The Korean winters proved to be a brutal adversary throughout the conflict.
Background[ edit ] U. Army infantrymen of the 27th Infantry Regimentnear Heartbreak Ridge, take advantage of cover and concealment in tunnel positions, 40 yards Korean war project the Communists on August 10, If anything, Korean war project Communist defenses were even more formidable here than on Bloody Ridge.
Thomas de Shazo, and his immediate superior, Maj. Byersthe X Corps commander, seriously underestimated the strength of the North Korean position. The attack began on September 13 and quickly deteriorated into a familiar pattern.
First, American aircraft, tanks and artillery would pummel the ridge for hours on end, turning the already barren hillside into a cratered moonscape. Those who survived to reach the crest arrived exhausted and low on ammunition.
The inevitable counterattack would then come—waves of North Koreans determined to recapture the lost ground at any cost. Many of these counterattacks were conducted at night by fresh troops that the North Koreans were able to bring up under the shelter of neighboring hills.
Battles begun by bombbullet and shell were inevitably finished by grenadetrench knife and fists as formal military engagements degenerated into desperate hand-to-hand brawls. Sometimes dawn broke to reveal the defenders still holding the mountaintop.
The battle progressed for two weeks. Because of the constricting terrain and the narrow confines of the objectives, units were committed piecemeal—one platooncompany or battalion at a time.
Once a unit could no longer stand the strain a replacement would take its place, until the 23rd Infantry as a whole was fairly well shattered.
Several units up to company size — men were wiped out. The Americans employed massive artillery barrages, airstrikes and tanks in attempts to drive the North Koreans off the ridge, but the KPA proved extremely hard to dislodge.
Youngcalled a halt to the "fiasco" on Heartbreak Ridge as American planners reconsidered their strategy. As long as the North Koreans could continue to reinforce and resupply their garrison on the ridge, it would be nearly impossible for the Americans to take the mountain.
After belatedly recognizing this fact, the 2nd Division crafted a new plan that called for a full division assault on the valleys and hills adjacent to Heartbreak to cut the ridge off from further reinforcement.
The only existing road was little more than a track that could not bear the weight of the Shermans. Moreover, it was heavily mined and blocked by a six-foot 2 m high rock barrier built by the North Koreans. Main thrust[ edit ] By October 10 everything was ready for the main operation. On October 11, led by more than 30 tanks and supported by artillery and airplanes, the 2nd Division started advancing into the valley.
The sudden onslaught of a battalion of tanks racing up the valley took the enemy by surprise. By coincidence, the thrust came just when the Chinese th Division was moving up to relieve the North Koreans on Heartbreak. The Chinese unit under fire was the th Regiment of the th Division Commander: Wenfang Luodispatched by the 68th Army Commander: Before the Chinese could dig in, the 2nd Division had already started the attack.
However, the th Regiment managed to damage five Sherman tanks before the Americans halted the offensive. On October 12 the 2nd Division began an airborne and artillery bombardment that lasted for two hours on Hill Having learned the American tactics from the previous day, the th Regiment of the Chinese army had already reinforced the anti-tank trenches flanking the road that runs through the Mundung-ni Valley; in addition, a battalion of anti-tank guns was assigned to the regiment 49 infantry guns, recoilless guns and rocket launchers were also distributed among the front-line soldiers.
At point-blank-range, the Chinese soldiers fired upon the advancing American tanks. Before the 23rd halted the assault at hrs, the Chinese had destroyed or damaged 18 tanks at a high cost. The 23rd Regiment did not assault the hills on the next day. The South Korean 8th Division, however, starting from October 13, launched its attack on hills 97, These battles were subsequently known to be brutal and costly; for example, a company of the Chinese th Regiment was defending hill Under the attack of four South Korean battalions, the company resisted for four days to the last man before the South Korean army took the hill on its 11th assault.
On October 14 eight Sherman tanks in arrow formation attacked the Chinese positions along Mundung-ni Valley. All the tanks were knocked out by the crossfire of Chinese anti-tank guns. Two more were lost on October 19 due to mines.
During the five days, the Shermans roared up and down the Mundung-ni Valley, over-running supply dumps, mauling troop concentrations and destroying approximately bunkers on Heartbreak and in the surrounding hills and valleys.Cpl. Roland Holder war experiences and Korean War photos: KOREAN WAR.
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