Today in History: Battle of Triangle Hill

69 years ago today, October 14th 1952, the Battle of Triangle Hill began. The Battle of Triangle Hill, also known as Operation Showdown was part of UN attempts to gain control of “The Iron Triangle“, and took place from 14 October to 25 November 1952.

The original plan for Operation Showdown called for simultaneous attacks on both Triangle Hill and Sniper Ridge. One battalion from the US 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division would take Triangle Hill from Gimhwa-eup, while one battalion from the ROK 32nd Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division would attack Sniper Ridge along a parallel route.

The Battle of Triangle Hill was the biggest and bloodiest contest of 1952.[13] After 42 days of heavy fighting, the Eighth Army had failed to gain the two hill masses that were its original goal. The American and Korean troops were able to take the summits but the Chinese soldiers were able to retreat into a tunnel network below ground which when combined with counter attacks from neighboring PVA units pushed the Americans/Koreans off of the hills.

Although the 31st Infantry Regiment was equipped with ballistic vests in the first mass military deployment of modern personal armor; its 1st and 3rd battalions nevertheless suffered 96 fatalities, with an additional 337 men wounded in the first attack – the heaviest casualties the 31st Infantry Regiment had suffered in a single day during the war.

Despite its impact and scale, the Battle of Triangle Hill is one of the least known episodes of the Korean War within the Western media.[87] For the Chinese however, this costly victory presented an opportunity to promote the value of endurance and sacrifice.[11] The courage demonstrated by the PVA soldiers at Triangle Hill was repeatedly glorified in various forms of media, including several major motion pictures.

For more check out the Wikipedia article linked or this PDF I found,
https://www.veteransresources.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Mil-Hist-Korea-Battle-of-Triangle-Hill.pdf

“An American soldier of the 7th Division is led toward a jeep after being wounded in the fighting on Triangle Hill; the soldiers eyes have been painted out to prevent identification. Photograph, 17 October 1952”

The uniforms and equipment are a mix of post war and WWII, much like the war itself. In the above photo the two soldiers both have WWII style or pattern pants but the wounded man has a post war shirt. They both have the M1948 boots. Which are essentially WWII jump boots with a slightly different sole. Continuous rubber versus the gap of the Jump Boots and without the bevel on the heel.

“Two Infantrymen of the Seventh Infantry Division helping a comrade wounded in the fighting on Triangle Hill, October 1952”

In the above photo we can see the post war Korean War era fatigue pants on the left. Identified by their patch style hip pockets. The jacket of the middle man is either an M1943 or M1950 due to its button closure. We also have a pair of M1949 gloves turning up.

The flak jacket issued appears to be the M1951/52. Often associated with the USMC the vest was used by both branches during the war. It was the precursor to the famous Vietnam era M55 worn by Marines. The helmet covers made from what I am pretty sure is burlap were also reasonable common during the battle.

Unfortunately do to the unpopularity of the war by this stage there are few photos of these later battles, these few are just about all I could find. Which is a real shame as they were still hard fought and deserve remembering.

A pair of seldom seen M2A1-2 flamethrowers

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