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

Another report, this one form IX Corps headquarters, described the use of Sun
Tzu in the enemy method of warfare:
While new weapons have been added to their armies, the cardinal principles of
warfare as laid down in SUN TZU's "Art of War," published in 510 BC, still
constitute the fundamental doctrine of the oriental field commander. Where the
enemy lacks firepower he attempts to gain superiority by massing his manpower;
where the enemy must gain surprise to achieve success, he creates surprise by
attacking across the most inaccessible terrain; where the enemy needs
maneuverability he subjects his troops to grueling forced marches. Throughout
these studies it is apparent that, in true Communist fashion, "the end always
justifies the means." Weapons and other equipment are valued above
manpower-time is bountiful.35
Thus the enemy the Marines fought had long training and experience in war and
sound principles to guide him. Some of the troops were green, peasants forced into
service as soldiers to replace heavy losses, but the Communist leaders, officers and
NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) were experienced and well trained.
Another tactic of the NKPA encountered by Marines in this battle was an
abundance of enemy mines, supplemented in danger in some locations by the
unmarked mines left by the ROK units. Some were Soviet box mines, explosive charges
in a wooden crate that could be buried underneath the ground. These could disable a
tank and were usually undetectable by mine detection equipment because they were
made of wood rather than metal. Some of these had dynamite charges beneath them in
excess of 100 pounds. Other mines were everything from conventional anti-personnel
mines, to the improvised type: mortar rounds buried fuse-up in the dirt, to Bangalore
torpedoes (these last were usually captured from UN forces). The NKPAs liked to place
mines in pairs on either side of a trail, but often left the trails themselves clear. The
35 G-2 Section (Intelligence), Headquarters IX Corps, EUSAK, "Enemy Tactics, Techniques, and
Doctrine," September 1951 (National Archives, RG 407, Records of U. S. Army Field Commands,
Command Reports, 1949-1954): foreword.

51

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 December 19, 2014.