The Battle of Ia Drang Valley (Day 1)
The 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
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
- 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?
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.
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?
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?
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
- 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
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
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