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

pause, the true end of the "movement" was not until the Fall Offensive ended. It was
only after this that the peace-talks resumed and the commanders of EUSAK and UNC
decided to halt all offensives except raids.6
Although all the battles of this period have received little attention and are in need
of further examination, the battle of the 1st Mar Div for Yoke and Kanmubong Ridges
has received even less study. The Army fight for Heartbreak and Bloody Ridges to the
east obscured it at the time, and in the handful of secondary works that describe the
period with any detail beyond a paragraph or two, the fight of the Marines is seldom
even mentioned. One of the only books on a battle of the campaign, Arned L. Hinshaw,
Heartbreak Ridge: Korea, 1951 (New York: Praeger, 1989), only obliquely refers to it as
"tidying up" in September and does not even mention the Marines in 1951 at all. But the
battles of the entirety of X Corps (as well as Operation Commando to the west) had
some significance to the course and outcome of the Korean War. And while the 1st Mar
Div's fight was but a single part of the larger effort, it needs thorough assessment
because of its importance to American military history, Marine Corps history, EUSAK
history, X Corps history, and as a beginning to a better understanding of the whole
offensive. One can see a whole of any size only by first examining the parts.
The Punchbowl Offensive would be a significant battle in Marine Corps and
Korean War history because of the high casualties, even if no other reason existed. In
just one day, on September 14, 1951, the 1st Mar Div suffered 39 killed in action (KIA)
and 463 wounded (WIA), and that was with only two of its four regiments engaged. (If
one counts the KMC (Korean Marine Corps) Regiment, the bloodiest day for the division
6 Arned Hinshaw, Heartbreak Ridge, 22; Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 256; Lee
Ballenger, The Outpost War: U. S. Marines in Korea, Vol. 1: 1952, (Washington, D. C.: Brassey's, 2000):
3-4.

4

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 October 24, 2014.