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From The National Archives


In memory of James T. Mainhart, I Co. 31st, 3rd Battalion

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RCT 31
11 March 50
Command Report: 1 thru 11 December 1950 (3rd Battalion, 31st Inf)
Maps: Korea 1/50,000 (Chosen Reservoir Area) and 1/250.000

Due to the nature of the action of the 31st Regimental Combat Team in the vicinity of the Chosen Reservoir and subsequent retrograde movement to the Hamhung Area of all the records and documents of the 3rd Battalion were lost or destroyed. Consequently the Command Report will have as it's supporting papers, statements taken from individuals that were involved in the action.

010030: Elements of the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry, Heavy Morter Company (-1st Plat) 31st Infantry, 57th Field Artiillery Battalion, Battery "D", 15th AAA Battalion were located at CV5481. This Task Force had been under constant attack by CCF since 28 November. Supply had been partially achieved by three air drops. The perimeter was penetrated five times by CCF forces but counterattacks restored positions.

010630: Enemy did not withdraw back to high ground as on previous days but remained outside the perimeter, (50-100 yards). Small arms fire and mortar fire were increasing number of casualities. casualities at this time numbered over 300. All medical officers were wounded.
Critical shortage of all types of ammunition and food made possibility of holding positions much longer tenuous.

011130: Task Force ordered by 1st Marine Division to fight South to effect junction with 1st Marine Division to fight at Hagaru-ri. Plans made for attack to South at 011300. All immobilized vehicles destroyed. Gasoline drained from destroyed vehicles to enable others to run. Space arranged on vehicles for all wounded to ride. All equipment that could not be carried was buried or destroyed.

011300: Task Forces attacked to South under excellent coverage of Marine Air Corp. Order of march: 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry, 57th Field Artillery Battalion, Heavy Mortor Company, 31st Infantry, 3d Battalion 31st rear guard, "D" Battery, 15th AAA Battalion split up along column. All wounded in trucks, all others marching. Column somewhat disorganized at 1300 by our own planes dropping Napal and strafing enemy so close that some fire and Napalm killed men in our column.

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011301: 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry, hit by heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire as attack to South commenced. Lead elements dispersed and over ran enemy in foxholes. Column proceeded against constant enemy fire. Vehicles being knocked out by enemy fire were left and wounded transferred to other vehicles. Knocked out vehicles were pushed off road and destroyed.

011700: Column slowed by destroyed bridge at CV53794, trucks were protected by covering fire until enemy was pushed out beyond small arms range. All M16's and M 19's ran out of ammuition. Only weapons now available for use are small arms.

011730: Column stopped by road block of at lease two machine gun and supporting troops at CV54778. Lt Colonel Faith and other officers led groups of men to high ground to destroy troops in strong points covering road block and road leading to it. In storming the hill about 50% casualities recieved by us.

011800: Word passed around that road block could not be passed and for groups to fight their way South to Hagar-ri. A few trucks worked South on road to CV538782 were road was effectively blocked by burned out tanks. Small foot column of approximately 100 moved down road on foot to CV537764 to where it crossed to ralroad tracks and followed them to Pokko-chi (CV529743) where automatic weapons fire broke up column. Individuals scattered and made way to Hagaru-ri over land and over ice of reservoir.

011830: Another group at road block fought over hill mass to South and knocked out additional positions along road to South. Word was sent back for trucks to contine across country. As group saw no trucks were coming they continued across country to South. Most made way over ice to Hagaru-ri.

011800: First group started arriving at Hagaru-ri wounded who could not walk were left on trucks with a detail to guard them.

02 Dec: Stragglers continued to arrive Hgaru-ri from East shore of reservoir. Most suffered from exposure. Air evacuation of wounded was continued as rapidly as possible. Units could not keep check on own personnel being evacuated because of constant attacks on perimeter defense and because many wounded came in a stragglers and did not go through own units. Tanks were sent to try and reach stalled vehicles but could not make it. They did bring back a few more groups of wounded stragglers.

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The personnel remaining ot of the Task Force were reorganized as provisional regiment under reorganised 31st Infantry Regimental Headquarters. Breakdown of organisation as follows into two battalions.

1st Battalion commanded by Major Jones haad three companies of 90 men each (half ROK).
A-Company- Lt Smith
Organized from men 1st Battalion Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry, Headquarters Battery 57th Field Artillery Battalion.
B-Company- Capt Thacker(S-1, 57th Field Arty)
Organized from men of Company "B", 32d Infantry, 31st AT and Mine platoon, Company "C", 13th Engr Battalion.
C-Company (Capt Dowell)
Organized from men of Company "C", 32d Infantry, and Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry.

3d Battalion commanded by Major Witte (S-3, 31st Inf)
I-Company- Commanded by Capt Rasula.
Organized from Service Battery, 57th Field Artillery Battalion and Company "I" of 31st Infantry.
K-Company-Commanded by Capt Kitt
Organized from "M" Company, 31st Infantry, "M" Company 31st Infanty and headquarters & headquarters, 31st Infantry.
L-Company-Commanded by 1st Lt. R. _ Boyer.
Organized from Company "L", 31st Infantry and 7th Signal Battalion.

The companies had no cr_ served weapons. Personnel were armed with pistols, M-1 Rifles and Carbines and/or an assortment of captured enemy weapons. All fire support had to come thru Marine Channels since no supporting weapons were in the Regimental Combat Team.

02-07 Dec: 31st Regimental Combat Team continued defense of assigned sector against constant attacks from CCF. Regimental Combat Team and other units to be prepared to attack South 24 hours after Marine Units from West of Chosen Reservoir close Hagaru-ri.

07 Dec: 7th Infantry Division Regimental Combat Team 31 constituted as provisional battalion and attached to 7th Marine Regiment. 31st Tank Company attached to 5h Marine Regiment. Provisional 7th Division Battalion assigned left flank of leading unit (7th Marine Regiment) on attack to South- KOTO-RI * HAMHUNG. When the 7th Infantry Division Battalin (Provisional) push-through the enemy forces, two companies from 31st Infantry commited to screen farther back from road and secure high ground on left (East) to 1000 yards from road.

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07 PM Dec: Strong road bock encountered four miles South of Hagaru-ri. 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry (Provisional) committed and over ran strong dug in enemy positions.

071330: During darkness flanks withdrawn to within approximately 100 yards of road in order to retain control and continue advance. Received two strong enemy attacks during 7-8 December. Repulsed both and continued to advance. TACP and 31st Infantry Regimental CP trucks were destroyed in these attacks.

080630: Arrived KOTO-RI, 2d Battalion, 31st Infantry billeted arriving 7th Division troops in their tents.

080330: 31st Provisional Battalion ordered to attack two hills Northwest of KOTO-RI to MSR open against enemy attacks. Secured against light opposition. Provisional battalion hold hills till rear elements of column halted. Considerable reorganization was required because of the number of casualities sustained from Hagaru-ri to Koto-ri. Only two companies could be assembled to move out and the Regimental Combat Team staff lost all personnel.

090700: Attacked to South and secured first two objectives against light enemy opposition. Intense snowstorm began. Temperature -10 degrees to 20 degrees below zero.

9 - 10 PM Dec: Dug in positions and stayed on hill until morning of 10 December.

100700: Continued attack South from KOTO-RI to Task Force Dog. There loaded men on trucks and continued to Hamhung where individuals were directed to own units. The 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry had approximately 1000 men on 1 December. Through period 1 -11 December this dwindled to 1 officer and 47 men that mad it all the way into Hamhung.

111200: Completed closing into Hamhung.

(signature)
JOHN A GAVIN
Colonel Inf
Commanding

____________
FIELDS E. SHELDON (no signature)
Captain Infantry
Historian

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