after an hour and a half of combat. However, the enemy did not rush in blind. The NKPA
soldiers sneaked down the ridgeline, prepared entrenchments close to Marine lines,
then attacked. Light probes persisted the rest of the night but the main action was over
for 3/1. Morning found 59 shattered North Korean corpses around Item's firing lanes,
with another 75 KIA and 50 WIA estimated. In addition, Item took 10 prisoners.
Casualties for 3/1 were 2 KIA and 14 WIA. The elements attacking Item had been the
3rd Regiment, 45th NK Division. This division was newly arrived in the area on the 15th.60
The KMCs and 5th Marines were slated to relieve 3/1 in its positions this day. At
0600, a company of KMCs began relief of George Company. How and Item were
replaced by 3/5 and 2/5: 3/5 relieved Item and 2/5 How by 1200. Thereafter, How
Company moved to Hill 673 to attach to 2/1 as part of its defenses while the rest of the
battalion headed for regimental reserve in place of 1/1.61 (For unit boundaries, see Map
In summary, at 0120, 3/1 was attacked. The enemy assault was thrown back with
heavy NKPA losses. The KMCs and 5th Marines relieved 3/1 at 1000 that morning,
whereupon it moved to regimental reserve. It could only be committed again to the fight
on division orders.62
The Marines of 1/1 had not gone immediately into the combat line as did 2/1 and
3/1. They were the regimental reserve at first. Now it was their turn to attack. PFC
Davidson of 1/1 recalled:
We set up temporary positions just short of Hill 749, a part of the
Punchbowl battle line. There were tanks-ours-firing over our heads at the
North Korean positions on the ridgeline.
60 Third Battalion, 1st Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 5.
62 st Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 18.
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 May 3, 2016.