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

Marine Division in 1951 had an abundance of fighters and a deficit in specialists. Yet,
the only shortcomings assessed by the Pacific Fleet in performance were that junior
officers, when rotated in, would have benefited from a brief refresher course on tactics
and military subjects before being assigned to combat. However, no criticism of their
actual leadership or the quality of the officers themselves was voiced. Besides these
detractions, there is no indication in the sources that the 1 Mar Div was any less a
competent, battle-ready organization than it had been in 1950 (a time in which, many
Marine historians agree, the division was at a peak and was perhaps the "finest" of any
Marine fighting force ever assembled.)7
The state of training of 1st Mar Div in 1951 on the eve of the September battles
was as good as could be expected in the short interval of reserve time (July15 to August
26), but the training conducted was intense and realistic. Much of it was at night since
the CCF (Communist Chinese Forces) and NKPA favored night attacks. "A minimum of
33 percent of all tactical training will be conducted at night, stressing individual and unit
night discipline."8
According to the Division Historical Diary, the objective of all the training was to:
... Maintain each individual and unit of the command at a high state of
professional training and tactical proficiency. . . and to refresh units and staffs in
the principles of amphibious operations . . . to increase proficiency in the use of
combined arms and related services; to increase proficiency in amphibious
techniques [there were plans, scrapped by higher headquarters, for an
amphibious landing behind enemy lines]; to accomplish integration of
replacement personnel into the various units of this command in a minimum
7 U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," chapter 15; Allan R. Millett, Many a Strife, 306,
315; Major General Frank E. Lowe, USAR. "Report of Mission, 2 August 1950--23 April 1951" (Frank E.
Lowe File, Truman Papers, 1951); U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," chapter 15; Allan
R. Millett, Semper Fidelis, Chapter 16; Robert D. Heinl, Soldiers of the Sea, Chapter 10.
8 Seventh Marines "Historical Diary," August 1951, 2.

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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 October 24, 2014.