Bloody Ridge Battle Analysis

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Although there were many battles throughout the Korean War, the battles which began on
17 August 1951 through 18 October 1951 for the hills of 983, 940, and 773, as well as hills 894,
931, and 851, (see Figure 1) are better known as the Battles of Bloody Ridge (983, 940 and 773) and Heartbreak Ridge (894, 931, and 851). During this time, artillery played a key role in capturing these two ridgelines under the command of Eighth Army Commander, General Van
Fleet. The artillery played a major role in capturing these enemy strongholds because aircraft could not assault these positions due to foliage and inability to see the trench lines the enemy had established. Some of the types of artillery units (see Participating Artillery Units) used in these
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This would also allow UN forces to establish a stronger hold in this region while the agenda for the Armistice talks could be negotiated.
(Alexander, 1986) On 14 August 1951, orders came down from X Corps. for the 36th ROK
Regiment to lead the Battle of Bloody Ridge. On 17 August 1951, ROK troops began their assault on Bloody Ridge to secure this observation point from the North Korean People’s Army
(NKPA). They were successful in securing the ridgeline from the NKPA on 25 August 1951, but the NKPA quickly made a counterattack, which was successful in reclaiming the ridgeline the
BATTLES OF BLOODY AND HEARTBREAK RIDGES 4 next day. On 27 August 1951, Ninth Infantry Battalion was directed to reclaim hill 983 and 38th
Infantry was to support ROK forces on hills 940 and 773. (Ecker, 2010) On the night of the 27th,
Second Division Artillery began to bombard hill 983 with over 20,000 rounds of Artillery fire, however, their efforts were unsuccessful. Orders to retreat and reconsolidate came down on
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Participating Artillery Units
The Korean War is known by many as “The Forgotten War”, and as such, specific unit information is scarce. The following units were some of the few units discovered to have participated in these two battles:
9th FA supported every division in Korea.
15th FA was attached to 2nd ID, X Corps. and from 15 July 1950 to 27 July 1953 established 2 records unequaled by any other artillery unit during the Korean War. In one 24- hour period during the Battle for Bloody Ridge, the 15th Field Artillery Battalion fired 14,425 rounds. Additionally, from 26 August through 2 September 1951, in support of the 2nd Infantry
Division during the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, the 15th Field Artillery Battalion fired 69,956 rounds using 105mm howitzers. (Gillotti, 2016)
96th FA was attached to X Corps. in February of 1951, and made several changes from
May to August of 1951. Bravo Battery converted to 8” guns and a Battery of 155mm guns attached. On 10 September 1951, they had fired their 150,000th round of the war. 96th Battalion participated in several battles during the Korean War, including Heartbreak Ridge. (96th Field
Artillery Battalion, 2016)
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