Dutch Volunteers fighting in the Korean War

written by Elie van Schilt, veteran NDVN soldier

Chapter XV : Exposed to Friendly Fire

It is a peculiar and strange situation there near the station of Mangyong. The battalion command is located about 500 meters off the road. Major Eekhout is working very hard, he has no man on the lookout. There is neither an operations officer, no provisions officer, no administrations officer and no transportation officer. All of them had been killed or wounded in Hoengsong. He is almost without transport vehicles. In addition, almost all non-commissioned officers and soldiers which have filled staff functions had been killed or wounded. And yet he has to get the rest of the battalion combat-ready.
Just behind the station there are the spurs of hill 325. A narrow path leads up to the ridge, and another narrow path follows the ridge. Top and ridge can be occupied by Americans or Dutchmen, the northerly spurs of hill 325 are occupied by the Chinese. To the east of hill 325 there is a small valley, on the opposite side of the valley another mountain, on which an engagement is going on all day between the American airbornes and a battalion of Chinese. The mountain is perhaps half a kilometer distant from the Dutch, they can observe the struggle with their own eyes. Now and then they have to take cover for stray bullets hitting their position.
To the west of A Company is B Company, attacked this morning by a couple of battalions of Chinese, down under them the valley teems with Chinese which are good visible. In the meantime a couple of changes have taken place, an American company had been positioned on top of the 325, but they have disappeared again. Then, the order comes in from headquarters that a counterattack has to be launched to retake the top. The Dutch officers try to get every man who is able to walk up the mountain, one guy freaks out and refuses to obey, the others shoulder their gun and pack their c-rations and proceed uphill along the narrow path, shaking.
Air support is promised which is supposed to set in in half an hour, however it already is growing dark when the first aircraft arrive. It is fighters of the South African airforce. The boys rejoice with every direct hit on the Chinese. Artillery stops firing, a moment later the fighters dive and take the Chinese under fire>
This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on February 15th 2002

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