The Land of Morning Calm [Narrative]

Korea 1950
AAR of Lt Monk USMC.
The Land of Morning Calm
Semper Fi 4.2

They called it the Land of Morning Calm. It was not calm for us. We had been at it in 38C temperatures for 3 days now.

The skirmish in Changallon had taken its toll on the men of Alpha Co. They had retired to the rear. Tobin had put me in charge of Bravo while their Lt Squires recovered from a minor wound.

Taking Hill 202 was not a difficult affair (link to AAR), but the heat and the humidity had worn out already tired men.

1700
The afternoon rain was a welcome relief. Until the storm hit. This was the Changma. Changma ran thru August, somewhere up to 20 inches of rain a year during this period! The SE of the Peninsula took the brunt of that, thats where we were.

HQ had us dug in on the top of Hill 202, guarding the road thru the Valley. By the time we had dug in, had chow and set up OP were we ankle deep in mud. The wind ripped thru the makeshift camp.

We made the best of the uncomfortable situation. The villagers in Changchon had been kind enough to exchange rice and vegetables for candy and smokes. They even had some rice wine or Yakju, I turned a blind eye to the enlisted men trading for that. I pulled Gunny aside and told him to make sure the boys knew the consequences of not being fit for service. Not trouble from me, but likely a cut throat. I was too tired too partake, and Gunny as always was tirelessly doing the rounds a 20:00 while I caught some shut eye.

The Marines had placed empty MRE cans and debris on wire a 100 yards down hill west and north of our positions, to trip an NK headed our way and give us a heads up.

0200
I clawed my way from sleep to the sound of men raising the alarm…oh crap 2am.

I scrambled to the OP to get a sitrep. Gunny was there, clean shaven and looking alert. How did the old bastard do that I wondered.
I recall saying “ What we got Gunny?”
He growled, “ the sneaky bastards are coming in from the south, so we don’t have an height advantage over them, and the men at post 2 swear they can hear NK scrambling on the rocky ascent below us.
I had a decision to make. Fire our scarce Illum rounds to get an exact feel or wait til they got closer. If they were attacking in force I would need to bring the extra platoon in from the northern position.
“Call in the fire order, let see where the little bastards are” I said. Gunny nodded his ascent.

While that was going down, our guns kicked into action. Our men were firing down the slope, “shit…tell them to hold off for the light from the mortars!” “They will give away their exact position.”

Heavy return fire pounded 1st Platoon. “Medic” came the cry. “shit” I said under my breath.

From the muzzle flashes I could see they had us in a cross fire, but their troops down hill were having a tough time on the muddy slopes.

0300
With the illumination slowly floating on its parachute I saw clearly what we were facing.
I directed our 3 81mm mortars to fire with our guys on the hill at the two platoons slip sliding up the hill. They were barely 50 m away, I could see a lot of men taking hits, and tumbling back down the steep slope. But on they came. “Brave bastards” I thought.

The NK kept up a withering fire on our southern most position. They were close enough to rush us up the hill whilst covered by their machineguns on the rise to the south of us. Not good.

“Gunny we need to get 3rd platoon over here, and take the gamble that this is all they got.” “Aye. Aye. You realize our north flank will be unguarded Skipper?”
“Correct Gunny” I said. “Now get on with it”. I was tired, tense and more than a little frightened.

0500
“Corpsman call Battalion and put some illum on us”. I said.

17 Atk Str(2×81 1×60 mortars 6 inf&mg) +0 stacking +1 area range +4cross (crap that may not have been a crossfire!) -2sup -1illum =+2

Roll 64, -4 steps. SYR.

The NK started to pull back. Thank God. Now we just had the southern most approach to secure.

The first MG section that was dug in paid the price however .
OW rtn fire: 7+1(area-f range) 0(terrain)-1(illum) (roll64) -1step [dead]

Sunrise come! “ok I shouted to the radio man, call that fire in on the mg and NK on the southern slope”. It was risky, with the limited ammo we have, but we need to keep their heads down.

(Bad Shoot) 2×6 =12 -1col. =-1step

Our mortars also kicked in and fired at NK now pinned and under heavy fire. The rounds thumped home with terrifying impact.

As 3rd platoon and the mg section arrive to reinforce the .50 cal team slipped and lost footing. As they were gathering up their gear the NK fired (61, took a step loss) and I saw two good men get shot to bits.

With daylight approaching the NK pull back. Our men rest on their weapons. Muddy, weary, and relieved to have survived. Those that lived checked on their wounded crews. Others slumped down in the mud.

If we were to survive this war, we had to learn how to fight all day, and keep one eye open all night.

NK steps lost 8
USMC steps lost 6
US minor victory.

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