Platoon Commander in Company A, First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division (Reinforced)
Sweet, Granville G. [2ndLt SS PltCmdr A1stTankBn1stMD]
August 17, 1950 0810
Shortly after 2/5’s jump-off on 17 August, the M–26’s of the 3rd Platoon, Able Company Tanks, moved forward of the road cut and supported the advance by 90-mm. and machinegun fire. The Marine armor, led by Second Lieutenant Granville G. Sweet, concentrated on heavy NKPA weapons along the crest of Objective One and knocked out at least 12 antitank guns and several automatic weapons. In return, 1 M–26 withstood 3 direct hits by enemy mortars, and the 4 vehicles combined were struck by a total of 23 antitank projectiles. Neither tanks nor crews were bothered appreciably, and only one man was slightly wounded.
After the 1st Battalion had passed through 2/5, a section of tanks moved forward on the road and blasted several North Korean positions in Tugok. When Company B seized the northern tip of the objective, Sweet led all his vehicles back to the tank CP, 1,000 yards east of Observation Hill.
August 17, 2000
19500817 2000 0110usmcops0
At 2000, while still refueling and replenishing ammunition stocks, the tankmen learned that four enemy T34s were approaching the Brigade lines on the MSR. The Marine armor was clanking toward the front within a matter of seconds. About 300 yards from the road cut, the tankmen had to jump from their vehicles to remove trucks blocking the MSR. Then, approaching the narrow defile, Sweet ordered his 1st Section to load with 90-mm. armor-piercing shells.
Company B, consolidating its positions on Hills 102 and 109, had first noticed the four NKPA tanks and a column of infantry moving toward its lines at 2000. Corsairs of MAG–33 screamed down immediately, destroying the fourth armored vehicle and dispersing the Red riflemen. The first three tanks came on alone, passed Finger and Obong-ni Ridges, and approached the road bend at Hill 125.
Preparing a reception for the T–34’s were the 1st 75-mm. Recoilless Gun Platoon on Observation Hill, and the rocket section of 1/5’s antitank assault platoon on Hill 125. As the first enemy tank reached the bend, it took a hit in the right track from a 3.5" rocket. Shooting wildly, the black hulk continued until its left track and front armor were blasted by Second Lieutenant Paul R. Fields’ 75’s. The enemy vehicle burst into flame as it wobbled around the curve and came face to face with Technical Sergeant Cecil R. Fullerton’s M–26.
Still aimlessly firing its 85-mm. rifle and machinegun, the T–34 took two quick hits from the Marine tank’s 90-mm. gun and exploded. One North Korean got out of the burning vehicle but was cut down instantly by rifle fire. He crawled beneath the blazing wreckage and died.
The second T–34 charged toward the bend, taking a 3.5 rocket hit from Company A’s assault squad. Weaving crazily around the curve, with its right track damaged, the cripple was struck in the gas tank by a rocket from 1/5’s assault section before meeting the fury of Field’s recoilless rifles. It lurched to a stop off the road behind the first tank, and the 85-mm. gun fired across the valley into the blue yonder.
By this time a second M–26 had squeezed next to that of Fullerton on the narrow firing line, and the two Marine tanks blasted the T–34 with six 90-mm. shells. Miraculously, the Communist vehicle kept on shooting, although its fire was directionless. Marine armor poured in seven more rounds, which ripped through the turret and exploded the hull.
Before the kill, one Red tank-man opened the turret hatch in an effort to escape. A 2.36" white phosphorus round, fired by a 1st Battalion rocket man, struck the open lid and ricocheted into the turret. The enemy soldier was knocked back into the tank as the interior turned into a furnace.
The third T–34 raced around the road bend to a stop behind the blazing hulks of the first two. Marine tanks, recoilless rifles, and rockets ripped into it with a thundering salvo. The enemy tank shuddered, then erupted in a violent explosion and died. Thus the Brigade shattered the myth of the T–34 in five flaming minutes. Not only Corsairs and M–26’s, but also every antitank weapon organic to Marine infantry had scored an assist in defeating the Communist armor.