Striking Back: Combat in Korea, March-April 1951

By William T. Bowers | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
HWACH’ON DAM-
ATTACKS IN THE WEST
1st Cavalry Division, 9–10 April 1951

In early April, as the 23d Infantry Regiment of the 2d Division (X Corps) engaged in Operation Swing to clear the enemy from the southeastern end of the Hwach’on Reservoir, the 1st Cavalry Division (IX Corps) closed on Line Kansas at the western edge of the reservoir. The 7th Cavalry Regiment was the division’s attacking force.

The advance moved forward over difficult terrain against weak opposition, as Lt. Col. John W. Callaway, commanding officer of the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, describes.

The enemy, even though in strongly prepared and well-organized positions, withdrew frequently in rout when his positions were aggressively attacked and partially taken. Friendly artillery, mortar, and tank fire was then able to be placed on those who were fleeing. It was noted in almost every encounter that the enemy was poorly armed. Some troops had no weapons or grenades. There were few automatic weapons. Machine-gun fire was sporadic and harassing in nature. Many captured weapons contained no sights. The enemy could have defended many of his positions had he chosen to do so and had he had the weapons. Approaches to enemy positions were made up narrow ridges. Envelopment meant moving 200 to 300 meters down, then up, sometimes over sheer cliffs. Enemy troops encountered were usually a delaying force, which withdrew when attacked. Operations were logistically difficult. Ammunition was hand-carried to positions 600 to 700 meters above the valley floor.

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