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

This line was dissolved by the attack of the U. S. 2nd Infantry Division and 8th ROK
Division before the Marines came up to relieve them, or the commander had omitted it
entirely in front of Yoke Ridge. Between the Outpost Line and the MLR was a "Security
Line." It was usually about 1 miles in front of the MLR. "This line is said to be
comprised of individual strongpoints, protected by a system of obstacles, and receives
fire support from the main line of resistance. The security line is allegedly designed to
prevent surprise attacks and to act as a reconnaissance screen. It reaches its greatest
depth and strength in front of the main position." Yoke Ridge could have been the
Security Line for the MLR, Kanmubong Ridge.25
The enemy MLR "has a depth of 3 to 4 miles and is divided into regimental and
battalion sectors which consist of a number of strong-points which, protected by
obstacles, afford all around defense even when isolated." Kanmubong Ridge was
probably part of the NKPA MLR, constructed as it was for deliberate and unyielding
defense with so many mines, and bunkers with interlocking fields of fire. In addition, the
reverse slopes had many deep emplacements for the enemy to live in and survive
strong artillery attack. When artillery preparation was lifted, they would swarm out of the
reverse slope bunkers and man their fighting positions on the forward military crest.26
There were weaknesses in the enemy's tactical methods as well. In carrying out
his orders, an NKPA commander was given very little leeway or discretion. "While North
Korean defensive doctrine, outlined in captured enemy documents, clearly reflects its
Soviet origin, this analogy cannot be carried too far, as field conditions imposed certain
modifications on the enemy's defensive pattern. Nonetheless, PW [POW] reports
25 Headquarters Far East Command, "North Korean Defensive Tactics," 5.
26 Ibid.

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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 May 24, 2015.