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

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 . . . 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 born out by Marine operations in KOREA [through January
1950].7
What the Marine Corps Board Study on the Marine contribution to the Korean
War called "the ultimate example of Marine fire support coordination," came in the
Chosin Reservoir campaign. "The many and varied operations of Marine Corps forces
in Northeast Korea, some of a nature strange to Marines, vividly illustrate the
dependence placed upon the coordinated fire support of aircraft and artillery.
Repeatedly the effect of this fire thwarted CCF efforts to destroy 1stMarDiv and resulted
in critical losses to CCF units . . . The devastating fire of these arms was largely
responsible for extricating lstMarDiv from the Chosin Reservoir area. ..."8
S. L. A. Marshall (who shall here be quoted extensively both because of the
nonpartisan nature of his writing - he was an Army officer - and the pertinence of the
content) described the use of such fire on the defensive in that operation thusly:
The salient note in the whole record of in-fighting during the campaign is
found in the promptness and strength with which all supporting weapons were
brought to bear in the decisive area of engagement whenever any part of the rifle
line came under pressure by direct assault. ...
In this, there was nothing radical or unorthodox. The defense at all points
simply exploited the full advantages of the supporting weapons, using them in
varying combinations so as to achieve the maximum effect, according to the
manner in which the enemy attack was developing. It was war waged "according
to the book" but done with such precision and power as to re-illuminate the
ancient truth that weapons when correctly used will invariably bring success. The
moral effects upon the defenders of these stoutly resistant "hedgehogs" were as
pronounced as upon the CCF who were beaten down by the fire. It is an old and
familiar story that the rifleman feels himself pretty much alone and unhelped
when at close grips with the enemy. But from riflemen who manned 1stMarDiv's
7 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. 1," IV-C-2.
8 Ibid., IV-C-3, IV-C-4.

297

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 September 15, 2014.