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

The 5th Marines resumed the attack at 0400 with 2/5 in the assault, and 3/5
supporting by fire, at least, so said the operation order. Carrying it out was delayed by
the mistake in communication and by the morale status of the company. Fox 2/5 was
still shaken from the friendly fire incident of the day before. It did not jump off until 0700.
This led to an excellent opportunity that would not have been manifested if the Marines
had attacked while still dark. Now that the sun was up and Fox Company could see
NKPA troops on the objective eating meals, shaking blankets to dust them, and "walking
around unconcernedly."49 Fox 2/5 made and artillery request and decimated these North
Koreans, though it took rigid fire discipline to keep the Marines, frustrated and impatient
on seeing the enemy in the open within range, from opening up on them.50
Gerald P. Averill described the incident:
Indirectly, it [the delay] turned out favorably, for as first light outlined Hills 1052
and 980 -the light fully in the eyes of the defenders-the troops of Hill 812 came
out to enjoy the warmth of the sun, to wash their faces, brush their teeth, and
cook rice. We watched them through binoculars from the "D" Company ridge, and
as soon as everyone on Hill 812 was settling in for a pleasant breakfast we blew
them away with a nicely delivered artillery concentration. It started the day off
right, but from that moment on, things got rough.51
This successful surprise helped the Marines make significant advances towards
Hill 812 by Fox Company with Dog Company supporting by fire. The advance was also
helped by the Fox 2nd Platoon's location, almost on the crest and hidden in the trees.
The enemy had not spotted them even when sunning and eating. "From this point on,
the enemy became very cautious about exposing himself," said the battalion Historical
49 Ibid., 39.
so Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 195; 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951, 21;
"Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 39.
51 Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 266-67.


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 July 6, 2015.