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

usually favors the attacker. It conceals movement and deadens sound thus facilitating
surprise in an attack, the heavier the better. The same is true for fog.28
One 7th Marines PFC, Troy Hamm, remembered his unit's move on the night of
September 10-11:
We moved out early, wet and cold. All night long it had rained like I'd
never seen before in my life. We sat in a wide open field all night. The old
ponchos we wore funneled the water down our spines and out the seat of our
utility trousers. To add to this misery, when we moved out, we carried the weight
of our packs-a packboard with two cased 75mm RR rounds, a waterproof bag
containing our winter and summer sleeping bags, three days' supply of C rations,
and extra boots and utilities. I also carried an M-1 rifle and plenty of .30-cal
ammo. The load was so heavy that when we stopped I had to position the
packboard above me on the side of the hill so I could get under it enough to
stand up without falling backward.
As we got closer to Hill 673, the sounds of firing grew louder. The roar of
artillery-ours and theirs-and frequent air strikes marked our progress forward.
By now I was so keyed-up, I forgot the weight of my pack.
Late in the day, five of our M26 tanks came up and supported us. Just
their appearance and the noise they made boosted our morale.29
Kanmubong Ridge was the name of the heights the Marines would attack.
Consisting of Hills 812, 980, 1052, 673, 751, 680, and 749, this was a murderous piece
of terrain by any estimate, consisting of, "highly organized defensive positions built
around a multitude of earth and log bunkers and supported by heavy deployment of
artillery of all calibers." (See Map # 22) The 7th Marines had to take it, however, to allow
X Corps to be able to attack the NKPA MLR (Main Line of Resistance) thought to be
over two miles north beyond it-as it turned out the Kanmubong complex was part of
the enemy MLR--and to maintain better defense of the Hays Line.30
28 First Battalion, 5th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 9.
29 Oral account of PFC Troy Hamm, in Knox, Uncertain Victory, 296-97.
30 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 2, 14; Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front,
183; First Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 13.


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. Accessed October 5, 2015.