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

CHAPTER 10
THE ROCK AND 854
It was still September 17. Next up, the Marines continued to assault west towards
980 atop the ridge from 812. (Both battalions, 2/5 and 1/5, sent patrols from the right
and left to Hill 812.) Easy-1, under Lt Matas (no first name supplied) got the point with
Fox-2 following in close support. Preparatory fire for this advance was supplied by 93
rounds of artillery called in by the Easy Company FO. Prior to this, the 4.2 inch mortars
had been unable to support the attack because of the uncertain location of the
assaulting elements. Now they began to add their heavy mortar shells to the many tons
of steel already pounded into the churned earth of the mountains from just under 3000
meters off. Their primary targets were roads and trails to the rear of enemy positions in
hopes of catching enemy elements in the midst of resupplying and reinforcing their
forces.1
Easy-1 soon found itself pinned down by the enemy's own heavy mortars, 120mm
high explosive shells so large and heavy they could be seen warbling through the air on
their way to a target like some huge bumble-bee. Nine Marines were WIA by this
deluge. Soon, however, the Marine FO of the 81mm mortar section with the platoon
spotted the enemy firing position. He called in several rounds from his section and the
120mm fire dried up. The attack continued.2
The attack, coming so soon after the seizure of 812, caught the enemy flat-footed
and the Marines made significant progress in the advance. The only resistance was
"Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 47-48.
2 Ibid.

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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 October 21, 2014.