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Flashcards in The Vietnam Story Deck (42):

What was the first battle in the Vietnam War?

Ia Drang Valley


What is the Ia Drang Valley?

It is located in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands. It is a very rugged area.


Why was the village of Plieku strategically important to the defense of South Vietnam?

If the North Vietnamese overran Plieku, Route 19 to Qui Nhon on the coast would be wide open and could cause more trouble for South Vietnam.


Who was Lt. Col during the Ia Drang battle?



Who was Moore compared to?

General Custer


What was the American helicopter landing zone at the Ia Drang battle?

Landing Zone X-Ray (aka Ia Drang Valley)


What was our first mission at the Ia Drang battle?

Search and Destroy mission


What was our first attack?

Capturing prisoners


What did some of the captured prisoners reveal to us?

The prisoner warns us that Vietnamese are loaded and ready to kill Americans when they see them. We should know we are being targeted now.


On Day 1 of the battle, who made a costly mistake?

Lt. Herrick and his platoon


What did Herrick's mistake make them?

the lost platoon


What was the mistake made by Herrick?

His platoon went up the finger of land, and he found some enemy troops.


When Herrick saw Vietnamese troops, what did each side initially do?

Then, the North Vietnamese fled and Herrick responded by putting his men in hot pursuit.


What happened to Herrick's men when they were in hot pursuit?

As they charged in hot pursuit of the enemy, they ran into 150 North Vietnamese headed down the mountain and his platoon were surrounded.


After Herrick's men ran into the NVA soldiers, what happened to them?

Many of Herrick’s men were wounded, killed, and the rest were completely driven out.


What did PAVN stand for?

People’s Army of Vietnam


What army was the army that surrounded Herrick's men?



Describe the PAVN.

North Vietnamese regulars in khaki battle dress, their pith helmets camouflaged with clumps of elephant grass. They were armed with many AK-47s and other weapons such as grenades and machine guns.


When did the first firings at Ia Drang begin?

The North Vietnamese wanted to shoot down our American helicopters at the landing zone.


What did the NVA learn about fighting us at the Ia Drang?

They needed more weapons to fight us


What could have closed Ia Drang for the Americans?

If the Chinese-made antiaircraft machine guns were deployed on Chu Pong Mountain, they could have shut it down on us.


Who was in charge of our helicopters at Ia Drang during the shooting?



What were the most feared rounds of battle attacks?

willie-peter rounds


What caused the US to go to a willie-peter round at Ia Drang?

When Moore’s artillery’s batteries ran out of smoke shells, they substituted them with white phosphorous shells.


What happens during a willie-peter round?

Tiny flaming fragments were scattered around, which laid down a choking cloud of white smoke.


What did Moore order on sunrise of Day 2 of the battle?

Scouts to go out and survey the area


What happened to the surveying scouts on Day 2?

The scouts ran into 300 North Vietnamese soldiers, who attacked the scouts while crawling on their hands and knees.


What did the scouts do in response to this attack?

The scouts pulled back as quickly as possible and reported the news back.


What did the scouts reporting the news back do for the troops for the US?

It warned them of the NVA around the area and possibly saved them from an attack if the scouts had not gone out at first.


What happens when a shell “cooks off”?

When it explodes before it leaves the tube


Why did so many shells cook off in the Ia Drang battle?

Water was so scarce at the moment and water was needed to cool down the mortars and control the shells from cooking off.


In response to the water scarcity, what did soldiers do to prevent shells from cooking off?

They stood and urinated on the mortars to cool them down.


What is a mad minute?

When a general ordered every man on the line on his signal to shoot anything in front of their lines that worried them and keep shooting randomly and rapidly.


Who created the Mad Minute? What time of day was it done?

Moore, he did it at his signal at 6:55.


Who's unit left X-Ray on Day 4 that caused trouble?



Describe the background leading up to McDade's mistake.

An experienced commander in Tully radioed McDade and offered to have his artillery specialist relay the correct coordinates to McDade’s artillery man so that McDade's men would be safe on their way out of X-Ray.


What was McDade's mistake?

McDade said that was not necessary to hear coordination relays and he left without hearing the information.


What did McDade's mistake lead to?

A report by scouts as McDade approached the la Drang River.


What had McDade's men done as they were leaving Vietnam?

McDade’s unit had captured two Vietnamese prisoners and spent 20 minutes questioning them.


What did their questioning lead to?

This led the enemy to set up an L-shaped ambush.


What were the effects of the ambush by the enemy?

Charlie Company lost 20 men and many others wounded.


What was McDade's other mistake during the ambush?

When he heard shooting, he thought it was a shootout between Americans. He didn't know what was really happening and did not hear about the enemy's involvement.