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

the month of September 1951 exceed those for every other month of the year except
June. The enemy was estimated to have lost 10,442 casualties in the month of
September due to action by the 1st Mar Div. The ratio of enemy losses to friendly ones
was 4-to-1 in September.2 (See Chart # 15)
The 1st Marines lost 69 KIA, 2 DOW (Died of Wounds), 575 WIA, and 291 NBC
(non battle casualties) in September. However, 297 Marines wounded in previous
actions were returned to duty, and 380 replacements were received. The regiment also
captured 137 prisoners that month. Just in support of this regiment, 5,900 rounds of 4.2
inch HE mortar rounds, and 34,242 rounds of artillery were expended. Artillery in
support of the 1st Marines fired 34,242 rounds for September. It was credited with killing
an estimated 1,407 enemy and wounding 1,252 during the month.3
Just for 3/7 one of the battalions hardest hit, the September losses were 38 KIA, 2
DOW (died of wounds), and 325 WIA. That is a total of 365. When one considers that
the unit's strength on September 1st was 1,165, (the total authorized strength for a
Marine Infantry Battalion was 1,123) the percentage of losses amounts to just under 32
percent. (The battalion's full strength at the beginning of November after receiving
replacements was still only 943 men.)4
On September 30, 1951, Van Fleet issued a statement informing the troops why
they had been fighting that fall and to let them know the method to his strategy. He
stated that the purpose of the operation had been to destroy as many enemy as
2 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 205, 213; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951,
5; Joseph H. Alexander, "Kanmubong Ridge," 23.
3st Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 6.
4 Third Battalion, 7th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951; U. S. Marine Corps "Reference Data:
Amphibious Operations," 1-6. The number 32 percent was reached by multiplying the unit's starting
strength for the month (1,165) by .32 resulting in the number 372. The total casualties taken by this unit
(365) is thus just under 32 percent. (To multiply by .31 brought the number 362.)

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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 September 23, 2014.