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

That afternoon we cut trees, revetted, roofed, and sandbagged a bunker just
down from the intersection of the north-south, east-west ridge lines, just a few
steps from the ridge line leading to The Rock, and a few more to the junction of
the "E" and "F" Companies' lines . . . By night fall we had a land line back to
battalion and the radio was properly netted .. .35
He later sent back a message to the Battalion CO. "This place is pretty well
bracketed. They are dropping 120's [120mm mortar rounds] all over the area, have
caused 16 casualties this afternoon. This will be a daily occurrence if conditions remain
same. 3rd platoon down to 17 men with machine guns included." But positions would
remain the same for most of the rest of the month, and for any other unit stationed on
812 until 1953 when the communists regained it. "The Regimental S-3 [not Averill, he
was the battalion S-3] intimated in a talk with Lieutenant Colonel Stiff that the 2nd
Battalion would remain on the present line for a considerable time ...."36
Most think of the position of rifleman as being the most dangerous or the one
where one would see the most combat. But the less "glamorous" job of wire-laying was
a dangerous one as well. That day wiremen from 2/5 were stringing wire between the
companies when a mortar round hit nearby and wounded three out of the four Marines
as well as two nearby Korean laborers. At other times wiremen had found booby-traps
like grenades on a wire when they were out running it through their fingers trying to
locate a break. And furthermore, when one takes in to account that breaks were often
caused by shelling and that a wireman had to check his wire even under the heaviest
incoming, he realizes that it was about as dangerous a job as a man could have in
35 Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 271-72.
36 "Historical Diary," Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, 55-56.
37 Ibid., 56, 60.


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 February 7, 2016.