Late in the afternoon of 31 August, observers with G Company, 24th Infantry, noticed a lot of activity a mile to their front. They called in two air strikes that hit this enemy area at twilight. Artillery also took it under fire. All line units were alerted for a possible enemy attack. [23-5]
Shortly before midnight
the North Koreans struck, first hitting F Company on the north side of
the pass on the Chungam-ni-Haman road. The ROK troops in the pass left their
positions and fell back on G
Company south of the pass. The North Koreans captured a 75-mm. recoilless rifle in the mouth of the pass and turned it on American tanks, knocking out two of them. They then overran a section of 82-mm.
mortars at the east end of the pass.
South of the pass, at
dawn, 1st Lt. Houston M. McMurray found that
only 15 out of 69 men remained with him, 8 from his own 1st Platoon, G Company, and 7 ROK's of a group he had taken into his position during the night. The enemy attacked his position at first light. They came through an opening in the barbed wire, supposedly covered by a BAR, but the BAR men had fled. Throwing grenades and spraying the area with burp gun fire, the North Koreans quickly overran the position. [23-6]
Farther up the slope, enemy tank fire hit E Company at midnight. The company commander, 1st Lt. Charles Ellis, an able and courageous officer, ran over to his left flank when he heard a noise there. He found that his 3d Platoon was leaving its position. Ellis threatened the platoon leader, saying he would shoot him if he did not get back in position, and fired a shot between his feet to impress him. Ellis then went to his right flank and found that platoon also leaving its position.
During the night everyone in E Company ran off the hill except Ellis and eleven men. Several E Company men in fleeing their position had run through their own mine field and were killed.
It is worthwhile to anticipate a bit and tell the fate of 1st Lt. Charles Ellis, and his small group of men who stood their ground. Enemy fire pinned them down after daylight. When three or four of the group tried to run for it, enemy machine gun fire killed them.
It is worthwhile to anticipate a bit and tell the fate of Ellis and his small group of men who stood their ground. Enemy fire pinned them down after daylight. When three or four of the group tried to run for it, enemy machine gun fire killed them. Ellis and the rest stayed in their holes on the hill for two days, repelling several attacks in that time. Ellis was then able to withdraw southward up the mountain to the 3d Battalion's position.
In his withdrawal, Ellis, discovering a man who had been injured earlier in a mine explosion, entered the mine field to rescue him. [23-7]
The fact is that shortly after the enemy attack started most of the 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry, fled its positions. The enemy passed through the line quickly and overran the 2d Battalion command post, killing many men there and destroying much equipment. Haman was then open to direct attack. As the enemy encircled Haman, Colonel Roberts, the 2d Battalion commander, ordered an officer to take remnants of the battalion and establish a roadblock at the south edge of the town. Although the officer directed a large group of men to accompany him, only eight did so. The 2d Battalion was no longer an effective fighting force. [23-8]
Colonel Champney at 0400, 1 September, moved the 24th Regiment command post from Haman two miles northeast to a narrow defile on the New Engineer Road. At this time, an enemy group attacked C Battery, 159th Field Artillery Battalion, a mile north of Haman. Two tanks of the 88th Tank Battalion helped defend the battery until the artillerymen could pull out the howitzers and escape back through Haman and then eastward over this recently improved trail. [23-9]