Martin did the only thing he could do, which was to try to set a personal example

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

This Kind of War by T.R. FehrenbachColonel Bob Martin, in command of the 34th Infantry, had inherited a debacle, T. R. Fehrenbach (in This Kind of War) explains:

With a disintegrating command, it was not enough to issue orders; orders had a way of being ignored on company and platoon level. Martin did the only thing he could do, which was to try to set a personal example.

In the early morning, Bob Martin was hunting through the streets of Ch’onan with a 2.36-inch bazooka. It was no job for a regimental C.O. — but somebody had to do it. Leading the attack, gathering a small group of men about him, Martin engaged the enemy tanks.

With his regimental S-3 sergeant, Jerry Christenson, he stood in a hut east of the main street of Ch’onan, facing a T-34. Martin, acting as gunner, aimed the rocket launcher, and fired. The small, obsolete rocket charge fizzled out against the tank’s steel hull.

At the same time, the tank fired. At a range of less than twenty-five feet, the 85mm shell blew Bob Martin into two pieces.

The concussion burst one of Christenson’s eyes from its socket, but in great pain he managed to pop it back in. He was taken captive by the North Koreans.


  1. Harry Jones says:

    The worst possible way to learn why orders don’t get obeyed.

  2. Ezra says:

    Possibly his capture might have provided the NK with invaluable intelligence. The man did mean well. We can say that much.

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