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Muetzel’s unit jumped off with Company B at 1510, crossed the low ground, and ascended a draw leading to Hill 91. The Marines miscalculated, however, and climbed too far up the slope, so that they came within grenade range of the crest and were pinned down by machinegun fire. The platoon was split, with Muetzel and two squads on the left of the draw and Corporal Raymond E. Stephens and his squad on the right.
During the preparatory artillery barrage, Fox had led his platoon around to the enemy’s right flank, concealed en route by a rice-paddy bank. Not knowing when the supporting fire would lift, he withheld his squads from an assault line by a wide safety margin. Thus when the artillery ceased, the North Koreans had time to come out of their holes and hit the envelopment with small arms fire. Fox was wounded, and command passed to Technical Sergeant George W. Bolkow who worked the platoon up into the enemy positions.
The 3d Platoon’s assault was sparked by Corporal Virgil W. Henderson and his 3d Squad, who worked to the rear of a troublesome machinegun position and destroyed it. During the attack Henderson was painfully wounded in the jaw by a Communist bullet. Since both forward platoons had SCR 300 radios, Muetzel heard the report that Fox was wounded.
Concluding that the envelopment had failed, the 2d Platoon leader requested and received permission to make a frontal assault on Hill 91 from his position on the forward slopes. Enemy mortar fire had added to the woes of Muetzel’s diversionary thrust. And though an OY–2 of VMO–6 had given information leading to the destruction of the mortar position, the beleaguered platoon leader sought the relative safety of a frontal assault.
Corporal Stephens, acting on his own initiative across the draw, had worked his squad up to the razorback ridge and around the enemy’s left flank. Thus the hapless North Koreans on Hill 91 were hit by a “triple envelopment” when Stephens struck from the north, Muetzel from the east and Bolkow from the south.