Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 136
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be essential. The 2dBn was receiving very heavy casualties at this time. Air did not
arrive on station, so the battalion resumed the attack on Hill 749 at 1430 and continued
to meet a fanatical enemy defending his positions to the death." While CAS was no
genie in the bottle that would make any assault bloodless, it was an effective weapon
that could have further softened the objective and saved some lives by exchanging steel
for blood. And the greatest benefit of all was that it scared the enemy into keeping his
head down longer and more effectively than anything else-the NKPA were very fearful
of Napalm-and this saved more friendly infantry lives in an attack. ". . . then they called
in the planes and they didn't even have to make a strike. They just started orbiting the
neighborhood and then of course the Gooks fell silent then because they didn't want to
be on a Napalm attack." They NKPA were not nearly as afraid of artillery as they were
of air strikes. CAS was a very effective, morale-crushing weapon. "Enemy morale [was]
poor, afraid of napalm bud adequate[ly] dug in against artillery ...."56
Hill 749 was still an enemy-manned fortress. "The enemy were emplaced in
camouflaged bunkers, well over-headed and connected by trenches; in addition many of
these positions were tunneled, giving the forward and reverse slopes of Hill 749 a honey
combed effect." The tunnels could be used by an enemy to re-man a bunker even after
the Marines thought they had knocked it out. Furthermore, the forward slope defenses
were only partially neutralized by 3.5 inch rockets (bazookas) and artillery.57 (See Photo
56 st Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 12; Transcript of Interview with Ralph B.
Steele, Library of Congress; First Battalion, 5th Marines, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 36. See
Chapter on Close Air Support.
5 s ~ Marine Regiment, "Historical Diary," September 1951, 12.
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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War, thesis, August 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/m1/151/?rotate=270: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .