Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry

High ranking commanders were assured beyond any doubt that Outpost Harry was to be attacked by a numerically superior Chinese force.  It was ordered that the 15th Infantry Regiment, a more experienced and battle tried unit be made responsible for the area, no later than 6 June 1953.

Harry is situated some 425 yards northeast of the friendly MLR, which is on a southeast/northwest line from the Chorwon Valley to the Kumwha Valley.  The hill is approximately 1280 feet high and is located 320 yards south and part of a larger hill mass occupied by the enemy known as Star Hill.  The post itself contains a communications trench which runs 315 yards to the forward observer bunker.  Here is where it joins another trench and makes a complete circle around the forward position, referred to as The Loop.  To the rear of this, another trench helps in support of defense for the right side.  The left side had a very steep drop.

Lt. Markley, K Company, in front of the company mess

Lt. Markley, K Company, in front of the company mess

Aerial reconnaissance from 1-8 June showed increased enemy activity: construction of new antiaircraft artillery positions, self-propelled gun revetments, artillery positions, supply bunkers, personnel bunkers and new bridge and road improvements.

The increased enemy counter battery fire on friendly artillery positions increased from 275 per day up to 670.  10 June at 2130 hours, an ambush patrol, west of OP Dick in the sector of the Greek Battalion, reported Chines numbering approximately 250 coming out of OP Jackson Heights.  This was recognized as an enemy feint; word came down that the CCF were in the trenches on OP Harry.  Bitter hand-to-hand combat was engaged by Company K/15th Infantry and the Chinese were killed or driven back.  The enemy reinforced their attack 4 more times during the early morning hours and were in the trench on the north side by 0430 on 11 June; repelled one hour later.

Greek Battalion, Korea

Greek Battalion, Korea

12 June at 0005 hours, the enemy moved through their own artillery, then friendly artillery and reached the rear of the outpost.  Another CCF attack occurred at 2200 hours and fought off in 47 minutes.  However, 3 hours later the CCF attacked from the north, northeast and northwest.  Bitter hand-to-hand fighting ensued as the enemy gained the trench on the north slope.  Company L reinforced and by 0450 hours the enemy was forced to with draw.  A platoon of tanks from the 64th Tank Battalion plus one platoon of infantry was dispatched as a diversionary force and all action ceased for the day.

13 June, action was sporadic with light enemy artillery and mortar fire falling on the outpost and MLR.  But, during the night of 14-15 June, about 0125 hours, the CCF moved through friendly artillery and defensive fires  and gained the rear trenches of the OP.  All during the intense hand-to-hand fighting the CCF reinforced, but friendly forces held OP Harry.  Company E/15th Infantry was committed to reinforce and again, another diversionary force was dispatched and action ceased.

The outpost wars

The outpost wars

It was a quiet night on 15-16 June and the regimental commander placed the GEF Battalion (Greek Expeditionary Force) in the area so that the battle-weary US battalions, all of which had suffered heavy casualties, could refit and reorganize.

On 17-18 June, the CCF returned at 0052 hours but were repelled.  At 0240 hours, the enemy attacked from the north under intense artillery and mortar fire.  They gained the trenches of the OP on the north slope at 0313.  Bitter hand-to-hand combat ensued as the enemy tried to reinforce.  Company N/GEF Battalion was committed to reinforce while one platoon of tanks from Heavy Tank Company/15th  and one platoon from Greek Infantry were dispatched to the valley east of OP Harry.  By 0402 hours, the enemy was forced out of the trenches and all action ceased with the enemy withdrawing, having fired 22,000 rounds in support of this attack.

Outpost Harry

Outpost Harry

During this period the entire 74th CCF Division was utilized against this position and at the end of the engagement was considered combat ineffective.  Enemy rounds fired in support of their attack during the period 10-18 June amounted to 88,810 rounds over 81mm size: friendly mortar and artillery units in conjunction with friendly tank fires were 368,185 rounds over 81mm size.

Click images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salute –

Mattie Baskin – Clarksville, AR; WAVES, WWIIVeterans_Day-thanks

Walter Chad – Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; RCAF, WWII

Louis Darin – Mattituck, NY; USN, WWII

Patricia Elizabeth Davidson (nee Stribling) – Ashburton, NZ; NZWAAC # 820183, 1942-48

John Imbra – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Steve Kingsley – Tampa, FL; US Army, Korea

James Rafferty, Sr. – Massapequa, NY; US Navy, WWII

Frederick Thompson – Arcadia, OK; US Navy, Korea

Warwick Kiernan Whelan – Christchurch, NZ; RNZAF # 441842, WWII

Bill Wicker – Oklahoma City, OK; US Navy; WWII, PTO

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Personal note – I was privileged to receive a link to a fellow blogger who had written a wonderful tribute to a veteran and a child.  If you get the time, I’m certain you will enjoy it as well, please read HERE.

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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 February 13, 2014, in Korean War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. That was just a fascinating read. Shivers of fear, just thinking on people went through.

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  2. Late comment here. I’m strangely fascinated with an American war I’m so unfamiliar with despite knowing little about it. Thirst for knowledge? Instinctively fond of real mens’ bravery? Could be both. The detailed and first-hand accounts plus helpful pictures bring enough life to these war stories to put you in the middle of battle. Not only that, your commenters seem real buffs on (apparently underground) authentic history like you are, which helps fill in some of the holes. Being this retelling was from 1953, I was fairly sure I was about to read “and the next day, the war ended”… good, because a mesmerizing story should never end. In fact, this war ends on a cliffhanger. Hence, I have some appreciation of the cease-fire between the Koreas as it forces us to conclude that they are still officially at war. Not to trivialize our fallen heroes but their sacrifices are helping me learn an awful lot so I’m having a great time, reading your large body of work (trying to, anyway). I love reading about their missions, adventures, bravery, victories and even their ends. Every good war needs its soldiers to inject the faith in their cause into it. Keep up the fine work on spreading around their immortality, Mr. Cox. Somebody has to, right? PS: I found the link at the bottom appropriate for this entry as well as poetic… worthy of its reblog.

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    • I greatly appreciate you feelings, interest and comments. And you are quite correct in saying the war never ended, the armistice was merely a cease-fire and I personally know of US troops who were killed in S. Korea since then. Perhaps you should start at the beginning and get the drift right from the start?

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  3. The hand to hand combat gives the war a fierce reality, even from this distance in time. And here is the reality of more farewell salutes: Hugh James Hamilton, RNZAF 4215243 on February 13th, Christchurch,NZ. Victor Blythe Newman, MBChB, Reg no. 74600, NZ Army, WWII, on February 13th, Christchurch NZ. William Robert (Bill) Patterson, Signalman, Reg No.448085 2nd NZEF, on February 13th, Christchurch, NZ

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  4. Thanks again for the research and the straightforward reporting approach . The amount of artillery activity is unimaginable , and the hand-to-hand fighting for hours to hold a hill position ! Boggles the mind , and , as you say , we owe these guys so very much .

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  5. This war was brutal until the end…I guess they all are.

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  6. The amount of ammunition expended by the opposing forces is telling.

    At the end of the day, supply logistics is always a key factor, I reckon. We never if ever get to hear of the supply line boys, their challenges and their commanders. It’s always the pearl-handle gun toting “heroes” who capture the headlines.

    I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers – but for me, get the logistics right and we’re almost there.

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    • Everyone judges it differently. That’s why it takes so make for an operation to succeed, the planners, the engineers the tactical arrangements, etc, etc. and then the head honcho sits in the rear and says ‘see what “I” did!’

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  7. What history, the sad thing is I never knew that this battle occurred until I read it here today. Thank you for the read, I also want to thank those who sacrificed so much….

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    • Glad to hear you something from this site, that makes my day! That means to me that now there is one more person out there who will remember what these men went thru and did for us. Thanks for coming by, reading and commenting.

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  8. Startling how much hand-to-hand combat took place. One tends to think of modern warfare all being all remote shooting or blowing up stuff.

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  9. I am still aghast with the violence that had taken place during this war…especially the hand-to-hand combat, the most terrifying of all I would think. I say “think” because I was spared that horrific experience having never served. And the number of artillery shells. OMG.

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  10. I keep thinking hand-to-hand combat inside a trench . . . depressing.

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  11. You’ve left me saddened as usual. You remind me war won’t end until both sides want it. Despite what certain people want to idealistically believe.

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  12. All of that hand-to-hand combat and just war in general. I’ve never believed that soldiers have ever received the psychological help they so need and deserve. It all would be so traumatic. We just don’t do enough and now this admin appears to do even less if that’s possible.

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  13. It is odd how photos in black and white are an abstraction compared with the blunt reality of color. Color has immediacy, even when it shows an historic moment.

    Nothing tears my heart more, though, than a photo of someone standing among the grave markers of the dead of war, whether in black and white or color.

    An informative post, as always. You and Pierre do honor to so many, and I am glad I came across your posts.

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  14. Great post.
    Lillian

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  15. Great story about the soldier’s funeral and the little girl. Another great Korean conflict post–Thanks, GP.

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  16. Always hard to click the like button with so much suffering we are exposed to in your posts… This is why veterans seldom talk about the horror of wars, forgotten or not.

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    • I know it is hard for them, that is why you and I help them to be recognized for their efforts on our sites. Thanks for being the ever-loyal friend you have been for so long. Yesterday I went to an air show of 3 WWII planes, I’ll be posting that little story in the intermission between the Korean War and re-starting WWII.

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  17. Sir, you paint a fine picture with words. History as it should be told. I am now going to read this post a second time – there is much more to absorb.

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