Vietnam war (explained)

South Vietnam, May 1969

Near a village, Languilli tries to chat up a local lady while his mates joke around in the deuce and a 1/2. Platoon Sergeant SFC Worcester gets him on the truck. Sgt. Frantz arrives in a jeep, the truck drives off. Frantz recounts his R&R leave with a “roundeye” nurse. Worcester teases the new guys on wearing flak jackets, he also mentions the A Shau Valley. Near another bustling village, the men disembark. Worcester tells Frantz he is getting the new guys while he has to break in a new lieutenant.

The men dig trenches in the sun and mud. The new guys are happy and joke around. Languilli makes an off-color comment about Beletsky’s wife and the two scuffle, then shake hands. Worcester and Frantz visit a brothel and enjoy a hot tub with two prostitutes. Worcester is a little tense as the four discuss the war, Frantz is cool and relaxed.

Lt. Eden has the five new troops fill out forms. Doc tours the village with two fellow African-Americans, they greet Frantz cheerfully. Rumor has it they are going back into the A Shau Valley to engage the NVA at their hilltop outposts near the Lao border. McDaniel is a short timer and would like a rear echelon posting. Doc teaches the five new guys how to brush their teeth and reams out Beletsky for being too casual.

The squad relaxes in the morning at the trenches. Worcester hints they will be going back to A Shau. Frantz tries to teach the new guys about the enemy Han, the North Vietnamese Army, and not to underestimate Mr. Nathanial Victor. Later the troop play in the water. A civie RV trailer is towed into camp, Languilli and Galvan joke with the driver.

At lunchtime, the men chat and talk about being back home. McDaniel is optimistic about returning home, Motown is pessimistic and tells a story of him going back to Detroit on emergency leave. Beletsky tries to join in the conversation but is shot down by Doc.

Languilli and Galvan plan on how to have sex with the locals. Duffy meditates when incoming rounds from enemy artillery make the men scramble for cover. As the artillery rounds shake the ground, a girl cries for her dead mother. When the enemy artillery fire ceases, Frantz calls for ceasefire. Doc cries out for a dead soldier, a new guy.

That evening, the men are at Mama San’s brothel lining up for their turns, drinking, dancing and playing cards. Doc is drunk and starts a fight with Languilli. The Italian is upset everyone calls him “alphabet”. Worcester confirms they are going back to the A Shau Valley at dawn to engage the North Vietnamese Army.

The next morning, a squadron of Huey helicopters comes to pick up the Airborne troops. They fly toward a mountainous valley. The men are tense and quiet. They jump off at the LZ and the helos fly away. It is May 10, 1969. (Day 1 of the the Battle for Hamburger Hill)

The platoon walks warily through a jungle. Firing breaks out and they hit the ground. The sergeants get them moving forward. McDaniel is killed but the enemy withdraws. Washburn is put on point. At break the men relax, reading magazines and letters, playing cards. Frantz is sad because one man was killed. Doc is angry and Motown calms him down with “It don’t mean nothin, not a thing”. Lt. Eden and the sergeants discuss their orders, they are moving out tomorrow at 0800 hours to drive the enemy off Hill 937 where they have congregated.

May 11 (Day 2). SFC Worcester keeps them moving as an observation helo cruises overhead. Enemy mortar rounds start to fall around them. American artillery pounds the hill in response. Later, a sudden rainstorm hits as the men are packing body bags. At night the new guys chat and have hot chocolate, Frantz joins them. They listen to Radio Hanoi, telling them to quit fighting. The battle continues in the distance.

A few days later, Frantz wakes them up as another platoon returns. Up the hill there is furious small arms combat. It is May 15. They fight hand-to-hand with the enemy NVA troops. Jets come in and bombard the top of the hill with a mixture of bombs and napalm. The NVA soldiers take cover in their bunkers. The platoon overruns an enemy bunker and keeps crawling up the hill. U.S. Army Hueys fly overhead and accidentally shoot down at their own troops. Lt. Eden frantically tries to radio in to stop them. More deaths. Again the jets napalm the hilltop as the platoon falls back down the hill to take a break.

Lt. Eden tries to arrange for more supply of food and water. Motown lets Beletsky use his cassette player to listen to a heartfelt audio letter from his wife Claire. Beletsky gets upset as the batteries run down and makes a racist comment and scuffles with Motown.

May 16. The fighting continues as the unit assaults Hill 937 yet again. Doc resets a dislocated shoulder and keeps the man moving. At lunch break, the men once again chat and read letters. Bienstock gets a ‘Dear John’ from his girl that she is breaking up with him on the advice of her friends who feel it is amoral to date a military serviceman.

May 17. The unit keeps moving up and facing constant gunfire. Coming back down the hill after a hard day’s work they are met by a news film crew taunting them about their failed assaults on Hill 937. Frantz angrily tells them off saying that they are going to take the hill. As the squad relaxes, they discuss black and white issues back home. Doc and Beletsky finally reach an accord. Frantz reveals a bit about himself.

May 18. The squad crawls up the hill for another assault in the pouring rain, which is now a blasted, muddy wasteland. Gaigan dies, Doc is in tears and is shot in the abdomen. The Americans struggle on the slippery slope and fall backwards in a mudslide. Later, Doc is drugged up and ready for medevac, feeling no pain, happy he’s going home.

Lt. Eden reports the CO “Black Jack” wants them to keep maneuvering aggressively, the squad is quiet and somber. SFC Worcester laments on the feelings of the people back home. He recounts when he was wounded and sent back home the previous year, he encountered some college hippies’ negativism; “Don’t mean nothing”. Worcester tells them how after he returned to his hometown, he encountered anger from people everywhere, including his own wife whom was shamelessly cheating on him because U.S. Army troops are known as “baby killers” or just “killers” by the hostile American public having been completely consumed by the anti-war movement. His alienation caused him to re-enlist for another tour of duty.

May 20. Once more the squad goes into the front lines for an all-out assault on the hill. During the fighting, the men are close enough to see the faces of the NVA soldiers returning fire. Lt. Eden is twitted by his CO to fight not talk, he then loses an arm as a mortar round lands close by. Worcester gives him a shot of morphine. The Americans charge up the hill to take out the bunkers. SFC Worcester walks in from the smoke, in a stupor and covered in blood, he dies in Frantz’ arms. In a crater, Motown is found dead. Beletsky tries to buck up a stunned Frantz. Still they move up the steep hill. Bienstock is riddled with bullets. Near the ridge line, Languilli is bayoneted by an enemy soldier and dies. Again, Frantz is stunned. The NVA soldier who kills Languilli is killed by Frantz. Beletsky rallies the platoon to keep moving. Crawling to the top, blasting the few surviving NVA solders where they are, Frantz rests and is joined by Beletsky and Washburn… the only other survivors of the squad whom have made it through. The battle is won as other American soldiers walk up and a Huey flies over the killing fields. The North Vietnamese soldiers have withdrawn. Someone posts a sign “Welcome to Hamburger Hill”. Beletsky ignores the radio call from the CO, “Red 6” requesting a sitrep.

Beletsky ignores the radio call from the CO, “Red 6″ requesting a sitrep. A disclaimer in the final shot says that 70 American soldiers were killed or later died of wounds and 372 were wounded during the 11-day battle for Hamburger Hill. 1st Platoon suffered 70% casualties during the nine assaults on the hill. Around 500 to 600 NVA soldiers were also killed during the battle. Hill …

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movie opens with a still photo of 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon:

Rifleman Pvt. Vincent Languilli (Anthony Barree)

Rifleman Pvt. Ray Motown (Michael Patrick Boatman)

Rifleman/Machine gunner Pvt. David Washburn (Don Cheadle)

Radioman Pvt. Harry Murphy (Michael Dolan)

3rd Squad XO Pvt. Elliott McDaniel (Don James)

3rd Squad Leader SSgt. Adam Frantz (Dylan McDermott)

Rifleman Pvt. Paul Galvan (M.A. Nickles)

Machine gunner Pvt. Michael Duffy (Harry O’Reilly)

Rifleman/Machine gunner Pvt. Frank Gaigan (Daniel O’Shea)

Rifleman/Grenade launcher Pvt. Joseph Beletsky (Tim Quill)

Rifleman/Machine gunner Pvt. Martin Bienstock (Jimmy Swerdlow)

Medical Specialist Abraham ‘Doc’ Johnson (Courtney B. Vance)

Platoon Sgt FC Dennis Worcester (Steven Weber)

Platoon leader Lt. Terry Eden (Tegan West)

All of them from the 101st Airborne Division

A pan of the Vietnam War monument in DC segues to an American army squad in combat in Vietnam. A soldier is blown in the air, Sergeants Frantz and Worcester arrange an air evac. The wounded man dies in the helo as Doc tries to keep him conscious. A plane drops a load of white phosphorous.

The squad relaxes in the morning at the trenches. Worcester hints they will be going back to A Shau. Frantz tries to teach the new guys about the enemy Han, the North Vietnamese Army, and not to underestimate Mr. Nathanial Victor. Later the troop play in the water. A civie RV trailer is towed into camp, Languilli and Galvan joke with the driver.

At lunchtime, the men chat and talk about being back home. McDaniel is optimistic about returning home, Motown is pessimistic and tells a story of him going back to Detroit on emergency leave. Beletsky tries to join in the conversation but is shot down by Doc.

Languilli and Galvan plan on how to have sex with the locals. Duffy meditates when incoming rounds from enemy artillery make the men scramble for cover. As the artillery rounds shake the ground, a girl cries for her dead mother. When the enemy artillery fire ceases, Frantz calls for ceasefire. Doc cries out for a dead soldier, a new guy.

The next morning, a squadron of Huey helicopters comes to pick up the Airborne troops. They fly toward a mountainous valley. The men are tense and quiet. They jump off at the LZ and the helos fly away. It is May 10, 1969. (Day 1 of the the Battle for Hamburger Hill)

The platoon walks warily through a jungle. Firing breaks out and they hit the ground. The sergeants get them moving forward. McDaniel is killed but the enemy withdraws. Washburn is put on point. At break the men relax, reading magazines and letters, playing cards. Frantz is sad because one man was killed. Doc is angry and Motown calms him down with “It don’t mean nothin, not a thing”. Lt. Eden and the sergeants discuss their orders, they are moving out tomorrow at 0800 hours to drive the enemy off Hill 937 where they have congregated.

May 11 (Day 2). SFC Worcester keeps them moving as an observation helo cruises overhead. Enemy mortar rounds start to fall around them. American artillery pounds the hill in response. Later, a sudden rainstorm hits as the men are packing body bags. At night the new guys chat and have hot chocolate, Frantz joins them. They listen to Radio Hanoi, telling them to quit fighting. The battle continues in the distance.

A few days later, Frantz wakes them up as another platoon returns. Up the hill there is furious small arms combat. It is May 15. They fight hand-to-hand with the enemy NVA troops. Jets come in and bombard the top of the hill with a mixture of bombs and napalm. The NVA soldiers take cover in their bunkers. The platoon overruns an enemy bunker and keeps crawling up the hill. U.S. Army Hueys fly overhead and accidentally shoot down at their own troops. Lt. Eden frantically tries to radio in to stop them. More deaths. Again the jets napalm the hilltop as the platoon falls back down the hill to take a break.

Lt. Eden tries to arrange for more supply of food and water. Motown lets Beletsky use his cassette player to listen to a heartfelt audio letter from his wife Claire. Beletsky gets upset as the batteries run down and makes a racist comment and scuffles with Motown.

May 16. The fighting continues as the unit assaults Hill 937 yet again. Doc resets a dislocated shoulder and keeps the man moving. At lunch break, the men once again chat and read letters. Bienstock gets a ‘Dear John’ from his girl that she is breaking up with him on the advice of her friends who feel it is amoral to date a military serviceman.

May 17. The unit keeps moving up and facing constant gunfire. Coming back down the hill after a hard day’s work they are met by a news film crew taunting them about their failed assaults on Hill 937. Frantz angrily tells them off saying that they are going to take the hill. As the squad relaxes, they discuss black and white issues back home. Doc and Beletsky finally reach an accord. Frantz reveals a bit about himself.

May 18. The squad crawls up the hill for another assault in the pouring rain, which is now a blasted, muddy wasteland. Gaigan dies, Doc is in tears and is shot in the abdomen. The Americans struggle on the slippery slope and fall backwards in a mudslide. Later, Doc is drugged up and ready for medevac, feeling no pain, happy he’s going home.

Lt. Eden reports the CO “Black Jack” wants them to keep maneuvering aggressively, the squad is quiet and somber. SFC Worcester laments on the feelings of the people back home. He recounts when he was wounded and sent back home the previous year, he encountered some college hippies’ negativism; “Don’t mean nothing”. Worcester tells them how after he returned to his hometown, he encountered anger from people everywhere, including his own wife whom was shamelessly cheating on him because U.S. Army troops are known as “baby killers” or just “killers” by the hostile American public having been completely consumed by the anti-war movement. His alienation caused him to re-enlist for another tour of duty.

Beletsky ignores the radio call from the CO, “Red 6” requesting a sitrep.

A disclaimer in the final shot says that 70 American soldiers were killed or later died of wounds and 372 were wounded during the 11-day battle for Hamburger Hill. 1st Platoon suffered 70% casualties during the nine assaults on the hill. Around 500 to 600 NVA soldiers were also killed during the battle. Hill 937 was nicknamed ‘Hamburger Hill’ because enemy gunfire from the NVA defending the hill was so intense that it turned the attacking soldiers into hamburger meat. In June 1969, three weeks after winning the battle, the American soldiers departed from the A Shau Valley… allowing the North Vietnamese to return to re-occupy the hill, which marked the end of U.S. offensives into enemy territory and the start of the pullout from Vietnam.

Published by technofiend1

Kazan- Kazan National Research Technical University Казанский национальный исследовательский технический университет имени А. Н. Туполева he graduated in Economics in 1982

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