Dien Bien Phu

Was there any way the French could have salvaged this utter catastrophe of a battle? I'll be generous and put the sole victory condition as preventing the complete destruction of the garrison, be it either through successful defense of the base or evacuation to friendly territory.

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Viets should not have been able to enter the valley. They were able to move artillery onto the hillsides under tree cover and fire at at the French directly. With these two points in mind, they should have deforested every hill in visual range of the airstrip (they already did this on many of the roads), and they should have had fire bases on the surrounding hills to provide early warning and a buffer against attack.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Yeah.

      Also the French plan was fricked from conception.

      Fight up valley and establish base with surrounded by high terrain.

      Then bait Viet Minh to lay a seige cuz, sieges always workout for the defender without a relief force right?

      >it's cool mon ami, asiatics could never disrupt our command of... .'le air'!.

      The moment their surrounding defensive hilltop positions starting seeing serious assaults that should have been CODE RED SACRE BLEU

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        The French had tried the same thing at Na San with reasonable success. Unfortunately for them, Giap learned from Na San and brought a lot more artillery to Dien Bien Phu that the French were completely unaware of until it was too late.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          This.
          Thank you.
          And this was all thanks to the soviets and the chinese.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Without the heavy artillery supplied by the Soviets/Chinese the Viet Minh's best option was zerg rushing to negate the French fire support advantage, which in turn was countered well enough by the French hedgehog defense at Na San. The French then gambled on being able to bait Giap into doing the same again, but on a larger scale and hoping their firepower advantage would negate the comparatively worse positions at Dien Bien Phu. Notably, Giap's initial plan was to rush Dien Bien Phu as quickly as possible which might have played into the French plans, but he instead decided to leverage his artillery as methodically as possible, placing them in positions the French never thought were even possible. This ended up completely neutering French firepower and left their strongpoints vulnerable to the eventual Viet Minh assaults.

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >the battle itself?
    Probably not.

    I met a few Legion veterans of that particular battle on the 62nd anniversary. We were tasked with doing the ceremonial duties (standing there while the wreath was laid out) and we got to mingle a little bit afterwards and hear some stories from a very very old German (WW2 vet) and his Swiss battle buddy who were there. Everyone had pretty much accepted that they were going to be overrun and most were prepared to fight to the last bullet.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Legionnaire?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Yeah the French Foreign Legion, probably should’ve specified. Tthe German joined the Legion in 1945 after he was demobilised and the Swiss guy was younger and likely joined in the 50s. I was also a Legionnaire back then hence why we were tasked with the service.

        Also met one of the Repmen who jumped into Kolwezi in 1978 he was a Caporal Chef and still in the Legion

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    They were outnumbered 5-1 and didn't even have meaningful technological superiority. Realistically there was nothing they could have done to have won it as long the viets had their AA and heavy artillery. Khe San survived because the American force multipliers were enough to hold back the VC's while the French didn't have the same abilities in 1954.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      As a matter of fact they had technological INferiority, ie a drastic lack of support weapons such as machine guns and artillery

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >utter catastrophe
    >Casualties and losses, French side : >1,571 - 2,293 dead 6,650 wounded
    >Vietnamese side :
    >8,000 dead 15,000 wounded
    Why are thirdies like this?

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      What are they supposed to do though? It's not like they have the same parity with the French, might as well throw out as many as they can and hope for the best.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      You think an expeditionary force losing their base after taking 25% of KIA vs the natives is a bad figure? It is an astounding Viet Minh victory. Deal with it, froggy

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >the battle that single-handedly ended French rule in Indochina wasn't a catastrophe

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      This is a terrible ratio if you’re defending a fortified position against light infantry and sappers.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >"forgets" to add the number of captured French troops

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Literally thousands of French were killed and captured and they lost a vitally important base. I hate thirdie spam as much as the next (civilized) person, but this was a major defeat for the French and signaled the end of their colonial bullshit in SEA. Military history is more than >muh K:D. It's not a fricking video game. Human life is meaningless in and of itself--it's value is social, economic, and strategic. If the Viet's lost more people, but suffered no strategic or economic hardship because of it, then while it does signal that they weren't the most individually, tactically skilled warriors and that their leadership didn't care about casualties--not good things--it doesn't actually matter. The French were less capable of coping with or comfortable with their losses. This is similar to Vietnam II: Burger Strikes Back, in which Americans were slowly atritted and lost motivation due to casualties even though the losses were very minor compared to NVA/VC losses, resulting in a politically motivated withdrawal. Battles during the high middle ages are another example. A side might lose more men at arms, but what really mattered was the loss of important knights and lords. Crusaders sent wave after wave into the meat grinder, but Richard the Lionheart's ransom literally broke the economy of England. The ransom for the French King at Poitier added up to today's equivalent of $500,000,000.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      11'000 captured as well no?
      Those are atrocious numbers. In modern day you'd have to kill hundred of thousands of any combatants to justify those numbers. Some thirdy arguments are moronic.
      >US lost Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam etc...
      And they suffered almost no large tactical defeats in those wars just failed to completely cripple the country and gave up. Dien Bien Phu's not like that. The French went way past when they should have given up and suffered a massive tactical military defeat. This is the exception to rule generally speaking in this types of conflicts but it still happened. It was wasnt like in Algeria where the French left. The French were kicked out of Vietnam by military might. Kinda sucks France doesn't have that spirit anymore because I honestly thinks that's what could have won Afghanistan.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      That’s because the French surrendered and agreed to pull out of Indochina. If they hadn’t and the Vietnamese had actually overrun the position you would be looking at a total party kill.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      McNamara is that you? How's the weather in hell?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Exquisite bait, well done anon

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      So given the standards of western military kill claims at the time, that'd be somewhere around 800-1600 dead and 1500-3000 wounded for the Vietminh. Sounds like a pretty impressive ratio for reducing a fortified position.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    all explained in french dinner scene apocalypse now, french socialist back home wanted the right-wing commanders of the paratroopers and foreign legion to fail so they could have a political victory in france

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Obligatory Schoendoerffer.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I want to watch this movie so bad but its impossible to find.

      https://i.imgur.com/B5hBrUi.jpg

      Was there any way the French could have salvaged this utter catastrophe of a battle? I'll be generous and put the sole victory condition as preventing the complete destruction of the garrison, be it either through successful defense of the base or evacuation to friendly territory.

      >Was there any way the French could have salvaged this utter catastrophe of a battle?
      No. Even decades of air-innovation later Khe Sahn was touch and go for the Marines and they had 24/7 CAS and 24/7 resupply.

      Marching into enemy territory, w/o supply and then turtling will result in a loss simply because they can make good their losses and resupply and you cant.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I need to watch this movie

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        It’s not particularly good, it’s a dated early 90s war movie full of bad acting, a cast of literal whos (if you’re not French) and no plot beyond showcasing snippets of the battle from a few perspectives. I speak French and I watched it in French so at least I wasn’t dealing with subtitles but if I could make a comparison it would be equivalent quality to the movie Hamburger Hill, like it’s just a film version of the battle with a handful of characters and it has a really anticlimactic ending.

        A few years ago the French made a movie about the 1970s bus hostage situation on the Somali border where GIGN shot some terrorists in a synchronised sniper shot. The movie version of course has the GIGN headshotting hundreds of Somalis in a giant gun battle at the end and it’s generally just ridiculous but worth a watch if you turn your brain off beforehand

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Read The Centurions

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