19500903 0630 0111usmcops0
At 0450, 3 September, 2/5 detrucked about 800 yards from Yŏngsan and marched forward in a route column. Moving into the town a short time later, the Marines received small arms fire from snipers hidden in buildings, ditches and culverts. Most of them were liquidated as the column pushed through to the road junction at the western end of Yŏngsan by 0630.
At this fork a secondary route branches from the main road through the large village of Myong-ni, about 2,000 yards northwest of Yŏngsan. Although still 1,000 yards from the designated line of departure, the 2d Battalion came under moderate fire from its right front. Moreover, dawn had brought indications of considerable activity and confusion ahead of the Marines. Ignoring the fire, Roise went forward about 500 yards to a low hill lying athwart the MSR. There he was jolted by the discovery that the 9th Infantry’s lines had collapsed.
On the right of the road there was no friendly situation worthy of the name. To the left of the MSR, an Army tank unit was parked behind the little hill which Roise had reached, and to the front were 4 of its tanks—2 destroyed and 2 abandoned. Included in the wreckage ahead were 2 burned-out NKPA T–34’s.
Three hundred yards to the west, on the high ground south of the main road, Army troops were retreating from 1/5’s line of departure. The soldiers had buckled under an onslaught by the NKPA 9th Division, which had launched an all-out attack at first light.
Having observed evidence of the confusing situation from their helicopter, Craig and Stewart landed some distance behind Yŏngsan and proceeded forward by jeep and foot. The Brigade commander located 1/5’s CP south of Yŏngsan and discovered that the battalion was slightly out of position. During 2/5’s delay in moving through the city, Murray had ordered Newton to swing westward and align his unit for the attack as best he could.
Darkness, coupled with confusion caused by the Army’s withdrawal and 2/5’s fight, had caused the 1st Battalion to move south of Chukchon-ni instead of Yŏngsan, as planned. Craig instructed 1/5’s commander to make a 500-yard correction northward during the actual attack.