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

After the softening up, the attack would proceed for the Marine forces in the
manner described by S. L. A. Marshall in the previous chapter, but considering the
harsh terrain, with slower speed. Wherever possible, the Marines probably used this
process to actually eliminate bunkers:
The infantry used assault teams consisting of one rifle squad, two flame
throwers, one demolition team, ... one 75mm recoilless rifle squad, and one
light machine gun squad, or a total of 26 men.
The teams deployed with the 75mm recoilless rifle squad placing fire on
the apertures of the enemy bunker at a range of about 600 yards. The light
machine gun squads deployed to the flanks to support the attack. The rifle
squad, together with the two flame throwers, closed in as far as possible and
placed small arms and BAR fire on the bunker. The flame throwers then moved
forward until 35 yards from the enemy position and engaged the bunker with fire
while the demolition team planted the explosive charges. When the positions was
neutralized, the team hastily reorganized and prepared to move forward ... [to
do it all over again].36
Tactics aside, there are other conclusions about this battle in the way of problems
hindering the Marines. Close Air Support, or the rather the lack of it in the September
fighting exacerbated the issue in the minds of Marines. In the half month of battle in
September 1951, 182 requests were made by FACs in the Marine division for CAS. For
127 of the requests, planes did arrive, but only twenty four of them arrived when they
were still needed for the purpose initially requested. It usually took over two hours for
planes to arrive in response to a request. The tactical situation (mostly terrain and
weather) had severely limited the division in its maneuvers. General Thomas believed
that more adequate CAS would have saved many of the 2,416 casualties taken in
September.37
"A fatal defect in the Air Force/Army system as used in Korea was usual failure
even to acknowledge an advance request for close air support sorties. Not knowing
36 Ibid., 110.
37 U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," chapter 9.

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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 10, 2014.