This is coolbert:
Ia Drang Valley, Chu Pong Mountain, Vietnam.
Those of you that have read the book by Moore and Galloway: "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young" or seen the Mel Gibson movie of the same name will be more than familiar with the story of LZ X-Ray: "the first major battle of the Vietnam War between the American Army [USA] and the People's Army of Vietnam [NVA/PAVN] - Regulars".
That American air mobile battalion of light infantry airlifted onto a landing zone [LZ X-Ray], unbeknownst to them the LZ located directly on top of a base camp for a NVA divisional sized unit.
That air mobile battalion of Colonel Moore instantly and irrevocably so pinned down, unable to advance beyond the perimeter of the LZ, casualties excessive even catastrophic, annihilation even a possible!
That battalion surviving and only so emerging from three days of the most intense combat by a combination of hard fighting, reinforcement, indirect weapons fire [artillery] and a LOT of close-air-support [CAS].
LZ X-Ray however should be understood to be ONLY HALF THE STORY OF IA DRANG VALLEY, CHU PONG MOUNTAIN!
Further combat as seen at LZ Albany the rest of the story.
One of those reinforcing battalions as having previously been engaged at X-Ray ambushed and also nearly wiped out, decimated to an extent of no longer being a cohesive and combat effective unit, so heavy was the casualties!!
This ONLY IN THE AFTERMATH OF X-RAY, UNEXPECTED AS IT WAS!
The story of LZ Albany as best told by Jack Smith, American infantryman present at the scene, repeatedly wounded, surviving only barely, and as recounted in: "Death in the Ia Drang Valley, November 13-18, 1965" , thanks to : The Saturday Evening Post, 28 January 1967."
"Sandbag For A Machine Gun: Jack P. Smith on the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley and the Legacy of the Vietnam War".
Jack Smith recently passed away and of course the son of the famous American journalist and TV evening news anchor Howard K. Smith!
That account of Jack Smith an outstanding anecdotal account of combat, worthy of inclusion into any anthology! Read the whole thing for yourself!
Regarding both X-Ray and Albany the word debacle is not used lightly but is almost considered to be appropriate?
That first major and large-scale engagement between American army and NVA forces did not go so well from the American standpoint, admittedly so at the time or not!
In the aftermath of both LZ X-ray and LZ Albany the order was given from the highest command for all leadership ranks serving in Vietnam to WEAR ONLY SUBDUED NAME TAGS AND BADGES OF RANK!! Especially at Albany so many in leadership positions INSTANTLY AND MORE OR LESS IN SECONDS CUT DOWN BY SUPER-INTENSE ENEMY FIRE, THOSE HIGHLY VISIBLE AT THE TIME BADGES OF RANK IN PARTICULAR ALLOWING FOR CONCENTRATED NVA FIRE TO BE DIRECTED AT THOSE ATTEMPTING TO CONDUCT AN EFFECTIVE DEFENSE. Albany became a battle with privates in command of whatever unit structure remained or those remnants forming from the survivors of wiped out squads and platoons!!
* Those American soldiers at Ia Drang each and every one parachute qualified, paratroopers the finest and best and most prepared infantry the American army could deploy to Vietnam!
* Those American officers commanding at all ranks and echelons of command too the finest and best infantry officers the American army could deploy to Vietnam!
* Inexplicably - - twice at Ia Drang, the American infantry was surprised and much to their chagrin nearly annihilated. This cannot have been considered to be anything but an inauspicious and unfavorable start to major ground combat as undertaken by American forces in Vietnam. Even established a trend and tenor that was to last the entire duration of the war?