Damn this fucking carbine. The bullets don't even penetrate that heavy coat the bastard is wearing. Well, when he gets close enough, I'll plug him with my .45; at least that should do the job. Shit! Mortars! "INCOMING!" Lt. Dave Crusic shrank down in the trench a little farther and hoped to God that the Chinks didn't have the range perfectly. As long as the mortar rounds landed only a few yards away, there was a good chance of surviving. The problem was that they would continue to drop in the mortar rounds on top of their own men, forcing the Americans to hunker down and not shoot at the oncoming "human wave." Often, in this type of attack, more Chinese were killed by friendly fire than by enemy rounds.
The Chinese were charging up the muddy hillside in rank upon rank of men. The bugles were blowing and the guns and mortars were going off loud enough to deafen the toughest ears. I've got to get some artillery in on this, or we are dead ducks. Where's that radioman. Oh, shit! He took a mortar fragment right through the radio pack and it looks like it came out his chest. We can't stand here. "BACK TO THE BUNKERS! FIGHT FROM THERE! THE BUNKERS! THE BUNKERS! TO THE BUNKERS!"
Most of the men in the platoon got the call and fell back to the 4 bunkers built along the military crest of the hill. The temperature had already dropped below freezing from the high of 38 degrees that day, so the ground was starting to freeze. The ice made for uncertain footing, so the attacking Chinese were slipping and sliding as they tried to charge the American trenches. This slowed them enough that all of the wounded could be pulled into the relative safety of the bunkers; well, safety from the mortars, anyway.
Each of the 4 bunkers had a .50 caliber MG (machine gun) that had been "liberated" from other units which had not been able to withstand the Chinese, though the Chinese had been driven off before they could get to the MGs. None of Dave's men had qualified on the .50, though they had on the .30, and the MGs were near enough to the same thing. It's amazing how fast a man can learn when he's being shot at! These .50s were hell on wheels when it came to stopping a human wave attack, as long as the crew didn't get killed too soon. Without artillery support, the MGs were the platoon's main hope for survival.
There were 4 bunkers in an arc along the trench, and the platoon had managed to do a lot of detail improvement on the hastily built structures they had inherited from the South Koreans. The week that Dave's platoon had been in place was going to be a God-send. Bunker #3 was the CP (command post) and was the largest of the bunkers. There was no radio in the CP, but it did have a sound-powered telephone set that sometimes worked.
Thank God, this time the telephone did work! Dave got through to the company CP and put in his request for artillery air bursts to try to slow down the attackers. "No way," he was told. "The Chinks are attacking all along the line and we have other, higher priority, commitments that have to be covered first. We'll get to you when we can. There are a couple of Marine Corsairs in your neighborhood, I'll see what I can do."
"Thank you, Captain. I hope we are still here when you can get around to us. Out!"
The leading edge of the attacking Chinese had reached the lip of the trench by then, so Dave had to concentrate on fighting them, though he did have a fleeting hope of living long enough to poke the nose of somebody back at headquarters. He had to forget that as he tried to get a grip on the fighting going on in his area of responsibility. Dave had started the day with 28 men under his command, and they had been assigned 7 to a bunker. He did have communication among the bunkers with more sound-powered telephones. Deep trenches had been dug for the wires, so they were pretty well safe from being cut.
Bunker #1 was under the heaviest pressure at the moment, since it had flanking protection from only one side. Dave had sent his platoon sergeant to command that bunker, since it was likely to be under the most pressure during an attack. Bunker #4 was protected somewhat by being butted up against a monster boulder, so it could not be easily reached. Bunkers #2 and #3 were in better shape than #1 because they had the supporting fire of a bunker to either side. But all of the bunkers were so hard pressed at the moment that there was little opportunity for supporting fire.