Quiet settles on Korea front as guns finally are spiked

July 27 1953
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SEOUL, July 27, 1953 (UP) - The smell of death and gunsmoke still hung heavy over front line positions as the 37-month-long Korean shooting ended today. -- Intense artillery barrages rumbled across the front until minutes of the cease-fire deadline.

United Press frontline correspondents reported the last Red artillery shells of the war fell on the eastern front at 9:50 p.m. - 10 minutes before the cease-fire went into effect. The western and central fronts had fallen quiet minutes earlier.

United Press Correspondent William Miller described the final Red artillery barrage along the western front as among the heaviest in several days.

United Press Correspondent Frank Jordan reported from the central front that diehard South Koreans had the satisfaction of firing the last shots of the war. They kept blazing away, with small arms, mortar and tank fire, Jordan reported, until the very moment of the cease-fire.

Death continued taking its toll until shortly before Eighth Army Commander Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor broadcast the official cease-fire order. Men fell to mortar shells and the raking fire of machine guns.

As the cease-fire order was broadcast in nine languages over the armed forces radio station, the bugler of the first U.S. Marine Division played taps over the silent lines. Marine searchlights lit up the sky to signal the beginning of the long-awaited armistice.

Colored flares burst in the brilliant light of the full moon which bathed the scarred hills, the bunkers and the foxholes in which prayerful men sweated out the last hours of the war.

Then there was silence.

But the stillness was broken soon after the muffled roar of explosions and United Nations forces began the demolition of their frontline bunkers.

Troops promptly began preparing to move back 1 1/4 miles from their positions to create the 2 1/2-mile demilitarized zone separating the U.N. and Red lines.

A First Marine Division spokesman said the division would work around the clock if necessary under searchlights to complete the demilitarization job within the required 72 hours.

"I just hope the Chinese got the word," said a Marine staff officer. He said the demilitarization order was unprecedented in Marine Corps history. "We never demilitarized anything in our lives before except by pushing," he said.

While Communist artillery, mortars and machine guns kept up a heavy drumfire cross the lines long after the official signing of the truce, United Nations planes carried the dying fury of war to the Communists.

A total of 213 Sabrejets swept MIG Alley for the last time between 4 and 6 p.m. up to four hours of the cease fire. They failed to spot a single MIG.

Fighter bombers blasted three Communist airfields while Air Force, Marine and carrier planes struck Red front-line positions mainly in the Kumsong area where Red Chinese made their last big attack of the war.

United Press correspondents along the front reported that the Reds, as well as the United Nations forces, spiked their guns and all firing ceased promptly at 10 p.m.

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