Korean War (34)

opposing ridges

opposing ridges

The communists, in spite of the pressure of the Allied air campaigns, remained stubborn in the truce talks.  On 8 October 1952, the UN negotiations at Panmunjom recessed the talks because the Chinese would not agree to non-forced repatriation of prisoners of war.  As winter approached, the UN forces remained mired in conflict and accumulating casualties.

general area of interest

general area of interest

6 October, with the US presidential election in its final stages, the CCF launched their biggest attack since Heartbreak Ridge against the I and IX Corps.  Van Fleet’s response was Operation Showdown on 14 October.   This was also known as the Battle of Triangle Hill, Battle of Hill 598 and/or Sniper Ridge and would last 42 days.

The 187th RCT participated in Operation Feint as a diversion.  They made assorted jumps and then would return and be put in isolation.  On 15 October, the Navy and Air Force, also participating, launched mock amphibious landings to fool the enemy as to where the action would actually take place.  The ruse went as planned.

aerial view

aerial view

The 7th Infantry Division going against the CCF would now be considered the bloodiest of battles on the right side of the Iron Triangle near Kumhwa.  The communists lost 11,500 KIA and the UN troops lost 8,000; this was listed as a failure in the archives.

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22 October, the 40th Infantry Division, assigned to X Corps, moved to relieve the 25th Infantry Division in the center of the sector (Paen-Ihyon-Ni) and defended between Heartbreak Ridge and to the Punch Bowl.  The CCF bugles announced their nightly attacks from the 22nd to the 25th of the month.

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A battle erupted in Wonsan harbor on the same date.  The ROKN AMS 501 and 503 (minesweepers) were fired on by 4 to 6 75/76mm guns from Hapchinni.  The USS Lewis returned fire and the enemy turned their attention to them.  The Lewis was hit in the fire room, disabling the No.1 boiler.  A second shell hit the fantail; 7 men were killed.

Medical corpsmen

Medical corpsmen

26 October – 1 November, the Marine history recorded the Battle for the Hook.  At 1830 hours, the enemy engaged the outpost at “Ronson” and 29 minutes later heavily attacked “Warsaw’s” MLR area;  Charlie Company 1/7.   Within two hours, the enemy succeeded in penetrating the Hook area.  A  Company 1/7 counterattacked with one platoon from Hill 121.  It came down to hand-to-hand combat on the slopes.  The possession of the Hook was restored.  They enemy lost about 532 with 216 WIA.  Air strikes on 27-28 Oct. took out another 70 KIA and 386 WIA. (The Hook area was basically charged in 3 waves of the enemy.  This coverage will be followed up in future posts.)

The Hook, Korean War, Oct. 1952

The Hook, Korean War, Oct. 1952

Attacks on the Reno, Carson and Vegas outposts went on for days.  At the height of the battles, the Reno outpost was almost encircled by the CCF.  The blocking platoon was not detected and the enemy set up right in front of them; the CCF was taken by surprise.  This heavy combat caused 60 more KIA.  The Marines lost 9 men and 49 WIA.  For 3 days, the line of outposts on the left, KMC troops, were subject to continuous shelling of all calibers.

31 October, the CCF, in battalion strength, overran the eastern end of outpost 39 and 31 and reinforcements were sent onto the MLR.  At the same time, Outpost 33 was attacked and sustained heavy casualties.  After a 2nd platoon of reinforcements were added, the enemy finally broke contact just after midnight.  The 4th simultaneous attack was on Outpost 51.  Here, the artillery set up planned fires and ambushes were prepared and after 2½ hours of fighting, the enemy withdrew.  They were pursued by the extremely aggressive company of the KMC (Korean Marine Corps).

Oct. 1952, Korea

Oct. 1952, Korea

During the night, radio intercepts of the enemy transmissions indicated extremely heavy casualties and disorganization.  Thirteen of 15 CCF artillery positions were put out of action, 3 fire tanks were and an artillery ammunition dump of 4000 rounds were destroyed.  In a second intercept, the UN forces learned that the enemy general directing the attack was wounded and his driver killed.  Ten enemy prisoners were captured.

Click on images to enlarge.

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11th Airborne Association news – 

The 11th Airborne Division lost both their own Chaplain, Charles A. Bailey (HQ Co 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, WWII) and his wife, Chaplain Juanita Bailey of the 11th Airborne Angelettes.  They are survived by their son, Chaplain Brigadier General Charles “Ray” Bailey.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Caecar Abate – Sacramento, CA; US Army, WWII 187th Reg. Co.C, PTO

Alton Benson – Portland, OR; US Army, Korea

A face of war

A face of war

Roy Caseley – New Zealand; 1st 5th Welsh Battalion, WWII # 14756316

Alfred Hamlyn – Dargaville, New Zealand; WWII, # 263715

William Leck – Rockville Center, NY; US Air Force, Korea

Walter Morris – Orlando, FL; US Army, Ist Sgt., 2nd Lt., WWII; 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (1st US Army black enlisted paratrooper) “Triple Nickels” unit assigned to extinguish fires from the Japanese balloon bombs.

Stephen Ptak – Stoneham, MA; US Army, WWII PTO, 11th A/B Div.

Victor Weith – W.Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 30, 2013, in Korean War and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. I just cannot imagine how they managed to skip right over this part of our history books. We never learned a thing about any of this and every visit here I am more appalled that it was omitted. Thank you again, Gp.

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    • I know what you mean. I receive comments from around the world and find that no one really taught any of this in the schools. All these men and sacrifices were to remain forgotten?

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  2. GP – Love all the maps !! They really make it easy to follow the action. Splendid research.

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  3. Sad to say, but looking at the casualty figures of the battle at the Iron Triangle, it really gives scope to the extent of losses by the UN forces.
    Cheers.
    Ian aka Emu

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  4. In view of the large number of casualties some readers may like to look at this very interesting information from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Memorial_Cemetery and this is also an incredibly interesting account of the Quartermasters Graves Registration Company http://www.qmfound.com/grave.htm. What brave men and what astounding service to their country.

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  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    You bring it so alive, you really do. I LOVE your site. I didn’t know what my dad had been through or seen, but you SAY it. Dad, well, he just turned away in his own unique alcoholic way.

    This blog is valuable to me. Love it. Love your detail, your photos, your facts, your recall.

    Oh! & happy new year!

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    • Thanks to people like Sheri DeGrom, this site has been used to help get veterans talking – rather than holding their experiences inside. This probably would have helped your father. I am very grateful for Sheri and for the service our troops go thru. I thank you for being interested and dropping in.

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  6. Happy New Year, GP. Keep up the good work!

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  7. Happy New Year, hope it’s a great one 🙂

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  8. I wanted to wish you Happy New Year ! Your efforts are appreciated .

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  9. wow- great post! And I think it had the perfect amount of pictures in between the text to keep things moving and flowing.

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    • Thanks. Since the Iron Triangle was a large area and unit movements spread out amongst the ridges, I felt the maps and photos were required to help explain what I lack in words. Have a great New Years and I’ll be looking for you.

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  10. Wishing you a Happy New Year! See ya next year!

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  11. 8,000 KIA! That’s a disaster!

    Thank you for all the research that went into each post.

    All good wishes for 2014,
    Eric

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  12. Horrible. But I don’t think war will ever end. Physical submission accomplishes what words never do. Though only briefly.

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  13. What a slaughter with nearly 20,000 souls lost in the triangle battle alone! No wonder the archive listed it as a ‘failure’. Informative and sobering as always.
    Wishing you a peaceful and Happy New Year and looking forward to your posts in 2014.

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  14. It’s amazing the coincidences between World War One and the Korean War. Both had early periods of large movements, sinking into stalemate and grinding slaughter. My father has a story from an artillery unit he briefly served with, using 155mm howitzers as shotguns. Truly horrific.
    As always, well done. And if I don’t catch you tomorrow, have a truly Happy New Year’s Eve and Day, and may 2014 bring you all the best!

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  15. One can quickly get depressed reading the numbers of casualties.

    I came across this video recently, and some may say it’s a bit idealistic. I think we need more idealism of this kind.

    http://www.bbncommunity.com/3-minute-video-will-make-problem-seem-astonishingly-trivial/

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    • That we do! What are our chances of things coming up rosier in 2014, do you think? Thanks for the link and Happy New Year.

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      • If history is any indication, while some things are bound to improve, the human condition will continue to fluctuate . . . where I to take a guess, just based on population growth one can assume a few more people living in misery, a few more wars based on either economic factors or plain stupidity, and a slow but steady degradation of quality of life even as the toys we play with get more amazing every day.

        But . . . let’s hope I’m wrong on some things, and humanity actually wakes up and strives for higher goals than they have been. Happy New Year to you as well.

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  16. We lost 8,000 UN troops in the Iron Triangle? My god. That rivals some of the battles during WWII… How sad… And I am curious as why the enemy forces would broadcast out in the free and clear knowing the success of intelligence gathering during WWII, e.g., the shootdown of Yamamoto through a radio intercept.

    And the 11th Airborne lost a husband and wife Chaplain team during one event? How tragic and sad…

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    • Yes, definitely a post of bad news I’m afraid, Koji. Wish I could find some cartoons for the Korean War, like we have for WWII, but I’m coming up empty. Thanks for coming by to read today. Happy New Year.

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