The Ia Drang Valley was the location for some of the first major fighting in Vietnam involving US regular troops. The 7th Cavalry Regiment had been trained in air assault lifts using helicopters and being supported by air power and artillery. This new tactic was intended to provide flexibility and superior mobility to be able to match the evasive tactics of the NVA and PAVN troops.

At 10:48am on November 14, the first troops of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry (1/7) arrived at LZ X-Ray with members of B Company touching down after about 30 minutes of bombardment via artillery, aerial rockets, and air strikes.

Accompanying Captain John Herren’s B Company were Lt. Col. Moore and his 1st Battalion command group. Instead of attempting to secure the entire landing zone with such a limited force, most of B Company was kept near the center of the LZ as a strike force, while smaller units were sent out to reconnoiter the surrounding area.

This pictures shows the PAVN attacks into LZ X-Ray on Game Turn 1 on November 14th. The PAVN were able to provide mortar fire support from the three mortar teams located behind the line of assaults that reduced one US unit. The assaults were successful as one US unit was destroyed.

In Scenario #4 “Into the Valley”, the US troops are vastly outnumbered upon landing at LZ X-Ray and must hold the line against superior numbers until they are reinforced on November 15 & 16. The US has significant air support in the form of air strikes and artillery that can inflict heavy losses on the PAVN troops. The difficulty in affecting the PAVN with air strikes is the terrain that they are located in. The Mountainous Jungle offers a 4 terrain defense modifier and makes it very difficult to damage them. The US player must focus their attacks on one hex in order to generate enough fire power to have an effect. Of course this focus is like putting “all your eggs in one basket” and if the roll is poor, no damage will be inflicted. In the end, the goal of the US is to hold LZ X-Ray which is worth 2VP at the end of the 4th day. If the PAVN forces control the LZ it is worth 5VP, so keeping it is key to a US victory.