Hill 355 - !!! Little Gibraltar !!! - 1952/1953

What a brute of a place to work on and around, 355, the pits for both UN and Chinese forces. A long razor-back type mountain with no redeeming features whatever. To climb it was back breaking, to dig into its rocky slopes the same. Living on it was akin to living on a lunar landscape, pitted by craters from end to end and top to bottom.

The conditions during the winter were abysmal, the freezing winds howling around the slopes with nothing to break their force. Icy trenches at such a steep angle walking was a nightmare lest you broke a limb.

That's called Chinese tree trimming

The Sharp End
Forward platoon
B Company


How to build Flash underground quarters in a shooting gallery

Typhoon season was pure hell, torrents of water pouring down the hillside and through the trenches like raging mountain rivers. Bunkers flooded and often collapsing from the sheer amount of water in the soil. Fighting pits half full, bunkers in even the best places would be knee deep or more. Clothing was saturated most of the time.

The trenches were glue pots, impossible to traverse without their helping ropes.

Most of these photos could have come straight from bloody WWI

Reserve position
Behind 355 in pouring down rain.

Forward company
Under Chinese observation

A very quick flash of Cash ... under the circumstances

Summer saw the heat of an arid zone beating down 18 hours a day. You panted like a dog much of the time, and working on the defense system sucked the last drop of moisture from your thirsty body. Water was a problem again, there was seldom enough of it to drink and have a basic wash. Never enough to wash your clothes, nor have a good scrub-up.

For some, maybe a last look back ...

Mounting out, May 1953.
Moving off from rear company to forward.

Reserve area for "Little Gibraltar".

We look like proper soldiers, while in Reserve ...
Target in the shooting gallery

Observation post Little Gibraltar.
Easily observed from ... easily observed.

Incoming mail
The quick, the dead, and the inexperienced

 Mail wasn't always welcome, on the line

Spring was a young man's delight, the weather perfect and alas the Chinese very active in the valleys below. Down in those dangerous places, young men from both sides played a deadly game every night. This was the time for raiding parties, recce patrols, ambushes and generally annoying the devil out of each other. Autumn was just about the same, minus a few zillion mosquitoes and flies. The ever alert frogs were always there during those balmy seasons, either alerting an enemy to your presence or the other way about. The material of dreams.

On the other side ...

Little Gib
Best side, at the moment

Charlie's Turn
Location is everything

It isn't the view, it's the location
We always gave the little fellas a big hand ...

Welcome, Charlie
You've got our attention

Morning Parade
More or less

Dead sharp at all times, Sixa Platoon

With regards to use of the Owen in Korea, for long range work it left much to be desired. However following the start of the 'static war phase' most of the combat was during the night, and included patrols, raids and defending against attacks. The type of fighting involved was therefore up close and personal, and in those conditions the Owen was excellent. I am not aware of any ammunition problems during those two years, certainly none where a bullet failed to enter a body from close quarters. The Bren was a superior weapon but had two disadvantages in this type of work, it was very heavy and needed two men to man it properly and it was cumbersome in close order operations. ie. In trenches or fighting pits.

Sixa Platoon, earning their keep

Off to work
Packing more than lunch

The meanest blokes
In the valley of ...

Soft it is, having a job you're good at ...
Doing my bit for the Brass ...

Digging again
BHQ Funk-holes

Counter-attack reserve

No I'm not sucking my gut in, mate, why?
You oughta be in pitchers ...

Photog at work
Sgt. Phil Hobson

When April showers ...

Securing Chop-Chop in the rain
Eyeball to eyeball

Mortar O.P.

Mounting out
A bad patrol, for me

Not quite a motor touring trip

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