This story is another sent in by Sgt. Charles Cooperof K/160
To pick up where I left off. Our artillery support was one of the deciding factors in our superiority. The North Koreans or Chinese (we were up against both of them at different times) were pretty much limited to night fighting by our artillery support. If they showed themselves or positions during daylight hours they could expect a few rounds from the 143rd. Not that the enemy didn't have good artillery. One time our Division Command had them move a self-propelled 155mm up to the crest of the ridge where we were dug in, and within 15 minutes we were under an intense artillery barrage. They were trying to hit the 155 but they weren't too accurate so we took a couple of shrapnel casualties and got a couple of our bunkers collapsed. They got the 155 backed down the rear slope and they quit firing. It was about the only place for miles in both direction along the lines they could get up to the ridge to have line of site.
Our tanks also were pretty much useless as tanks. The terrain was just too rugged. They would run them into a gully and stop them on the slope coming out so that they could elevate the gun enough to use it as artillery. There was just a few wider valleys on the central front where they could maneuver.
At night both the enemy and us would both send patrols out under cover of darkness into the area between our lines and try to ambush each other. We usually had our dogs with us for the first few hours. Then they would loose interest and want to sleep so a couple of us would take them back to the MLR. They could smell and or hear the enemy long before any person could. They really were man's best friend. The 143rd would fire some prearranged fire missions on the logical patrol routes the enemy would be using, to keep them on edge. I remember one night laying in the grass in a little valley, where we had set up an ambush, and watching a couple of white phosphorus rounds from the 143rd come in a 100 yards to our front. It was beautiful in that pitch dark to see.
One time our Company was on an outpost about a 1/4 mile in front of the MLR. This was on a finger ridge that ran out into the valley and ended in a knoll before dropping off down into the valley. We were dug in and since we were the closest to the enemy we were catching small arms fire off and on. If we could detect the source the forward observer would call in a few rounds. This area was heavily wooded with pines and brush. The enemy was advancing patrols through this cover down on our forward slope and digging in just 100 yards or so in our front. The Forward Observer called for some ranging rounds and they were going long due to the steepness of the slope. The slope was almost at he same angle as the trajectory of the shells. They kept ranging short to try to hit the forward slope. I was standing on a rock on the ridge line in the pines trying to see where the rounds were hitting. The next round hit the pine tree limb right by my head, not a foot way. I saw the flash as the fuse lit and then it exploded on down the slope. They weren't using proximity rounds because of the tree cover. They were using delay fuses to penetrate the tree cover, If they had been I'd be history. Any way I ran up to where the Forward Observer was and told him that if he came any shorter they'd be hitting right on us. That was one close one.
Another one was when I got my pants shot full of holes by a Chinese 80mm mortar round, but that's another story.
Hasta Luego, Charles Cooper, Sgt. Inf.