Published on “Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association” by Merle L. Pribbenow in January, 2001. Direct link for those wanting to look through the bibliography: General Hieu
Although heavily colored by communist hagiography and propaganda, recently published
People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) accounts provide answers to many questions and acknowledge a number of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) mistakes and command failures. When added to information from US sources, these accounts reveal how greatly the fog of war, over optimism and blind fate influenced the battle.
The B3 Front Plan
According to PAVN, the Ia Drang Battle grew out of the B3 (Central Highlands) Front's plan to lure US and South Vietnamese forces into battle on terms favorable to the communists. The plan included besieging the remote Plei Me border outpost south of Pleiku in South Vietnam's Central Highlands and forcing US and South Vietnamese forces to come to the rescue. The goal was to annihilate five or six US companies.1
The NVA 320th and 33d Regiments were to launch the campaign, but one of the NVA's finest units, the 304th Division would reinforce the B3 Front. In August 1965 the 304th received orders to move south to the Central Highlands. The 304th's lead element, the 66th Regiment, was scheduled to arrive in time for the campaign's final phase.2
Aware they could not match newly arrived US forces. power, NVA commanders knew their strategy was risky. During political indoctrination sessions before the campaign began, 320th Regiment troops expressed serious doubts.3
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