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

from the east just as the North Koreans had from the west, but here the similarity
ended. To the west, leading from Hill 812, lay those two dominating peaks, 980
and 1052, from which the North Koreans could observe our every movement on
the south side of the east-west ridge line and the western slopes of the north-
south ridge line. Movement in daylight was extremely dangerous anywhere within
the position that we held . . . Two rifle companies, watched in daylight, hanging
on by their fingernails and not much else. I often have thought of how satisfying it
would have been to have exposed the planners at division, X Corps, and Eighth
Army to a couple of days on Hill 812. I have an idea that considerably more
attention would have been paid to Hills 980 and 1052 had those gentlemen spent
even one hour on those ridge lines in daytime.5
The decision had come, not just because of the problem with 1052, but because
that morning the Division Chief of Staff, Colonel Victor "Brute" Krulak (who, ironically,
wrote the foreword to Averill's book) "had observed the attack from the Regimental OP.
. and at this point announced that the seizure of Hill 812 accomplished, for the time
being, the Division's mission." Therefore, the 5th Marines CO, Colonel Weede ordered a
halt to 2/5's attack. They were to dig in on the most defensible ground. However,
according to Averill, 812 was not very defensible as long as 980 and 1052 remained in
enemy hands.6
That evening, the 5th Marines were ordered to consolidate on the best terrain
nearby and dig in. The Marines of 3/5 were dispersed across the area north of Hill 751.
They were not tied in with 2/5 as would be preferred. The latter battalion, 2/5, defended
Hill 812. Easy Company 2/5 was to the west of 812 in its defense, on the ridge between
812 and 980. Dog Company consolidated with Weapons Company on the southern part
of 812 with orders to protect the left flank. Fox 2/5 settled in to the east of 812. The 5th
Marines also tied in with elements of the 1st Marines to the south.7 (See Map # 35)
s Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 269. In light of this situation, Van Fleet's statement, quoted a few pages
hence, seems laughable.
6 "Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 48.
7 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 196; 1 Mar Div "Historical Diary", September 1951, 21.

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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 November 20, 2014.