Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 255
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against air attack and that Korea in the respect of posing only a minor enemy air threat
was not a typical war, especially if the Soviets openly intervened. The Marines were
ordered not to become complacent or soft in this regard.
The Marine CAS system consisted of six key factors: short response time,
accuracy, training, control from the ground - preferably by the unit needing the strike
and the ones best placed to ensure it did not hit friendly lines, decentralization, and
close impacts. Two other principles were also involved: "1. Unity of command and
responsibility are necessary at the point of contact with the enemy; and, 2. The system
for tactical air support of ground operations must be flexible, provide a simple and
decisive procedure, and permit short notice of supporting air forces." The above
mentioned key factors in turn were unified by these characteristics of the system itself: it
was reliable; "simple and flexible; communications [were] swift and direct; aircraft [were]
made available and employed on short notice; and the front line unit normally
control[ed] the aircraft dispatched to give it support."6
The first factor, short response time, ensured that the strike got to the target
within enough time to: have immediate effect on the situation on the ground, conserve
friendly lives, and facilitate progress by infantry against an objective. "Working on the
theory that close air support must be immediate if it is to be effective, the Marines have
simplified their method of control. If air support is not available when the target
develops, it may disappear or cause heavy casualties during the waiting time." Marine
response time for CAS is supposed to be within fifteen minutes to half-an hour of the
request. "The average delay time in getting CAS in response to requests was 113
minutes during September." Furthermore, even preplanned strikes for the morning
6 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. 1," IV-B-3, IV-B-8.
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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/m1/270/?rotate=90: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .