How well do you remember the movie "We Were Soldiers"?

By: John Miller
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

"We Were Soldiers" shows just how difficult -- and senseless -- human warfare can be. Two well-trained units face off time and again during a weeklong fight, but only one can win. How much do you know about this bullet-riddled film?

"We Were Soldiers" is a movie about which war?

"We Were Soldiers" is a 2002 Vietnam War movie. It's mostly about the Battle of Ia Drang, which took place in November 1965.

The movie is based on ______.

It is based on a book titled "We Were Soldiers Once… And Young," written by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Hal Moore and a reporter named Joseph Galloway. Both Moore and Galloway were present during the Battle of Ia Drang.

The movie opens with a battle between Vietnamese and ______ forces.

The film begins with a battle scene between Vietnamese and French forces in the First Indochina War, in the mid-1950s. It's a harbinger of the hardship that will eventually befall American troops.

The opening scenes portray a Vietnamese commander saying that they should no longer take French prisoners, for what reason?

The Vietnamese commander presents the idea that maybe they should simply stop taking prisoners -- that way, foreign nations will finally stop invading Vietnam. But of course, it doesn't stop the United States from doing exactly that a decade later.

Our lead character is Lt. Col. Hal Moore. Who plays the role?

The crazy-eyed Mel Gibson plays Hal. In real life, Moore won the Distinguished Service Cross during the war.

When we first catch up with Moore and his men, what are they doing?

Moore and his men are having one last send-off party in the States. They are heading for the jungles of Vietnam.

Why is Moore upset that his men will be part of the 7th Cavalry regiment?

In the 19th century, the 7th Cavalry regiment was George Custer's command, and his men were slaughtered at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Moore does not want any part of that legacy.

Moore serves in which branch of the military?

Moore and the 7th Cavalry are part of the Army. They are an air cavalry unit that often employs helicopters to enter combat zones.

Moore is a hardcore racist whose prejudices mar his judgment.

Hal Moore is a hardened leader who forges a cohesive unit made up of numerous different ethnicities. He teaches the men to work together under the toughest conditions.

Who plays the role of Hal's wife Julia?

Madeleine Stowe is Julia Moore. During the movie, Julia accepts the task of informing families that their soldiers have died in battle.

When the men arrive in Vietnam, they're sent to la Drang Valley. What's the nickname of this valley?

The troops call la Drang Valley "The Valley of Death." It's a terrifying maze of swamps and bloodied mud.

The 400 men of Moore's unit are told to chase down a group of enemy soldiers. Turns out, they are outnumbered. How many Vietcong troops are they battling in la Drang?

Moore has just 400 men under his command. They're flung into the jungle against 4,000 Vietcong. It's a terrifying way for them to begin their tour of duty.

The 7th charges after the North Vietnamese. What's the condition of the enemy soldiers?

The 7th is not only outnumbered, but they're facing battle-tested Vietcong troops. They are in for the fight of their lives.

On the very first day of the battle, an officer named Henry Herrick spots an enemy scout. What do his men do?

Herrick and his subordinates chase the scout on foot. What they don’t realize is that they are running straight into an ambush.

What happens to Herrick's platoon?

The Vietcong spring their trap and most of Herrick's platoon -- including Herrick himself -- are killed. It's a terrible way for the men to begin the battle.

What happens during the night following the ambush?

Moore drops in more of the 7th's men, and they reinforce their positions during the night. As the sun rises on the second day, the Vietcong do their best to uproot the Americans.

In real life, the Vietcong withdrew during the night.

It was a bright moonlit night. The Vietcong opted to attack in small groups, over and over again, attempting to pinpoint vulnerabilities in the American positions.

Every scene is portrayed from the perspective of American units.

Several times during the story, the film changes perspectives. It shows the Americans struggling to survive -- and the Vietcong doing everything they can to push back the stubborn U.S. Army.

Greg Kinnear is Maj. Bruce P. Crandall, who goes by which nickname?

Crandall is "Snake." In the end, Snake's decision-making abilities will either save men or cost them their lives.

Who was Ho Chi Minh?

Ho Chi Minh was the leader of North Vietnam. The Vietcong so bloodied the Americans at la Drang that Ho Chi Minh was convinced his side could win the war.

The men become surrounded by a much larger Vietcong force. Why don't they call in helicopters and escape?

Moore's men are stranded in the jungle and there's no real landing zone for helicopters. That means his men will have to fight if they want to survive.

Back in the States, Julia takes over the job of informing relatives about the deaths of U.S. soldiers. Before she steps in, how was the Army communicating the sad news?

It was a low point in Army public relations. They simply sent cab drivers to deliver the heart-wrenching news. Julia decides that this simply isn't right, and she shoulders the burden herself.

The Vietcong mount a large-scale attack on U.S. positions. How do they fare?

The Vietcong put their numerical advantage into action by launching a major offensive. And it works, because their troops come very close to overrunning U.S. lines.

Moore is desperate to stop the huge Vietcong offensive. He radios a call for help using the code "Broken Arrow." What's that?

Moore radios "Broken Arrow" back to headquarters. It's essentially a desperate S.O.S. call, requesting all aircraft and artillery to strike the enemy, even those who are very close to U.S. positions.

What's the result of the Broken Arrow call?

The Broken Arrow call summons all available U.S. forces to attack, and they drop immense firepower into the combat zone, driving back the Vietcong. But the close-quarter strikes kill numerous Americans, too.

A South Vietnamese scout gives the Americans vital information about _____.

Much of the Vietcong activity is being coordinated by leaders in a nearby underground bunker. If the Americans can infiltrate or destroy that bunker, they may win the battle.

The Americans decide to charge the bunker, but it's a suicidal attack. What factor saves the Americans at the last moment?

The U.S. troops recklessly attack the bunker, but many of them would have died, were it not for Snake and his helicopter gunships. Their machine guns pummel the bunker's security forces and spare the Americans high casualties.

As the Americans descend on the bunker, what do the Vietnamese do?

The Vietnamese know they are in desperate trouble. They decide to fight another day -- they retreat for the deeper jungle.

The American troops showed bravery in the face of great danger. In real life, how many of them were awarded the Medal of Honor?

Three men won the Medal of Honor during the Battle of la Drang. Joseph Marm was given his medal due to his gallantry during a lone assault.

At the end of the movie, Moore and his men leave the battlefield they fought so hard to win. What happens to the area?

After all of their blood and sacrifice, the Americans leave their hard-earned ground … and the Vietcong take it right back again. War is hell.

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