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Vietnam War Dien Bien Phu


Dien Bien Phu

The battle that divided Vietnam

About Dien Bien Phu

Dien Bien Phu lies in a 20 km long and 6 km wide heart shaped basin in the Muong Thanh valley, surrounded by mountains. The Nam Rom River runs across this very fertile valley.

The 55 Day Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The 55 day battle from March 13 to May 7, 1954, was a climatic battle between the French and the Viet Minh (Vietnamese Communist forces) that led to the division of Vietnam into North and South Vietnam. From 1947 until the Dien Bien Phu battle, the French mastered the skies, but were unable to stop the flow of supplies reaching the Vietnamese guerilla.


The French expeditionary corps occupied Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and set up a group of fortresses equipped with many state-of-the-art weapons to prevent the Viet Minh from gaining control of Northern Laos and the middle of lower Mekong River Valley. The French forces supplied only by air, were defeated when the Viet Minh overran the base on May 7. The French military leaders had failed to appreciate the strength and determination of the Vietnamese opposition.

Dien Bien Phu Casualties

General de Castries and his entire command were taken, 3000 French troops were killed, 8000 wounded; and they lost 48 aircrafts during 1 019 sorties. The Viet Minh suffered a lot worse, with 8 000 dead and 12 000 wounded.

Results of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The battle of Dien Bien Phu, and the International Peace Conference that began in Geneva the day after the battle, brought the war to an end on July 20, 1954. This led to the end of the First Indochina War (1946-1954) and the surrender of French claims in Indochina and the division of Vietnam.



Dien Bien Phu - Vietnam image map




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