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The Battle of Ia Drang Valley (Day 1)

Trivia powered by Prof. WalterThe Battle of Ia Drang was one of the first major battles between the United States Army and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) during the Vietnam War. 

The two-part battle took place between November 14 and November 18, 1965, at two landing zones (LZ's) northwest of Plei Me in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. The battle derives its name from the Drang River which runs through the valley northwest of Plei Me, in which the engagement took place. "Ia" means "river" in the local Montagnard language.

What do you know about the Battle of Ia Drang? Try this U.S. History Made Easy: the Vietnam War Trivia quiz.

1. Col. Thomas W. Brown commanded the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. He learned of some sort of concentration of forces on Chu Pong Mountain, 14 miles northwest of Plei Me. Brown decided that this was likely the only lead they had and decided to test the intelligence with a reconnaissance in force. He sent in 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore.  Who played Moore in the movie We Were Soldiers?

  • Mel Gibson
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Joseph L. Galloway

2. How many Huey helicopters could land at LZ X-Ray?

  • 4 - Hueys
  • 8 - Hueys
  • 16 - Hueys

3. At 10:48 on November 14, the first elements of Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion/7th Cavalry touched down at LZ X-Ray, following around 30 minutes of bombardment via artillery, aerial rockets, and air strikes.

True or False?

4. The second lift of the battalion arrived, with the rest of Bravo Company and one platoon of Alpha Company, commanded by Captain Tony Nadal. What was the time?

  • 10:55
  • 11:20
  • 11:40

5. Lieutenant Al Devney's platoon led approximately 100 yards west of the creek bed, with Lieutenant Henry Herrick's men to his rear and right flank. Just before 13:00, Devney's platoon was heavily assaulted on both flanks by the North Vietnamese, taking casualties and becoming pinned down in the process. It was around this point that Herrick radioed in that his men were taking fire from their right flank, and that he was pursuing a squad of communist forces in that direction.

  • True or False?

6. With Herrick's platoon cut off and surrounded, the rest of the battalion fought to maintain a perimeter. At 13:32, a company under Captain Bob Edwards arrived, taking up positions along the south and southwest facing the mountain. What was the company?

  • Alpha
  • Bravo
  • Charlie

7. At around 13:45, through his Operations Officer flying above the battlefield (Captain Matt Dillon), 1st Battalion/7th Cavalry commander called in air strikes, artillery, and aerial rocket artillery on the mountain to prevent the North Vietnamese from advancing on the battalion's position. What was the time?

  • 13:45
  • 14:45
  • 15:45

8. While medical evacuation helicopters (medevacs) were supposed to transport the battalion's growing casualties, only two were evacuated by medevacs before the pilots called off their mission under intense fire from the PAVN. Casualties were loaded onto the assault Hueys (lifting the battalion's forces to X-Ray), whose pilots carried load after load of wounded from the battlefield. Battalion intelligence officer (who had been wounded) was fatally hit when helping his wounded comrade Ray Lefebvre aboard a Huey. Who was he intel officer?

  • Captain Tom Metsker
  • Captain Bill Menfried
  • Captain Alvin Boyle

9. The last of the battalion arrived, and Lieutenant Larry Litton assumed command of Delta. It was during this lift that one Huey, having approached the LZ too high, crash-landed on the outskirts of the perimeter near the command post (those on board were quickly rescued by the battalion). What was the time of their arrival?

  • 13:20
  • 14:20
  • 15:20

10. The second push had advanced just over 75 yards toward the lost platoon's position before reaching a stalemate with the PAVN. At one point, the PAVN were firing on Alpha's 1st Platoon (which was leading the advance and was at risk of becoming separated from the battalion) with an American M-60 machine gun that had been taken off a dead gunner of Herrick's platoon. The stalemate lasted before Nadal and Herren requested permission to withdraw back to X-Ray (to which Moore agreed). How long did the stalemate last?

  • between 2 and 3 minutes
  • between 100 and 20 minutes
  • between 20 and 30 minutes

11. Lead elements of Bravo Company of the 2nd Battalion/7th Cavalry (the "sister battalion" of the 1st/7th) arrived at LZ X-Ray to reinforce the embattled battalion. By nightfall, the battle had taken a heavy toll on 1st/7th. Bravo had taken 47 casualties (including one officer), and Alpha had taken 34 casualties (including three officers). Charlie Company was comparatively healthy (having taken only four casualties). When did 2nd Battalion/7th Cavalry arrive?

  • 15:00
  • 16:00
  • 17:00

The lost platoon under Sergeant Savage's command suffered three sizable assaults of the night (one just before midnight, one at 03:15, and one at 04:30). The PAVN, using bugles to signal their forces, were repelled from the knoll with artillery, grenade, and rifle fire. The lost platoon survived the night without taking additional casualties.

  • True or False?

The Battle of Ia Drang (Day 1) Answers

  1. Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore

  2. 8 - Hueys

  3. True

  4. 11:20

  5. True

  6. Charlie

  7. 13:45

  8. Captain Tom Metsker

  9. 15:20

  10. between 20 and 30 minutes

  11. 17:00

  12. True

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