In war events of importance are the result of trivial causes.|
JULIUS CAESAR, Bellum Gallicum
When enemy penetrations in the Pusan Perimeter at the bulge of the Naktong
caused General Walker to withdraw the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade from
Task Force Kean, he ordered the 25th Division to take up defensive positions
on the army southern flank west of Masan. By 15 August the 25th Division
had moved into these positions.
The terrain west of Masan dictated the choice of the positions. The
mountain barrier west of Masan was the first readily defensible ground
east of the Chinju pass. (See Map IV.) The two thousand-foot
mountain ridges of Sobuk-san and P'il-bong dominated the area and protected
the Komam-ni (Saga)-Haman-Chindong-ni road, the only means of north-south
communication in the army zone west of Masan.
Northward from the Masan-Chinju highway to the Nam River there were
a number of possible defensive positions. The best one was the Notch and
adjacent high ground near Chungam-ni, which controlled the important road
junction connecting the Masan road with the one over the Nam River to Uiryong.
This position, however, had the disadvantage of including a 15-mile stretch
of the Nam River to the point of its confluence with the Naktong, thus
greatly lengthening the line. It was mandatory that the 25th Division right
flank connect with the left flank of the 24th Division at the confluence
of the Nam and the Naktong Rivers. Within this limitation, it was also
necessary that the 25th Division line include and protect the Komam-ni
road intersection where the Chindong-ni-Haman road met the Masan-Chinju
The Southern Anchor of the Army Line 1st
From Komam-ni a 2-mile-wide belt of rice paddy land extended north four
miles to the Nam River. On the west of this paddy land a broken spur of
P'il-bong, dominated by 900-foot-high Sibidang-san, dropped down to the
Nam. Sibidang provided excellent observation, and artillery emplaced in
the Komam-ni area could interdict the road junction at Chungam-ni. Colonel
Fisher, therefore, selected the Sibidang-Komam-ni position for his 35th
Infantry Regiment in the northern part of the 25th Division defense line.
The 35th Regiment line extended from a point two miles west of Komam-ni to the Nam River and then turned east along that stream to
its confluence with the Naktong. It was a long regimental line-about 26,000
The part of the line held by the 35th Infantry-covering as it did the
main Masan-Chinju highway, the railroad, and the Nam River corridor, and
forming the hinge with the 24th Division to the north-was potentially the
most critical and important sector of the 25th Division front. Lt. Col.
Bernard G. Teeter's 1st Battalion held the regimental left west of Komam-ni;
Colonel Wilkins' 2d Battalion held the regimental right along the Nam River.
Maj. Robert L. Woolfolk's 3d Battalion (1st Battalion, 29th Infantry) was
in reserve on the road south of Chirwon from where it could move quickly
to any part of the line.
South of the 35th Infantry, Colonel Champney's 24th Infantry, known
among the men in the regiment as the "Deuce-Four," took up the
middle part of the division front in the mountain area west of Haman.
Below (south) the 24th Infantry and west of Chindong-ni, Colonel Throckmorton's
5th Regimental Combat Team was on the division left. On division orders,
Throckmorton at first held the ground above the Chindong-ni coastal road
only as far as Fox Hill, or Yaban-san. General Kean soon decided, however,
that the 5th Regimental Combat Team should close the gap northward between
it and the 24th Infantry. When Throckmorton sent a ROK unit of 100 men
under American officers to the higher slope of Sobuk-san, enemy troops
already there drove them back. General Kean then ordered the 5th Regimental
Combat Team to take this ground, but it was too late. 
The N.K. 6th Division Regroups West of Masan
1stIn front of the 25th Division, the N.K. 6th Division
had now received orders from the North Korean command to take up defensive
positions and to await reinforcements before continuing the attack. 
From north to south, the division had its 13th, 15th, and
14th Regiments on line in that order. The first replacements
for the division arrived at Chinju on or about 12 August. Approximately
2,000 unarmed South Koreans conscripted in the Seoul area joined the division
by 15 August. At Chinju, the 6th Division issued them grenades
and told the recruits they would have to pick up weapons from killed and
wounded on the battlefield and to use captured ones. A diarist in this
group records that he arrived at Chinju on 13 August and was in combat
for the first time on 19 August. Two days later he wrote in his diary,
"I am much distressed by the pounding artillery and aerial attacks.
We have no food and no water, we suffer a great deal.... I am on a hill
close to Masan." 
Another group of 2,500 replacements conscripted in the Seoul area joined
the 6th Division on or about 21 August, bringing the division
strength to approximately 8,500 men. In the last week of August and the first week of September, 3,000 more recruits conscripted
in southwest Korea joined the division. The 6th Division
used this last body of recruits in labor details at first and only later
employed them as combat troops. 
As a part of the enemy build-up in the south, another division now arrived
there-the 7th Division. This division was activated on 3
July 1950; its troops included 2,000 recruits and the 7th Border
Constabulary Brigade of 4,000 men. An artillery regiment
had joined this division at Kaesong near the end of July. In Seoul on 30
July, 2,000 more recruits conscripted from South Korea brought the 7th
Division's strength to 10,000. The division departed Seoul on 1
August, the men wading the neck-deep Han River while their vehicles and
heavy weapons crossed on the pontoon bridge, except for the division artillery
which was left behind. The 7th Division marched south through
Taejon, Chonju, and Namwon. The 1st and 3d Regiments
arrived at Chinju on or about 15 August. Two days later some elements of
the division reached T'ongyong at the southern end of the peninsula, twenty-five
air miles southwest of Masan. The 2d Regiment arrived at
Yosu on or about 15 August to garrison that port. The 7th Division,
therefore, upon first arriving in southwest Korea occupied key ports to
protect the 6th Division against possible landings in its
The reinforced battalion that had driven the ROK police out of T'ongyong
did not hold it long. U.N. naval forces heavily shelled T'ongyong on 19
August as three companies of ROK marines from Koje Island made an amphibious
landing near the town. The ROK force then attacked the North Koreans and,
supported by naval gun fire, drove them out. The enemy in this action at
T'ongyong lost about 350 men, or about half their reinforced battalion;
the survivors withdrew to Chinju.
By 17 August, the reinforced North Koreans had closed on the 25th Division
defensive line and had begun a series of probing attacks that were to continue
throughout the month. What the N.K. 6th Division called "aggressive
patrolling" soon became, in the U.S. 24th and 35th Infantry sectors,
attacks of company and sometimes of battalion strength. Most of these attacks
came in the high mountains west of Haman, in the Battle Mountain, P'il-bong,
and Sobuk-san area. There the 6th Division seemed peculiarly
sensitive where any terrain features afforded observation of its supply
and concentration area in the deeply cut valley to the west.
Enemy Attacks at Koman-ni (Saga) 1st
It soon became apparent that the enemy 6th Division had
shifted its axis of attack and that its main effort now would be in the
northern part of the Chinju-Masan corridor just below the Nam River. General
Kean had placed his strongest regiment, the 35th Infantry, in this area.
Competent observers considered its commanding officer, Colonel Fisher,
one of the ablest regimental commanders in Korea. Calm, somewhat retiring, ruddy faced, and possessed
of a strong, compact body, this officer was a fine example of the professional
soldier. He possessed an exact knowledge of the capabilities of the weapons
used in an infantry regiment and was skilled in their use. He was a technician
in the tactical employment of troops. Of quiet temperament, he did not
court publicity. One of his fellow regimental commanders called him "the
mainstay of the division." 
The 35th Infantry set to work to cover its front with trip flares, but
they were in short supply and gradually it became impossible to replace
those tripped by the enemy. As important to the front line companies as
the flares were the 60-mm. mortar illuminating shells. This ammunition
had deteriorated to such a degree, however, that only about 20 percent
of the supply issued to the regiment was effective. The 155-mm. howitzer
illuminating shells were in short supply. Even when employed, the time
lapse between a request for them and delivery by the big howitzers allowed
some enemy infiltration before the threatened area was illuminated. 
Lt. Col. Arthur H. Logan's 64th Field Artillery Battalion, with C Battery,
90th Field Artillery Battalion, attached, and Captain Harvey's A Company,
88th Medium Tank Battalion, supported Colonel Fisher's regiment. Three
medium M4A3 tanks, from positions at Komam-ni, acted as artillery and placed
interdiction fire on Chungam-ni. Six other medium M26 tanks in a similar
manner placed interdiction fire on Uiryong across the Nam River. 
In the pre-dawn hours of 17 August an enemy attack got under way against
the 35th Infantry. North Korean artillery fire began falling on the 1st
Battalion command post in Komam-ni at 0300, and an hour later enemy infantry
attacked A Company, forcing two of its platoons from their positions, and
overrunning a mortar position. After daylight, a counterattack by B Company
regained the lost ground. This was the beginning of a 5-day battle by Colonel
Teeter's 1st Battalion along the southern spurs of Sibidang, two miles
west of Komam-ni. The North Koreans endeavored there to turn the left flank
of the 35th Regiment and split the 25th Division line. On the morning of
18 August, A Company again lost its position to enemy attack and again
regained it by counterattack. Two companies of South Korean police arrived
to reinforce the battalion right flank. Against the continuing North Korean
attack, artillery supporting the 1st Battalion fired an average of 200
rounds an hour during the night of 19-20 August. 
After three days and nights of this battle, C Company of the 35th Infantry
and A Company of the 29th Infantry moved up astride the Komam-ni road during
the morning of 20 August to bolster A and B Companies on Sibidang. While
this reinforcement was in progress, Colonel Fisher from a forward observation post saw a large enemy
concentration advancing to renew the attack. He directed artillery fire
on this force and called in an air strike. Observers estimated that the
artillery fire and the air strike killed about 350 enemy troops, half the
attack group. 
The North Koreans made still another try in the same place. In the pre-dawn
hours of 22 August, enemy infantry started a very heavy attack against
the 1st Battalion. Employing no artillery or mortar preparatory fires,
the enemy force in the darkness cut the four-strand barbed wire and attacked
at close quarters with small arms and grenades. This assault engaged three
American companies and drove one of them from its position. After three
hours of fighting A Company counterattacked at 0700 and regained its lost
position. The next day, 23 August, the North Koreans, frustrated in this
area, withdrew from contact in the 35th Infantry sector. 
At the same time that the North Koreans were trying to penetrate the
35th Infantry positions in the Sibidang-Komam-ni area, they sent strong
patrols and probing attacks against the mountainous middle part of the
25th Division line. Since this part of the division line became a continuing
problem in the defense of the Perimeter, more should be said about the
terrain there and some of its critical features.
Old mine shafts and tunnels on the western slope of Sobuk-san provided
the North Koreans in this area with ready-made underground bunkers, assembly
points, and supply depots. As early as the first week of August, the North
Koreans were in this mountain fastness and had never been driven out. It
was the assembly area for their combat operations on the Masan front all
during the month. Even when American troops had held the Notch position
beyond Chungam-ni, their combat patrols had never been able to penetrate
along the mountain trail that branches off the Masan road and twists its
way up the narrow mountain valley to the mining villages of Ogok and Tundok,
at the western base of Battle Mountain and P'ilbong, two peaks of Sobuk-san.
The patrols always were either ambushed or driven back by enemy action.
The North Koreans firmly protected all approaches to their Sobuk-san stronghold.
When the 25th Division issued orders to its subordinate units to take
up defensive positions west of Masan, the 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry,
was still trying to seize Obong-san, the mountain ridge just west of Battle
Mountain and P'il-bong, and across a gorgelike valley from them. At daybreak
of 15 August, the 2d Battalion broke contact with the enemy and withdrew
to Battle Mountain and the ridge west of Haman. The 3d Battalion of the
24th Infantry now came to the Haman area to help in the regimental defense
of this sector. 
This high ground west of Haman on which the 24th Infantry established its defensive line was part of the
Sobuk-san mountain mass. Sobuk-san reaches its highest elevation, 2,400
feet, at P'il-bong (Hill 743), eight miles northwest of Chindong-ni and
three miles southwest of Haman. From P'il-bong the crest of the ridge line
drops and curves slightly northwestward, to rise again a mile away in the
bald peak which became known as Battle Mountain (Hill 665). It also was
variously known as Napalm Hill, Old Baldy, and Bloody Knob. Between P'il-bong
and Battle Mountain the ridge line narrows to a rocky ledge which the troops
called the Rocky Crags. Northward from Battle Mountain toward the Nam River,
the ground drops sharply in two long spur ridges. Men who fought there
called the eastern one Green Peak. 
At the western base (enemy side) of Battle Mountain and P'il-bong lay
Ogok and Tundok, one and a quarter air miles from the crest. A generally
north-south mountain road-trail crossed a high saddle just north of these
villages and climbed to the 1,100-foot level of the west slope, or about
halfway to the top, of Battle Mountain. This road gave the North Koreans
an advantage in mounting and supplying their attacks in this area. A trail
system ran from Ogok and Tundok to the crests of Battle Mountain and P'il-bong.
From the top of Battle Mountain an observer could look directly down into
this enemy-held valley, upon its mining villages and numerous mine shafts.
Conversely, from Battle Mountain the North Koreans could look down into
the Haman valley eastward and keep the 24th Infantry command post, supply
road, artillery positions, and approach trails under observation. Whichever
side held the crest of Battle Mountain could see into the rear areas of
the other. Both forces fully understood the advantages of holding the crest
of Battle Mountain and each tried to do it in a 6-week-long battle.
The approach to Battle Mountain and P'il-bong was much more difficult
from the east, the American-held side, than from the west, the North Korean
side. On the east side there was no road climbing halfway to the top; from
the base of the mountain at the edge of the Haman valley the only way to
make the ascent was by foot trail. Stout climbers required from 2 to 3
hours to reach the top of P'il-bong from the reservoir area, one and a
half air miles eastward; they required from 3 to 4 hours to get on top
of Battle Mountain from the valley floor. The turnaround time for porter
pack trains to Battle Mountain was 6 hours. Often a dispatch runner required
8 hours to go up Battle Mountain and come back down. In some places the
trail was so steep that men climbed with the help of ropes stretched at
the side of the trail. Enemy night patrols constantly cut telephone lines.
The wire men had a difficult and dangerous job trying to maintain wire
communication with units on the mountain.
Bringing dead and seriously wounded down from the top was an arduous
task. It required a litter bearer team of six men to carry a wounded man
on a stretcher down the mountain. In addition, a medical aide was needed
to administer medical care during the trip if the man was critically wounded,
and riflemen often accompanied the party to protect it from enemy snipers
along the trail. A critically wounded man might, and sometimes did, die
before he reached the bottom where surgical and further medical care could
be administered. This possibility was one of the factors that lowered morale
in the 24th Infantry units fighting on Battle Mountain. Many men were afraid
that if they were wounded there they would die before reaching adequate
medical care. 
In arranging the artillery and mortar support for the 24th Infantry
on Battle Mountain and P'il-bong, Colonel Champney placed the 4.2-inch
mortars and the 159th Field Artillery Battalion in the valley south of
Haman. On 19 August the artillery moved farther to the rear, except for
C Battery, which remained in the creek bed north of Haman at Champney's
insistence. Champney in the meantime had ordered his engineers to improve
a trail running from Haman northeast to the main Komam-ni-Masan road. He
intended to use it for an evacuation road by the artillery, if that became
necessary, and to improve the tactical and logistical road net of the regimental
sector. This road became known as the Engineer Road. 
When Colonel Champney on 15 August established his line there was a
4,000-yard gap in the P'il-bong area between the 24th Infantry and the
5th Infantry southward. The 24th Infantry had not performed well during
the Task Force Kean action and this fact made a big gap adjacent to it
a matter of serious concern. General Kean sent 432 ROK National Police
to Champney the next day and the latter placed them in this gap. 
The first attack against the mountain line of the 24th Infantry came
on the morning of 18 August, when the enemy partly overran E Company on
the northern spur of Battle Mountain and killed the company commander.
During the day, Lt. Col. Paul F. Roberts succeeded Lt. Col. George R. Cole
in command of the 2d Battalion there. The next day, the enemy attacked
C Company on Battle Mountain and routed it. Officers could collect only
forty men to bring them back into position. Many ROK police on P'il-bong
also ran away-only fifty-six of them remained in their defensive positions.
American officers used threats and physical force to get others back into
position. A gap of nearly a mile in the line north of P'il-bong existed
in the 24th Infantry lines at the close of the day, and an unknown number
of North Koreans were moving into it. 
On to August, all of C Company except the company commander and about
twenty-five men abandoned their position on Battle Mountain. Upon reaching
the bottom of the mountain those who had fled reported erroneously that
the company commander had been killed and their position surrounded, then
over-run by the enemy. On the basis of this misinformation, American artillery
and mortars fired concentrations on C Company's former position, and fighter-bombers,
in thirty-eight sorties, attacked the crest of Battle Mountain, using napalm,
fragmentation bombs, rockets, and strafing. This friendly action, based
upon completely erroneous reports, forced the company commander and his
remnant of twenty-five men off Battle Mountain after they had held it for
nearly twenty hours. A platoon of E Company, except for eight or ten men,
also left its position on the mountain under similar circumstances. On
the regimental left, a ROK patrol from K Company's position on Sobuk-san
had the luck to capture the commanding officer of the N.K. 15th
Regiment but, unfortunately, he was killed a few minutes later while
trying to escape. The patrol removed important documents from his body.
And on this day of general melee along Battle Mountain and P'il-bong, the
North Koreans drove off the ROK police from the 24th Infantry's left flank
on Sobuk-san. 
General Kean now alerted Colonel Throckmorton to prepare a force from
the 5th Infantry to attack Sobuk-san. On the morning of 21 August, the
1st Battalion (less A Company), 5th Regimental Combat Team, attacked across
the 24th Infantry boundary and secured Sobuk-san against light resistance.
That evening a strong force of North Koreans counterattacked and drove
the 1st Battalion off the mountain. At noon the next day, the 1st Battalion
again attacked the heights, and five hours later B Company seized the peak.
General Kean now changed the boundary line between the 5th Regimental Combat
Team and the 24th Infantry, giving the Sobuk-san peak to the former. During
the night, the North Koreans launched counterattacks against the 1st Battalion,
5th Regimental Combat Team, and prevented it from consolidating its position.
On the morning of 23 August, A Company tried to secure the high ground
1,000 yards southwest of Sobuk and link up with B Company, but was unable
to do so. The enemy considered this particular terrain feature so important
that he continued to repulse all efforts to capture it, and kept A Company,
5th Regimental Combat Team, nearby, under almost daily attack. 
Northward from B Company's position on Sobuk, the battle situation was
similar. Enemy troops in the Rocky Crags, which extended from Sobuk-san
toward P'il-bong, took cover during air strikes, and napalm, 500-pound
bombs, and strafing had little effect. As soon as the planes departed they
reoccupied their battle positions. Elements of the 24th Infantry were not
able to extend southward and join with B Company of the 5th Regimental
Combat Team. 
Still farther northward along the mountain spine, in the Battle Mountain
area, affairs were going badly for the 24th Infantry. After C Company lost Battle Mountain, air and artillery
worked over its crest in preparation for an infantry attack planned to
regain Old Baldy. The hot and sultry weather made climbing the steep slope
grueling work, but L Company was on top by noon, 21 August. Enemy troops
had left the crest under the punishing fire of air, artillery, and mortar.
They in turn now placed mortar fire on the crest and prevented L Company
from consolidating its position. This situation continued until midafternoon
when an enemy platoon came out of zigzag trenches a short distance down
the reverse slope of Old Baldy and surprised L Company. One enemy soldier
even succeeded in dropping a grenade in a platoon leader's foxhole. The
other two platoons of the company, upon hearing firing, started to leave
their positions and drift down the hill. The North Koreans swiftly reoccupied
Old Baldy while officers tried to assemble L and I Companies on the eastern
slope. Elements of E Company also left their position during the day. 
American air, artillery, mortar, and tank fire now concentrated on Battle
Mountain, and I and L Companies prepared to counterattack. This attack
made slow progress and at midnight it halted to wait for daylight. Shortly
after dawn, 22 August, I and L Companies resumed the attack. Lt. R. P.
Stevens led L Company up the mountain, with I Company supplying a base
of fire. Lt. Gerald N. Alexander testified that, with no enemy fire whatever,
it took him an hour to get his men to move 200 yards. When they eventually reached their objective,
three enemy grenades wounded six of then, and at this his group ran off
the hill. Alexander stopped them 100 yards down the slope and ordered them
to go back up. None would go. Finally, he and a BAR man climbed back and
found no defending enemy on the crest. His men slowly rejoined him. The
remainder of the company reached the objective on Battle Mountain with
a total loss of 17 casualties in three hours' time. A few hours later,
when a small enemy force worked around its right flank, the company withdrew
back down the hill to I Company's position. 
Fighting continued on Battle Mountain the next day, 23 August, with
ROK police units arriving to reinforce I and L Companies. The American
and South Korean troops finally secured precarious possession of Old Baldy,
mainly because of the excellent supporting fires of the 81-mm. and 4.2-inch
mortars covering the enemy's avenues of approach on the western slope.
Before its relief on the mountain, L Company reported a foxhole strength
of 17 men, yet, halfway down the slope, its strength had jumped to 48 men,
and by the next morning it was more than 100. Colonel Corley, in command
of the 3d Battalion, 24th Infantry, said, "Companies of my battalion
dwindle to platoon size when engaged with the enemy. My chain of command
stops at company level. If this unit is to continue to fight as a battalion
it is recommended that the T/O of officers be doubled. One officer must
lead and the other must drive." The situation in the Haman area caused
General Walker to alert the Marine brigade for possible movement to this
part of the front. 
On 25 and 26 August, C Company beat off a number of North Korean thrusts
on Battle Mountain-all coming along one avenue of approach, the long finger
ridge extending upward from the mines at Tundok. At one point in this series
of actions, a flight of Air Force planes caught about 100 enemy soldiers
in the open and immediately napalmed, bombed, and strafed them. There were
few survivors. Task Force Baker, commanded by Colonel Cole, and comprising
C Company, a platoon of E Company, 24th Infantry, and a ROK police company,
defended Battle Mountain at this time. The special command was established
because of the isolated Battle Mountain area and the extended regimental
battle frontage. It buried many enemy dead killed within or in front of
its positions during these two days. 
The 3d Battalion, 24th Infantry, now relieved the 1st Battalion in the
Battle Mountain-P'il-bong area, except for C Company which, as part of
Task Force Baker, remained on Old Baldy. Corley's battalion completed this
relief by 1800, 27 August. 
The North Korean attacks continued. On the 28th, an enemy company-sized attack struck between C and I Companies before dawn. That night, enemy
mortar fire fell on C Company on Old Baldy, some of it obviously directed
at the company command post. After midnight, an enemy force appeared in
the rear area and captured the command post. Some men of C Company left
their positions on Battle Mountain when the attack began at 0245, 29 August.
The North Koreans swung their attack toward E Company and overran part
of its positions. Airdrops after daylight kept C Company supplied with
ammunition, and a curtain of artillery fire, sealing off approaches from
the enemy's main position, prevented any substantial reinforcement from
arriving on the crest. All day artillery fire and air strikes pounded the
North Koreans occupying E Company's old positions. Then, in the evening,
E Company counterattacked and reoccupied the lost ground. 
An hour before midnight, North Koreans attacked C Company. Men on the
left flank of the company position jumped from their holes and ran down
the mountain yelling, "They have broken through!" The panic spread.
Again the enemy had possession of Battle Mountain. Capt. Lawrence M. Corcoran,
the company commander, was left with only the seventeen men in his command
post, which included several wounded.  After daylight on the 30th,
air strikes again came in on Battle Mountain, and artillery, mortar, and
tank fire from the valley concentrated on the enemy-held peak. A wounded
man came down off the mountain where, cut off, he had hidden for several
hours. He reported that the main body of the North Koreans had withdrawn
to the wooded ridges west of the peak for better cover, leaving only a
small covering force on Old Baldy itself. At 1100, B Company, with the
3d Battalion in support, attacked toward the heights and two hours later
was on top. 
Units of the 24th Infantry always captured Battle Mountain in the same
way. Artillery, mortar, and tank fire raked the crest and air strikes employing
napalm blanketed the scorched top. Then the infantry attacked from the
hill beneath Old Baldy on the east slope, where supporting mortars set
up a base of fire and kept the heights under a hail of steel until the
infantry had arrived at a point just short of the crest. The mortar fire
then lifted and the infantry moved rapidly up the last stretch to the top,
usually to find it deserted by the enemy. 
Battle Mountain changed hands so often during August that there is no
agreement on the exact number of times. The intelligence sergeant of the
1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, said that according to his count the peak
changed hands nineteen time.  From 18 August to the end of the month,
scarcely a night passed that the North Koreans did not attack Old Baldy. The peak often changed hands two or three times in a 24-hour
period. The usual pattern was for the enemy to take it at night and the
24th Infantry to recapture it the next day. This type of fluctuating battle
resulted in relatively high losses among artillery forward observers and
their equipment. During the period of 15-31 August, seven forward observers
and eight other members of the Observer and Liaison Section of the 159th
Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the 24th Infantry, were casualties;
and they lost 8 radios, 11 telephones, and 2 vehicles to enemy action.
In its defense of that part of Sobuk-san south of Battle Mountain and
P'ilbong, the 1st Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team, also had nearly
continuous action in the last week of the month. MSgt. Melvin O. Handrich
of C Company, 5th Regimental Combat Team, on 25 and 26 August distinguished
himself as a heroic combat leader. From a forward position he directed
artillery fire on an attacking enemy force and at one point personally
kept part of the company from abandoning its positions. Although wounded,
Sergeant Handrich returned to his forward position, to continue directing
artillery fire, and there alone engaged North Koreans until he was killed.
When the 5th Regimental Combat Team regained possession of his corner "of
a foreign field" it counted more than seventy dead North Koreans in
the vicinity. 
The month of August ended with the fighting in the mountain's on the
southern front, west of Masan, a stalemate. Neither side had secured a
definite advantage. The 25th Division had held the central part of its
line, at Battle Mountain and Sobuk-san, only with difficulty and with mounting
concern for the future.
 35th Inf Unit Hist, Aug 50.
 Interv, author with Throckmorton, 20 Aug 52: Throckmorton, Notes for
author, 17 Apr 53.
 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 37-38.
 Ibid., p. 38; ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, Rpt 712, p. 31, Chon Kwan
O; ATIS Supp Enemy Docs, Issue 2, p. 70, Diary of Yun Hung Xi, 25 Jul-21
 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), p. 38.
 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 99 (N.K. 7th Div), p. 34; ATIS
Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, p. 94, Capt So Won Sok, 7th Div.
 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 99 (N.K. 7th Div), pp. 34-35;
ATIS Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, p. 94, Capt So; GHQ FEC G-3 Opn Rpt 57, 20
Aug 50; New York Times, August 21, 1950.
 Interv, author with Corley, 6 Nov 51; Interv, author with
Throckmorton, 20 Aug 52 Interv, author with Brig Gen Arthur S. Champney,
22 Jul 51. Throckmorton and Champney agreed substantially with Corley's
 1st Bn, 35th Inf WD, 14-31 Aug 50, Summ of Supply Problem.
 35th Inf WD, 14-31 Aug 50: 88th Med Tank Bn WD, 16-17 Aug 50.
 35th Inf WD, 17-20 Aug 50; 1st Bn, 35th Inf WD, 19 Aug 50.
 1st Bn, 35th Inf WD, 20 Aug 50; 25th Div WD, 20 Aug 50.
 35th Inf WD, 22 Aug 50; 25th Div WD, 23 Aug 50.
 Interv, author with Fisher, 5 Jan 52: 159th FA Bn WD, 12-15 Aug 50;
1st Bn, 24th Inf WD, 15 Aug 50.
 2d Bn, 24th Inf WD, 15 Aug 50; 25th Div WD, 15 Aug 50.
 Interv, author with 1st Lt Louis M. Daniels, 2 Sep 51 (CO I&R Plat,
24th Inf, and during the Aug 50 action was a MSgt (Intel Sgt) in the 1st
Bn, 24th Inf); Interv, author with Corley, 4 Jan 52 (Corley in Aug 50
was CO, 3d Bn, 24th Inf; in September of that year he became the
regimental commander); AMS Map, Korea, 1:50,000.
 Interv, author with Corley, 4 Jan 52; Interv, author with Daniels,
2 Sep 51; Interv, author with Champney, 22 Jul 51; 24th Inf WD, 1-31 Aug
50, Special Problems and Lessons.
 Interv, author with Champney, 22 Jul 51; 159th FA Bn WD, Aug 50,
and sketch maps 5 and 6.
 Col William 0. Perry, EUSAK IG Rpt, 24th Inf Regt, 1950, testimony
of Capt Alfred F. Thompson, Arty Line Off with 24th Inf, 24 Aug 50; 24th
Inf WD, 15-16 Aug 50.
 1st Bn, 24th Inf WD, 19 Aug 50; 159th FA Bn WD, 19 Aug 50.
 24th Inf WD, 20 Aug 50; 3d Bn, 24th Inf WD, 20 Aug 50; EUSAK IG
Rpt, 24th Inf. testimony of Maj Eugene J. Carson, Ex Off, 2d Bn, 24th
Inf, answer to question 141, 14 Sep 50; Ibid., statement of Capt Merwin
J. Camp, 9 Sep 50.
 Interv, author with Throckmorton. 20 Aug 52; Throckmorton, Notes
and sketch maps, 17 Apr 53; 25th Div WD, 21-24 Aug 50; EUSAK WD, G-3
Sec, 21-22 Aug 50; Ibid., 23 Aug 50.
 1st Bn, 24th Inf WD, 23 Aug 50: Corley, Notes for author, 27 Jul
53. The code name King I was given to this rocky ledge extending from
P'il-bong south toward Sobuk-san. See 159th FA Bn WD, 19 Aug 50.
 Corley, notes for author, 27 Jul 53: Interv, author with Corley, 4
Jan 52; EUSAK IG Rpt, 24th Inf Regt, 1950, testimony of 2d Lt Gerald N.
Alexander, L Co, 24th Inf, 2 Sep 50; Ibid., testimony of Maj Horace E.
Donaho, Ex Off, 2d Bn, 24th Inf, 22 Aug 50; 24th Inf WD, 21 Aug 50;
EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 21 Aug 50.
 Interv, author with Corley, 4 Jan 52; EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 22 Aug 50;
Ibid., Summ, 22 Aug 50; EUSAK IG Rpt, 24th Inf Regt, 1950, testimony of
Corley, 26 Aug 50, and testimony of Alexander, 2 Sep 50.
 24th Inf WD, 24 Aug 50; Interv, author with Corley, 4 Jan 52;
EUSAK IG Rpt, 24th Inf Regt, 1950, testimony of Alexander, 2 Sep 50, and
testimony of Corley, 26 Aug 50.
 1st Bn, 24th Inf WD, 26 Aug 50; 24th Inf WD, 26 Aug 50; 24th Div
WD, 26 Aug 50.
 3d Bn, 24th Inf WD, 27 Aug 50; 25th Div WD, 27 Aug 50.
 24th Inf WD, 29 Aug 50.
 Ibid.; 25th Div WD, 29 Aug 50; EUSAK IG Rpt, 24th Inf Div, 1950,
testimony of Corcoran, 1 Sep 50. Corcoran said fire discipline in his
company was very poor, that his men would fire at targets out of range
until they had exhausted their ammunition and at night would fire when
there were no targets. He said that in his entire company he had twenty-
five men he considered soldiers and that they carried the rest.
 24th Inf WD, 30 Aug 50; 25th Div WD, 30 Aug 50.
 Interv, author with Corley, 4 Jan 52.
 Interv, author with Daniels, 2 Sep 51.
 159th FA Bn WD, 1-31 Aug 50.
 Department of the Army General Order 60, 2 August 1951 awarded the
Medal of Honor posthumously to Sergeant Handrich.
Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation