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


Fighting spirit is not primarily the result of a neat organization
chart nor of a logical organizational set-up. The former
should never be sacrificed to the latter.
--Ferdinand Eberstadt
The 1st Marine Division had . . . [many] strengths, some
obvious in its structure and others based on experience and
Marine Corps Tradition . . . the division provided much of its
own support: amphibian tractor battalion, armored amphibian
(artillery) battalion, combat service group, engineer battalion
... [etc.]. Except for its engineers and medical personnel, an
Army infantry division contained service units at company,
rather than battalion strength. This structure and strength
gave the 1st Marine Division the advantage of depending on
its combat support and combat service support units to
provide their own rear-area security or even provide infantry
reinforcements, if necessary. The division had proved the
soundness of the Corps' [sic] adage of "every Marine a
rifleman" during the Chosin Reservoir withdrawal, and it
retained this principle. In addition, the division enjoyed
unparalleled professionalism in its leadership. Its officers in
the rank of first lieutenant and above and its senior
noncommissioned officers were World War II veterans; its
second lieutenants and young enlisted men, who bore the
burden of combat casualties, simply followed the World War
II model and their senior leaders
--Allan R. Millett
To understand the Marine Battle for the Punchbowl in September, 1951, one
must have basic understanding of Marine Division structure, organization, and
characteristics. A key part to understanding the organization of the Marine Corps is the
relationship and position of the Marine Corps within the defense establishment. The
Marine Corps is a separate service branch within the American armed forces, but it is
still within the Department of the Navy and works closely with the Navy. Its operating


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 April 21, 2014.