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

It sure wasn't in the field service regulations, and they sure as hell didn't teach it when I
was at Leavenworth [Command and General Staff College], and I didn't like it." This was
the second phase of the Fifth Chinese Offensive. The battle to hold Morae Kogae Pass
began on the night of 16 May 1951 and lasted all night (part of the larger battle of the
Soyang River, 16-21 May). The Marine slew 112 Chinese and captured 82 in the fight.
The enemy had been mowed down in droves.8 (See Map # 10)
General Thomas had disliked having one regiment out of mutual reinforcement
distance from the rest and took the opportunity of this attack to pull the 7th Marines back
to the No Name Line with the rest of the division. Then X Corps had the division shift
some of its units east to relieve the 9th Infantry, USA, part of the 2nd Infantry Division,
and south to strengthen the Marines' defensive posture. Thus the division had curved its
right flank towards the south above Hongchon. The division held here, and on 20 May, a
single battalion of the 5th Marines blistered a probe by CCF with its supporting arms,
resulting in 170 enemy dead. "The withdrawal and our rapid movement there had given
me confidence in what the division could do. It revealed the division, as I said a while
ago, as a real pro outfit. I doubt if there was a better outfit ever walked than the 1st
Marine Division on the 24th of April, 1951."9
IX Corps, to the left of X Corps on the line, received orders to mount a
counteroffensive while X Corps held steady, and the Marines were charged with
* Thomas said of the concept when asked his opinion of it in an interview: "Phony as a three dollar bill. It
is an invitation to disaster. The Army lost a lot of people in Korea because it got a lot of small units
scattered and isolated - failed to concentrate. A Marine infantry regiment could cut its way out of any
encirclement; a Marine battalion would be safe, even if encircled, provided other forces were ready to go
promptly to their relief." - Interview with Gerald C. Thomas by Col C. W. Harrison, no date, located in the
front of the Gerald C. Thomas Oral Memoir, page 2-3; Gerald C. Thomas Oral Memoir -- a leather bound
transcript of MajGen Tomas's "Career Interview," conducted by Benis M. Frank, 1966, (Washington Navy
Yard, U. S. Marine Corps Historical Center, Oral History Section): 742.
9 Ibid., 748.

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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 26, 2014.