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

Regiment, 45th NK Division was ordered to counterattack and take back the ground lost
the last few days.81
Enemy losses for the day were 14 counted KIA, 85 estimated KIA (those from the
night's actions would be counted the next day), 60 estimated WIA, and 19 POWs. The
Marine Division reportedly lost 12 KIA, 88 WIA (and 5 WIA among the KMCs).82
However, there is discrepancy in these numbers. Just one battalion, 2/1, reported
its losses for the day as 4 KIA and 224 WIA. Given that the battalion was a smaller unit
and probably therefore had a better idea of how many it had lost, it is probably safe to
assume that 2/1 knew how many losses it had (the Historical Diary for the month was
written weeks later when dual reports and confusion of combat had had time to be
ironed out). Possibly, too, the 2/1 assessment had included Marines who had been hit
but just bandaged themselves and continued fighting, and the Division report was just
casualties actually evacuated. (Yet the discrepancy is worsened when one notes that
the Regimental Historical Diary for the 1st Marines lists the number of casualties for the
day for the entire regiment as only 3 WIA, a grossly inaccurate statement in light of the
battalion reports.)83
With the casualties for the day from the rest of the 1st Marines's battalions added
in, the total of losses climbs to 270 WIA, and 11 KIA. Then the 7th Marines's known
losses (the only losses recorded are for 2/7) raise it again, this time to 18 KIA and 357
WIA. If a similar underestimation of casualties taken in the division is true of even just a
few other days in the period, then the losses for the battle may very well be drastically
1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 3.
82Ibid., 17.
83 Second Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 7; 1st Marine Regiment,
"Historical Diary," September 1951, 14.


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 July 9, 2014.