SUPPORTING THE ATTACK
3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment,
13–18 March 1951
Effective logistical support was one of the key factors in the success of the 3d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, during its March advance in Operation Ripper. The battalion operations—the movement over extremely rugged terrain to the Hongch’on River, the successful attack on the main enemy defense line, and the sustained advance through a mountainous region to Ch’unch’on—depended on the ability of the battalion to keep its front line companies supplied with the essentials of food, water, and ammunition. Maj. Charles E. Harris, S-3 of the 5th Cavalry Regiment, notes the special problem of the 3d Battalion.
The regimental supply problem was not great, since the regiment was able to utilize the MSR. The supply problem existed on battalion level, for the battalions had difficulty bringing supplies to the companies. The 3d Battalion had the most difficult problem of supply, for it operated over more rugged terrain and in a zone where few roads existed. Hand carry of supplies was necessary.1
Maj. James M. Gibson, the 3d Battalion’s executive officer, explains the supply problem during this operation and how it was solved.
Prior to relieving the Australians, the 3d Battalion reconnoitered the positions to be occupied and realized that the troops on the hilltop would have to be supplied by carrier parties. At a battalion staff meeting it was decided that carriers would have to be secured. I instructed Lieutenant Watcke, Battalion S-4, to recruit