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

reconnaissance. Then decisive results can be obtained as the close-support
effort is massed in coordination with determined ground action.44
"General Weyland insisted that in the summer and fall of 1951 'it would have
been sheer folly not to have concentrated the bulk of our air effort against interdiction
targets in the enemy rear areas. Otherwise, the available firepower would have been
expended inefficiently against relatively invulnerable targets along the front, while the
enemy was left to build up his resources to launch and sustain a general offensive.'...
[But] Try as they might, the UN air forces could not prevent the arrival of the 2,900 tons
of rations, fuel, ammunition, and other supplies needed every day by the 58 Communist
divisions at the front."45
The AF also had a gross misunderstanding--Marines thought they did not care
enough to try to understand--of the tenets of the Marine system. They thought Marine
units had less artillery than Army land units and so habitually used CAS in place of
artillery. This was erroneous. Marine Divisions had the same amount of organic artillery
as Army Infantry Divisions. (See chapter on organization.) The AF also had no concept
of the tactical value an airstrike could provide to an infantry force. All of this is amply
demonstrated in the manner in which the subject is addressed in the AF official history
on the Korean War.46
The AF did not consider quick response to be a key factor in CAS at all. Said
Robert Futrell, the author of the Official History of the AF in Korea:
Since the Marines used air support as a substitute for artillery, they had to have
forward air observers in each of their battalions. To assure an air strike within five
44 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 169.
45 Ibid., 169-170.
46 Robert F. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950-1953, (Washington, D. C., Air Force
History and Museums Program, 2000 - reprint of the revised 1983 edition, originally published in 1961):
705.

277

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 July 31, 2014.