The Battle of Dien Bien Phu - Vietnam

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 1018

Words: 1039

Pages: 5

Category: Literature

Date Submitted: 04/01/2009 05:37 AM

Report This Essay

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu started on March 13, 1954 and ended May 7th. The battle was fought in the Dien Bien Phu area of Vietnam between the French and Vietnam revolutionaries called the Viet Minh (part of the People’s Army of Vietnam). This was the final battle of the First Indochina War and proved to be a devastating loss for the French.


The French Foreign Legion was unlike any other 20th Century military force in the world. An Army of Mercenaries whose sense of honor transcended national boundaries. These were the orphans of the French Republic and a spearhead of the Republic’s armed response to the Vietnam uprising. Few military units pride themselves on battles that were ultimately lost, but for the men of the French Foreign Legion pride and honor were more important than victory and defeat. A perfect example would be at the battle Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

France was losing the war for Indochina. Since the defeat of Japan in 1945, French troops and Colonial Administrators attempted to reassert control of France’s Asian Empire. It proved to be a costly and futile exercise. For 8 years, France attempted to subdue the stubborn coalition of Communist guerillas and Vietnamese Nationalists who vowed to expel all foreigners from their country. This was no war to win the hearts and minds of the people; it was a brutal war of attrition, a war perfectly suited for the Legion. In total, nearly 30,000 Legionnaires deployed, it was an army that was expected to squash the Asian rebel.

Operations at Dien Bien Phu really began on November 20, 1953. About 9,000 French troops were dropped off in the area within a three day period. This mission called Operation Castor positioned the French to the northwest, southwest, and southeast around Dien Bien Phu. The Viet Minh had an infantry headquarters at Dien Bien Phu, and Commander General Võ Nguyên Giáp could do little in counter reaction because he had three of four battalions absent at that time. The French...