Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 57
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ammunition truck. Able Company received 100 rounds of 82mm mortar fire, too, on the
afternoon of the 30th.50
A small enemy probe was beaten back at 2221, August 29, by Item 3/7, and Baker
Company (1/7) received SA (small arms) fire. Interestingly, one Marine sniper of Able
1/7 hit two enemy at 900 yards range.51
August 30 had its share of disappointments. A tactical air observer saw a target of
opportunity, an enemy troop formation in the open. He immediately contacted the chain
of command for air strikes, which filtered the request for air support to hit this enemy
formation, up through the intervening levels to JOC (Joint Operations Center). Over
three hours later, planes finally arrived, but the target of opportunity had been lost. This
did not surprise the Marines; CAS (Close Air Support) for the entire Eighth Army was
limited to only 96 sorties a day, and with the time consuming request system under the
JOC, targets of opportunity could usually only be hit with planes if the target happened
to show up while an air strike was already overhead, an all too infrequent occurrence.52
Of significance was the fact that coincidental with this offensive, 8th Army and 5th
Air Force agreed to limit close air support sorties of the entire front to 96 per day,
applying the remainder to the interdiction program. This limitation continued
through September , despite heavy requirements for close air support by
attacking UN divisions. As a result, less than 85 close air support sorties a day
were averaged by aircraft under 5th Air Force control. This included those of the
1st Marine Air Wing.53
50 Lynn Montross, et al., The East-Central Front, 176; U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation
Report," chapter 15; Seventh Marines "Historical Diary," August 1951, 6.
51 Seventh Marines "Historical Diary," August 1951, 6.
52 ,,st Marine Division Report on CAS,", 1 Mar Div file dated 4 October 1951, "Report of Close Air
Support," Letter of CG (commanding general) 1MarDiv, MajGen Gerald C. Thomas, to CG Fleet Marine
Force, Pacific, LtGen Lemuel C. Shepherd, dated 4 October 1951, enclosure one, (Marine Corps Korean
War document CD collection, CD #15 of 25 (Washington, D.C.: Marine Historical Center, Washington
Navy Yard, 2005, copy in my possession). Hereafter, the preceding document, which includes many
letters on the subject of CAS from the time period, will be cited as "1MarDiv 'Report of CAS.'" Also see
chapter on Close Air Support.
53 U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," 9-14.
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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/m1/72/?rotate=90: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .