Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 321
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heart, esprit de corps, training, and will of the rifleman who decides the tactical issue,
not the planes of the AF, the guns of the Navy, or the tanks of the Army. It is the infantry
of whatever service who both pays and exacts the price of victory. And as long as there
is combat, it is doubtful such a constant will ever be overridden.45
And the men on the line are most effective when they allow their supporting arms
to supplement not replace their organic weapons. That does not mean, however, that
every possible shell or rocket or napalm canister delivered by these arms is not
invaluable to the infantry fight. They facilitate the advance and save friendly lives by
cracking the morale of the enemy defenders and gouging a not insignificant portion from
their numbers. It means that supporting arms alone, air, rockets, and today, missiles,
are not the sole or primary instrument for the destruction of enemy forces, when they
are in fortifications (or hiding among civilians). In Korea, more artillery rounds were
expended than in the whole of World War II. Here the commanders tried to trade steel
for lives and succeeded in doing so to the extent their mission had become a defensive
rather than an offensive one. Yet the fact remains that on the offense, it is the
infantryman, today as then, who finally comes to grips with and defeats an emplaced
and determined enemy.
The stalwart dedication to duty and ardent execution of assigned missions
displayed by the American infantry around the Punchbowl, both Army and Marine, is all
the more remarkable considering the discouraging fact that the "ground-pounder" was
fighting for, not the destruction of the enemy armed forces, but just one more hill to add
45 Headquarters EUSAK, "Enemy Tactics," 108.
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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/m1/336/?rotate=270: accessed February 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .