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

officers (and the Army in general) believed CAS within the bombline (the line in front of
ground forces beyond which artillery could not reach) performed a job that should be
done by artillery. In other words, anything within artillery range should be an artillery
target, and to use air to hit it was a waste of air power.15
The Marines viewed things differently:
The Marine Corps method is to use all the fire support means which are
available, to make timely use of those means, and to use them in adequate
quantity in order to produce the necessary shock effect. In the situations
encountered in Korea [1950] this shock action was attained by the coordinated
employment of supporting aircraft, artillery, and organic infantry weapons [and
NGF]. Air Force and in some instances Army sources have claimed that tactical
air support is being used on artillery missions and that properly employed artillery
would reduce the demands for tactical air support. Col S. L. A. Marshall [Army
officer and noted analyst of military tactics] pointed out when queried on the
Army's employment of artillery and tactical air support: "The effects of air and
artillery are reciprocal rather than duplicatory and if we all begin to understand
that, we would more perfectly integrate the use of both weapons." The flexibility
inherent in the Marine Corps fire support coordination techniques permits the
attainment of maximum effectiveness of supporting fires in any situation, a claim
which has been fully borne out by Marine operations in Korea [1950].16
The next factor, accuracy, was essential to effective air support. This could only
be gained through frequent and thorough practice by the pilots in CAS strikes on
various targets from trenches, to caves, to tanks, to bunkers. With many enemy
positions on the reverse slopes of hills, CAS strikes were often the only way to hit the
enemy, especially in the rugged, mountainous terrain of Korea where indirect fire such
as artillery could be extremely hampered in range and target selection. Artillery fire or
mortars, and direct fire weapons like tanks, could usually not get in a bunker entrance
on the reverse slope of a hill. And there was no question in the Marines' minds that CAS
I 1MarDiv, "Report of CAS," Letter to CG Fleet Marine Force Pacific, LtGen Lemuel C. Shepherd, from
CG 1MarDiv, MajGen Gerald C. Thomas, undated, page 3-4.
16 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. 1", IV-C-2.

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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 August 31, 2014.