In action following the clash at the Plei Me Special Forces camp 30 miles southwest of Pleiku earlier in the month, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) launches Operation Silver Bayonet.
U.S. troops, in conjunction with South Vietnamese forces, sought to destroy North Vietnamese forces operating in Pleku Province in II Corps Tactical Zone (the Central Highlands). The operation concluded in November with a week of bitter fighting when fleeing North Vietnamese troops decided to protect an important staging area and supply base in the Ia Drang Valley. It was the bloodiest battle of the war to date. In one engagement, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry fought a desperate three-day battle at Landing Zone X-Ray with the North Vietnamese 33rd and 66th Regiments; when the fighting was over, 834 Communists lay dead on the battlefield. In an associated engagement, 500 North Vietnamese ambushed another battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division at Landing Zone Albany, wiping out almost an entire company. Reported enemy casualties for Operation Silver Bayonet totaled 1,771. U.S. casualties included 240 killed in action.