Description The Battle of the Punchbowl, was one of the last battles of the movement phase of the Korean War. Following the breakdown of armistice negotiations in August 1951, the United Nations Command decided tThe Battle of the Punchbowl, was one of the last battles of the movement phase of the Korean War. Following the breakdown of armistice negotiations in August 1951, the United Nations Command decided to launch a limited offensive in the late summer/early autumn to shorten and straighten sections of their lines, acquire better defensive terrain, and deny the enemy key vantage points from which they could observe and target UN positions. The Battle of Bloody Ridge took place west of the Punchbowl from August–September 1951 and this was followed by the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge northwest of the Punchbowl from September–October 1951. At the end of the UN offensive in October 1951, UN Forces controlled the line of hills north of the Punchbowl.
Phase 1: Yoke Ridge
At 06:00 on 31 August, the 7th Marines and two battalions of the 1st KMC launched the assault with an attack from Hill 793 up the eastern edge of the Punchbowl towards Yoke Ridge in the west and Tonpyong in the east. By late morning, despite heavy rain and enemy minefields, the assault units had reached Yoke Ridge and were engaging the KPA defenders. By the end of the first day, US/ROK force occupied the southeastern end of Yoke Ridge and had suffered 3 killed and 57 wounded (mostly by landmines), while the KPA had lost 129 killed, a further 218 estimated killed, 233 estimated wounded and 14 captured.
On 1 September, the 1st KMC moved west along Yoke Ridge, while the 7th Marines moved north, both assault groups clearing out KPA bunkers with grenades and flamethrowers. The KPA launched several small-scale counterattacks against the advancing Marines, but these were broken up by small-arms and mortar fire, artillery and several airstrikes. The US/ROK forces consolidated their positions in the evening under KPA mortar and artillery fire. On the night of 1/2 September, the KPA launch a night attack on the 1st KMC on Hill 924, driving them out of the position they had secured earlier that day. US/ROK losses for the day were 21 killed, 84 wounded, while the KPA had lost 72 killed, a further 218 estimated killed and 231 estimated wounded.
On the morning of 2 September, supported by heavy artillery fire, the 1st KMC recaptured Hill 924 and moved further west towards its next objective, Hill 1026 (38°19′28.92″N 128°08′20.4″E). After beating back several small KPA attacks, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines advanced towards Hill 602 (38°20′16.8″N 128°10′51.6″E) through heavily wooded terrain and following preparatory artillery fire and airstrikes, seized the hill by 14:30. The KPA launched several company-size counterattacks on Hill 602, all of which were beaten back. US/ROK losses for the day were 75 killed, 349 wounded, while the KPA had lost 450 killed and 15 captured, a further 609 estimated killed and 345 estimated wounded.
At 04:00 on 3 September, the 1st KMC renewed their attack on Hill 1026, while 2nd Battalion 7th Marines assumed the defense of Hill 924. As they advanced, the 1st KMC encountered a large KPA force advancing towards Hill 924. The 1st KMC forced back the KPA and seized Hill 1026 by midday, beating back a KPA counterattack and advancing northwest to seize Hill 1055 (38°19′40.8″N 128°07′37.2″E) and west to take Hill 930 (38°19′37.2″N 128°06′54″E), thus securing all of Yoke Ridge. US/ROK losses for the day were 22 killed, 77 wounded, while the KPA had lost 10 captured, a further 294 estimated killed and 280 estimated wounded. Meanwhile, to the west of the Punchbowl, the ROK 35th Regiment, 5th Division advanced unopposed from the Kansas Line to Hill 450, approximately 3.3 km southwest of Hill 1026, while the US 2nd Infantry Division took Hill 1181, approximately 4 km southwest of Hill 930, against light resistance.
Phase 2: Kanmubong Ridge
Between 4–10 September, the 1st Marine Division and 1st KMC consolidated their positions on Yoke Ridge, established the Hays Line and built up ammunition and supplies for the second phase of the attack on Kanmubong Ridge. It was considered essential to seize Kanmubong Ridge, immediately north of Yoke Ridge, in order to defend the Hays Line and to allow X Corps to attack the KPA main line of resistance (MLR), which was believed to be located approximately 3 km north of it.The KPA used the lull in fighting to reinforce their positions on Hill 673 (38°20′52.8″N 128°11′39.48″E) opposite Hill 602. The interim period saw active patrolling by both sides, and US/ROK losses were 30 killed, 186 wounded and two missing, while the KPA had lost 68 captured and an estimated 276 killed.
The 7th Marines received orders to launch an attack at 03:00 on 11 September from the Hays Line through a narrow valley, across a tributary of the Soyang River and then uphill towards Hills 680 (38°21′00″N 128°10′51.6″E) and 673, with Hill 749 (38°21′43.2″N 128°11′39.48″E) as a further objective. Supporting the 7th Marines would be the 1st Tank Battalion with artillery support from the 11th Marines. 3/7 Marines were tasked with capturing Hill 680, but despite extensive preparatory artillery fire, their advance proceeded slowly with the KPA defenders able to providing interlocking fire from their bunkers, and by the end of the day, 3/7 Marines were forced to dig in some 300 feet (91 m) south of the summit. 1st Battalion 7th Marines (1/7 Marines) were tasked with capturing Hill 673, but strong opposition from the well-protected KPA bunkers forced them to stop short of their objective. US/ROK losses for the day were 11 killed and 68wounded while the KPA lost 25 killed and 6 captured.
On the night of 11/12 September, 2nd Battalion 7th Marines (2/7 Marines) moved to the rear of Hill 673, cutting off the KPA on the hill. By 14:00, Hill 673 had been secured for the loss of 16 killed and 35 wounded, while the KPA had lost 30 killed and 3 captured and an estimated 185 killed. Sergeant Frederick W. Mausert III was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the assault on Hill 673. On the night of 12 September, the 1st Marines relieved 1/7 and 3/7 Marines on Hill 673; 2/7 Marines could not be relieved, as they were closely engaged on Hill 749, so 2nd Battalion 1st Marines (2/1 Marines) moved forward to relieve them the following day.
On 13 September, 2/1 Marines were ordered to seize Hill 749 and then move northwest to take Hills 812 (38°22′4.8″N 128°10′55.2″E), 980 (38°22′19.2″N 128°09′10.8″E), and 1052 (38°22′4.8″N 128°08′42″E), while 3/1 Marines would move west from Hill 680 to take Hill 751 (38°21′12.6″N 128°09′25.2″E) and then attack northwest to Hill 1052. Hill 749 proved to be a heavily defended fortress of bunkers, covered trenches and tunnels and part of the KPA MLR. 2/1 Marines seized the summit at 12:10, but were soon driven back; they finally gained control of the summit by 15:00, but it would be 20:25 before they could relieve 2/7 Marines on the reverse slope of the hill. 3/1 Marines' advance towards Hill 751 was delayed by mines and the more urgent needs for supporting arms on Hill 749; by evening, 3/1 Marines dug in short of Hill 751, where they endured mortar fire and 10 KPA counterattacks during the night. 13 September saw the first operational use of Marine helicopters in combat, with the HRS-1 helicopters of HMR-161, operating from forward base X-83 near Cheondo-ri, conducting 28 flights to resupply the Marines near Hill 793 and evacuate 74 casualties.
On 14 September, the two Marine battalions continued their assaults from the previous day. 2/1 Marines had to clear KPA bunkers in a wooded area to the north of Hill 749 before advancing along the ridgeline towards Hill 812. By 15:30, the attack had bogged down in the face of frontal and flanking fire. During this assault, Private First Class Edward Gomez smothered a KPA hand grenade with his body, saving the lives of the rest of his machine-gun team, for which he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. 3/1 Marines, supported by accurate airstrikes, was able to seize most of Hill 751 by dusk and had dug in when the KPA counterattacked at 22:50. Marine losses for the day were 39 killed and 463 wounded, while the KPA lost 7 captured and an estimated 460 killed and 405 wounded.
In the early morning of 15 September, 3/1 Marines fought off a 100–150 man KPA counterattack, killing 18 and wounding an estimated 50. Another counterattack was broken up 14:50,[clarification needed] and Marine tanks subsequently destroyed 10 KPA bunkers in front of Hill 751. 3/1 Marines on Hill 751 were ordered to hold for further orders, while 2/1 Marines was ordered to continue clearing Hill 749. Delayed preparatory fire, limited air support, and a tenacious KPA defense meant that 2/1 Marines were unable to make any appreciable gains by nightfall and had to withdraw to their previous positions, having suffered 70 wounded. On the night of 15 September, the 5th Marine Regiment moved forward to relieve the 1st Marines and continue the assault on the Kanmubong Ridge.
At midnight on 16 September, under cover of an intense mortar and artillery barrage, the KPA 91st Regiment of the 45th Division launched a major counterattack against Hill 749; the attacks continued until 04:00, but were repeatedly repulsed for few gains and an estimated 1200 KPA killed. Corporal Joseph Vittori was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in countering the KPA assault. At dawn, 2/1 Marines resumed the assault from Hill 749 to Hill 812 making slow progress against the KPA dug in along the ridgeline. On Hill 751, 5th Marines were ordered to take Hill 812 and Hill 980 and began their assault at 08:30, however both the assault lines made little progress in the face of KPA machine gun, mortar and artillery fire. 3/5 Marines attacking towards Hill 980 had to pull back to their line of departure after 2 hours, while 2/5 Marines attacking towards Hill 812 were held up until 17:00, but by 19:00 had managed to secure ground 400 m southeast of Hill 812. Marine losses for the day were 24 killed, 127 wounded and 1 missing, while the KPA had lost 169 killed and 25 captured and an estimated 418 killed and 540 wounded.
Orders for 17 September were to continue the previous day's assaults. A dawn artillery barrage on Hills 812, 980 and 1052 inflicted significant casualties on the KPA defenders, who were eating meals in the open. 2/5 Marines advanced towards Hill 812 at 07:00 making good progress against until a KPA mortar and artillery barrage fell on the recently captured positions, the Marines then had to advance slowly neutralizing the KPA bunkers one by one. By 13:45, the summit of Hill 812 had been secured, but the KPA remained dug in on the reverse slope and had to be cleared out in close-quarters fighting. After securing Hill 812, 1/5 and 2/5 Marines began to attack west towards Hill 980, making good progress against the unprepared KPA defenders until they reached a granite point later named The Rock, where heavy machine gun fire from KPA bunkers on Hills 980 and 1052 stopped any further advance. The 5th Marines were then ordered to halt their attack and dig in on the most defensible terrain. The previous day, General Van Fleet had visited the 1st Marine Division Command Post and then ordered X Corps to suspend all major operations after 20 September, as further attacks along the Hays Line could no longer be justified, and he wished to concentrate all of X Corps' fire support to conclude the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. Marine losses for the day were 13 killed and 88 wounded, while the KPA had lost 155 killed and 37 captured and an estimated 100 killed and 191 wounded.
On 18 September, the Marines dug in and consolidated their positions, while the KPA launched several counterattacks and continued to fire from their dominating positions on Hills 980 and 1052. Marine losses were 16 killed and 98 wounded.
On the early morning of 19 September, the KPA twice attacked 2/5 Marines' western outpost near The Rock, but the attacking forces stumbled into their own minefield, suffering serious losses. Marine losses for the day were 16 killed and 98 wounded, while the KPA lost 9 captured and an estimated 50 killed and 55 wounded.
After midnight on 20 September, the KPA launched an intense mortar and artillery barrage on the Marines between The Rock and Hill 812. At 02:30, the barrage lifted and a company of KPA attacked past The Rock towards Hill 812, cutting off several outpost units. American artillery responded, firing over 1600 rounds between 02:40 and 04:50. The Marines counterattacked at 05:00, forcing the KPA to withdraw, allowing the Marines to reoccupy their original positions by 06:30. Marine losses in the attack and counterattack were 2 killed and 31 wounded, while the KPA had lost 30 dead and 11 captured and an estimated 20 killed and 15 wounded.
Also on 20 September, east of the Kanmubong Range, the ROK 8th Infantry Division was struggling to secure Hill 854 (38°22′37.2″N 128°13′44.4″E). 1st Marines were ordered to assist the 8th ROK, but the attack did not begin until 17:30 and quickly bogged down in the face of well-defended KPA bunkers. 1st Marines began to dig in at 17:00, having gained only a small amount of ground for the loss of 7 killed and 24 wounded. On 21 September, 3/1 Marines resumed the assault on Hill 854, and by 17:45, it had been secured for the loss of 2 killed and 31 wounded. KPA losses on Hill 854 were 159 killed and 29 captured with an estimated 150 killed and 225 wounded.
The UN offensive in the Punchbowl area concluded on 21 September, however the KPA continued to probe the UN lines and direct fire on their positions. Following the conclusion of the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge to the west, UN forces consolidated their positions and the line of hills north of the Punchbowl formed part of the new frontline, now named the Minnesota Line. The failure to press on and capture Hills 980 and 1052 was viewed by many Marines as a tactical error as those heights overlooked the UN lines and numerous casualties resulted in the stalemate period that followed.
The 1st Marine Division was awarded its third Presidential Unit Citation of the war for its actions during the periods from 21–26 April, 16 May-30 June and 11–25 September 1951.
The KPA captured Hill 812 from the ROK 12th Division in June 1953.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone now runs along the line of hills captured by the UN forces in September 1951. The Eulji Observatory is located on Yoke Ridge looking directly across to the Kanmubong Ridge in North Korea. ... More
Memories Killed in Action Died June 2, 1951 in Korea
BATTLE ZONE: PUNCHBOWL
Private First Class Taylor was a meKilled in Action Died June 2, 1951 in Korea
BATTLE ZONE: PUNCHBOWL
Private First Class Taylor was a member of Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in Korea on June 2, 1951 ... More
Description MacArthur planned an amphibious landing at Inch' on, a port of the Yellow Sea 25 miles west of Seoul, to be followed by an advance to recapture the city and block North Korean troop movements and suppMacArthur planned an amphibious landing at Inch' on, a port of the Yellow Sea 25 miles west of Seoul, to be followed by an advance to recapture the city and block North Korean troop movements and supply routes there. Concurrently the Eighth Army was to break out of the Pusan Perimeter and move northward, driving the North Koreans into the Inch'on landing forces which would be driving south. Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond, commander of the newly activated X Corps, was to be in command of the invasion troops.
Early on 15 September a Marine battalion of the let Marine Division (which had loaded in Japan for the Inch'on Landing), covered by strong air strikes and naval gunfire, quickly captured Wolmi Island, just offshore from Inch'on. By afternoon, Marine assault waves rode the high tide into the port itself (UN Offensive-16 September to 2 November 1950). The remainder of the 1st Marine Division disembarked and pressed toward Kimpo Airfield, the Han River, and Seoul. The 7th Infantry Division came ashore; some elements turned southeastward toward Suwon, south of Seoul, while the remainder of the division joined the Marines in the advance toward Seoul. Kimpo Airfield was captured by the 18th, and put in use by the cargo-carrying planes of the Far East Air Forces to augment the stream of supplies being landed by the Navy at Inch'on. The 187th RCT was flown into Kimpo Airfield to strengthen U.N. defenses in that area. After heavy fighting between advancing U.N. forces and the determined North Korean forces, which had resolved to fight for Seoul street by street, MacArthur announced on 26 September that the city was again in friendly hands; but fighting continued there for several days. On 29 September MacArthur returned Seoul to President Rhee in a ceremony held in the blackened capitol building.
The Eighth Army began its offensive northward on 16 September. The ROK I and II Corps were in position on the north side of the perimeter. The U.S. I Corps, composed to the 1st Cavalry Division, the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade, the 24th Division, and the 1st ROK Division, was on the Taegu front. The remainder of the Eighth Army, positioned along the Naktong, included the U.S. 2d and 25th Divisions and attached ROK units. Progress was limited at first, but as the portent of the converging attacks became clear to the North Koreans, they fled north with heavy losses in men and materiel. Elements of the 7th Division (X Corps) and the 1st Cavalry Division (Eighth Army) made contact late on 26 September just south of Suwon, thus effecting a juncture of U.N. forces. Organized enemy resistance continued in the Eighth Army sector until the last days of September. Although large numbers of enemy troops escaped through the eastern mountains, more than 100,000 prisoners were captured during this period; by 30 September the North Korean Army had ceased to exist as an organized force below the 38th parallel. However, remnants of the army, fighting as guerrillas, continued to pose a considerable threat to the security of the U.N. forces.
During the latter part of September the Eighth Army was reinforced by a battalion each of Philippine and Australian troops. Early in October the U.S. 3d Division arrived in the Far East.
Meanwhile Walker's ROK I Corps crossed the 38th parallel on 1 October 1950 and advanced up the east coast, capturing Wonsan, North Korea's major seaport, on 10 October. The R0K II Corps also crossed the parallel and advanced northward through central Korea. In the west, Walker's remaining forces relieved the X Corps in the Seoul area and crossed the parallel on 9 October toward P'yongyang. By mid-October the U.N. forces had penetrated about 20 miles into North Korean territory.
In the second half of October 1950 the advance quickened as enemy resistance weakened and thousands of enemy troops surrendered. U.N. objectives were the destruction of the remaining Communist divisions and the capture of important North Korean cities. ROK troops spread through central and east Korea. Some turned north toward the industrial area centering around Hamhung and Hungnam, others west along the Wonsan-P'yongyang road. In the west the 1st Cavalry Division, after fighting through pill box defenses at Kumch'on, a few miles north of the parallel, progressed up the Seoul-P'yongyang railroad. The 24th Division drove to the south bank of the Taedong River in the vicinity of Chinnamp'o, the port for P'yongyang. The 1st Cavalry and 1st ROK Divisions entered P'yongyang on 19 October and secured the city in the next forty-eight hours. On 20 October the 187th Airborne RCT, complete with vehicles and howitzers, dropped on Sukch'on and Sunch'on, about 30 miles above the city of P'yongyang, to trap North Koreans fleeing northward. In northwest Korea a ROK regiment, leading the advance of the Eighth Army, entered the town of Ch'osan on 26 October, thereby becoming the first U.N. element to reach the Yalu River. Farther south additional U.N. forces crossed the Ch'ongch'on River at Sinanju and pushed toward the Manchurian border. For all practical purposes the North Korean Army had dissolved by the last week in October, and had melted away in the mountains adjacent to Manchuria and the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile Almond's X Corps had been withdrawn from combat and prepared for amphibious landings on the east coast of Korea. Since the rapid advance of ROK ground units and the fall of Wonsan made a combat landing there unnecessary, the 1st Marine Division carried out an administrative landing at Wonsan on 26 October, despite the heavily mined harbor which caused a long delay in unloading. On 29 October the 7th Division landed unopposed at Iwon, 80 miles farther north.
General Almond, adding the ROK I Corps to his command, set out to capture the industrial and communications areas, the port installations, and the power and irrigation plants of northeastern Korea. The ROK I Corps moved up the coastline toward Ch'ongjin, 120 miles north of Iwon. The 1st Marine Division moved 50 miles north of Hamhung and its port of Hungnam, then turned inland toward the Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir, 45 miles to the northwest. Elements of the 7th Division attacked northwestward toward the Pujon Reservoir and the Yalu River.... More
Criteria The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, kill... The Purple Heart may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the Armed Forces, has been wounded, killed, or who has died or may die of wounds received in armed combat or as a result of an act of international terrorism. The criteria were announced in a War Department circular dated February 22, 1932, and authorized award to soldiers, upon their request, who had been awarded the Meritorious Service Citation Certificate, Army Wound Ribbon, or were authorized to wear Wound Chevrons subsequent to April 5, 1917 MoreHide
Criteria The Combat Action Ribbon is a personal decoration awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when operating under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain (or colonel in th... The Combat Action Ribbon is a personal decoration awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when operating under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain (or colonel in the Marine Corps) and below who have actively participated in ground or surface combat. (World War II and Korea War service rate one ribbon for each period only) MoreHide
Criteria The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service... The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf, and for service during the current War on Terrorism. In addition, all members of the National Guard and Reserve who were part of the Selected Reserve in good standing between August 2, 1990, to November 30, 1995, are eligible for the National Defense Service Medal. In the case of Navy personnel, Midshipment attending the Naval Academy during the qualifying periods are eligible for this award, and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Midshipmen ae only eligible if they participated in a summer cruise that was in an area which qualified for a campaign medal. MoreHide
Criteria To be eligible for this medal, the Service member must have: Served between the outbreak of hostilities (June 25, 1950) and the date the armistice was signed (July 27, 1953); Been on permanent assignm... To be eligible for this medal, the Service member must have: Served between the outbreak of hostilities (June 25, 1950) and the date the armistice was signed (July 27, 1953); Been on permanent assignment or on temporary duty for thirty consecutive days or sixty non-consecutive days, and Performed duty within the territorial limits of Korea, in the waters immediately adjacent thereto or in aerial flight over Korea participating in actual combat operation or in support of combat operations. MoreHide
Criteria The United Nations Korean Medal was generally awarded for any period of service while assigned as a member of the Armed Forces dispatched to Korea or adjacent areas for service on behalf of the United... The United Nations Korean Medal was generally awarded for any period of service while assigned as a member of the Armed Forces dispatched to Korea or adjacent areas for service on behalf of the United Nations. Service in qualifying organizations had to be certified by the United Nations Commander-in-Chief as having directly supported military operations in Korea. In the case of the United States, such certification was issued in General Orders 31 (June 20, 1955); General Orders 33 (July 11, 1955); and General Orders 36 (July 13, 1955). MoreHide
Criteria Criteria for award of the Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal (ROK KWSM) have been established by the ROK government. To qualify for the medal, the veteran must have: Served between the outbrea... Criteria for award of the Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal (ROK KWSM) have been established by the ROK government. To qualify for the medal, the veteran must have: Served between the outbreak of hostilities, June 25, 1950, and the date the armistice was signed, July 27, 1953, Been on permanent assignment or on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days Performed his / her duty within the territorial limits of Korea, in the waters immediately adjacent thereto or in aerial flight over Korea participating in actual combat operations or in support of combat operations MoreHide