Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

We moved up to the Kansas Line for a couple of days and to bury a pile of
Chinese [North Koreans?] that had a very ripe odor. They had been lying there
for some time. I was reminded of late summer and the six hundred Chinese
soldiers who had marched up a hill while tanks and machine guns fired on them.
After it was all over, our troops discovered that the Chinese all had new uniforms
and were sixteen or seventeen years old. They also had drugs on them and must
have been stoned out of their minds. They never took cover or stopped marching
until they were all dead.73
As far as CAS went, requests for air strikes had been made almost two days in
advance for this battle, but only 12 planes were given the missions by JOC (their
emphasis was still on Operation Strangle). This did not include emergency requests
made in the actual fighting, but those had their own problems. An example of how the
intervening layers of bureaucracy complicated things also occurred in this fight. The 7th
Marines requested emergency air support to break a heavy enemy counterattack, but
the X Corps's intelligence officer on Byers's staff canceled the request. He didn't think
there was really any counterattack going on. To the Marines on the line staring
screaming North Koreans in the face over the length of a bayoneted rifle, this was an
outrage and gross failure of the system to work to help them succeed in their mission.74
In summary, the Marines had taken their objectives with hard fighting, but the ratio
of casualties by far favored the UN forces. The Communists had lost valuable men, and
territory as well. U. S. firepower and morale were superior and gave the Marines a
distinct edge. Furthermore, they probably outnumbered the enemy on the ridge (though
this cannot be absolutely determined with out documents from the NK side). (See Map #
13 for the amount of ground gained.)
73 Oral memoir of Jon Charles Genrich at KoreanWarEducator.org.
74 Allan R. Millett, Drive North, 43. See chapter on Close Air Support.

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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed December 27, 2014.