Hill 600 – Challenge in Korea
We were ordered back up the same hill the next day with instruction not to go up on the trail but to stick to the wooded areas along the path. The powers that be promised that we would have some support mortar and other artillery to help neutralize the enemy. I kept thinking about the old man and the child that I had discovered in a house in a small village we encountered when we were driven back by intense machine gun fire. My squad was leading again and like a good squad leader I was out in front. All of a sudden rounds of mortars stared falling in our position and one that came close to me was of the phosphorus type. It was obvious to the captain in the rear that we were being attacked by friendly fire. They had not zeroed their mortars in correctly. Again our captain ordered an evacuation to prevent casualties from our own people.
When we got back to base camp our company was told to clean our rifles and other guns and get ready for the third attack the next day. The leaders went into a planning session and it was decided that our company would advance on the road the next day and climb the hill from a different direction. We left the next day early and around noon time we started climbing hill 600 (indication the elevation of the hill) from the back side. Thirty minutes into the climb the temperature started dropping and a front came in bearing a blizzard of sorts. We were not carrying our sleeping bags and by the time we reached the hill to attack it was impossible to see where we were going. We could not bed down for the night because no one brought any bedding. We were apt to all freeze to death unless we kept moving or built fires and that was impossible because it would give our position away to the enemy and we would be annihilated. We were ordered back off the hill and it took much longer because our tracks had been obscured by the snow. When we finally reached the road that would take us back to camp our boots were frozen and feet inside not much better. We arrived back to camp about midnight and I for one found my sleeping bag and crawled into the thing frozen boots and all. To my surprise the next morning everything had thawed and all I needed to do was change socks and dry my feet.
The next day we were rotated back a few miles so we could get a shower and change of clothes.