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

scattered small arms fire until the Marines reached "the strange, unforgettable, granite
projection called 'The Rock, or 'Rocky Nose,' a distinct feature on the ridge line that
would feature prominently in the battle over the next few days, and in the sector over
the next few years. Just beyond it, Easy-1 met "determined enemy resistance." The
area was riddled with bunkers and entrenchments including MGs. Heavy fire finally
pinned the Marines down 100 yards past the Rock, mostly because of intense plunging
MG fire from 3/5's "Objective Two," Hill 980.3 (See Illustration #1)
The company (Easy) heard of the progress before this unit was pinned down and
called regiment and asked if it could seize 980 as well as 812. Regiment denied the
request since Hill 1052 dominated 980 (in fact, heavy fire was received from that height,
too). Hill 980 could not be held if taken until the enemy on 1052 had been silenced. So
Easy Company, Easy-1 specifically, had to withdraw 600 yards back towards 812. While
disengaging, this unit continued to receive enemy SA and AW fire "from their front and
left flank." Covering fire of 333 rounds of artillery had to be supplied to complete the
withdrawal. Easy-1 had only two rifle squads and one light MG squad left at this point.
Marines of 2/5 were in defensive positions by 1700.4
Gerald P. Averill thought the decision not to take 980 was foolish:
In a short period of two weeks, the hill complex of which 812 was a part had
ground up the 1st Marines and the 7th Marines on the eastern slopes and now
was whittling away on the 5th Marines to the west. Hills 673 and 749, connected
by a ridge line running south to north, had decimated the other two regiments.
Hill 812, which was in essence a western extension of the north-south ridge line
upon which Hills 673 and 749 were located, had cost our battalion dearly. With
Hill 812 secured, we still would suffer heavy casualties, for we had no safe
ground from which to operate. We could defend the north-south ridge line of 812
3 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 196; 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951, 21;
Maj Gerald P. Averill, "Final Objective," 15;"Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 48.
4 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 196; 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951, 21;
Maj Gerald P. Averill, "Final Objective," 15.

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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 April 16, 2014.