"On the night of 30 November, LTC Faith, who had become the de facto commander of the force, realized that he couldn’t hold out another day. There was no reserve to speak of at all. Cooks, and headquarters personnel were holding the line. There would be no help coming from the Marines, who had problems of their own. Ammunition was in critically short supply, many troops with only one magazine left. He ordered a breakout attempt to begin at noon on the next day 1 December. . ."
Almost immediately when the break out started, things started going horribly wrong. Napalm was dropped on advancing elements of 1/32 which lead the formation, stalling the progress, and demoralizing many of the troops. Road blocks halted the column, as well as blown bridges. Trucks died, wounded were being shoved in ever more crowded trucks. Then the Chinese began firing on the trucks killing and wounding many.By the time the convoy made it to hill 1221, where the medical company had been destroyed, darkness had fallen. 3/31 had essentially dissolved as a fighting formation leaving the truck column open to attack. Majors were now leading squads. Many riflemen didn’t have any ammunition, or their weapons wouldn’t fire in the -30 degree weather. With the darkness another problem arose, the air cover, which had been so essential, was gone. Hill 1221 was held by the Chinese and had to be taken if the convoy was to continue. It was attacked several times by groups with almost no coordination.Now, try to imagine it at this point, if you’re one of the troops in this formation. You’ve been fighting for 5 nights and 4 days almost non-stop. You have almost no ammunition, almost everyone is wounded. All the officers and NCOs who you recognized as part of your chain of command are either wounded or dead. You’ve probably got frostbite, very little actual training, and you’re probably scared as hell. You’ve still got several miles to go to get to Hararu-ri where the Marine perimeter is, and officers are trying to organize units to attack this Chinese held hill in the dark.