published account. This is surprising because the Historical Diary of 2/5 is rife with
details. Usually, the historical diaries are dull and summarizing with very little detail
beyond the location of units and times of advance and other lifeless facts. But this
heretofore unexploited source begs consideration in this account because it actually
goes down to the platoon level whereas most of the battalion diaries barely go to the
company level. The story of this battle is incomplete without it.
Fox Company reached a fork in the trail at 1430 on September 16th, not yet having
met any major enemy resistance. Here, the platoons separated. The 2nd Platoon
headed west towards Hill 812. The 3rd Platoon moved up the ridge parallel to the
boundary between the 1st and 5th Marines zones of action. The 1st platoon accompanied
the company CP to a draw a little further along. The preparatory fires for the attack were
reported to have good coverage on the objective (meaning they seemed to saturate the
target area and not go beyond it too much), but these had to be limited as the exact
location of friendly frontline units was not certain. The general plan was "to move along
the trail and valley east of Hill 812 to seek the finger ridges and attack up to Objective
Dog." 0 (See Map # 31)
The ridgeline running north between Hill 749 and Hill 812 in the zone of the 1st
Marines was not yet secure, but Marines were sighted by Dog Company in that area.
This led the CO of 2/5 to speculate that the 1st Marines now had this area of 749 in
hand. If this was the case, he could get permission to use the 1st Marines's zone to
advance along the ridgeline toward 812 instead of having to get up to it through the
valley-the attack, instead of going from low ground against high ground, could begin
lo "Historical Diary," of the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines, September 1951, 29.
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 June 1, 2015.