Factual error: As the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry lifts off from LZ X-Ray at the end of the battle, it can be seen that there are no more American troops left at the battlefield. However, by the time 1/7 CAV left LZ X-Ray, it had been relieved by two full battalions (2/7 CAV and 1/5 CAV). There were around 700 American soldiers occupying LZ X-Ray by the time 1/7 CAV lifted off.
Factual error: At the end of the movie, Maj. Crandall is depicted as flying a UH-1 gunship, and attacking the NVA positions. Maj. Bruce Crandall was the Company Commander of A Co., 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division at the time of the Ia Drang battle. A/229th was a "lift" company, flying UH-1D "slicks" (troop carriers). There were no gunships assigned to that company. The gunships (UH-1Bs) supporting the battle were from D Co., 229th AHB. It's highly unlikely that Maj. Crandall would have commandeered an aircraft from the gunship company to attack the NVA.
Factual error: Throughout the battle, the artillery rounds impact far too soon after they have been called in. While the artillery supporting 1/7 CAV at Ia Drang did have some pre-planned targets, it is impossible for any gun crew to receive a fire mission, adjust the gun, and fire the round as quickly as depicted (i.e., in a matter of seconds).
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.
Sergeant Ernie Savage: Beautiful morning, Sergeant.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: What are you a fucking weatherman now?
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: Where you from, son?
Joseph Galloway: Refugio, Texas, sir.
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: Well, that's the first thing I've heard today that makes any sense.
Question: Would a sergeant-major participate in a mission?
Question: One of the deleted scenes has a young soldier relating a story about one of his tough old SNCOs who was terrified of Plumley. This tough old Sergeant arrives on parade naked except for two Medals of Honor. Is this possible? As far as I can work out the last dual recipients were during WW1 - posthumously.
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?
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