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

enlarged considerably (by 9,000 meters, mostly eastward). "The Marines' war-the war
of movement-had ended. The war of position had begun."9
The 1st Mar Div had seized all the assigned objectives it was allowed to assault.
The fighting in many ways resembled "the close combat against the Japanese in World
War II and the North Koreans demonstrated an ability to construct excellent defensive
emplacements and bunkers, and conduct a determined defense of every piece of
commanding ground." And though this fight was not touted in the media as were those
of September, 1950, the division received yet another Presidential Unit Citation for its
actions, the same award it had received for those of 1950.10
This citation commended the division for "extraordinary heroism in action against
enemy aggressor forces in Korea during the periods 21 to 26 April, 16 May to 30 June,
and 11 to 25 September 1951 ."
For the last period listed, the citation stated:
In the final significant offensive of the action in Korea . . . the First Marine
Division, Reinforced, completed the destruction of the enemy forces in Eastern
Korea by advancing the front against a final desperate defense in the 'Punch
Bowl' area in heavy action which completed the liberation of South Korea in this
locality. With the enemy's major defenses reduced, his forces on the central front
decimated, and the advantage of terrain and the tactical initiative passing to
friendly forces, he never again recovered sufficiently to resume the offensive in
Korea. The outstanding courage, resourcefulness and aggressive fighting spirit of
the officers and men of the First Marine Division, Reinforced, reflect the highest
credit upon themselves and the United States Naval Service.12
The assessment of the citation on the end-state of the offensive in Korea was
wishful thinking of the first order, on the part of the Truman Administration. The enemy
9 Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 276; 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 3.
10 1st Mar Div, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 2; Major Gerald P. Averill, "Final Objective," 10-16;
Allan R. Millett, Drive North, 62.
This citation is included in full as an appendix to Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front.
12 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, Appendix D.

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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 July 29, 2014.