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

to come down the high ground east to west (ridge-running). Their expectation was
correct.13
Possibly they had formed their defense as an adaptation to the Marine ridge-
running tactics. Unlike the American troops, the Chinese and North Korean soldiers did
not "rotate" their men home, so many veterans of the entire war (so far) were among
their ranks-even former ROKs who had been captured and forced to fight for the
NKPA-and even some who had fought the Japanese in WWII and against the
Nationalists in the Chinese civil war. It was not uncommon for Communist soldiers to
have as many as fifteen years of combat experience. Therefore, they knew lots of little
tricks and had much experience to draw on in formulating a murderous defense.
Enemy emplacements were on either side of the spine of the ridge and could
subject an attacker to forward and enfilade fire. The attacking troops would be forced by
the narrowness of the razor-back ridge to attack in a column or otherwise very narrow-
fronted formation, and the enemy was emplaced to subject such an attack to a withering
crossfire. "Bunkers had been placed in saddles, just down from the crest, so that they
could not be seen from the direct front until the attackers were quite close . . . These
bunkers delivered fire along a longitudinal axis down the spine in some instances, as
the knob which concealed a bunker was not wide enough to prevent fire from
approximately thirty degrees from the direct front."14
Fox company observed an artillery concentration fired on Hill 812 at 1600 as
"reasonably close." Therefore its position was closer to the objective than the command
had suspected. The 2nd Platoon came under fire first as it advanced up the finger of the

185

13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.

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 July 29, 2014.