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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien Phu is a city located in the extreme northern Vietnam. Stunning panoramic landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, picturesque villages ... we are in full Thai country (country of Tai Dam, Thai black). You will be fascinated by the rich culture of diversity of ethnic minorities and stunning landscape with lakes, waterfalls, picturesque villages.

Beside the beautiful nature Dien Bien Phu is also a heart of history. It is famous for the fierce battle of Viet Minh against the French during the War of Indochina on May 07, 1954. This war ended with the great victory stir up the world and the withdrawal of France.

Summarized history of the Dien Bien Phu battle:

Before Dien Bien Phu ...
From 1951 to 1952 Viet Minh liberated a large mountainous areas in the north (Cao Bang, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Hoa Binh province) and the Viet Bac Centre. The French Expeditionary Corps (CEFEO) no longer holds the province of Hai Ninh, the corner of Lai Chau and the entrenched camp at Na San.
In summer 1953, a large region of Laos is also released.
The French had a troop of 450,000 men on the defensive.

 

 

 The ideas of General Navarre
General Navarre developed a plan, persuaded the High Laos will suffer an attack of the Vietminh. This is why 6 battalions parachuted on  Dien Bien Phu and decided to strengthen the site by a modern defense system, "a fortified hedgehog."
In 1954 Navarre reinforced the entrenched camp each day.
The Vo Nguyen Giap commander brought supplies and troops.
The terrain: a basin of 18 km long and 6-8 wide, surrounded by hills and mountains, play in favor of the Viet Minh, in part because the CEFEO depended totally on the aerial refueling.

The battle
The battle is initiated March 13, 1954 then turned quickly the surrounding hills. Piroth Colonel, commander of the French artillery, collapsed, committed suicide by unplugging a grenade.
The second half of March was devoted to drill a new network of hoses around the French camp. Bigeard and his paratroopers were sent as reinforcements.
On March 30 a new offensive was started. Only the hill Eliane resists. The French camp is now reduced to a narrow band of less than 2 km long.
Sensing the approaching defeat from the beginning of April, the French high command asked the direct intervention of the U.S. Air Force. This is the "Plan Vulture" who lost will never be executed.
After 56 days and 57 nights, May 7, the final assault. The entrenched camp was taken.

The numbers
3,000 dead, 4,000 wounded, 10,000 prisoners will return only one third of Viet Minh camps.
 

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