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

the edge of a United Nations assault; (2) to annihilate a portion of the hostile force; and
(3) to recapture a lost position."20
Usually, these were at night to counter the UN advantage of air support. Early in
the war, too many Communist troop formations had been decimated in daylight by air
strikes. The Marines, like the rest of the UN forces, favored daylight attacks to maximize
the effectiveness of their air support. The NKPA differed from the CCF in its use of night
attacks in that it preferred the blackest of nights for attack where the CCF favored the
light of a full moon. Thus was the night of greatest illumination in this battle also one of
the quietest in terms of enemy activity.21
The method of an NKPA night attack followed this SOP (standard operating
(1) Soldiers to participate in the night attack are selected by the officers assigned
the mission of launching the attack. Particular emphasis is placed on strength,
health and character in the selection of the men.
(2) During the day the soldiers are told of the attack scheduled for that night and
are given an opportunity to rest and sleep. Two hours prior to departure time the
men are awakened.
(3) The men are oriented on the route and method of approach to enemy
positions, and the special password and signals to be used during the attack.
After thorough study of the area, the assembly point for use after the attack is
(4) The approach to the attack area is through defiles, valleys, and along little-
used trails with the troops in a single file formation-10 yards between men.
When a point is reached some 100-200 yards from the UN positions, the
attacking force deploys. After each man is positioned, the attackers crawl to
within 50 yards of enemy lines. The first shot, fired by the leader, is the signal for
all the men to charge and open fire on the UN forces. Each man is equipped with
the PPSh [burp gun] sub-machine gun. Heavy and light machine guns are
employed to assist a withdrawal in the even the attack fails.
(5) The attack will usually take place at 0400 hours and seldom on moonlight
20 Headquarters Far East Command, Military Intelligence Section, General Staff, "Interrogation Reports:
North Korean Defensive Tactics," February 1951, (U. S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks,
Carlisle, PA): 19; Headquarters EUSAK, "Enemy Tactics," 62.
21 Headquarters Far East Command, "North Korean Defensive Tactics," 19.


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. Accessed July 23, 2016.