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

The rule of thumb used by Marine aviators to calculate the closest distance from
friendly lines to drop a bomb is about a hundred yards of distance per hundred pounds
of explosive, i.e. one yard of distance for each pound of explosive.42
For the entire Marine involvement in the actions in Korea of 1950, this Marine
Corps/Navy system was employed. This was even though, during the Pusan Perimeter
phase, and Northeast Korea Operations phase, FAF (Fifth Air Force) was technically in
control. This was because, "due to special circumstances, Marine aviation units were
able to support ground units, almost without exception . . . ." Those special
circumstances were: the fluid nature of the war, the fact that the Army Air Force JOC
had not yet been fully emplaced, the fact that X Corps, of which the Marines were a
part, was a separate command than Eighth Army for a time, and some gentlemen's
agreements between the 1 MAW, 1MarDiv, and FAF. But beginning in January 1951,
the FAF and the JOC were calling the shots, and the mission of Marine air was diluted
from supporting just the 1 MarDiv and X Corps to supporting all of Eighth Army.43
In balance to the Marine view of CAS was that of the AF. The AF viewed
interdiction as preeminent and any CAS as secondary in priority. Said Major General
Otto P. Weyland, Commanding General FEAF (Far East Air Force):
I might suggest that all of us should keep in mind the limitations of air forces as
well as their capabilities. Continuous CAS along a static front requires dispersed
and sustained fire power against pinpoint targets. With conventional weapons
there is no opportunity to exploit the characteristic mobility and fire power of air
forces against worthwhile concentrations. In a static situation close support is an
expensive substitute for artillery fire. It pays its greatest dividends when the
enemy's sustaining capability has been crippled and his logistics cut to a
minimum while his forces are immobilized by interdiction and armed
42 United States Navy and Marine Corps, NAVMC-4159: PHIB 12, Amphibious Operations: Air Operations
IQuantico, VA: Marine Corps Schools, 1948): 37.
3 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. 1" IV-B-9; Allan R. Millett, " Korea, 1950-1953."

276

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 28, 2014.