained by the battalion communication section in IX Corps, I Corps and 2nd ROK Corps nets has indicated that the SCR-193 radios are not reliable means of voice radio contact with corps headquarters when using a whip antenna. In our experience, it has never been possible to contact corps artillery using AN/GRC-9 radios on voiced and with a whip antenna. In all cases, it has been necessary to use long wire or double antennas to reach corps, and this has not proven entirely reliable in voice operation.
Despite the increased bulk of the SCR-499 radio over the SCR-193 radio, in the interest of increased reliability and increased range under the poor conditions that must be expected in a moving combat situation, the SCR-499 radio is strongly recommended over the SCR-193 radio. Sufficient personnel and vehicles will be available under the new TO&E to transport and operate this equipment.
Telephone central office set TC-12 is proposed in lieu of two SB-22/PT switchboards. This battalion is currently operating under a TO&E providing for one SB-22/PT per company. This allowance is far below the number normally required even in a combat situation. The artillery TO&E of ten SB-22/PT switchboards more nearly fits the needs of this organization. TO&E 6-126 provides three SB-22/PTs for Hq & Hq Battery. It is proposed that telephone central office set TC-12 be issued in lieu of two of the SB-22s. This would provide one SB-22/PT for the S-3 section and the TC-12 to be used for all normal administrative traffic within the battalion.
This change is proposed primarily in the interest of reliability. The has only recently drawn the new SB-22/PT boards and has had little experience with them. In talking with the battalion communications officer of every other battalion in IX Corps, it has been found that battalions have experienced trouble with from one to seven of their ten boards, One of the four boards issued this battalion came packed minus the battery case. This case has yet to be replaced and it is understood that the replacement parts are very hard to obtain.
It is felt that telephone central office set TC-12 will prove much more dependable and rugged as well as faster due to its provision for power ringing by batteries within the set. Sufficient switchboard operators are currently assigned this battalion to properly operate and maintain this equipment. Personnel in this organization who received their training in the States are all familiar with the BD-91 switchboard.
The TP-9 power telephones, obtained some time previously on a letter of special authorization, proved extremely useful to the S-3 and S-4 sections during the period of reorganization and regrouping. The one in use at battalion forward proved invaluable in maintaining contact with higher headquarters while the TP-9 at battalion rear was used repeatedly between the S-4 section and the EIGHTH ARMY in Seoul. It is recommended that five TP-9 telephones be included in the battalion TO&E. One each in the S-1, S-3 and S-4 sections. One in the CP and one to be assigned to Hq Co but to be used by the company most distant from battalion headquarters.
Section I - Significant Unit Activities 1. Introduction 2. Narrative of Tactical Operations 3. Movements 4. Training 5. Intelligence 6. Personnel 7. Chaplain 8. Medical 9. Supply 10. Communications
Section II - Commander's Recommendations 1. Augmentation of Hq Co Kitchen 2. Typewriter for Bn forward headquarters 3. Additional liaison officers 4. Augmentation of battalion maintenance section 5. Proposed T/O&E for mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion
Section I - Significant Unit Activities
The month of July was a period of strenuous combat activity for the 461st Infantry Battalion (Heavy Mortar). During the 27 days preceding the signing of the Cease Fire agreement, the Battalion was committed successively in support of the 8th, 3rd, 6th, 11th and 7th ROK Divisions in the II ROK sector. On only one day of the 27 did the Battalion operate without the hazard of incoming artillery fire.
The first days of July found the Battalion located in the vicinity of Chipsil-Li, Korea, committed in heavy fighting for Hill 690 (CT 872491) at the southwest end of Finger Ridge in the 8th ROK Division sector. Able Company was located at CT 872456, Baker Company at CT 878451, Charlie Company at CT 870454, Battalion forward at CT 872444, Battalion rear at CT 829398.
At this time the Battalion had fairly well recovered from personnel and equipment losses it had suffered when overrun by the CCF in the Pukhan River valley on June 14. No one foresaw at this time that the Battalion would find itself in similar circumstances again on July 14, thirty days to the day from the June action. For during the massive CCF Kumsong Bulge offensive in mid July, all Battalion positions, including that of Battalion rear, were overrun and, in supporting the subsequent friendly counterattack, Battalion had to overcome the handicap of severe losses in personnel and equipment.
After the impetus of the Chinese assault had been checked, the Battalion followed the friendly counterattack, giving continuous close support by leap frogging mortar companies forward.
During the latter part of the month, counter battery and counter mortar fire was accurate and intense, but all forward elements of the Battalion kept casualties down by pushing a vigorous digging program during their advance.
Two noteworthy events occurred during the month of July. During the night of 31 June and 1 July, the Battalion fired the 100,000th round since the re-designation of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion as the 461st Infantry Battalion (Heavy Mortar) on 22 January 1953. Also on 18 July, the Battalion spent its 1000th consecutive day in combat, the Battalion never having been withdrawn from battle since it was first committed in the vicinity of Pyongyang on 23 October 1950.
2. Narrative of Tactical Operations
The month began with the Battalion engaged in heavy firing in defense of Hill 690 at the southwest end of the massive and dominating hill called Finger Ridge. At 0310 on the morning of 1 July, CCF forces captured Hill 690 and the Battalion began firing directly on the hill. During this battle, ROK infantry units requested the Battalion to provide illumination time and time again. These request were relayed by the Battalion FDC to adjacent artillery units and, when there was delay, an attempt was made to furnish temporary illumination by firing WP rounds from the Battalion's own mortars. Over 5000 rounds were expended by the organization in this fight.
At about 2145 hours on 1 July, a friendly counterattack supported by Battalion fire successfully retook Hill 690. On this same day, 5th FA Group, acting as corps artillery for the II ROK Corps, ordered the Battalion to place Baker Company in direct support of the 3rd ROK Division defending the west bank of the Pukhan River on the western shoulder of the Pukhan Bulge. The Battalion minus was to continue to support the 8th ROK Division. All companies were subjected to enemy shelling during the first two days of the month, and reports were received on 2 July of an enemy buildup supposedly in preparation for a July 4th attack on Hill 765 (CT 859487) and Hill 770 (CT 848487).
Early on the morning of 3 July, Lt Hitte, Baker Company observer on OP 176, began calling for defensive fires in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain (Hill 529, CT 906458), the same terrain feature which had changed hands so many times during the month of June. At 0552, the enemy swarmed successfully over the crest of Lookout Mountain and this time no friendly counterattack was able to drive them off.
At 0610, the Battalion fired smoke to screen a friendly counterattack, an unsuccessful effort to retake Lookout Mountain. During the afternoon and evening incoming enemy artillery and the sighting of an unusual number of enemy vehicle headlights by friendly OPs led to reports of an expected enemy attack from the northwest. This attack did not develop nor did the enemy attacks predicted for July 4th materialize.
For the next three days the tactical situation was relatively quiet though enemy incoming artillery fell sporadically in the Battalion area. At this time an effort was made in compliance with directives of 5th FA Group to avoid Battalion involvement in H&I programs and fire missions of lesser urgency. The objectives of the restriction were conservation of mortar ammunition in short supply at this time, and attempted concealment of the mortar fire power concentrated in the area.
On 8 July, the Battalion received orders assigning Charlie Company in direct support of the 6th ROK Division, and the company moved into position at Hagogae (CT 769485), some 10 miles to the northwest, late at night.
All during the afternoon of 10 July, the enemy smoked the valley to the rear of Hill 647 (CT860497) and west of Finger Ridge. It was not determined until a later date what this presaged, However, enemy harassing and interdictory fire into the Battalion area was particularly heavy that night and fell at least every half hour in the Battalion FDC position until dawn. Also enemy probes hit seven different outposts in the Battalion sector of fire during the night.
Throughout the day of 11 July, enemy shelling of the entire area occupied by the Battalion was steady though not as heavy as it had been the previous night. The shellings received during these days presented problems to Battalion communications personnel, since the enemy barrages inevitably knocked out some wire lines. Only by laying multiple line between each station, and by keeping wire crews on the road almost constantly, was telephone communication maintained. Repair or relaying of wire to OPs was especially difficult since heavy enemy fire directed against the OPs frequently pinned down wire crews, caught in the open on the reverse slopes of the OPs for an hour or more at a time. Individual wire men displayed commendable valor on many occasions in performing their very essential tasks.
Early in the morning of 12 July, the Battalion was advised through liaison channels that Eighth Army G2 was expecting an attack in our sector. This seemed to be borne out by continuous enemy probing attacks up to battalion size, and also constant reports from ROK intelligence sources that POWs were revealing an enemy buildup.
Between 1800 hours on 11 July and 0600 hours on 12 July, the Battalion fired a total of 611 rounds. Thus reflected the conflict of urgent fire requests with the effort to restrain ammunition expenditures. During the remainder of this day, enemy incoming artillery and mortar fire landed sporadically in the Battalion area.
At approximately 1115 hours on 13 July, Charlie Company displaced from the vicinity of Hagogae, northeast to Kongsuri (CT 819484). The Battalion ammunition train had to employ all its trucks to assist Charlie Company in moving its ammunition and, because of the distances involved, was occupied the entire day in this task.
Around 1530 hours, the enemy began an increase in shelling of the entire sector where the Battalion and its companies were deployed, The OPs along the MLR were especially hard hit. Lt Behnke reported two apertures caved in at Able Company OP on Hill 765 (CT 859487), and Lt Woodson of Baker Company was given permission by the Battalion FDC to change his location when the shelling let up enough for him to do so.
At 1730 hours, Baker Company was engaged in heavy firing in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain. By 1915 hours, both Able and Baker companies were firing steadily on numerous enemy troop concentrations. Two of the Battalion OPs received direct hits at approximately 2200 hours, and all communication with them was broken.
At 2210 hours, the enemy began directing heavy concentrations directly on the positions of Able and Baker companies and the Battalion FDC and forward CP. Baker Company was thoroughly raked with enemy mortar and artillery rounds which set one ammunition pile on fire, and Capt Wance, company commander, was killed while inspecting his gun pits for casualties and damage. Lt Shepherd of Baker Company also suffered severe wounds at this time.
Shelling of the Battalion Forward CP and FDC location was so intense that all personnel not actually employed in essential tasks had to be ordered into fox holes to prevent further casualties, three men having been wounded by the initial concentration. When contact with Baker Company was restored, the Battalion CO informed Lt Marmorstein that he was to assume command of the company. About this time, shells were landing even back at the Battalion rear, the location of the Battalion's administrative and logistical echelons.
By 2215 hours, approximately two enemy battalions were attacking the friendly MLR just west of Hill 690 and Finger Ridge (8649 grid) and, at 2225 hours, Lt Behnke, FO on Hill 765, called for all available fire on the enemy attacking formations in front of him. Able Company took these targets under fire in spite of intense enemy incoming mortar and artillery fire which already had inflicted twelve casualties among the gun crews. Several of the wounded mortar men refused evacuation while they were so urgently needed.
At 2245 hours, Able Company was firing maximum rate of fire against enemy troops attacking south from Hill 690 in the 8th ROK Division sector, while Baker Company was firing maximum rate of fire against the enemy attacking west from Lookout Mountain in the 3rd ROK Division sector.
Because of the enemy shelling of all Battalion positions, the wire crews were augmented with kitchen personnel, drivers and even Battalion FDC personnel, in order to keep land lines repaired.
At 2320 a message was sent to Charlie Company in the 6th ROK Division sector to return the Battalion surgeon to Battalion headquarters if Charlie Company was not heavily engaged. However, it was learned that a strong enemy attack was mounting against the 6th ROK Division also and Charlie Company, suffering casualties and having no other medical support, required the services of the surgeon. The wounded of Able and Baker Companies accordingly were evacuated to the 987th U.S. FA Battalion aid station (CT 864430) where a surgeon was on duty.
By 2340 hours, both Able and Baker Companies were reporting that ROK infantry were drifting back through their positions. The ROK military police at the road junction (CT 874449) behind Able and Baker Company positions had checked and were holding some 300 to 400 ROK infantrymen at that point.
Communications with Charlie Company had become impossible by this time because land line contact was indirect and passed through many switchboards which were now swamped with urgent operational calls and fire requests. Radio channels were jammed with both friendly and enemy traffic. However, it was later learned that Charlie Company was firing maximum rate of fire in response to ROK infantry fire requests, even as were Able and Baker Companies. The Battalion ammunition train had now returned from Charlie Company and was on the way forward to Able and Baker Companies with a resupply of ammunition.
At 2351 hours, Lt Behnke on Hill 765 reported that the Chinese were on his position and, after transmitting the fire request "VT on me," communications were severed.
While the force of the enemy attack in the immediate area seemed to lessen at around 0030 hours, 14 July, and the incoming artillery and mortar fire had slackened considerably, it soon developed that the enemy was merely regrouping and preparing to continue. By 0050, an enemy battalion was attacking up the slopes of Hill 485 (CT 889463). Also, Lt Dubie of Able Company, observer on OP 167 (CT 873483), reported that the CCF were swarming up the hill and that the enlisted man with him had been wounded.
At about 0100, a direct hit set a ROK ammunition truck on fire right in the Baker Company position, and the secondary explosions ignited other ammunition in the area. Land lines were out between Baker Company and Battalion FDC at this time and the difficulties in radio transmission and reception resulted in a radio message being misunderstood by Baker Company as an order to displace to an alternate position. The Battalion commander went forward in his jeep to direct the company back into the forward area.
Lt Marmorstein, Baker Company commander, had his mortars again firing maximum rate b y 0140 hours, despite the blazing ammunition fires in the area and the continued heavy enemy shelling. This resumption of firing by Baker Company under these circumstances required marked bravery on the part of all personnel.
Shortly after Baker Company had resumed firing, the adverse development of the tactical situation and the uncertainty as to the exact location of the MLR made it necessary for both Able and Baker Companies to send out strong outguards for their own protection.
At about 0200 hours, Lt Dubie of Able Company reported enemy troops in the friendly trenches west of his OP (CT 873483), stating that the friendly infantry was withdrawing and his position was untenable. He was given permission to withdraw.
An hour later, word was received by Battalion, through its liaison officer at 11th ROK FA Group, that the attack extended all across the II ROK Corps front and into the sector of Capitol ROK Division in the IX U.S. Corps area. It was also learned that the CCF had made a major penetration of the MLR along the boundary between the 6th and 8th ROK Divisions, and had reached the banks of the Kumsong River (CT 850463).
Baker Company reported three more casualties at 0322 hours and six minutes later informed Battalion that c ombat patrol from the company had found about 600 ROKs assembled on the road 800 yards east of the Baker Company area. It was learned that these troops had withdrawn from the MLR and that their former positions were in enemy hands. Also it was reported that the heavy mortar company of the 3rd ROK Division had been surrounded in their position about a mile southeast of Baker Company.
At 0337 hours, Charlie company reported their casualties as three seriously wounded, four slightly wounded and three missing in action. Lt Cox and two enlisted men with him had been cut off on their OP by the attacking Chinese.
Between 0400 and 0530 hours, the situation along the MLR was very confused. It appeared at this time as though the 8th ROK Division had checked, at least temporarily, the enemy attack from the Finger Ridge complex to the north. However, reports indicated that the main battle positions of the 3rd ROK Division to the right flank had been completely overrun. This was borne out at 0605 hours when Baker Company began receiving small arms fire from the ridges to the east and northeast, and the Baker Company outguard became engaged in a fire fight with enemy forces advancing from the right. By 0637, Able and Baker Companies were firing with maximum charge in support of the ROK 18th Regiment attempting to stem the CCF advance from the vicinity of Hill 485. In another 30 minutes, troops from the ROK 18th Regiment with their supporting tanks were falling back through Baker Company position, their withdrawal threatened by the advance of the enemy force which was firing on the Baker Company outguard.
These latest developments were reported to 5th FA Group, and Baker Company was ordered to set up in alternate positions in the vicinity of Battalion FDC, while Able Company was ordered to prepare to move but to keep firing their mortars while doing so. However, by this time the CCF attack had driven in Baker Company's outguard and the many ammunition fires in the area were making the salvage of equipment impossible. While many of the mortar men engaged the enemy in a small arms fire fight to slow up their advance, the remainder saved what vehicles they could, and the company then withdrew to the vicinity of the Battalion FDC.
Although Able Company was also ordered out of position at this time, the Chinese were already attacking the road junction (CT 874449) behind Able and Baker company positions before Able Company finished loading its mortars on its vehicles. Unable to use the only possible vehicle route out of their position, the mortar men of Able Company began to destroy their vehicles and equipment rather than have it fall into the hands of the enemy. When this job was completed, Capt Hallinan, Able Company commander, had his outguard disengaged from the small arms fire fight and led his men out of the blazing position over the ridge lines to the southwest. In spite of enemy artillery and small arms fire, Able Company lost only one man during this march.
During the previous two weeks, fifty percent of the Battalion vehicles had been held back at Battalion rear to facilitate maintenance but principally to avoid excessive vehicle losses in the heavily shelled forward areas. At 0720 hours, these vehicles arrived at Battalion forward in spite of the jam of traffic now proceeding south on Highway 17. By now the attacking CCF were advancing along the high ground on both sides of the valley in which the Battalion forward elements were located, and the order was received to displace back to Pamsong-gol (CT 854417).
This move was effected without any losses. Word having been received at 0930 hours that Able Company was coming off of Hill 414 (CT 857436), the vehicles belonging to Able Company were placed under the command of an officer and sent forward to try to pick up Capt Hallinan and his men. At about this same time, Charlie Company came out of Artillery Valley (the low ground west of the Pumsong River in the 8442 and 8443 grid squares) with elements of the withdrawing 6th ROK Division.
When Able Company vehicles returned loaded with the exhausted officers and mortar men of Able Company, an accounting of Battalion casualties and equipment losses was made.
The Battalion was ordered at about 1200 hours to set up in firing positions in the location (8341 grid square) of the 6th ROK Division headquarters which was displacing. The Battalion complied with this order and was in position ready to fire at 1600. However, by now the tactical situation had become so fluid that it was impossible to trace an MLR, and the Battalion forward observers could not get enough definite information at this time to successfully employ the Battalion fire power.
Direct observation of tactical developments was difficult also because of the rugged nature of the terrain and oncoming darkness. Enemy artillery was falling with regularity again in the entire area of the Battalion positions, and the Battalion rear had to be moved back. Because of the employment of all available transportation for ammunition resupply, a great quantity of supplies and equipment had to be left behind in this relocation of the Battalion rear. Before trucks were available to finish moving this equipment, the entire Battalion had been forced back again and the CCF had overrun the area. All the rfest of the night it rained heavily, seriously impairing movement and establishment of new positions.
During the next 36 hours, the Chinese attack slowly lost momentum. By early morning of 16 July, the Battalion was in position south of the mountain pass in the vicinity of Chuparyong (8335 grid square) and was receiving resupply of some of the most critical items of equipment.
At 0530 hours, 16 July, the Battalion commander led the companies and Battalion forward to support the counterattack of the ROK 13th Regiment, and by 0830 the Battalion was shooting from positions on either side of the Chupari crossroad (CT 829384). As of 1530 hours that same afternoon, the same 13th ROK Regiment, assisted by tanks, had advanced approximately 3000 yards to the north along both sides of Highway 17, and the Battalion had fired over 2500 rounds in support of this effort.
At this time, the Battalion forward observers operated in jeeps accompanying the attacking echelons. On the right flank, the CCF were still well south of Chupari and, for the next two days, this flank presented a serious threat to the friendly counterattack. Consequently, during this period the Battalion was compelled to protect itself with patrols and outguards.
This same night, the enemy began a heavy and accurate shelling of the Chupari crossroad. This shelling cut land line communication with all units to the rear and effectively interdicted the pass south of the Battalion positions, temporarily stopping all vehicle traffic. The enemy's ability to direct observed fire into this critical crossroad and vicinity was to cost the Battalion many casualties i the next week and a half.
The Battalion fired both north and east during the rest of the night supporting ROK offensive efforts or against enemy counterattacks. The next day the friendly advance had progressed sufficiently to warrant displacement forward by Baker Company to the location (827398) from which the 5th FA Group headquarters had displaced two days previously. Able Company moved southeast to (843369) in order to increase its range in supporting friendly attacks against the enemy salient on the right flank.
At 1135 hours, Baker Company reported that one of the mortar men had captured a Chinese soldier hiding in the bushes in the company area. The ROK heavy mortar company next to Baker Company also captured two CCF soldiers in its area.
At 1210 hours, the Eight Army commander, General Maxwell Taylor, arrived in the vicinity of the Chupari crossroads on inspection of front line units.
All companies of the Battalion kept up heavy fire in support of the 11th ROK Division attacking north and the 8th ROK Division attempting to drive northeast and east against the enemy salient. By 1400 hours, the Battalion had fired 6200 rounds in those positions. It was for this firing, which assisted the 8th ROK Division in decimating the 200th and 202nd CCF Divisions, that the Battalion later received a written commendation from Major General Song Yo Chan, 8th ROK Division commander.
Enemy artillery fire coming into the area was intense and accurate at this time and, repeatedly, friendly artillery batteries or tanks attempting to move forward into firing positions in the vicinity of Chupari were driven out by the heavy volume of this observed counter-battery fire. Many casualties were inflicted upon all units in the area by enemy mortars and artillery, and the accumulation of dead bodies from the fighting on previous days posed quite a sanitation problem.
The 18th of July was the Battalion's 1000th consecutive day of combat since it was first committed to battle in October of 1950, and it proved to be a day of heavy fighting. At 0630, the Battalion received information that the enemy was striking heavily at the leading elements of the ROK 13th Regiment (11th ROK Division) and the ROK 21st Regiment (8th ROK Division) advancing side by side north along Highway 17.
Consequently, the mortar companies were directed to begin shooting in front of these advancing regiments. The enemy gave evidence of the effectiveness of the Battalion fires immediately by smoking the target areas. Charlie Company's observer directed fire into the smoke screen and soon saw about two companies of CCF fleeing up the draws from the area, these enemy were pursued by Battalion fire. ROK observers reported seeing over 100 Chinese casualties in the area and this was confirmed by Battalion forward observers. The enemy retaliated against the Battalion with heavy counter-mortar fire and Able Company sustained seven casualties.
By nightfall the friendly effort on the right flank had progressed to Hills 625 (CT 876411), 569 (CT 883405) and 482 (CT 889403), thus removing the threat of the enemy attacking in force from the right. However, enemy patrols, avoiding friendly forces in the very rugged terrain, prohibited any relaxation of security and outposts were maintained on the high ground around the Battalion position.
At 0700 hours, 19 July, the Battalion commenced heavy preparatory fires in support of a ROK attack on Puk-Chin (Hill 406, CT 840422). Fighting see-sawed back and forth over the crest of this hill mass until late the same night when the enemy finally swarmed over it in a fierce counterattack. In spite of heavy enemy counter mortar fire directed against the Battalion throughout the day, the Battalion responded promptly to the urgent fire requests from the infantry and was credited with over 200 observed enemy casualties.
At this time, the Battalion maintained six observation posts and had nine liaison officers out with infantry regiments, field artillery groups and infantry division headquarters. This number of OPs is normal in the Battalion but the requirement for liaison at this time constituted an abnormal demand and drain on Battalion officer strength. The fluid tactical situation demanded that liaison be maintained with each infantry regiment committed in the sector to keep the Battalion reliably informed of developments and to advise the infantry commanders of the capabilities and limitations of the mortar battalion.
The ROK regimental commanders showed a tendency to rely heavily on mortar support because of the quick response to fire requests and volume of fire delivered. However, the Battalion, through its liaison at the artillery groups, was able to have these requests checked and coordinated, and targets more suitable for artillery were transmitted to artillery units. Also, these liaison officers with artillery groups permitted the Battalion to participate in the more effective communications and information collecting facilities of the artillery. Such liaison was particularly necessary at this time when urgent fire requests from all infantry units conflicted with orders to hold firing within the limits of ASRs.
In the early morning of 20 July, the Battalion began heavy firing against CCF attacking along a line from Sam Hyon Hill (Hill 602, CT 808423) to Hill 406 (Puk-Chin). This fighting continued all day, and the enemy supported their effort with a shelling that raked the Battalion area periodically throughout the day and made vehicle traffic along Highway 17, particularly in the vicinity of Chupari, extremely hazardous. By 1635, the enemy had effected a deep penetration west of Sam Hyon Hill,
For the next two days, the enemy threw attack after attack at this high ground (Hills 602-425-406) in an apparent effort to gain control of Highway 17, the United Nations MSR. The ROK infantry, particularly the 13th Regiment of the 11th ROK Division, and the 8th Regiment of the 7th ROK Division, fought back with equal ferocity. On one occasion, Lt Hawkins, Baker Company FO, reported that a ROK battalion commander, Lt Col Cong Hang Kuen, 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment, took six men when an attack on Hill 406 had stalled and successfully assaulted the hill himself. During the action, the mortar battalion displaced forward to gain added range to better interdict CCF routes of supply and reinforcement. Though the entire area was continuously shelled by enemy mortars and artillery, the Battalion was able to protect itself fairly well by using abandoned bunkers for quarters and digging deep mortar and ammunition pits. At 0212 hours, 22 July, enemy infantry penetrated the MLR and was able to direct small arms fire into the Battalion area. One jeep in Baker Company was disabled by this fire but no personnel casualties resulted.
Early on the morning of 23 July, the 11th ROK Division launched a three battalion attack against Hill 552 (CT 797424) and Sam Hyon Hill (Hill 602). The Battalion undertook to fire preparatory fires in support of this attack and also to provide a smoke screen to deny the enemy observation from Hill 729 (CT 806442) and surrounding high ground. This battle raged all morning and the Battalion fired over 1500 rounds of HE and 1500 rounds of WP on these missions.
The WP smoke shell, which normally is not too effective for screening missions of flat ground because of the pillaring characteristic of its smoke, prove ideal on this mission. The enemy OPs looked across deep ravines onto the friendly objectives and the WP smoke pillaring up out of these ravines very effectively blocked enemy observation.
The enemy countered the Battalion fires all during the day with periodic fires into the Battalion positions and up and down Highway 17. At 1043 hours, a Baker Company wire jeep was hit in the vicinity of the Chupari crossroads. Both wire men in the jeep were killed instantly, their armored vests having been penetrated front and back by shell fragments.
Around noon, the enemy commenced heavy preparatory fires on the objectives, and the ROKs were forced to withdraw. Then enemy artillery fired smoke rounds into the friendly area south of Hills 552 and 602 and, under this cover, successfully occupied the hills.
It was later reported through interrogation of PWs that the CCF were preparing three regiments for an attack of their own when the ROK attack jumped off a possible explanation of the ready and effective counterattack by th Chinese.
During this period the Battalion experienced considerable difficulty in maintaining OPs on th flanks of the sector. The terrain was so rugged and steep that it sometimes took wire crews or supply parties 16 to 18 hours to make a round trip to the location of the FO parties and back. Adding to this problem was the fact that the FOs were constantly moving across the ridge lines following ROK infantry and very often were unable to contact Battalion even with radios. Had helicopters been available, serious consideration would have been given to this means of getting FOs out of these inaccessible locations.
At 0002 hours, 24 July, a direct hit on a bunker in Able Company buried Lt Briggman, Blue platoon leader, and five of his men. Prompt digging by company personnel saved the lives of the lieutenant and three of his men, but two men died of suffocation before they could be extricated. Enemy shelling of Able Company area continued with such intensity and was so obviously directed by an observer, that at the first slackening Able Company was displaced east of Highway 17 to CT 845358. This displacement of Able Company had the added advantage of increasing the range capabilities of the Battalion in the right half of the sector. The company completed this move and had mortars ready to fire by 0150 hours.
The Battalion maintained a steady rate of fire on the vicinity of Puk-Chin and at 0600 hours ROK forces were on the hill. However, the enemy began preparatory fires for a counterattack at 0830 and at this time shelled the Battalion area again. During one six-minute period, 80 rounds fell in Baker Company area destroying two jeeps and damaging several other vehicles. Repeated enemy attacks against Puk-Chin were beaten off but finally, at 1135, Chinese reached the top. The 3rd Regiment, 8th ROK Division, was so badly mauled in its gallant effort to secure and hold this bloody hill mass that it was reduced to one-third strength and had to be replaced by the 5th Regiment of the same Division.
The enemy continued heavy fire onto all friendly positions in the area while he consolidated and reinforced his troops on Hill 406, but shortly before midnight the sector finally quieted down and remained relatively quiet until the afternoon of the next day.
At about 1530 hours, 25 July, the enemy, from his newly won positions dominating the area in which the Battalion was located, again directed mortar, artillery and even small arms fire into the Battalion positions. At 1805 hours, several heavy concentrations fell into the Battalion's kitchen area, just east of the Chupari crossroads, as personnel were beginning the evening meal. Capt Olson, battalion executive officer, was seriously wounded, and several vehicles were seriously damaged.
On 26 July, light enemy probes provided the only significant action although enemy shelling of the area continued unabated. At 2153 hours, Baker Company fired the Battalion's last mission on a Chinese platoon-size patrol.
On 27 July at 1000 hours, the long awaited "Cease Fire" was signed, and the Battalion was ordered not to shoot unless the enemy launched an attack. The Chinese, however, apparently had no such instructions, and they shelled all Battalion positions with enthusiasm until 2200 hours, the effective time of the Cease Fire.
At 2201 hours, the Battalion began to move out of the agreed-upon "Demilitarized Zone" the first time in 1009 consecutive days that the Battalion moved out of a battle position without proceeding immediately to another. At the time of the Cease Fire the Battalion was deployed as follows: Able Company at CT 853387, Baker Company at CT 815398, Charlie Company at CT 828403, Battalion forward at CT 827397, and Battalion rear at CT 833228. The new positions into which the Battalion elements moved immediately after the Cease Fire were located on either side of Highway 17 in the vicinity of the Chupari crossroads (CT 829384). By 0055 hours, 28 July, all guns were laid, FOs were out and the Battalion was ready to shoot from the new position.
The next two days were spent in removal of building materials from the demilitarized zone and battlefield salvage. At 1040 hours, 29 July, the Battalion received an alert to move to the IX U.S. Corps area, and advance parties were dispatched.
The Battalion departed II ROK Corps at 1715 hours, 31 July, in a torrential downpour and arrived in reserve position (CT 528224) in the vicinity of Chupari at 2230 hours the same night, general support IX Corps artillery.
On 8 July, Charlie Company, displacing from Chips-Illi (CT 870454) to Hagogae (CT 769485), accomplished the first move made by the Battalion during the month of July. Charlie Company received the alert to move at 2015 hours and immediately thereafter started with the FDC, the base piece of each platoon, an FO party and a liaison party for the n ew position. The main body of the company moved about an hour later in one serial composed of three march units. The move was made entirely in blackout crossing the sector on roads close behind the friendly MLR. The company closed into the new area at about 0200 the next morning and spent the remaining hours of darkness in employing their mortars.
On the morning of 14 July, the Battalion began a series of moves dictated by tactical exigency, and Battalion vehicles were never completely unloaded until the Battalion arrived in the IX Corps area four days after the signing of the Cease Fire agreement. During this period of withdrawing behind the MLR and pushing forward to support counterattacks, the movements of the Battalion were accomplished by leap frogging companies leaving one or two companies in firing position while another moved. Many times these moves had to be made over roads heavily interdicted by enemy shell fire. Quite often enemy interdiction of roads was so effective that vehicle traffic had to be prohibited temporarily even during the hours of darkness.
On 31 July, the Battalion moved out of the II ROK Corps area from Chupari to the IX US Corps sector and went into position in the vicinity of Chipori. This move of approximately 35 miles across rugged mountainous terrain was accomplished during a driving rain at night. The Battalion moved in four serials, each serial composed of three march units, and closed into the new area after a trip that was without incident of mishap.
Two schools which had begun on 29 June were concluded during the first week of July: a school for commissioned and enlisted FDC personnel, and one for FO parties. The Battalion was assisted in the conduct of these schools by the instructor personnel from the 987th and 300th US FA Battalions.
During the first two weeks of the month, mortar crew and FDC training was conducted at company level whenever the tactical situation permitted. Also limited driver training was conducted by the battalion motor officer.
From 14 July on, the massive and initially successful Kumsong offensive and the fierce allied counterattacks against it demanded the maximum effort of every officer and man to enable the Battalion to perform its role in battle. There was no time for formal training other than the experience of combat itself.
Enemy activity for the period covered by this report is highlighted as outlined by the following dates: From 1 July thru 12 July, enemy actions, which involved the fires of this Battalion, were directed principally against Hill 690 (Finger Ridge CT-8749, Hill 529 (Lookout Mountain CT-9045) and No Name Hill (CT-9046). These actions varied from light patrol probes to intense battalion-size attacks with these key terrain features changing control between friendly and enemy numerous times during this period. Enemy artillery was active during these attacks, and incoming artillery and mortar was relatively heavy on all forward elements of the Battalion.
On 13 July, the enemy began division-size attackes in the 6th ROK Division, 8th ROK Division and 3rd ROK Division sectors where this Battalion was in support. These attacks began at 132045 July with heavy enemy probes followed by successively larger unit. By daylight on 14 July, the enemy had penetrated the friendly MLR in he 6th ROK and 3rd ROK Divisions sectors, and friendly ROK troops were executing a withdrawal to positions south of the Kumsong River.
Enemy artillery was extremely heavy on all forward elements of this Battalion as well as throughout the entire sector. In one instance, a total of 12,000 rounds of mixed artillery and mortar fell in grid square CT-8946 between 132150 July and 132255 July.
From 14 July thru 18 July, action was continuous across the sector with the friendly forces moving forward establishing and strengthening the MLR. On 19 July, the enemy attacked Hill 602 (CT 807428) with two battalions in strength but was forced to withdraw with Hill 602 remaining under friendly control until 20 July when the enemy attacked Hill 602 and Hill 552 (CT 797423) with two regiments and friendly ROK troops were forced to withdraw from both hills.
On 23 July, friendly forces attacked Hills 552 and 602 and, after gaining the crest of both hills, were ordered to withdraw when the enemy counterattacked with a force of regimental size. These two key terrain features were under control of the enemy for the remainder of the period.
On 24 July, the fires of this Battalion were centered on Hill 406 (CT 841422) where the enemy attacked in two-company strength and occupied the hill. At 240600 July, friendly forces regained Hill 406 but were forced to withdraw when the enemy counterattacked with two battalions and remained in control of Hill 406 for the remainder of the period.
During 25 and 26 July, enemy activity was limited to light patrol actions. From 27 July until the end of the period covered by this report, the Battalion was engaged in moving out of the Demilitarized Zone.
The intelligence effort of the Battalion operated during the period principally through the OPs and liaison with supported units. For a major portion of the time, the Battalion maintained six OPs, with the exception of certain instances when as many as two of the Battalion FO parties were non-operational for short periods of time due to the fast changing situation.
Additional intelligence information was secured through fragment and crater analysis of enemy artillery and mortar. All OPs and forward elements of the Battalion were heavily shelled during the entire period and, in some instances, incoming enemy artillery appeared to be observed fire.
On 19 July, Baker Company of this Battalion captured one CCF soldier in the vicinity of CT 826398. The prisoner was immediately evacuated through channels to II ROK Corps IPW. This PW identified his unit as being the 180th Division of the 60th CCF Army.
Strength of organization at the close of the period:
Authorized: 43 Off, 5 WO, 660 EM, 708 total
Assigned: 55 Off, 3 WO, 658 EM, 716 total
Gains during period:
Replacements: 1 Off, 66 EM
Returnees: 1 Off, 5 EM
Total: 2 Off, 71 EM
Losses during period:
Battle casualties: 11 Off, 121 EM
Non-battle casualties: 1 EM
Disease & illness: 1 WO
Rotation: 1 Off, 57 EM
FECOM assignments: 2 EM
Korean assignments: 1 EM
Emergency leave: 2 EM
ETS personnel: 5 EM
Discipline, law and order:
Courts martial tried: none
Courts martial charges preferred but not tried: 3 Special
Delinquency reports received: none
Absences without leave: 2
Morale and personnel services:
Numbers on R&R: none
Purple Hearts awarded: 15 Off, 125 EM
Bronze Star with V device: 1 Off
Summary of other personnel services rendered: During most of the period covered by this report, all members of this Battalion had access to shower facilities and had at their disposal PX supplies, Stars and Stripes, magazines, and limited sporting goods equipment. Religious services were held weekly. Postal money orders and mail services were available to all personnel.
The month of July was spent in the Chupari area. The companies were not widely spread and could easily be covered in one day. Due to a crowded condition at Battalion forward, the chaplain remained at rear the first half of the month. This proved to be a convenient arrangement as most of our casualties from 1-14 July were evacuated through the 5th FA group aid station. This was only a few minutes from our Battalion rear.
The period 13-27 July saw a rapidly changing picture. During this time the chaplain stayed alternately at forward and rear as seemed best to carry out activities as chaplain.
Many of the men lost their personal gear in the relocation of the Battalion during 13-14 July. A request was made to the American Red Cross for toilet articles. These were distributed as soon as possible.
Following the signing of the Truce, services were held giving thanks to God for the cessation of hostilities and praying for a lasting peace.
It was necessary to hold five services each Sunday to adequately cover the Battalion. Attendance was above average. Services were held in the open except for Baker Company which had a bunker large enough to accommodate the men. Worship was necessarily brief due to the possibility of incoming rounds while being assembled in a large group.
Roman Catholic personnel were provided for by Chaplain (Capt) Quin of the 5th FA Group. Jewish personnel were unable to attend services at this time as the nearest chaplain of their faith was located at Tempest rear. If possible, it would be wise for the Jewish chaplain to hold a service in some central location in the ROK Corps.
Visits were made regularly to the companies during the week, and services were held in each company area on Sunday. The chaplain also visited the 542nd Medical Clearing Platoon and the 44th MASH to see our men who were wounded in action.
Due to the tactical situation, the character guidance schedule was cancelled.
It was necessary during the month of July to borrow an organ and hymnals from a nearby chaplain to carry on our religious services. Equipment lost to enemy action in June had not yet been replaced.
Entering this period, the medical detachment was in support of the Battalion which in turn was assigned in the II ROK Corps. An arrangement had been made whereby the medical support was augmented Battalion y the 987th US FAS Battalion, thereby giving increased aid to all injured. Although activity on the front remained at a higher level than incurred in previous months, the casualty rate for the Battalion remained at a low level during most of the time.
On 8 July, Charlie Company of this Battalion was detached from the main body and assigned to support a regiment pf the 6th ROK Division. On medical reconnaissance of their area, it was determined that there was no American medical support available to this company within a fifteen mile radius. Therefore the battalion aid station was also detached from the Battalion proper and was set up in the immediate vicinity of Charlie Company. The remainder of the unit continued to be supported by the 987th US FA Battalion and the 176th US FA Battalion whose aid stations were in close proximity to all units.
On 13 July, Charlie Company was again moved to another area and again was accompanied by the aid station due to lack of other medical support. The situation remained very active, and the aid station came under artillery fire for a period lasting about six and a half hours. During this time there were six men wounded in the area, three of whom were evacuated by ambulance. Reports from other companies revealed that they were incurring heavy casualties and action but were well cared for by the medical units supporting them.
On the morning of 14 July, it was obvious that the tactical situation was rapidly changing and the aid station was forced to withdraw from position along with Charlie Company. Along the route of withdrawal the policy was to temporarily set up the station at about two miles ahead of the company along the road and wait until the company approached. Then the station was closed and withdrew again. In this manner the station was located in about four positions.
Following the route of withdrawal, the station met the main force of the Battalion and joined the group at about 1000 hours on 14 July. Along with the Battalion headquarters, it was located in about four positions on the route of withdrawal until the tactical situation cleared and a semi-stable site could be established.
On 16 July the Battalion again moved forward with the counter-attacking forces, and the aid station was moved with the forward headquarters of the unit. Casualties remained at an unexpectedly low level, despite fairly heavy shell fire. A special problem was the presence of many enemy and friendly dead in areas occupied.
From 16-27 July, the tactical situation remained active with some casualties incurred daily and four men KIA in that period. On 27 July, after the truce was signed, the shelling continued for ab out eight hours, and the last wounded man was treated for LWIA at about 1630 that afternoon.
With the Cease Fire, a large sanitation problem was posed by the occupation of areas which were highly contaminated from both Korean and Chinese troops. Although rigorous action was taken by all personnel to police the areas, the insect problem remained great and gastroenteritis made itself evident in the whole Battalion. This continued until the close of the period, being held in check but not stopped by medical measures.
Throughout the period there was great call for the medical detachment to act, and one man was KIA. The casualty rate was high, and various problems of medical support were met and overcome with success. Fortunately there were at least fifteen men in the detachment at all times, thus proper support could be given, but the necessity of remaining highly mobile at all times was demonstrated.
From the period 1-14 July, the S-4 section of the 461st Infantry Battalion (Heavy Mortar) was in position in the vicinity of Chupari, North Korea. During this period, the majority of the effort of supply was concentrated on replacement of items of the T/O&E still short in the units as a result of the enemy action on 14 July. In addition to this, the normal supply of rations, expendables and other items of equipment was continued. During this time, mortar companies and Hq forward were located approximately seven miles forward of the battalion rear echelon, of which the S-4 was a part. Excellent routes of supply were available in the area, but were limited sharply by the nature of the terrain which was extremely mountainous. By 13 July, the organization was at approximately 85 to 95 percent re-equipped and was continuously in combat operation.
During the period 1-14 July, supply points were as listed below:
Quartermaster I & III: Supply point #38, located about five miles south of Sanyang-Ni (CT 824301) on Route 17.
Quartermaster II & IV: 443rd Quartermaster Supply Depot, located in Seoul and Yong Dong Po.
Ordnance: Vehicle and weapons supply and repair by the 7th Ordnance Company (DS), with one platoon a half mile south of our battalion rear handling weapons repair, and the remainder of the company located at Hwachon (8517 grid square) on Route 17, taking care of vehicle repair, replacement and maintenance as well as replacement of weapons rendered unserviceable through combat action. Ammunition supply from ASP #70 (8320 grid square).
Engineer: All engineer supply was through ESP #2, located at Kapyong, 15 miles southwest of Chunchon.
Chemical: All chemical, with the exception of chemical ammunition was from the 92nd Chemical Company located in ESP #2, Kapyong. Chemical ammunition was drawn from ASP #70, north of Hwachon.
Signal: Signal supply of non-expendable items were drawn from Eighth Army Main Supply Depot at Yong Dong Po. Signal expendables were drawn from the 181st Signal Supply Point at Chunchon. Signal repair was accomplished by roving teams of the 205th Signal Company which came to the organization rear on call.
During this period, no particular difficulty was encountered in supply except for the bulk and quantity of supplies being drawn and issued. The emphasis on speed of replacement of combat items made accountability of items issued extremely difficult. S-4 operations were on a 24-hour basis, with items being issued as rapidly as receipt and the tactical situation would permit.
On the evening of 13 July, enemy shelling began to fall in the vicinity of battalion rear. The volume of enemy fire and the number of missions fired by the mortar companies of the battalion indicated an attack in force on the part of the enemy was under way. The battalion ammunition train was in almost constant movement to supply the ammunition demanded from the companies. The way in which the ammunition supply was carried out by the battalion ammunition officer, Lt Gordon Martin, and his section, is worthy of the highest commendation.
On the evening of 14 July, enemy pressure became much more severe, and arrangements to move the battalion rear echelon to a position to the rear were started. At approximately 1600 hours, the rear section of battalion Hq & Hq Co started displacement to a position approximately 1000 yards to the rear, and the forward echelon of battalion headquarters moved into position in the former battalion rear area.
This move of the rear was approximately half completed when large quantities of ROK troops started moving through the area in which the S-4 and battalion forward were operating, indicating possible penetration of the lines on the east flank of the sector. At this time, the MSR was very congested with traffic and movement of the rear elements of the battalion were severely restricted. Loading of the battalion S-4 section on available transport was under way at this time, preparatory to movement to the new battalion rear area. Only a small portion of the S-4 could be loaded on the one truck and two 1-ton trailers then available to the section, all other 2½-ton trucks being used to haul 4.2 ammunition.
At about 1930 hours, it became evident that a major penetration had been made to the east of the position, and hasty preparations were made to evacuate the battalion forward and the S-4 from the position which was rapidly becoming untenable. Due to the lack of transport, a large quantity of supplies in the S-4 area and the Hq Co rear could not be loaded at this time. The order to move out of the area was given at about 2100 hours by the battalion CO, and elements of battalion Hq & Hq Co, including the S-4, were forced to abandon equipment for which transport was not available. Due to the proximity of elements of an American artillery unit and some rounds of 4.2 ammunition in the S-4 area, burning of equipment left behind could not be done. All essential items of ordnance were taken by the S-4 section, leaving behind only those items which could not be used by the enemy with the parts removed.
Battalion rear was picked up on the road as the S-4 section moved by, and a withdrawal to an area just north of Sanyang-Ni was made. After the night of 14 July, battalion Hq and S-4 section moved again to a more suitable area. Lt Alden, liaison officer of the S-4 section, was sent to Eighth Army headquarters with instructions to operate in the same manner as was used after 14 June. By the afternoon of 15 July, supplies were arriving from various sources and were being broken down and issued direct from the vehicles which brought them from supply points.
Most of the transport was made up of vehicles borrowed from units in the Seoul area by the artillery staff section of Eighth Army. During daylight hours of 15 July, eight 2½-ton trucks filled with equipment arrived and the equipment was issued. Time was saved by issuing directly from the trucks. An S-4 office was set up in the back of a truck and all paper work was taken care of in that manner.
At about 1900 hours, 15 July, equipment received had been issued, and the S-4 section and battalion rear moved to a position in the vicinity of Air Strip A-38 (8323 grid square), located approximately 12 miles south of Sanyang-Ni where a more workable area was set up. During the following week, more equipment was received and issued, including vehicles.
On 16 July, twenty ¼-ton trucks with trailers were received and were in the hands of the companies by 19 July. During the remainder of July, continuing replacement of equipment lost was carried out by the S-4 section. Due to experience gained during June, replacement of equipment was carried out with much more speed and expediency under the most adverse conditions. Supply points remained as listed previously during the month of July. Due to the confusion of the withdrawal, some supply records were lost, and efforts to adjust these losses were continued during July.
At the opening of the period, the maintenance section had overcome most of the problems arising from tactical reverses suffered during the month of June. All company motor pools were located at battalion rear. Because of constant enemy harassing and interdictory fires on all forward elements of the battalion, only the minimum number of vehicles were kept forward in the firing positions.
At the beginning of the month, motor stables were held for one hour each day, and weekly, monthly and semi-annual preventive maintenance was conducted according to schedule. Men were brought back daily from each company to perform motor stables and to assist in scheduling maintenance. The vehicles in the firing positions were rotated to the rear every two or three days to ensure proper maintenance. Some vehicles were deadlined for lack of parts, but ordnance support for this period was much better than the previous month. A maintenance exchange system was used by ordnance to ensure all units have full strength in vehicles even while vehicles were being repaired. The chief problem was the great distance between the battalion and the nearest ordnance unit.
When the advance of the enemy offensive forced the unit back on 14 July, hauling of ammunition had priority on transportation, and there was sufficient equipment of maintenance to warrant more transportation and consequently much of it was lost.
The mass movement of all allied units on the single MSR, plus a torrential rain that rapidly worsened trafficability, made repeated trips to evacuate equipment impossible. It sometimes took as much as an hour to proceed one mile when moving counter to the stream of traffic on Highway 17.
A position for battalion rear was established but the battalion ammunition dump was located between the mortar companies and the ASP. When not actually hauling ammunition, the trucks of the ammunition train remained loaded in a motor pool at the battalion ammunition dump. This was necessary because of the high ammunition consumption rate of the companies during this period of counterattack.
Immediately upon the signing of the "cease fire" agreement, every effort was made to catch up on maintenance. On 31 July, the battalion moved back from II ROK Corps to IX US Corps. On this molve, the battalion maintenance section made such minor repairs as were necessary. Mo major breakdown accidents occurred.
Communication problems during the month of July were generally similar to those experienced during the month of June. The rapid movements of the battalion, particularly during the latter half of the month, made obvious the fact that the T/O&E strength of communications personnel within the battalion was totally inadequate to handle even the bare minimum communications necessary to fight the unit effectively under enemy fire and in a moving situation.
The early part of the month found the battalion still in position in the vicinity of Chipsili, Korea. Enemy shelling was steadily increasing, however, and wire crews were constantly on the road servicing lines. Company OPs in particular were subjected to heavy shelling. Due to the distance from the companies, the height and steepness of the mountains, and heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire which often kept wire crews pinned down for long periods of time, the minimum time necessary to repair an OP line was approximately two hours. This often stretched to four and six hours for certain of the higher and more difficult OPs. During these periods, the battalion relay station (with the radio handset in battalion FDC) was able to maintain almost continuous communication with the six battalion OPs.
On 8 July, Charlie Company moved to Hagogae (CT 769485). Due to the distance from battalion forward and the shortage of wiremen, it was considered impractical to run a direct line to Charlie Company. Wire communication was established with a nearby artillery unit. By going through three switchboards, one of them Korean, and by using TP-9 telephones on both ends of the circuit, communication was possible with Charlie Company at this time. Due mainly to a lack of trained CW operators in Charlie Company, communication by AN/GRC-9 radio was not possible. Voice operation seemed to be at the "fringe" of the AN/GRC-9 range. The company could be heard from time to time but not regularly. Undoubtedly, had CW operators been available in Charlie Company, radio communication would have been possible. At one time the battalion relay station reported hearing the PRC-10 radio in Charlie Company FDC but this again was the exception and happened only once.
On 14 July, the MLR was again breached by the Chinese. As the line fell back, the battalion was continually on the move supporting the new defensive sectors. At the time of the breakthrough, communication with Charlie Company was impossible due to the heavy traffic on the intervening switchboards. During the following period of movement which was almost continuous until the truce was signed on 27 July, the communication sections at both battalion and company level worked almost around the clock laying and servicing lines.
At one time, the battalion had six OPs and nine liaison officers out in addition to the normal lines to higher headquarters and adjacent units. Radio contact with the 5th FA Group was established through an artillery relay station set up by the 987th FA Bn in a high mountain pass at CT 832352.
A considerable amount of equipment was lost in the initial displacement 14 July when Chinese forces overran the battalion position, but good use was made of the equipment left by other units and at least the minimum radio and wire equipment was always available to maintain communications. Considerable quantities of WD-1/TT wire were recovered as battlefield salvage. This was put to very good use by the battalion as normal supply channels were rather poor at this time.
During the month of July, the battalion again laid approximately 200 miles of wire. It was again necessary to augment the wire personnel and vehicles of the battalion. Four lines to each company; two switchboard and two FDC lines were maintained and it was SOP that "when the lines went out, the wire men went out." A minimum reserve of fifteen miles of wire per company and forty-five miles of wire for battalion forward was continually maintained.
Confirming the experience of the battalion during the preceding month, the major defects noted in the battalion communication system during the month of July were: (1) a lack of vehicular-type radios for adequately controlling march columns and maintaining communications in a moving situation; (2) insufficient wire personnel and vehicles to lay and maintain the normal wire commitment of the battalion; (3) poor radio communication with reinforced artillery units and higher headquarters because of the different frequency coverage of the radios of this battalion; (4) insufficient SB-22/PT switchboards and EE-8 telephones to handle the number of wire lines necessary to maintain communications with reinforced and supported units.
Section II - Commander's Recommendations
1. Augmentation of Hq Co Kitchen
a. Discussion: In the command report of the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion for November 1950, it was stated that the tactical employment of the battalion had made necessary a split of Hq Co into a forward and rear echelon. Since that time, this arrangement has been SOP in the mortar battalion both as 2nd Chemical and 461st Infantry.
The mortar battalion has no service company and the battalion headquarters rear echelon has acted in this capacity as a base of logistical and administrative support. The battalion hq forward element is composed of the battalion commander, S-2 and S-3 plus the survey and fire direction personnel, the communications officer and his personnel, the battalion surgeon and medics, and the drivers of the vehicles supporting these staff sections. Also present for messing quite frequently are liaison parties or wire crews from other units.
Normally, the strength of this battalion headquarters forward element is between 50 and 60 officers and men. Since this headquarters group is located, for tactical reasons, centrally between the mortar companies and generally is situated on the MSR, it presents an independent messing problem. This problem has been solved since November 1950 by the field expedient of dividing the Hq Co kitchen personnel and equipment and providing a kitchen for battalion rear and one for battalion forward. Since the T/O&E (7-46, DA, 26 Sep 53) does not provide for this, the mortar companies have been compelled to make some sacrifices to assist in this arrangement. A revision of the T/O&E is necessary to provide two messes in the Hq Co.
Were a permanent solution of this problem attempted by splitting the mess personnel of the Hq Co, the battalion rear would not have sufficient mess personnel to support the rear echelon which includes small supply and administrative detachments from each of the mortar companies, a total of 150 personnel.
b. Recommendation: It is recommended that the kitchen personnel and equipment of Hq Co be augmented as indicated in the following extracts from T/O&E 7-46, DA, 26 Sep 53. [the detailed tabular data is omitted here]
2. Typewriter for Bn forward headquarters
a. Discussion: In the June 1953 command report of this organization, the addition of a headquarters clerk to the Operations, Fire Direction and Survey Section was recommended and discussed. To review: The Operations Section is responsible for preparing daily unit reports, ammunition reports, status of equipment (firing) reports, weekly operations orders and reports, incident reports, monthly command reports, training programs and schedules, etc. In addition, all correspondence for the battalion commander must be prepared by the operations section at headquarters forward. At present, there is no typist or typewriter available for this. As a field expedient, a man was taken from another section, partially trained and devoted full time to these duties. A typewriter was drawn on letter of special authorization for this work.
b. Recommendation: It is recommended that a typewriter, non-portable, 11" carriage, be added to the equipment of the Operations, Fire Direction and Survey Section of the Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion.
3. Additional liaison officers
a. Discussion: During the month of July, the 461st Infantry Bn (Heavy Mortar) had as many as nine liaison officers out at one time: four with regimental headquarters, three with FA groups, and two with division headquarters. While this was an abnormal commitment, the battalion normally has needed at least three liaison officers with sufficient mortar experience and knowledge to advise regimental commanders and division artillery commanders on the capabilities and limitations of the battalion.
Recent operations have proved that a lieutenant lacks both the experience and rank to perform liaison on the regimental and division level. The background needed for this liaison is thorough knowledge of mortar unit capabilities and requirements, a knowledge of infantry doctrine and familiarity with principles of artillery employment. In comparison, an FA battalion is authorized three captains, liaison officers, by T/O. The reasons for this authorization have equal validity in the case of an infantry heavy mortar battalion.
b. Recommendation: It is recommended that three liaison officers, MOS 1543, in grade of ca ptain, be added to the headquarters of an infantry battalion (heavy mortar), T/O&E 7-46, DA, 26 Sep 53.
4. Augmentation of battalion maintenance section
a. Discussion: During recent combat operations of the battalion, it definitely has been established that the battalion maintenance section in Hq Co is inadequate to maintain the 163 trucks and 154 trailers of the battalion during a war of movement. In recent months, it has been necessary quite frequently to provide second echelon maintenance in the vicinity of the mortar company positions as well as at the battalion rear area.
This has been the case particularly when the battalion was engaged in continuous tactical moves at great distances from the battalion rear. Oftentimes the mortar companies are dispersed so widely that performance of maintenance at the battalion rear is impracticable because of time and distance factors involved. An example was the disposition of the battalion in II ROK Corps from 8-14 July when Charlie Company was located in the 6th ROK Division area some 10 miles from battalion forward, and the battalion forward itself was approximately 8 miles from battalion rear.
Also the wear and tear on vehicles during periods of active warfare, both from increased mileage of constant movement and damage from enemy fire, results in a workload that is beyond the capabilities of the small maintenance section of 15 men. The heavy mortar battalion has no service company to assist in motor maintenance, hence the battalion's need for an augmented maintenance section in Hq Co.
b. Recommendation: It is recommended that the heavy mortar battalion motor maintenance be augmented as indicated below. [the detailed tabular data is omitted here]
5. Proposed T/O&E for mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion
a. Discussion: The communications T/O&E for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion, and for the infantry heavy mortar battalion, has proven inadequate for the needs of this unit under combat conditions. A T/O&E is presented elsewhere in this report that more nearly fits the requirements of this organization. The proposed T/O&E covers vehicle, personnel and equipment changes in T/O&E 7-47, Mortar Company, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion only. Changes in T/O&E 7-45, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion, and T/O&E 7-46, Hq & Hq Co, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion, will be found in the command report for June.
The following discussion will be limited to major equipment changes in T/O&E 7-47, Mortar Company, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion, involving expensive items of equipment, and to personnel changes.
A redistribution of wiremen in the Mortar Company, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion, is recommended. The present T/O&E 7-47 calls for two wiremen in each platoon. These two wiremen lay two lines from the platoon to the company FDC. One wireman is entirely sufficient to lay these two lines, and the additional three wiremen thus made available can be utilized to much greater advantage in the company communications section where they are needed to lay lines at least to two company OPs. The present T/O&E 7-47 calls for three wiremen and one senior wireman, corporal, for the communications section.
The three wiremen formerly assigned to mortar platoons would make six wiremen and one senior wireman available. An additional senior wireman, MOS 4641, corporal, is proposed to handle one wire team of three men. This will make available two full teams of four men, each team with a corporal in charge.
With this redistribution of personnel and with an increase of one man, two teams will be available at the mortar company headquarters to lay lines simultaneously to two OPs and a supported unit. In order to lay wire lines to two company OPs and one liaison party simultaneously, and to trasnsport the additional communications personnel in the mortar company headquarters, an increase in company communications vehicles is necessary. In terms of overall numbers, the communications personnel will number three, one less than presently authorized under T/O&E 7-47. However, 15 will now be in headquarters as compared to 12 under T/O&E 7-47, Mortar Company, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion.
Under T/O&E 7-47, 8 of these 121 men are apparently supposed to ride in one ¾-ton truck with all their personal gear, equipment and radios. This, of course, is not practical. A light field artillery battery with 19 T/O&E communications personnel has two ¼-ton trucks with trailers and two ¾-ton trucks available. This number is also required for the communications transportation of HeavyMortar Company, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion. An additional ¼-ton truck, utility, 4x4,M38A1, and trailer (over and above the present T/O&E) is necessary so that two of these vehicles will be available to lay the company OP lines.
The ¾-ton truck, cargo utility, M37, presently authorized will be used to carry four men, their equipment and the personal gear of eight men. This vehicle will lay the liaison line while the two ¼-ton vehicles are laying the OP lines. An additional ¾-ton truck, command weapons carrier, is necessary to carry four men, their personal gear and equipment, as well as the company command radios. This vehicle will mount one AN/VRC-17 radio and one AN/GRC-9 radio. These radios will furnish communications with company OPs, liaison parties and battalion operations in a moving situation.
In short, an increase in vehicles of one ¼-ton truck, utility, 4x4,M38A1, and trailer, ¼-ton, 2W, cargo, and one ¾-ton truck, 4x4, command weapons carrier, is proposed.
Two switchboard operators are authorized at present under T/O&E 7-47, Mortar Company, Infantry Heavy Mortar Battalion. These two operators have not been able to operate a switchboard continuously for twelve out of twenty-four hours, seven days a week, participate in normal section training and take care of their personal equipment. Eight hours of duty per twenty-four hour period is the normal standard for all personnel operating over long periods of time. Three switchboard operators would permit three eight-hour shifts in each twenty-four hour period. On this basis, an additional switchboard operator, MOS 4641, grade E-4, is proposed.
The most effective employment of this battalion is with all companies located in the same general area so that massed fires can be delivered. In this situation, the platoon headquarters is normally quite close to the company FDC and wire lines are relatively easy to maintain. In the company FDC, two radio-telephone operators, MOS 5704, are prescribed by T/O&E 7-47 to handle radio communications. Two radio-telephone operators, MOS 4812, are also prescribed for each platoon. Because of the lesser importance of radio communications between platoons and the company FDC, a reduction of platoon radio-telephone operators, MOS 4812, from six to three is proposed.
Two radio sets AN/PRC-6 are proposed for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion. These sets will be used by the OP party for radio communication with supported infantry units.
Two AN/VRC-17 radios are proposed for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion. One of these will be mounted in the company commander's vehicle. This will be used primarily for march column control on long motor marches. The other AN/VRC-17 will be used in the ¾-ton truck, command weapons carrier, to communicate with the company OP liaison parties, for march column control, and for communication with battalion operations when terrain and distance permit. The auxiliary receiver present in the AN/VRC-17 radio will permit a two-channel system to be used. One channel will be used as a company FDC net, the other as a battalion fire control net.
An additional switchboard, SB-22 PT, is proposed for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion. During periods of rapid displacement, this switchboard would go forward with base pieces from each platoon, the reconnaissance and survey section, and part of the fire direction and communications sections to set up a base of operations in the new location.
A switchboard at both the forward and rear location will permit the mortar company to maintain communication between all elements while "leap-frogging" forward. Fire missions could then be handled from both positions.
Fifteen telephone TS10s are proposed for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion. These sound-powered telephones will be used at platoon level in each of the mortar pits. Experience under heavy enemy fire has revealed that it is often difficult for the squad leader to hear fire commands shouted from platoon headquarters when mortar squads are properly dispersed. Sound-powered telephones are proposed in the interest of economy, portability and compactness.
Five additional telephones are proposed for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion. The location of these telephones can best be shown by a wire diagram. A suggested wire net for the mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion is included in Chart 1. [the chart is omitted here]
b. Recommendation: Proposed T/O&E for mortar company, infantry heavy mortar battalion. Augmentations in T/O&E 7-47, infantry company, infantry heavy mortar battalion are shown in the following table. [the detailed tabular data is omitted here]
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