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

of the others held true; some bad-eggs have probably existed in every unit that has ever
marched in war.44
And Averill's assessment, mentioned earlier, that it was a mistake not to take
Hills 1052 and 980 certainly seems correct in light of the fact that many casualties were
taken from those heights after the Marines had ceased advancing, and many more
would be taken from them all through the winter with EUSAK on the defensive line. It
seems that Hill 812 was one bad place to try and set up a permanent defensive MLR.
One thing this battle illustrates about warfare in general is that combat against
prepared defenses almost always comes down to hard infantry combat on the platoon
and company levels, which requires the elimination of each bunker, pillbox, trench, and
fighting hole one by one and with rifles and grenades in the majority of cases and at
heavy cost. "In spite of excellent artillery, air, and the support of other weapons, the
infantrymen had to finally close and dislodge the stubborn foe." The paucity of CAS
aside, this would still have been the case with as much and as accurate an amount of
supporting fire from all arms as a commander could dream to have. Combat to take
fortified, mutually supporting, enemy positions in defensible terrain is brutal, bitter,
bloody, and heartbreakingly costly whether that terrain be in Italy or the Pacific of World
War II, the trenches of the late Civil War and World War I, the NVA-manned hills of
Vietnam, the mountains of Afghanistan, or the death-trapped houses of Fallujah, Iraq. In
every case, push-button, "easy" warfare, low on casualties and high on monetary price,
is proven to be what is obsolete not the infantryman. (Or at least, it is not the final
solution to overcoming enemy resistance - and obsolete is perhaps the wrong word for
this type of warfare has never been more than an ideal). And in all such cases it is the
44 Gerald P. Averill, Mustang, 275; Burton F. Anderson, We Claim the Title, 329.


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 January 21, 2017.