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  • Dien Bien Phu

    I'd like to know more details about the battle the French Foreign Legion and the French Paratroops went through. I know they lost and that they were in a reverse siege.
    The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

    Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

  • #2
    This is a good site:

    http://www.dienbienphu.org/english/index.htm
    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dannybou
      This is a good site:

      http://www.dienbienphu.org/english/index.htm
      There are some stunning pix taken recently of the tanks at DBP. The Viet Minh just left them more or less where they were, it looks. They even know which tanks they were. that's pretty cool!
      Givin' you the scoop, the poop, the skinny and the scuttlebutt since 1969!

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      • #4
        Here is a search from Amazon.com

        The only book I've read in this list is number 4 on the list...
        Dien Bien Phu by John Keegan....this book is part of the Ballantine Illustrated History of the Violent Century Series.

        It is a very good read.....with plenty of maps an pictures. However, the lowest price they show is $40.00. You can probably find the same book on Ebay for $10.00....I did. In fact, if you can't find it anywhere....I'd be happy to loan you mine.

        Dien Bien Phu at Amazon.com

        dog

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        • #5
          A few years ago, I read a book about General Vo Nguyen Giap, who devised many of the strategies used against the French and later the US in Vietnam. It was an interesting account from the "other" side, when discussing Dien Bien Phu, Khe San, and the Tet Offensive.

          One of the interesting tactics used at Dien Bien Phu was the digging of trenches to approach the French lines. many were decoys, dug just deep enough for a man to crawl through. These were dug much faster than the traditional deeper ones. This allowed them to appear almost from nowhere, come the morning.

          Also, Giap used a large number of well-concealed AA to shoot down aircraft coming in with supplies.

          I believe I have the volume in my library (cardboard box in my attic). If I can find it, I will post the info.
          Retreat hell, we just got here. Every Marine, a rifleman.

          Never let the facts get in the way of the truth.

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          • #6
            One thing I forgot is that....

            Either The History Channel or History Channel International occasionally runs a documentary on Dien Bien Phu.....and it's very good.

            dog

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            • #7
              The French at Dien Bien Phu fought very bravely, but they were put in a very poor defensive position by their high command. They completely discounted the Viet Minh's ability to get artillery into the surrounding heights. After that was achieved through sheer manpower the fate of the garrison was sealed.
              Lance W.

              Peace through superior firepower.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lance Williams
                The French at Dien Bien Phu fought very bravely, but they were put in a very poor defensive position by their high command. They completely discounted the Viet Minh's ability to get artillery into the surrounding heights. After that was achieved through sheer manpower the fate of the garrison was sealed.
                The worst thing any leader can do is underestimate their opponents.
                Retreat hell, we just got here. Every Marine, a rifleman.

                Never let the facts get in the way of the truth.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iron Mike USMC
                  The worst thing any leader can do is underestimate their opponents.
                  Probably more battles (and wars) have been lost for just that reason..............
                  Lance W.

                  Peace through superior firepower.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dien Bien Phu

                    Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
                    I'd like to know more details about the battle the French Foreign Legion and the French Paratroops went through. I know they lost and that they were in a reverse siege.
                    From my recall, Dien Bien Phu was actually a final destination. Responding to Viet actions, they pushed further and further west, final ending up at Dien Bien Phu, situated at the bottom of a valley. They assumed that there was no possible way that the Viet Minh could haul artillery up to the ridges above Dien Bien Phu. To their surprise and bad luck, the Viet Minh did exactly that. Can't recall absolutely if this is so, but I think that the local Viet Minh commander (don't recall if it was Gen. Giap) offered surrender to the French, allowing them to go to Hanoi and leave the country. Reportedly, the French commander, head of one of the more elite French units on the scene, dismissed the offer. After this, the Viet Minh were rather merciless, and the French were crushed, including being mercilessly shelled from the heights. Another reason why the French should never have been allowed their own weapons. All in all, it would be better to allow a proxy force to fight for them.
                    Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                    (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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                    • #11
                      Just a side note. Of the approx. 70,000 Legionnaires who fought the 8 year war, 35,000 of them were WWII German vets. At Dien Bien Phu, 1,600 Germans took part.
                      "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography."
                      - Ambrose Bierce

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                      • #12
                        Re: Here is a search from Amazon.com

                        Originally posted by moondog
                        The only book I've read in this list is number 4 on the list...
                        Dien Bien Phu by John Keegan....this book is part of the Ballantine Illustrated History of the Violent Century Series.

                        It is a very good read.....with plenty of maps an pictures. However, the lowest price they show is $40.00. You can probably find the same book on Ebay for $10.00....I did. In fact, if you can't find it anywhere....I'd be happy to loan you mine.

                        Dien Bien Phu at Amazon.com


                        dog
                        Never heard of this book by Keegan before, thanx moondog.

                        P.S. How is Spring up in Mid-Michigan?
                        Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                        (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gen_Electric
                          Just a side note. Of the approx. 70,000 Legionnaires who fought the 8 year war, 35,000 of them were WWII German vets. At Dien Bien Phu, 1,600 Germans took part.
                          There were several wehrmact veterans at DBP, I understand. If you look at the names of the tanks, you will notice a few are deutch names such as "Auerstaedt" and "Ettlingen". I remember reading that some SS vets joined the FFL after the war. The author suggested that perhaps thier families and past lives were in russian occupied territories or perhaps they were escaping warcrimes trials or perhaps they just hadn't killed enough communists yet.

                          The site Dannybou recommended has pix of those 2 tanks as well as "Bazeille" and "Ratisbonne". Click on "photos of DBP 45 years later" and then on "some vestiges of the battle"

                          also there are photos of what looks like DeCastries' Command Bunker as it looks today.


                          DBP is a much larger town now than i thought it would be.
                          Givin' you the scoop, the poop, the skinny and the scuttlebutt since 1969!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fenrir
                            There were several wehrmact veterans at DBP, I understand. If you look at the names of the tanks, you will notice a few are deutch names such as "Auerstaedt" and "Ettlingen". I remember reading that some SS vets joined the FFL after the war. The author suggested that perhaps thier families and past lives were in russian occupied territories or perhaps they were escaping warcrimes trials or perhaps they just hadn't killed enough communists yet.

                            The site Dannybou recommended has pix of those 2 tanks as well as "Bazeille" and "Ratisbonne". Click on "photos of DBP 45 years later" and then on "some vestiges of the battle"

                            also there are photos of what looks like DeCastries' Command Bunker as it looks today.


                            DBP is a much larger town now than i thought it would be.
                            I see some of the photos have French description. Don't hesitate to ask if you need a translation.
                            http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                            Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If I remember correctly the paratroopers dropped from an extremely dangerous low altitude and most ended up injuried from the fall. But this trying to think about to a military history class 3 years ago...
                              “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

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