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

right tools for the job - different rockets for different types of targets, napalm, different
weights and assortments of bombs if a bunker need obliterating, etc.18
If a plane was out for armed reconnaissance and was only diverted to perform a
CAS strike in an emergency, as often happened under the JOC system (which had little
allowance for strip alert or special loading), the plane almost never had the ideal
armament for the target at hand. Again special loading was part of accuracy, and this
was because precision meant not just hitting the target but hitting it with something that
would get the job done.
The Marine version of CAS had a different emphasis on accuracy than did that of
the AF. For example:
On 5 July [1951] a large air attack was planned by 8th Army on a strong enemy
locality in front of the 1st Marine Division. On the day preceding the attack the
target was announced as a circle of 2,000 meters diameter centered on a
specific point. Such a general area assignment is wholly foreign to the pinpoint
technique which has come to be standard practice in the delivery of close air
support fires under the Marine Corps-Navy system. Fortunately in this case the
forward air controller involved was able to so direct the attacking aircraft that the
2,000 meter radius target previously assigned was ignored and the attack
directed against sound tactical targets.19
In other words, to the Marines, if CAS was not accurate and focused with
pinpoint precision, it was useless. This is just one more example of how the AF
emphasis on interdiction and subsequent de-emphasis of CAS kept them from
doctrinally mastering the fundamentals of effective CAS. Some individual pilots, did
8 Interview with Major William T. Porter, USMC, 12 October 1951; 1MarDiv, "Report of CAS," Letter of
CG (commanding general) 1MarDiv, Maj. Gen. Gerald C. Thomas, to CG Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Lt.
Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, dated 25 August 1951, page 3.
19 1MarDiv, "Report of CAS," "Memorandum for Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific," on
the subject of "Interim comments on close air support," from CG 1MarDiv, Maj. Gen. Gerald C. Thomas,
dated 21 July 1951, page 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 April 19, 2014.