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

artillery, (and most uniquely) the armor and air arms, were not, as utilized by the Corps,
the primary means for the attainment of an objective, nor were they the principle tools
by which the chief offensive effect was to be achieved. In the Corps, all other arms and
supports existed to support the infantry. The planes worked in concert with the ground
force to eliminate barriers to infantry advance, so also did the artillery. The infantry did
not deploy to assist armor; the armor deployed to assist the infantry. Again, the primary
weapon of the Corps was the rifleman, the infantryman, the grunt. It was his job to take
the beachhead. Not the guns of the Navy, not the planes of a MAW (Marine Air Wing),
and neither the artillery nor the tanks of a Marine division held that task.3
(This is because no matter how intense a preparatory pounding by supporting
arms in the Central Pacific and in Korea, a well-entrenched diehard enemy, such as the
Japanese or North Koreans, survived and could only be brought out by infantry one
bunker or cave at a time. Even so, Marines strongly advocated maximum use and
integration of all available supporting arms, because, while many enemy remained for
3 Marion F. Sturkey, Warrior Culture, 114-115. Some have said that the Marine Corps is primarily a light
infantry force, and that one reason it is thus is that it has never fought on the modern European battlefield
against armor and mechanization. The Marine Corps was a light infantry force up to World War II. After
wards, it was among the heaviest in the world. This is only untrue if one defines heavy infantry as only
being mechanized infantry. As for the claim the Corps has never fought on the modern European
battlefield or against armor and mechanization, the Corps has done both. In World War I, the Marine
Corps fielded a brigade that fought alongside the Army in modern European warfare. In World War II, the
Japanese employed tanks against the Marines, and the Marines against the Japanese. In Korea in
particular, the Marine Corps's antitank units were approximately as heavy as the Army's, and the Marine
Corps's tanks worked with infantry in the same tactics and doctrine as did the Army's. The Marine Corps
did not have armored divisions in the Korean war that were trained to fight blitzkrieg-like armored lighting
campaigns over hundreds of miles, but an armored division was hardly an infantry division. The Marine
Division was among the heaviest infantry divisions in the world in 1950-1953. It was actually a small
corps-see appendix on Marine Corps organization. One reason the Marine Division was so heavy
compared to that of the Army was that it was designed with amphibious warfare in mind. All its supplies
could go with it aboard ship, and it could be resupplied with ships, whereas the Army division had to carry
much of its supplies with it across vast distances on the land and therefore could not carry as much
organic equipment and supplies. On the other hand, when a Marine division fought a land campaign far
away from the sea as in 1951, its organic supply infrastructure was inadequate compared to that of the
Army, which had been designed and adjusted through long experience to better facilitate supply in land


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 July 22, 2014.