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

Marines, seeking to avoid mines, would walk off the trails and get hit. "To make the
mine more deadly the enemy has adopted the practice of burying two or three mines
one on top of the other. Mines of this sort have blown wheels and various parts of
equipment and bodies as far as 200 feet."36
By and large, the most commonly encountered anti-personnel mine employed by
the CCF and NKPA is the serrated steel pipe type. These mines, filled with 1
pounds of 60 per cent dynamite, have an effective bursting radius of 100 yards.
These mines are used in hasty or deliberate minefields in front of defensive
positions. This type of mine is put to additional use in the construction of booby
The mines were in abundance to say the least. After the battle, on September 22,
thel Mar Div's 1st Engineer Battalion checked over 1/1's (1st Bn, 1st Marines) area and
found 37 anti-personnel mines, and 1 booby-trapped M-1 rifle.38
The NKPA also liked to booby trap their dead and "souvenirs." One Marine, Floyd
Baxter, remembered:
We thought the path we had chosen for the trip had been cleared of mines, but
we were cautious, nevertheless. I stepped over a body which had been burned
by napalm. As an afterthought, I turned to warn the man behind me to leave the
body alone, as it might be booby trapped. The butt of a burp gun stuck out from
under the blackened body. Before I could speak, I saw the guy reach down for
the gun. I yelled! It was the last thing the man heard. The concussion knocked
me down, and the blast blew the other guy's hand and most of his face off.39
Another Marine, Ralph B. Steele, a BAR man with Fox 2/7, described the
temptation such souvenirs offered:
Well . . . the word came down that sergeant had stepped out and . . . he says, "I
don't want none of you guys fucking with them souvenirs. . . they might be booby
trapped. Well, I looked [at this burp gun laying in the bush] and it was certainly no
36 1 Mar Div Type "C" Special Report on Mine Warfare, 28 May-15July, 1951, (U. S. Marine Corps Korean
War Document Collection CD # 15): 2; Gerald C. Thomas Oral Memoir, 885; 1s Mar Div, "Historical
Diary," August 1951, 7; U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," chapter 15; Interview with
Colonel KIM Yun Gun, 22 December, 1958, page 2.
37 Headquarters U. S. IX Corps, "Enemy Tactics, Techniques, and Doctrine," 14.
38 First Marines "Historical Diary," September 1951, 22.
39 Oral account of PFC Floyd Baxter, Weapons Company, 1/1, in: Knox, Uncertain Victory, 307.


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 November 26, 2015.