We Were Soldiers

Factual error: The two officers with the French Groupement Mobile 100 at the beginning are wearing Foreign Legion white képis. GM 100 was not a Foreign Legion unit. And even if it were, Foreign Legion officers wear black képis with red tops, not the white of the lower ranks.


Factual error: When Joe Galloway arrives at LZ X-Ray, he and LTC Moore greet each other as if they're meeting for the first time. However, Galloway had been on multiple patrols with Moore before, and the two were well acquainted by the time of the Ia Drang battle. Galloway also arrived at LZ X-Ray with his own M16, which had been given to him by another officer some time before. Ia Drang was not his first time firing a weapon in combat, and he was actually fairly used to it by that time (per his own account).


Other mistake: When the black guy from their base gets shot in the head the camera slows down and you can see his forehead starts bleeding but there's no hole on his helmet. [Actually there is. If you pause it, you can see it on the (his) right side of his helmet. Although it looks as if it exploded outwards instead of inwards as a bullethole would.]

Revealing mistake: On the battlefield where Mel Gibson first talks to the reporter, there are bodies of dead men lined up on the ground. You can clearly see one of the dead men breathing.

Revealing mistake: Snake Shit's helicopter has no holes in its windshield. Every other part of the helicopter is riddled with bullet holes except his perfect, spotless windshield.

Factual error: The night before the final attack, the NVA commander looks up at the full moon. The battle took place between Nov 14 and Nov 18. In 1965, the November full moon occurred on the 9th.

Steve Beckle

Factual error: The French soldiers in the beginning of the movie have the insignia of the 1st Infantry Regiment (1er régiment d'infanterie de ligne) on their berets, the 1st Infantry Regiment never saw action in Vietnam, it was stationed in French occupied Germany between 1945-55 and then fought in Algeria. It might be a mix up with the 1er Régiment de Spahis Marocains, a cavalry unit which was deployed in Vietnam.

Revealing mistake: Towards the end of the movie, a VC soldier holds a shoulder fired rocket launcher. If you watch carefully, you can see the rocket wobbling as if it's made of rubber.

Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: To follow your instincts and to inspire your men, by your example, you have to be with 'em. Where the metal meets the meat.

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Trivia: After Hal Moore calls for "Broken Arrow" the shots of the A6 Intruders taking off from the aircraft carrier are taken from Flight Of The Intruder.

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Question: The early versions of the M16 had severe problems with jamming. There may have been several causes; instructions issued that the rifle was "self-cleaning", improper ammunition design, improper magazine design (therefore in a later stage 18 rounds instead of 20 were used in the mag). It is not necessarily a mistake, certainly not by the filmmaker, but there are several writers mentioning serious casualties amongst fighting troops specifically because of jamming M16 rifles. Why does this book/film not even include a hint of that problem which surely must have existed at that time and place?

Airborne Ranger

Chosen answer: There is no definitive information on this topic, and although factually accurate, a technical problem with a weapon was probably not enough to build an entire sub-plot, and would not hold the interest of the moviegoer. There were enough casualties without having to take into consideration weapon malfunction.


Answer: The M16's used in this battle were second generation M16A1's easily distinguished by the forward bolt assist on the right hand side of the rifle. The original M16 had no bolt assist and the jamming was caused by a different propellant that made the weapon very dirty.


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