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

The method to the approach was that the 7th Marines would seize Objective Able
on the eastern tip of the ridge and assault along the top of the ridge to Objective Baker.
".. The narrow axis of advance would limit the assault to one regiment at a time." From
the amount of forces allocated to each objective, the Marines clearly underestimated the
amount of resistance the enemy would put up as well as the amount of time that would
be required to take the objectives, but then, "intel" at the time estimated this area to be
only an OPLR (outpost line of resistance) for the enemy. Night "harassing fires" began
at 2100 September 10 on the checkpoints to be assaulted the next day. These fires
would increase as the attack progressed, lifting just ahead of the infantry and under
control of FOs (forward observers).31
One Marine who was in Baker Company, 1/7, said of the enemy bunkers on Hills
673:
This hill had been pounded by our artillery and mortars so much that the trees
were nothing but stumps. The few that were left standing were nothing but
skeletons. The slopes had the consistency of powder. When you walked, you
sank into the ground up to your ankles. You thought, "Lord, how could there have
been that much opposition alive up there after that?" But after reaching the top,
two days later, you could see how they managed. Bunkers, with four to six feet of
dirt and rocks on top of logs, had connecting trenches. There were also trenches
leading from the bunkers and the forward slope to the rear of the hill for
evacuating the dead and wounded and also for bringing in men and supplies.
This kept them from exposing themselves to our fire.32
These were the types of positions that only napalm and rockets from a Marine
plane, flying so close to the trees that they nearly scrape the bottom of the Chance-
31 Joseph H. Alexander, "Kanmubong Ridge: Final Marine Offensive of the Korean War," Leatherneck 84
(September 2001), 18; Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 183; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary,"
September 1951, 14; Seventh Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, Operation Order 14-
51.
32 Jack L. Cannon, "Attack on Hills 673 and 749," 22-23.

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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 August 29, 2014.