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40th Infantry Division



143rd Field Artillery Battalion
Duty Honor Courage


The following is an article written by PFC Leo Rettig in THE FIRE BALL of the 40th US Infantry Division, dated September 6, 1953. MEN OF THE 143rd RECALL LAST RED PUSH, THEIR PART IN TURNING BACK ONSLAUGHT. A silence, where noise once took place, is usually followed by one's memories of these noises. Such is the case with a crew from a filed artillery battalion. In many cases, when an act of gallantry and valor is recorded by an individual, it is generally published immediately, but when an entire unit goes through a highly efficient operation, is either received too matter-of-factly or worse, is not even recorded. During the past three years of Korean fighting, thousands of North Korean and Red Chinees were killed by UN firepower across the peninsula of Korea. When an infantry regiment, a battalion or a company killed one or two hundred in one attack, that was considered newsworthy. When the artillery battalions knocked out a strategic bridge, a main supply route or gun positions it too was considered top news. But when an artillery battalion kills nearly 600 Communist in a single attack, that is not only news, but history. Just a few day before signing the truce, the Communists launched one of their larger attacks on the easten sector of the battleline. The target was a strategic hill, defended by ROK's of the 51st Regiment, 12th ROK Division. Actioncommenced at approximately 1:30 in the morning with some 2400 Reds moving forward. In direct support oth the ROK's during the attack was the 40th Division,s 143rd Field Artillery Battalion, the battalion that completely turned the tide of the battle and wrote history into the books.Prior to the assault of humas waves, the enemy completely drown the target area with mortar and artillery barrages. During on such rainfall of steel, the Reds dropped in a reportedly record number of 36,500 rounds in the battalion area. With the screaming, fanatic Reds pouring down their side of the hill, across the small valley floor and the up the side of the UN held hill, The artillery had only one thing to do and that was to quickly change the angle of their gun tubes and aim for seemingly point blank targets. Capt. Carl J. Smith, Dallas, Tex., battalion operations officer, described the turning point of the mass attack . "Our artillery fire made such huge holes in the line of moving Reds that they soon became disorganized." "Our fire channeled their attack down specific avenues which would make them sitting ducks for the South Korea infantrymen. When the UN cross fire hit them they turned into a full retreat after coming within yards of the wire entanglements." PFC William Ratteree, Rose Hill, S.C., a member of Battery C, had this to say: "I have never worked so hard in my life. Man, I opened more ammo crates then ever before. Our section chief kept yelling, "Get 'em open, Get "em open." I didn't even have time to start getting. "PFC Russel Hults, Van Buren, Ind., a firer with Battery B, related, "We put out lots of ammo in a few hours. The more rounds that landed near us, the more jokes we told. We were scared, but just worked harder and faster." When the terrific pounding had subsided from both sides, the enemy toll was terrifyig to behold. Reports stated that 594 enemy were counted killed, 394 estimated killed in the action and 530 estimated wounded. A major onslaught was turned into a decisive and brilliant victory for the UN's fighters. (Copied by SFC Wolfgang E. Goettig, Chief of Firing Battery of Charlie Battery, 143rd Field Artillery Battalion, 40th Infantry Division, 1952-1953.)



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