This Day in History

Nov. 14, 1965: Battle of Ia Drang

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies

1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry troopers landing at LZ X-Ray. Source: U.S. Army Center of Military History.

On Nov. 14, 1965, the Battle of Ia Drang began between regulars of the United States Army and regulars of the People’s Army of Vietnam.

Often described as one of the first major battles between the U.S. and North Vietnamese, both sides claimed victory. Hundreds of U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers died.

Years later, Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap explained that careful study of U.S. tactics led to the confidence that the People’s Army would eventually win the war: “We thought that the Americans must have a strategy. We did. We had a strategy of people’s war. . . . If we could defeat your tactics — your helicopters — then we could defeat your strategy.” (Source)

Teaching the Vietnam War: Beyond the Headlines is a free, downloadable collection of lessons for middle and high school from the Zinn Education Project on the Vietnam War, whistleblowers, and the anti-war movement.