19500903 1200 0111usmcops0


The 1st Battalion secured its initial objective about noon on 3 September. Company Bís next target was a continuation of the ridge running parallel to the MSR for 1,000 yards and topped by 4 conspicuous peaks. Able Companyís second objective was a hill stretching across its front beyond a 200-yard valley. This hill was connected to Stevensí first objective by a narrow razorback ridge on the right which offered a poor route of approach.[22]

The two companies paused on their newly won positions to reorganize, evacuate wounded, and wait for a resupply of ammunition. There they came under heavy fire from the reverse slopes of their first objective and the high ground to the west. Several casualties were taken before Corsairs, requested by Newton , appeared for an air strike. As the Marine fighter planes unloaded their ordnance, large groups of enemy broke. Most of the Reds fled down the northern slopes, crossed the MSR and ascended Hill 117 in 2/5ís zone.

Newton reacted to reports of the rout by throwing heavy artillery fire across the enemyís avenues of retreat. The hillsides and road were soon littered with bodies and equipment. While 1/5ís attack on its first objective was in progress, Company D had secured the 5th Marinesí right flank by clearing Myong-ni of moderate resistance and seizing the hill to the northwest of the large village. The new company commander,  First Lieutenant H. J. Smith, reported to Roise that he was receiving considerable machinegun and mortar fire from Hill 117. This high ground lay directly across 2/5ís front, stretching northward from the MSR to a point about 500 yards west of Myong-ni.

Smithís reports, together with the news of the enemyís withdrawal to Hill 117 from 1/5ís zone, led Roise to order Company D to attack the high ground from the north and cut off the North Korean retreat.