Blog 12/08/2020 - Chosin Reservoir - Not a Retreat

MHT Blog December 8, 2020 - Chosin Reservoir – North Korea
Not a Retreat Just Fighting in Another Direction

On 6 December the 1st Marine Division (MarDiv) consisting of the 5th, 7th, 11th Marine Regiments, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, British 41 Commandos and the surviving soldiers of RCT 31 broke out from Hagaru-ri pushing south through the remnants of two decimated Communist Chinese Army (CCA) Divisions.

Pushing past one of two new CCA divisions committed to stop them, the column passed through “Hell Fire” Valley and reached Koto-Ri held by Col Puller’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines.

On 8 December, to continue towards the port of Hungnam, the 1st MarDiv’s first objective for Col Litzenberg's 7th Marines departing Koto-ri was the high ground on the right of the Main Supply Route. Col Murray's 5th Marines would then pass through the 7th Marines and take and hold the high ground beyond to the south.

Col Puller's two battalions of the 1st Marines were to stay in Koto-ri until the division and regimental vehicle trains had cleared and then relieve the 5th and 7th Marines from their high ground positions so the trains could pass through the Funchilin Pass. The 11th Marines artillery would displace from battery firing position to battery firing position but for much of the time would be limbered up in march order on the road. Heavy reliance for fire support would be placed on unit mortars and the lethal Marine & Navy Corsairs that destroyed the combat effectiveness of any CCA unit that revealed its position.

To the south, Task Force Dog (3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment reinforced with tanks and artillery) had started north on the MSR on 7 December, reaching Chinhungni. This allowed Puller’s final battalion, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines to move up into an assembly area several miles north of Chinhung-ni. They jumped off on the the 8th in a swirling snowstorm with Captain Barrow’s to take and hold Hill 891, the southwestern nose of Hill 1081 which dominated the MSR south of the Funchilin Pass while the other two rifle companies passed through and continued the attack on the summit of Hill 1081.