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

Marine view was only enough to support one division, not a whole Corps and certainly
not a whole army.55
Besides, the 1st MAW was not even allowed to spend most of its time providing
CAS period, for Eighth Army either, much less the 1st Mar Div:
The wing's operations conformed to the Fifth Air Force's grandiose interdiction
plans. Only a third of Marine air strikes went to support the Eighth Army's
divisions, and response time climbed from fifteen to eighty minutes for close air
support missions. The 1st Marine Division received only 65 percent of the strikes
it requested [and it probably requested fewer than it would have if it knew CAS
was available on a reliable basis; these strikes could only be requested either in
advance or under emergency situations], and only about half of those involved
Marine fighter-bombers. In addition, the interdiction sorties and related "armed
reconnaissance" strikes sent Marine air casualties soaring; in one two-month
period, the 1st MAW lost fourteen pilots to intense Communist ground fire, a rate
much higher than incurred in close air strikes. Conversely, in the heavy autumn
fighting of 1951, the Fifth Air Force supplied only 96 strikes a day to the entire
Eighth Army, and the 1st Marine Division received only its share.56
But most importantly, Marines saw less than the amount of CAS they requested
in a combat scenario as costing them lives. To say that they would receive a
disproportionate amount only depended on how the other air power in theatre was
allocated. And as a matter of note, Marines and their Navy brethren were not against
interdiction, neither did they think it was less important than CAS. They simply believed
CAS was equally important.57
Close air support is one fundamental weapon that was all but missing from the
Marine (and indeed Eighth Army) arsenal in the battle near the Punchbowl in late 1951.
ss Thomas, Heinl, and Ageton, The Marine Officer's Guide, 86.
56 Allan R. Millett, Semper Fidelis, 505; also see Allan R. Millett, Many a Strife, 300-301, 311-314.
57 United States Navy and Marine Corps, NA VMC-4159, 6.

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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 December 25, 2014.