Notes

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Korean_War


About 1100 Captain Montesclaros of the S-3 Section volunteered to try to get into Taejŏn and reach the regimental headquarters for instruction. Colonel McGrail gave him his jeep and driver for the trip. [11-34]


Montesclaros reached the road junction without incident, saw the burning enemy tanks, met Lieutenant Herbert's platoon at the roadblock, and, much to his surprise, found the road into the city entirely open. At the edge of the city, Montesclaros encountered General Dean. Montesclaros reported to him, gave the position of the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, and asked for instructions. General Dean patted Montesclaros on the back and replied,

"My boy, I am not running this show, Beauchamp is."

Dean took Montesclaros to the 34th Infantry command post. Beauchamp was not present, but from a member of his staff Montesclaros obtained a written order. Before placing it in his shirt pocket, Montesclaros glanced at the order. It directed McGrail to bring his battalion back to the west edge of Taejŏn. [11-35]


Montesclaros drove back down the road to the 2nd Battalion command post. He found it deserted. Not a living person was in sight; a dead Korean lay in the courtyard. Puzzled, Montesclaros turned back toward Taejŏn. After driving a short distance, he turned back to the command post to make sure no one was there; he found it the same as before. No one, neither friend nor foe, was in sight. A strange stillness hung over the spot. Again he turned back toward Taejŏn. He overtook E Company on the road and instructed it to go into position there. At the edge of Taejŏn, Montesclaros met 1st Lt. Tom Weigle, S-2 of the battalion, who told him that McGrail had established a new command post on a high hill south of the road, and pointed out the place. Montesclaros set out for it and after walking and climbing for forty-five minutes reached the place. Colonel McGrail and his command post were not there, but a few men were; they knew nothing of Colonel McGrail's location.


Montesclaros started down the mountain with the intention of returning to Taejŏn. On his way he met Lieutenant Lindsay and E Company climbing the slope. They said the enemy had overrun them on the road. Looking in that direction, Montesclaros saw an estimated battalion of North Korean soldiers marching toward the city in a column of platoons. A T34 tank was traveling west on the road out of Taejŏn. As it approached the enemy column, the soldiers scurried for the roadside and ducked under bushes, apparently uncertain whether it was one of their own. Montesclaros decided not to try to get into Taejŏn but to join E Company instead


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What had happened at the command post of the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry? Simply this, believing that the enemy had cut him off from Taejŏn, Colonel McGrail decided to move his command post to high ground south of the Nonsan road. He instructed E Company to fall back, and then his radio failed. McGrail and his battalion staff thereupon abandoned the command post shortly before noon and climbed the mountain south of Taejŏn. [11-36] Already F Company had given way and was withdrawing into the hills.


Soon not a single unit of the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, was in its battle position west of Taejŏn. Nearest to the city, G Company was the last to leave. its place. From his hill position, BarszczCaptain Barszcz, the company commander, had seen enemy tanks two and a half miles away enter Taejŏn just after daylight and had reported this by radio to Colonel McGrail's headquarters. Later in the morning he lost radio communication with McGrail. Shortly after noon, Capt. Kenneth Y. Woods, S-3, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, arrived at G Company's position and gave Captain Barszcz instructions to join the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, group that had passed him in the morning headed south, and to withdraw with it. The G Company 60-mm. mortars were firing at this time.