View Full Version : 1952 Korea: Bunker Hill (Hill 800)

08-11-05, 06:52 AM
More Historic Examples of Marine Corps Courage and Tenacity

Lt. John G. Hill, Jr., went ahead to the point to bring back its rocket launcher team. This bazooka team destroyed one of the T34's, but the second one moved down the road firing into vehicles and running over several of them. It finally turned off the road into a rice paddy where it continued to fire on the vehicles.

A 75-mm. recoilless rifle shell immobilized the tank, but it still kept on firing. Captain Webel had followed this tank and at one point was just on the verge of climbing on it to drop a grenade down its periscope hole when it jerked loose from a vehicle it had crashed into and almost caught him under its tracks.

Now, with the tank immobilized in the rice paddy, a 3.5-inch bazooka team moved up to destroy it but the weapon would not fire. Webel pulled a 5-gallon can of gasoline off one of the vehicles and hurried to the side of the tank. He climbed on it and poured the gasoline directly on the back and into the engine hatch.

A few spurts of flame were followed by an explosion which blew Webel about twenty feet to the rear of the tank. He landed on his side but scrambled to his feet and ran to the road. He had minor burns on face and hands and two ribs broken. The burning tank illuminated the entire surrounding area.

Up at the head of the halted column, Colonel Lynch heard to the north the sound of other tank motors. He wondered if Baker's three tanks were returning. Watching, he saw two tanks come over a hill 800 yards away. Fully aware that they might be enemy tanks, Lynch quickly ordered his driver, Cpl. Billie Howard, to place the lead truck across the road to block it.

The first tank was within 100 yards of him before Howard got the truck across the road and jumped from it. The two tanks halted a few yards away and from the first one a voice called out in Korean, "What the hell goes on here?" A hail of small arms fire replied to this shout.

The two tanks immediately closed hatches and opened fire with cannon and machine guns. The truck blocking the road burst into flames and burned.

The three tanks still with Task Force Lynch came up from the rear of the column and engaged the enemy tanks. Eight more T34's quickly arrived and joined in the fight. The American tanks destroyed one T34, but two of them in turn were destroyed by the North Korean tanks.

Webel, in running forward toward the erupting tank battle, came upon a group of soldiers who had a 3.5-inch bazooka and ammunition for it which they had just pulled from one of the smashed American trucks. No one in the group knew how to operate it. Webel took the bazooka, got into position, and hit two tanks, immobilizing both. As enemy soldiers evacuated the tanks, he stood up and fired on them with a Thompson submachine gun.

Sgt. Willard H. Hopkins distinguished himself in this tank-infantry melee by mounting an enemy tank and dropping grenades down an open hatch, silencing the crew. He then organized a bazooka team and led it into action against other tanks. In the tank-infantry battle that raged during an hour or more, this bazooka team was credited by some sources with destroying or helping to destroy 4 of the enemy tanks.

Pfc. John R. Muhoberac was an outstanding member of this team. One of the enemy tanks ran all the way through the task force position shooting up vehicles and smashing into them as it went. At the southern end of the column a 105-mm. howitzer had been set up and there, at a point-blank range of twenty-five yards, it destroyed this tank.

Unfortunately, heroic Sergeant Hopkins was killed in this exchange of crossfire as he was in the act of personally attacking this tank. Combined fire from many weapons destroyed another tank. Of the 10 tanks in the attacking column, 7 had been destroyed. The 3 remaining T34's withdrew northward. In this night battle Task Force Lynch lost 2 men killed, 38 wounded, and 2 tanks and 15 other vehicles destroyed.

Joseph P Carey
08-11-05, 01:21 PM
Jesus, Wing! It sounds like one hell of a night! There is nothing that gets your juices up more than the sight of ten tanks coming to call! I don't know how big a unit was there, but the casualties sound rather light when considering what they were up against. The enemy truly made a tactical mistake by not sending infantry with their tanks, much to our good fortune!

08-11-05, 04:37 PM
Fer Sure! You got to admire the brass balls it takes for grunts to engage the tanks, 0351s and 0352s would need a medical waiver for the set they have!

Joseph P Carey
08-11-05, 08:03 PM
When they are great big and they are brass, and when they clink together and form sparks, that is when they are Marine Grunts!

02-03-10, 08:12 PM
More Historic Examples of Marine Corps Courage and Tenacity


The unit in the actions described in the first post is an army unit, (mainly the 3/7 Cavalry) and it took place in 1950.


02-07-10, 04:47 PM
My uncle had his left arm blew off over there,and I wanted so much to get over there and some how get some revenge or payback..But I was to young..

02-07-10, 08:08 PM

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to James B. Webel, Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Operations Officer of the 7th Cavalry Regiment (Task Force 777), 1st Cavalry Division. Captain Webel distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hambung-ni, Korea, on the night of 26 - 27 September 1950. As the leading elements of the task force entered the sleeping village of Hambung-ni, ninety-eight miles behind enemy lines, they were suddenly ambushed by a force of ten hostile T-34 tanks supported by foot troops. When the rapidly firing enemy tanks smashed the column, the outnumbered and outgunned men withdrew to the flanks to make their stand. As the ensuing battle raged fiercely in and near the village, Captain Webel, realizing that drastic action would be necessary to save the column, stepped out to destroy the leading tank. Suddenly swerving and almost overrunning its daring adversary, the enemy tank averted Captain Webel's attempt to climb aboard to drop grenades through an open periscope slot. Continuing to smash through the column, the tank swung off the road and into a rice field, gaining a more advantageous firing position. In the meantime, Captain Webel moved swiftly to a point opposite the tank's new location. Seeing the ineffectiveness of a group of men attempting to put the tank completely out of action by throwing grenades into an open hatch, he seized a five-gallon can of gasoline from the nearest vehicle, ran to the side of the tank, and after a comrade had failed to set fire to it by dashing gasoline on its sides, he climbed aboard. Knowing full well that an explosion might cost him his life, Captain Webel poured the gasoline through the ventilator over the hot engine; whereupon, in a burst of flame, he was blown approximately thirty feet through the air by the resultant blast. The lull provided by the spectacular destruction of the lead tank enabled the task force to reorganize. Disregarding shock, two broken ribs, and second-degree burns on his face and hands and, notwithstanding concentrated enemy fire that continuously swept the narrow streets, Captain Webel refused medical attention as he established cohesive defensive positions. Then, with a loaded bazooka, he proceeded to a point on the edge of the city where, from a range of approximately twenty-five yards, he fired alternately into two assaulting enemy tanks until they were destroyed. As enemy troops started withdrawing, Captain Webel dropped the bazooka and, from an exposed position on the road, opened fire with his submachine-gun. Then he again refused medical attention until all other wounded persons were treated.
General Headquarters Far East Command: General Orders No. 21 (February 3, 1951)


Citation:The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Willard H. Hopkins (RA38518804), Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (Task Force 777), 1st Cavalry Division. Sergeant First Class Hopkins distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Hambung-ni, Korea, on the night of 26 - 27 September 1950. Shortly after midnight, while the task force was moving northward to link with other United Nations elements, the leading column was suddenly ambushed ninety-eight miles behind enemy lines by a hostile force of ten T-34 tanks supported by infantry. As the enemy tanks opened fire on the column, despite the reigning confusion and trepidation following the surprise, Sergeant First Class Hopkins coolly went into immediate action. Seeing that one tank had penetrated to a vantage point that would bring the entire column under it fire, he, under a continuous rain of machine-gun bullets and flying shrapnel, gathered grenades from his comrades and boldly advanced on the tank. Upon reaching it and finding the hatch open, he quickly mounted the turret and threw eight grenades inside, silencing the crew. Without pausing, Sergeant Hopkins quickly organized a bazooka crew and moved toward the thick of the fighting. When the bazooka rounds were expended, he voluntarily traversed the fire-swept road for additional ammunition. While moving to the rear, he came under the direct assault of a hostile tank that was firing alternately into troops and vehicles as it blasted its way through the friendly position. Once again, armed only with grenades and a rifle, he fearlessly mounted the rear of the moving enemy tank. As he attempted to reach the tank's turret, a shouted warning from a comrade caused him to leap to a ditch seeking cover as friendly artillery opened direct fire on the tank. The hostile tank returned fire, and in the burst of those shells Sergeant Hopkins was killed.General Headquarters Far East Command: General Orders No. 21 (February 3, 1951)

(Second Award)

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to James H. Lynch, Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer of the 3d Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry), 1st Cavalry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Lynch distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Hambung-ni, Korea, on 27 September 1950. As Colonel Lynch's task force moved forward deeper into enemy territory, the motorized column suddenly was intercepted and brought under fire by an enemy force of ten tanks. Having no friendly tanks at his immediate disposal, and realizing that the enemy tanks, if unopposed, would bring about the annihilation of his command, Colonel Lynch, with total disregard for his personal safety, moved forward to effect the reorganization of his then scattered and confused force. Despite the devastating lane of enemy tank and machine-gun fire that was placed on the highway, he directed the placing of a two and a half ton truck across the road as a temporary road block, thus sufficiently retarding the advance of the enemy to allow friendly tanks to move forward from the rear guard position. During the vicious tank battle that ensued, he refused to take cover and moving about openly, organized rocket launcher teams and placed them in position. Through his courageous, aggressive action and superior leadership Lieutenant Colonel Lynch was directly responsible for the total annihilation of an overwhelming enemy force.

Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 132 (March 11, 1951)
Other Award: Distinguished Service Cross (Korea)