War cementry

Điện Biên Phủ is famous for the important battle that was fought here between the Việt Minh and the French colonial troops. The victory of the Việt Minh ended major French involvement in Indochina and led to the partition of Vietnam into North and South.

Happy Greek
A very happy Greek after a good nights sleep

Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum
The Vietnam Military History Museum

The museum is housed in this interesting looking building. The entrance reminds one on the trenches of the Hill A1 opposite of the museum.
If you ever visit the place it is good to read up on the battle and why the French even put a base here. All the information in the museum is in Vietnamese only so you will not really know more after you visit it.

The masterminds of the batte
The masterminds of the Operation Casto with Uncle Ho (second from the left)
Việt Minh Soldiers
Việt Minh soldiers firering a machine gun at planes – I guess…

Indochina was a French colony until the beginning of the Second World War. With the defeat of 1940 and the strengthening of the Axis powers, the colony came under Japan’s sphere of influence. This influence weakened the French position of power so much that the Việt Minh could form as a political and military mass movement with the goal of national independence as the strongest political force.

The French colonial power tried to draw the communist Vietnamese state into a military conflict and thereby restore the colonial order by means of military superiority. Politically, the French attempted to establish the Republic of Cochinchina as a partially sovereign clientele state in order to create a non-Communist Vietnamese state and deprive the North of its legitimacy. The Việt Minh responded with a guerrilla campaign in the south. The Indochina War began on 23 November 1946 with the French bombing of the North Vietnamese port city of Haiphong.

Since mid 1950, the Việt Minh where able to bring their own armed forces close to the equipment and firepower of a regular army through Chinese support. The Việt Minh fought in large units with supporting artillery.

Operation Castor

The French military leadership wanted to give the war a decisive turnaround by destroying the Việt-Minh troops. To achieve this, the guerrilla units were to be lured into an open battle. To this end, an air-supplied outpost was to be set up in northwestern Tonking to attract the attacks of the Việt Minh. They decided on Điện Biên Phủ because they wanted to stop the Chinese supply going to the Việt Minh.

The French were sure that the Việt Minh was not able to get heavy artillery over the mountains and if so only a few canons and not enough ammunition. This proved to be very wrong and let to losing the later battle.

37 mm anti-aircraft gun
All transport was done by hand or bike – hundreds of man where used to haul only one of the Chinese supplied artillery such as 105mm howitzer or anti-aircraft artillery like this one.
Hauling a 37 mm canon
At last this form of transport is envoirement friendly
Explanation in the Museum
This is as good as it gets. Everything is in Vietnamese only. Makes it kind of “Up to You” what you take from your visit.
Road Builders
To get all the firepower into the valley you first had to carve out the roads in the mountains
Road Construction
Road construction like this I saw last in the far North of India
The famous transport bike
The famous transport bike used by the Việt Minh
Vietnamese Hill Tribe
Hmmm… Could be some guys with bikes transporting goods to the battlefield that got overtaken by some locals? Could be something else too
French Soldiers
The siege of the French garrison lasted fifty-seven days – red wine only 43 – go figure!!
Digging trenches under fire
Digging trenches under fire – the bast mat as a bullet protector. Interesting!
French field hospital
French field hospital: For 15.000 soldiers they had only two doctors and one nurse!
Vietnamese field hospital
Vietnamese field hospital: For about 50.000 soldiers they had only one doctor and 6 assistants
Việt Minh Fighters
The Việt Minh fighters are in good mood. Looks like the last guy on the left in the back is doing a line!
Vicory at Điện Biên Phủ
Why does this look so familiar?? The end of the battle on May 5th 1954 (only the southern outpost of Camp Isabelle fought till 1:00 of May 6th)

Eliane 2 or the A1 Hill

Up the A1 hill
Up the A1 hill
Barb wire at A1 Hill
Barbwire at A1 Hill
Some bunker
Some bunker
More bunker
More bunker
In the comand bunker
I guess this guy had some form of communication equipment and a chair before
In the bunker
Looks like another communication guy
Trenches and a bomb crater
Trenches and a mine crater

War cementry

War cemetery
War cemetery in Điện Biên Phủ
War memorial
War memorial
War Memorial
Everlasting thanks to the heroes of martyrs
War cememtry
The entrance gate
Dragon-fly dance
Dragon-fly dance
A bridge
A bridge – to close this day!

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