Uploaded by Sally Benjamin

The Truth about the Pleime Battle

The Truth
Pleime Battle
Three Perspectives
• American Perspective
• Viet Cong’s Perspective
• Real Perspective
American Perspective
• LZ X-Ray website
• US 1st Air Cavalry website
• 11/2005 Vietnam Center’s Seminar on
Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns
LZX-Ray website
In late October '65, a large North Vietnamese force attacked the Plei
Me Special Forces Camp. Troops of the 1st Brigade of the 1st
Cavalry were sent into the battle. After the enemy was repulsed in
early November, the 3rd Brigade replaced the 1st Brigade. After
three days of patrolling without any contact, Hal Moore's 1st
Battalion, 7th Cavalry was ordered to air assault into the Ia Drang
Valley on Nov 14, his mission: Find and kill the enemy!
• At 10:48 AM, on November 14th, Moore was the first man out of the
lead chopper to hit the landing zone, firing his M16 rifle. Little did
Moore and his men suspect that FATE had sent them into the first
major battle of the Vietnam War between the American Army and the
People's Army of Vietnam - Regulars - and into history.
US 1st Air Cavalry website
On 10 October 1965, in Operation "Shiny Bayonet", the First Team initiated their first brigade-size
airmobile action against the enemy. The air assault task force consisted of the 1st and 2nd
Battalions 7th Cavalry, 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry, 1st Battalion 12th Cavalry and the 1st Battalion
21st Artillery. Rather than standing and fighting, the Viet Cong chose to disperse and slip away.
Only light contact was achieved. The troopers had but a short wait before they faced a tougher
test of their fighting skills; the 35-day Pleiku Campaign.
On 23 October 1965, the first real combat test came at the historic order of General
Westmoreland to send the First Team into an air assault mission to pursue and fight the enemy
across 2,500 square miles of jungle. Troopers of the 1st Brigade and 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry
swooped down on the NVA 33rd regiment before it could get away from Plei Me. The enemy
regiment was scattered in the confusion and was quickly smashed.
On 09 November, the 3rd Brigade joined the fighting. Five days later, on 14 November, the 1st
Battalion, 7th Cavalry, reinforced by elements of the 2nd Battalion, air assaulted into the Ia Drang
Valley near the Chu Prong Massif. Landing Zone (LZ) X-Ray was "hot" from the start. At LZ X-Ray,
the Division's first Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War was awarded to 2nd Lt. Walter J. Marm of
the 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry. On 16 November, the remainder of the 2nd Battalion relieved the 1st
Battalion at LZ X-Ray, who moved on to set up blocking positions at LZ Albany. The fighting, the
most intensive combat in the history of the division, from bayonets, used in hand-to-hand combat,
to artillery and tactical air support, including B-52 bombing attacks in the areas of the Chu Pong
Mountains, dragged on for three days. With the help of reinforcements and overwhelming
firepower, the 1st and 2nd Battalions forced the North Vietnamese to withdraw into Cambodia.
When the Pleiku Campaign ended on 25 November, troopers of the First Team had paid a heavy
price for its success, having lost some 300 troopers killed in action, half of them in the disastrous
ambush of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at LZ Albany. The troopers destroyed two of three
regiments of a North Vietnamese Division, earning the first Presidential Unit Citation given to a
division in Vietnam. The enemy had been given their first major defeat and their carefully laid
plans for conquest had been torn apart.
The 1st Cavalry Division returned to its original base of operations at An Khe on Highway 19.
Vietnam Center’s Seminar
Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns
40th Anniversary Ia Drang Seminar
Hilton, Crystal City, Virginia
November 12, 2005
Saturday, 12 November 8:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Location: Main Ballroom
LTG Hal Moore
Mr. Joe Galloway
Dr. James Reckner, Director, The Vietnam Center 8:30 a.m.
Special Seminar Speaker
Location: Main Ballroom
The Historical Significance of the Ia Drang Battles
David Halberstam
Introduction: Mr. Joe Galloway 9:00 a.m.
Questions/Answers/Discussion 9:20 a.m.
Coffee Break 9:30 a.m.
Session 1:
A View from History: Wartime and Postwar Assessments of the
Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns
Moderator: Mr. Joe Galloway
"Changing Interpretations of The Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns: The American Perspective.” John Carland, US State Department
"Changing Interpretations of The Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns: The Vietnamese Perspective.” Merle Pribbenow, Independent Scholar. 10:10
a.m.Questions/Answers/Discussion 10:30 a.m.Coffee Break 10:45 a.m.
Special Session 2
Location: Main Ballroom
Special Guest: Lieutenant General Nguyen Dinh Uoc, Peoples Army of Vietnam.
"The North Vietnamese Perspectives of The Plei Me/Ia Drang Campaigns: Immediate Post-Battle Assessments." Sedgwick Tourison, Independent Scholar
(This presentation is based on special research conducted in Vietnam with key PAVN participants). 11:30 a.m.Questions/Answers/Discussion 11:55 a.m.Break for
Lunch 12:00 p.m.Lunch
Location: Main Ballroom 12:30 p.m.
Guest Speaker: LTG Hal Moore
Introduction : Mr. Joe Galloway 1:15 p.m.Lunch Ends 1:30 p.m.
Session 2:
The Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns and the American War in Vietnam
Location: Main Ballroom
Chair/Moderator: Dr. James Reckner, The Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University
“The Kinnard Thesis: How the Pleiku campaign influenced Strategy and Operations during the Vietnam War." Erik Villard, The US Army Center of Military History
“Back at Benning: The Immediate Impact of the Ia Drang Fighting on Infantry Officer Training in the US Army.” Ron Milam, Texas Tech University
"The Long Term Political Impact of the Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns from Johnson through Nixon." Larry Berman, University of California, Davis 2:30
p.m.Questions/Answers/Discussion 3:00 p.m.END OF SEMINAR
Viet Cong’s Perspective
Early October 1965, based on assessment of enemy status and our
preparation readiness, the campaign Command had decided to
assign tasks to the units as following: the target and area to destroy
the enemy was camp Chu Ho, siege set on Pleime camp, ambush to
destroy the rescue column established on route 21 (from Hill 538 to
Hill Blu). The area where our troops would attack the Americans
would be the Ia Drang valley. […]
• Regarding the plan, the campaign was divided in 3 phases: Phase
1. Encircle Pleime camp, destroy the ARVN rescue column; phase
2. Continue to encircle Pleime camp, forcing American troops to get
involved; phase 3. Concentrate forces aiming at attacking an
American major force and destroy it and end the campaign.
Facts Contradicting VC’s
• Pleime attack began: Oct 19 - US1AC ‘s
arrived in Qui Nhon Sep 20, 1965
• Duc Co attack model: US173AB standing
on the sideline
• Pleime battle ended: Oct 25 – Ia Drang
attack began Nov 14, 1965
• VCs caught by surprise: battalion
commander not present with unit.
The Truth about Pleime Battle
• Dong Xuan 1965 campaign: Pleiku-Qui
• Pleime Campaign: Pleime-Pleiku
• Pleime-Ia Drang Valley-Duc Co
1965 Dong Xuan Campaign
Pleime Battle
Ia Drang - Duc Co Battles
• American Perspective: Ia Drang battle
• VC’s Perspective: Pleime/Ia Drang battles
• Historical Reality: Pleime/Ia Drang/Duc Co
* Pleime Battle: A crown jewel
More information
• In English
• In Vietnamese
• In French