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 When Johnson's battalion was attached to the 8th Cav, its commander, Raymond D. Palmer, in recognition of Johnson's ability and seniority, offered to promote him regimental exec. Johnson turned the job down. "I believed that somebody who knew the battalion had to stay with it until it had engaged in battle. I preferred being a battalion commander to being a regimental executive officer anyway."[9-57]


In contrast, Marcel Crombez resented the arrival of Edgar J. Treacy in the 5th CR. During World War II Treacy, a handsome, bright Army "comer," had become a protégé of XIV Corps commander Oscar W. Griswold and was promoted to full colonel  on a par with Crombez, who was ten years his senior. As such  the story went  Crombez and Treacy had crossed swords someplace. One account had it that Treacy had served on a board which had recommended Crombez's reduction in rank to lieutenant colonel after the war. Whether this was the case, or whether, as others in the 3/5 analyzed it, Crombez was "jealous" of Treacy's high Army connections and "command presence" and obvious bright future, there was an instant personality clash between Crombez and Treacy which would lead to extreme difficulties for the 3/5 and ultimately, some would charge, to Treacy's death. The S3 of the 1/5, James M. Gibson, remembered: "The Third Battalion hated Crombez and vice versa."[9-58]

The NKPA offensive in the northwest sector was mounted by the three NKPA divisions already in place: the 1st, 3d, and 13th. The 3d and 13th had been reinforced with fillers, the former to 7,000 men, the latter to 9,000 men. In total, the three divisions numbered about 22,000 men, of whom probably a third were green, untrained recruits, many of whom did not possess individual weapons. Many of these fillers had to be prodded into battle at pistol point.[9-59]

Knowing in advance this NKPA attack in the northwest sector was coming, Walker gave Gay orders to launch a "spoiling" attack to disrupt it. These orders were in keeping with Walker's personal belief in a strong offense as the best defense, a view that was not in conflict with Army doctrine. However, in view of the fact that the 1st Cav was only just finding itself, had never engaged in large-scale offensive operations, and was composed of many depleted or green, untried battalions and two regimental commanders (Cecil Nist, Ray Palmer) who were question marks, Walker's orders may have been premature and ill advised. The creation of a strong defensive posture with a substantial mobile reserve (such as Clainos's Clouters) to meet the NKPA attack might have been a better alternative.[9-60]


At first Gay  no shrinking violet  wanted to attack straight up the Bowling Alley with Ray Palmer's 8th Cav Regiment . The staff, however, persuaded him to attack from the division center with Cecil Nist's 7thCav, which had recently got its 1/7 back from the Eighth Army reserve and one of the new battalions from the States. Although the 7th Cav had never fought as a unified three battalion unit, Gay bowed to his staff recommendations. To support this attack, Gay put most of the division artillery behind the 7th Cav, thus dangerously thinning out other defenses. In addition, he called on FEAF to deliver a massive strike, employing bombs and napalm.[9-61]