HONGCH’ON DEFENSE LINE
3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment,
13–18 March 1951
When the second phase of Operation Ripper began on 14 March 1951, the enemy initially fell back before the UN advance, except for small rearguard forces. These groups of Chinese and North Koreans sought to delay the progress of the UN troops to buy time to strengthen their main defensive positions on high ground north of the Hongch’on River and to evacuate supplies stockpiled at their base at Ch’unch’on. General Ridgway’s main effort (see map on page 18), directed on Hongch’on and Ch’unch’on, consisted of two divisions from IX Corps, the 1st Cavalry on the left (west) and the 1st Marine on the right (east). The 1st Cavalry Division in turn directed the reinforced 5th Cavalry Regiment to attack early on 14 March. Regimental orders initially called for the 3d Battalion of the 5th Cavalry to remain on Phase Line Albany, some five miles south of the Hongch’on River. As the operation began to unfold, the 3d Battalion’s role became dominant. The battalion commander, Maj. Charles J. Parziale, explains what happened.
On 13 March 1951, the relief of Australian elements by the 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, was a routine matter. One company of the battalion was placed on Hill 703. The remainder of the battalion was disposed on tactical positions to the east and west to maintain contact with a company of the 6th ROK Division on the left and the 5th Marine Regiment on the right.
On the afternoon of 13 March the regimental commander notified me of a pending move. I alerted Company I, which was on Hill 703, and the other battalion elements. Upon reporting to regimental