In July, Van Fleet decided that the enemy intended to hold against major UN advances from the Kansas-Wyoming Line, and that a further advance to the Pyongyang-Wonsan line would not be politically correct. Nonetheless, since Eighth Army had been ordered into passive defense the enemy had used the time to build up their supply stocks and restore front-line combat elements to full strength. To probe the extent of their recovery, and maintain the combat readiness of Eighth Army which had also slackened in the interval, Van Fleet ordered X Corps to attack in the Punchbowl area, about twenty miles northeast of the Hwachon Reservoir. The NK 45th, 13th and 2d Divisions were strongly dug in on the ridges and repulsed the ROK 8th amd 5th Divisions. The First Marine Division attacked successfully and won the northern lip of the Punchbowl in September.
The 2nd Infantry Division had engaged the NK in savage fighting around Bloody Ridge, but the NK finally withdrew leaving substantial stores and over 500 dead.
Our own heavy casualties during the Punchbowl, Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge fights made Van Fleet feel that offensives on a larger scale would be too costly for the terrain gained, in view of Truce Talks being underway.