UNDER FIRE -
March 4th. The
27th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade occupies a salient extending
into the enemy's position for nearly 8,000 meters.
The 7th Calvary Regimental Combat Team (Brigade) is 5,000 meters
away and well south of the battalion. The Patricias' companies are
stationed in the hills but their position is relatively static. They are
waiting for the 6th ROK Division on the right, to advance to straighten
out the line. 2PPCLI War Diary: "Men are being rotated out of the
front line for hot meals and a change of clothing. The wind‑proof
pants are not standing up to the wear and tear of the terrain; there will
have to be a new issue if the men are to keep warm. There is only one case
of frozen feet in the battalion. The American socks are too thin and the
troops are having a great deal of trouble with trench foot." 3
A Brigade Orders
Group on the 6h of March defines the coming operation. Captain RK Swinton,
adjutant, makes a reconnaissance (recce) of the forward access road.
Company commander's recce the ground they are to assault from the forward
positions held by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
On the 7th
the troops rise at 0300hrs; they descend from their dug in positions on
the hills. The luxury of hot
water for shaving as well as a hot breakfast is a great morale booster.
The paymaster is present, allowing the men to make pay assignments in case
of their death. The two padres hold small services. The administrative and
spiritual preparations leave everyone a little tense; it is a certain fact
that some amongst the Patricias will not live to see tomorrow; others will
carry wounds for the rest of their lives.
The battalion is to advance
across a broad valley floor to ascend Hill 532. From the War Diary:
"At 0500 hrs Stone and his Advance Tactical HQ moved forward in jeeps
to the pass at Hill 419. Advancing from the startline:
D Company, Advance Tactical HQ, B, A, C, companies, Mortars, and finally