1969)—the French decided to build a similar air-land base in Dien Bien Phu. ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/battle-of-dien-bien-phu-2361343. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought from March 13 to May 7, 1954, and was the decisive engagement of the First Indochina War (1946-1954), the precursor to the Vietnam War. In fact, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu is one of the most significant, not just of the 1950s where supposedly nothing much happened, but of the entire 20th century. Archives: Dien Bien Phu Battle In Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam In May, 1954-French troops being taken care by the Vietminh after the battle. Events at Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva Conference, the creation of South Vietnam, and John F. Kennedy’s “Flexible Response” policy, increased the United States’ involvement in Vietnam from 1954 to 1963. No American is better qualified to tell the tale of Dien Bien Phu and its significance than Howard Simpson.”—Stanley Karnow, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Vietnam: A History Two other…, …fall of their garrison at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954 and agreed to negotiate an end to the war at an international conference in Geneva.…. "First Indochina War: Battle of Dien Bien Phu." Although the Vietnamese quickly cut all the roads into Dien Bien Phu, making it suppliable only by air, the French were confident of their position. That evening, Giap sent two regiments from the 308th Division against Gabrielle. "First Indochina War: Battle of Dien Bien Phu." With French forces in disarray after the battle, the French government sought an end to the fighting; an official settlement was negotiated at an international conference in Geneva. Ho Chi Minh agreed to meet with the French to discuss ending the fighting in Vietnam. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought from March 13 to May 7, 1954, and was the decisive engagement of the First Indochina War (1946-1954), the precursor to the Vietnam War. Occupée par les Français en novembre 1953, cette petite ville et sa plaine environnante devinrent lannée suivante le théâtre d'une violente bataille entre le corps expéditionnaire français, composé de diverses unités de lar… Seeing an opportunity at Dien Bien Phu, Giap moved approximately 50,000 men into the hills around the French position, as well as the bulk of his heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the most decisive battle in the Indochina War (1946–54). With its huge budget, all-star cast, and realistic war scenes produced with the cooperation of both the French and Vietnamese armed forces, Dîen Bîen Phu is regarded by many as one of the more important war movies produced in French filmmaking history. The defeat at Dien Bien Phu marked the end of the First Indochina War and spurred peace negotiations which were ongoing in Geneva. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. On March 30, after cutting off Isabelle, Giap began a series of assaults on the eastern bastions of Dominique and Eliane. The resulting 1954 Geneva Accords partitioned the country at the 17th Parallel and created a communist state in the north and a democratic state in the south. About 2,000 lay dead all over the battlefield in graves left unmarked to this day. They were landed at three drop zones: "Natasha" (northwest), "Octavie" (southwest), and "Simone" (southeast) of Dien Bien Phu. American policymakers saw it as proof that communism in Asia could be contained. The Viet Minh victory in this battle effectively ended the eight-year-old war. In 1954, French forces in French Indochina sought to cut the Viet Minh's supply lines to Laos. Bataille de Dien Bien Phu 13 au 15 mars 1954.jpg 2,022 × 3,789; 1.54 MB Over the next several days, fighting continued with heavy losses on both sides. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our. Vietm Minh try to take the fortified Dien Bien Phu position, French try to stop them. After their success in Na San (1952) against the Vietminh—the Revolutionary League for the Independence of Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh (b. With Colonel Christian de Castries in command, they quickly overcame local Viet Minh opposition and began building a series of eight fortified strong points. The Cadres of Regiment 88, Brigade 308 disseminate the combat plan to the soldiers. Battle of Dien Bien Phu 1954-Dien Bien Phu Colonial Parachute Battalion n. 6 is thrown first into Dien Bien Phu on 20th November 1953. Diên Biên Phu is a 1992 film written and directed by French veteran Pierre Schoendoerffer. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French: Bataille de Diên Biên Phu pronounced [bataj də djɛn bjɛn fy]; Vietnamese: Chiến dịch Điện Biên Phủ, IPA: [ɗîəˀn ɓīən fû]) was a climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War that took place between 13 March and 7 May 1954. It consisted of a struggle between French and Viet Minh (Vietnamese Communist and nationalist) forces for control of a small mountain outpost on the Vietnamese border near Laos. French M24 Chaffee light tanks firing during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, 1954. Fighting to the end, the last French resistance ended by nightfall on May 7. They were thus taken by surprise when the Viet Minh Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap surrounded the base with 40,000 men and used heavy artillery to break the French lines. Operations at Dien Bien Phu began at 10:35 on the morning of 20 November 1953. Extensively trained for the operation, Viet Minh troops quickly overcame French opposition and secured the works. Media in category "Battle of Dien Bien Phu" The following 48 files are in this category, out of 48 total. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Pausing, Giap shifted to trench warfare and attempted to isolate each French position. Holding the high ground around a fortified camp at Na San, French forces had repeatedly beaten back assaults by General Vo Nguyen Giap's Viet Minh troops. The Vie… The French deployed a small number of M24 Chaffee light tanks during the battle that proved critical in repelling the enemy attacks. En route, the Viet Minh effectively destroyed the 2,100-man column and only 185 reached the new base on December 22. Dien Bien Phu was the decisive battle of the First Indochina War. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The battle of Dien Bien Phu was a significant turning point in Indochina. Navarre believed that the approach used at Na San could be enlarged to force the Viet Minh to commit to a large, pitched battle where superior French firepower could destroy Giap's army. The next day, artillery fire disabled the French airstrip forcing supplies to be dropped by parachute. Hickman, Kennedy. . The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French: Bataille de Diên Biên Phu pronounced [bataj də djɛn bjɛn fy]; Vietnamese: Chiến dịch Điện Biên Phủ, IPA: [ɗîəˀn ɓīən fû]) was a climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War that took place between 13 March and 7 May 1954. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. The great battle in the valley of Dien Bien Phu was over. Updates? Dien Bien Phu (Điện Biên Phủ, pronounced Dee-yen Bee-enn Foo) is a valley and small town in North Vietnam, 260 miles northwest of Hanoi and the place of the decisive 1954 battle that forced France to relinquish control of colonial Indochina. The battle was joined in late 1953 when French forces, who had been rapidly losing ground to the popularly supported Viet Minh, occupied the town of Dien Bien Phu in an attempt to cut the nationalist supply lines into Laos and to maintain a base for forays against enemy forces. Despairing over the early defeats, de Castries secluded himself in his bunker and Colonel Pierre Langlais effectively took command of the garrison. Fighting raged in Dominique and Eliane through April 5, with the French desperately defending and counterattacking. To accomplish this, a large fortified base was constructed at Dien Bien Phu in northwest Vietnam. Those two areas were held by five understrength battalions, composed of Frenchmen, Legionnaires, Vietnamese, North Africans, and Tais. Biography of Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnamese General, Timeline of the Vietnam War (Second Indochina War), Biography of Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. The French objective had been to support the soldiers at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into neighboring Laos. Over the coming weeks, de Castries' garrison increased to 10,800 men supported by artillery and ten M24 Chaffee light tanks. Arriving in Hanoi, Navarre found that no long-term plan existed for defeating the Viet Minh and that French forces simply reacted to the enemy's moves. Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the decisive engagement in the First Indochina War (1946–54). But then the Battle of Dien Bien Phu happened. The next phase of the battle saw more massed Viet Minh assaults against French positions in the central Dien Bien Phu—at Eliane and Dominique in particular. With his men's morale sinking, Giap was forced to call for reinforcements from Laos. First Indochina War: Battle of Dien Bien Phu. It took place in March 13, 1954 - May 7, 1954. Close to 10,000 captured troops were to begin the grim death march to the Viet Minh prison camps 300 miles to the east. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu A French newspaper from 1954, with the headline ‘Dien Bien Phu is a tomb’. The Vietnamese viewpoint of Dien Bien Phu supplies some much needed balance to the accounts of the battle written by Western soldiers and historians. La bataille de Diên Biên Phu (Điện Biên Phủ selon l'orthographe vietnamienne) est un moment clé de la guerre d'Indochine qui se déroula du 20 novembre 1953 au 7 mai 1954 et qui opposa, au Tonkin, les forces de l'Union française aux forces du Việt Minh, dans le Nord du Viet Nam actuel. In nearly two months of fighting, the entire French garrison was either killed or captured. Though the next two weeks saw a lull in fighting, the French command structure was in tatters. (2020, August 29). In 1954, the Viet Minh army, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, moved against Dien Bien Phu and in March encircled it with 40,000 Communist troops and heavy artillery. On November 20, 1953, Operation Castor commenced and 9,000 French troops were dropped into the Dien Bien Phu area over the next three days. Battle of Dien Bien Phu 1954-Dien Bien Phu Vietminh. In June 1953, Major General René Cogny first proposed the idea of creating a "mooring point" at Dien Bien Phu in northwest Vietnam. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. The preponderance of Viet Minh guns came as a surprise to the French who did not believe that Giap possessed a large artillery arm. . The Viet Minh victory in this battle effectively ended the eight-year-old war. The battle of Dien Bien Phu is today overshadowed by the later involvement of the Americans in Vietnam in the 1960s. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/battle-of-dien-bien-phu-2361343. During this time, Giap tightened his lines around the four central French fortifications. Dien Bien Phu Battle Analysis. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought between French … Corrections? A French counterattack the next morning was easily defeated. The battle of Dien Bien Phu began in 1953, when General Navarre fortified the valley of Dien Bien Phu, which lay … While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Omissions? “[The battle of Dien Bien Phu] ranks with Agincourt, Waterloo, and Gettysburg as one of the great military engagements of history . Poorly sited in the low ground of the valley, the base was soon besieged by Viet Minh forces which used artillery and infantry assaults to grind down the enemy while also deploying a large number of anti-aircraft guns to prevent the French from resupplying or evacuating. From, …of the French stronghold of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 by the Vietnamese, the French sought a face-saving solution. In the spring of 1954, eight long and arduous years into the First Indochina War, the French suffered a defeat that was so shameful and shambolic, it remains barely spoken of. Working with Colonel Louis Berteil, the "hedgehog" concept was developed which called for French troops to establish fortified camps near Viet Minh supply routes. French prisoners of war are marched out of Dien Bien Phu, 1954. To the north, northwest, and northeast were works dubbed Gabrielle, Anne-Marie, and Beatrice, while four miles to the south, Isabelle guarded the base's reserve airstrip. 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