The Battle Of The Vietnam War Essay

The Battle Of The Vietnam War Essay

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One of the first major battles of the Vietnam War, the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley took place from 14 November to 18 1965. The battle was located in South Vietnam, where the Drang River flows into Cambodia. Since the war had started, this territory had never been occupied. It was a fierce five day battle between the United States 1st Cavalry Division and the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN). In the Battle of Ia Drang Valley, American military commanders took the approach that it was solely a search and destroy kind of mission. Each side of the battle had different views of its importance. The United States wanted to fly into a landing zone and recon the area so they could find the People’s Army of Vietnam and destroy enemy elements in South Vietnam. The Viet Cong wanted to hold onto their territory and ward off the American’s advance.
The operational environment for the Battle of Ia Drang Valley had an overlying impact on how the rest of the war was going to be fought. Americans were going to fly into the valley with the 1st Cavalry Division and drop them off by helicopter because of the terrain. If the United States could take over some of the territory in South Vietnam, they could get a foothold to start defeating the enemy. For the U.S. this was a key battle to see if they could defeat an enemy that no ally was able to fight before this point. This battle was composed primarily of the 1st Cavalry Division, which was a new mobile air unit of the Army. The United States had roughly 1,000 personnel, while the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong had around 2,000 soldiers. From a technology standpoint, the United States had the upper hand. Although the Viet Cong were able to bunker themselves in with machine gun...

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...itions causing mass casualties for the United States. The American’s underestimated the enemy and the impact the terrain would have on the battle. Intelligence reports expected the enemy to field only one battalion while in actuality they had three in the immediate area. Once they tried to maneuver from the landing zone they got caught up in the tough terrain which caused them to slow down and be ambushed. As for the PAVN they under estimated the American’s ability to support their forces though the air and with artillery. The ability to funnel in and out of aircraft played a crucial role in getting supplies and more soldiers on the ground and the delivery of timely and accurate artillery fires were able to suppress any enemy advances. However, the PAVN were able to learn a lot about the Army’s air power from this battle which was used in future during the war.

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