Thursday, February 26, 2009

Battle of Hill Eerie

Battle of Hill Eerie
Part of Korean War

LocationHill Eerie
ResultUS-Philippine Victory

Flag of the United States United States

Flag of the Philippines Philippines
 People's Republic of China
Flag of the United States Max Clark

Flag of the United States Omer Manley

Flag of the United States Frederick A. Daugherty

Flag of the Philippines Fidel V. Ramos

Flag of the Philippines Felizardo Tanabe

Flag of the Philippines Salvador Abcede

Flag of the Philippines Jose Palis

Flag of the Philippines Cipriano Drapeza

Flag of the Philippines Ramon Z. Aquirre

Flag of the Philippines Armando Dizon

The Battle of Hill Eerie refers to several Korean War engagements between the United Nations forces and the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) in 1952 at the infamous of Hill Eerie.

Hill Eerie is a military outpost at 38°15′12″N 127°3′8″E / 38.25333°N 127.05222°E / 38.25333; 127.05222, about ten miles west of the rubble piles of Ch'orwon. It was taken several times either by the U.N. forces or by the Chinese forces, sabotaging each others' position.


[edit] March 1952

In March 1952, Hill Eerie was under the responsibility of the United States Army's 45th Infantry Division - Company K, 179th Infantry, commanded by Captain Max Clark.

On March 21, 1952, the twenty-six personnel of the third platoon, under the command of Lieutenant Omer Manley, set out to take over the outpost. Manley's men were made up two rifle squads, a light-machine-gun squad and a 60-mm mortar squad.

Later, Manley sent two patrol squads to establish an ambush site around the hill. By night, both patrol squads sighted enemy activities. At 23:30, the Chinese attack took place and a machine gun duel between the two groups ended after Captain Clark's troops at Hill 418 supported his men at the Eerie outpost with supporting machine-gun and mortar concentrations.

The battle continued in the morning of March 22 with the Chinese forces penetrating the outpost's defenders and eventually overran Manley's men. Clark then ordered to concentrate the artillery fire to the Outpost Eerie after losing communication. At 01:30, Regimental Commander, Colonel Frederick A. Daugherty, ordered Clark to advance toward the hill and retook the position in Hill Eerie.

Clark's men searched the area and found out that, of the 26 men who had defended Outpost Eerie, 8 were dead, 4 wounded, and 2 were missing in action (Lieutenant Manley and Corporal Joel Ybarra). They also recovered 31 dead bodies of the enemy around the hill and captured a wounded Chinese. Later, Clark withdrew his troops to the main line of resistance.

[edit] May 1952

Lieutenant Fidel Ramos (future President of the Philippines) was the platoon leader of the team that captured Hill Eerie

In May 1952, the 20th Philippine Battalion Combat Team, under the command of Colonel Salvador Abcede, engaged several combat actions against the Chinese forces at the town of Karhwagol, west of Chorwon and was already involved in major battles and assaults against the Chinese forces.

There were numerous closely fought battles at the Hills Eerie, as well as on Hills 18, 200, and 19, Yoke, Uncle, Old Baldy, all in the T-Bone Hill but later the 20th were committed at the Pork Chop Hill and in Alligator Jaws.

On the other hand, Hill Eerie was a military outpost that had changed hands many times and was a heavily fortified Chinese position with a commanding view of the plains below.

A series of raids were launched by the Filipinos, from May 18, led by Lieutenant Rodolfo Maestro killing 28 CCF and by the next day, killing 23 before disengaging with the enemy while tanks and artillery continue the bombardments against the outpost.

On May 21, 1952, Colonel Abcede ordered Major Felizardo Tanabe, the battalion's operation officer, to prepare the final assault of the Chinese position after several attempts to captured the outpost. In turn, Tanabe sent the 44-man 2nd reconnaissance platoon to sabotage the outpost.

The platoon was led by a young Filipino officer, a 1950 graduate of West Point's United States Military Academy, 2nd Lieutenant Fidel V. Ramos (future President of the Philippines).

Ramos divided the assault team into four groups of snipers, riflemen, scouts and forward observers, with a radio operator, a messenger and a medic. The platoon was reinforced by some engineer demolition specialists and an artillery observer team. They left at 04:07.

The Filipino platoon crawled through rice paddies and scattered trees for two hours before it reach an irrigation ditch, about 400 meters from the top of the hill. Intelligence estimated the enemy strength to be one reinforced platoon of the Chinese Red Army.

Then, the United States Air Force sent seven F-86 Sabre jet fighters to pound the enemy positions with napalm bombs with ground support from artillery fire. After the bombardments, Ramos' men seized the front part of the trench after discovering a hole in the blasted stack of barbed wire.

Close-quarter fighting raged as the retreating enemy fought back but the advancing Filipinos were gaining the upper hand. The scout team, led by Corporal Jose Palis, went into action at the right of the hill and was later joined by Lieutenant Ramos. Meanwhile, the rifle team, led by Sergeant Cipriano Drapeza, worked its way at the left side of the hill while the sniper team, led by Second Lieutenant Armando Dizon, held the enemy's support from the nearby Hill 191.

By 07:28, the Filipinos demolished the Chinese bunkers and withdrew from the top of the hill while friendly tanks resumed bombardment of Hill Eerie.

The assault lasted for two hours, and Ramos' men suffered one injury while the Chinese had 11 dead, 10 wounded and the supporting artillery, tanks and air strikes could not be determined. The battle was the final assault of Hill Eerie by the United Nations forces.

The Filipino battalion was replaced by the 2nd Battalion of the 179th United States Infantry.

[edit] June 1952

On June 16, 1952, the 19th Philippine Battalion Combat Team, under the command of Colonel Ramon Z. Aquirre, relieved the American battalion in the T-Bone ridge sector.

By June 18, the Chinese forces sought to recapture the area and launched an intensive artillery and mortar bombardments. The Filipinos held their ground and were able to repulse Chinese attack.

On June 20, the Chinese forces launched another attack towards Hill Eerie and the rest of the T-Bone ridge area. At dawn, Chinese penetrated; that lead to hand-to-hand fighting but the Filipino troops were able to win the duel.

By the morning, artillery battle continue until the allied forces successfully defended Hills Eerie and 191. The result of the battle were estimated 500 enemy casualties while the Filipinos had 24.

The Filipino battalion was later relieved by the 2nd Infantry Division (United States) on July 18, 1952.

[edit] References

[edit] See also

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