When the NKPA 6th Division struck the 24th Infantry on September 1, the Army historian wrote, "most of the 2nd Battalion . . . fled its positions" and was soon "no longer an effective fighting force."[9-10] This opened a gap in the 25th Division front through which the two NKPA regiments poured, endangering the whole 25th Division and its supply base at Haman. But the commander of the 2/24's F Company, paratrooper Roger Walden, whom the historian did not interview, took issue with the official account:
My F Company held the right sector of the battalion and G Company held the left sector. When the North Koreans struck I was personally in the OP [9-outpost] position in my right platoon's area. My left platoon was adjacent to G Company, just off the road passing through the battalion sector. My third platoon was in reserve.
The North Koreans attacked down the road and (I assume) penetrated G Company, then continued on the road to overrun the battalion CP area. My F Company did not flee. It never evaporated or disappeared, nor did it panic. We stayed put and engaged the enemy all night long and suffered heavy casualties. My left platoon was badly mauled. . . . During the night we lost all communications with battalion headquarters.
Previous instructions had stated that [9-in event of a NKPA penetration] we were to move rearward to the next high ground. At daylight we did so on my order. But the North Koreans were in our rear and now held that ground. Having only fifty to seventy troops with me and no communications with battalion, I figured an attack on the hill would have been disastrous. Believing it more important to move north and tell the 35th Infantry its left flank was now exposed, we did so again on my order giving them a complete report of the North Korean penetration. On my order we then marched several miles rearward to the 25th Division CP [9-near Haman] where we manned a perimeter while the 2/24 was reorganized. On about September 4 the reorganized battalion moved back into its original positions.[9-11]
In the meantime, the historian wrote,
Art Champeny had
1/24, commanded by
Gerald G. Miller, to counterattack and close the
gap. The temporary 2/24 commander,
Paul Roberts, and about forty of his men
When word of the heavy NKPA penetration in the 24th Infantry sector reached Bill Kean he had a contingency plan ready. It called for Throckmorton's 5th Regiment to counterattack northward out of Chindong-ni, while Michaelis's 27th counterattacked westward out of Masan. Since the Wolfhounds were still technically in Eighth Army reserve, Kean had to request authority to commit them. Walker was cautious; he would release only one battalion, Gilbert Check's 1/27.[9-13]