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

The Operations Orders for the day were Division OpnO 25-51 and Regimental
Frag Order 139-51, which basically reiterated the previous day's objectives and
missions and ordered the attack to resume at 0400. As said the 5th Marines Historical
Diary, "But for the rifleman in the front lines, upon whose shoulders rests the burden of
final success of any operation, the detailed planning and commands set forth in these
orders boiled down to the simple terse words; 'continue the attack to seize
For 3/5 the morning began at 0230 when seven NKPAs infiltrated into Weapons
Company's area. A fight ensued and the Marines suffered 3 KIAs and 3 WIAs. At
daylight, How Company would support 2/5's attack by fire and send out patrols. None of
3/5's units moved from the night's positions. For 3/5, the attack towards the objectives
was over. The next few days would consist of patrolling and digging in.46
At 0400 the morning of the 17th, Easy Company (Captain William L. Wallace)
moved towards Fox Company's CP, following the same trail as Fox the day before, its
forward elements reaching it at 0730. There was supposed to be a guide to meet Easy
and show them Fox's positions, but he had been "used as a stretcher bearer" and was
not around.47 (See Map # 32)
Fox, which had confused the attack order as 0900, discovered the mistake at
0420. It immediately began to prepare to resume its attack. At dawn, it was nearly
ready. Lt. Holmes, the platoon leader of the 1st Platoon, was wounded at 0600 by a
mortar fragment. Captain Victor Sawina, the Company Executive Officer, took it over.48
45 Fifth Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 20.
46 Ibid., 21.
47 "Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 38.
48 Ibid., 38.


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 September 25, 2016.