1890–d. 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. The defeat at Dien Bien Phu marked the end of the First Indochina War and spurred peace negotiations which were ongoing in Geneva. Ho Chi Minh agreed to meet with the French to discuss ending the fighting in Vietnam. The Viet Minh victory in this battle effectively ended the eight-year-old war. . Dien Bien Phu was the decisive battle of the First Indochina War. The battle of Dien Bien Phu was a significant turning point in Indochina. NOTE: This video is part of a lesson plan titled Eisenhower, the French, and Dien Bien Phu. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. It portrays the 55-day siege of Dien Bien Phu, the last battle by … Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The French defeat in Dien Bien Phu was the decisive event of the war, ended by the Geneva Agreements (20 July 1954). Vietnam was to wait for a national election to unify the country (whether to be under the Democratic Republic of Vietnam or the Associated State of Vietnam). The Vietnamese viewpoint of Dien Bien Phu supplies some much needed balance to the accounts of the battle written by Western soldiers and historians. Hoping to relieve the beleaguered garrison, de Castries launched a counterattack north, but with little success. https://www.thoughtco.com/battle-of-dien-bien-phu-2361343 (accessed January 26, 2021). Pausing, Giap shifted to trench warfare and attempted to isolate each French position. In the Geneva conference in 1954, the French agreed to withdraw totally from Vietnam, ending the first Indochina War. Archives: Dien Bien Phu Battle In Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam In May, 1954-French troops being taken care by the Vietminh after the battle. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com Plot Summary | Add Synopsis Extensively trained for the operation, Viet Minh troops quickly overcame French opposition and secured the works. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Given female names, de Castrie's headquarters was located in the center of four fortifications known as Huguette, Dominique, Claudine, and Eliane. The French wanted to reclaim Vietnam as one of their colonies, while the Vietnamese wanted their independence. 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. The French deployed a small number of M24 Chaffee light tanks during the battle that proved critical in repelling the enemy attacks. Utilizing a new moon, Viet Minh forces launched a massive assault on Beatrice behind a heavy barrage of artillery fire. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Dien-Bien-Phu, Chemins de Mémoire - The battle of Dien Bien Phu - 13th March -7th May 1954, United States History - Battle of Dien Bien Phu, Battle of Dien Bien Phu - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). 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. “[The battle of Dien Bien Phu] ranks with Agincourt, Waterloo, and Gettysburg as one of the great military engagements of history . (2020, August 29). On March 30, after cutting off Isabelle, Giap began a series of assaults on the eastern bastions of Dominique and Eliane. This made resupply, which had been difficult due to heavy anti-aircraft fire, next to impossible. Media in category "Battle of Dien Bien Phu" The following 48 files are in this category, out of 48 total. The battle of Dien Bien Phu began in 1953, when General Navarre fortified the valley of Dien Bien Phu, which lay … The Battle of Dien Bien Phu is seen as the decisive battle of the First Indochina War between French troops and the Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam), a nationalist, pro-Soviet Union movement of Ho Chi Minh. Kennedy Hickman is a historian, museum director, and curator who specializes in military and naval history. The battle of Dien Bien Phu (DBP) was a decisive engagement during the Indochina War (1946-54). First Indochina War: Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Date 13th March - 7th May 1954 Location Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam War First Indo China War Combatants France VS Viet Minh Outcome French The next day, artillery fire disabled the French airstrip forcing supplies to be dropped by parachute. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. From, …of the French stronghold of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 by the Vietnamese, the French sought a face-saving solution. Bataille de Dien Bien Phu 13 au 15 mars 1954.jpg 2,022 × 3,789; 1.54 MB Hickman, Kennedy. A conference of interested powers at Geneva that year ended the war by establishing what was intended as a temporary division of Vietnam into independent northern and southern states. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/battle-of-dien-bien-phu-2361343. Achieving a foothold in Dominique, the Viet Minh's advance was stopped by concentrated French artillery fire. 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. In nearly two months of fighting, the entire French garrison was either killed or captured. The Vie… In Operation Castor, the French dropped or flew 9,000 troops into the area over three days. The resulting conflict between these two regimes ultimately grew into the Vietnam War. Working with Colonel Louis Berteil, the "hedgehog" concept was developed which called for French troops to establish fortified camps near Viet Minh supply routes. Eight thousand miles away, in Geneva, the Vietnamese and Red Chinese delegations … They were landed at three drop zones: "Natasha" (northwest), "Octavie" (southwest), and "Simone" (southeast) of Dien Bien Phu. The concept was largely based on the French success at the Battle of Na San in late 1952. The battle was fought between the French and the Vietminh (Vietnamese Communist and nationalist). Battle of Dien Bien Phu 1954-Dien Bien Phu Vietminh. For more information, see: Indochinese revolution. 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. With his men's morale sinking, Giap was forced to call for reinforcements from Laos. 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. ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/battle-of-dien-bien-phu-2361343. 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. Believing that he was also tasked with defending neighboring Laos, Navarre sought an effective method for interdicting Viet Minh supply lines through the region. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which took place in northern Vietnam in 1954, marked a major turning point in both the First Indochina War between France and the Viet Minh independence movement and the general position of European colonial powers in South-East Asia. 1969)—the French decided to build a similar air-land base in Dien Bien Phu. 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. Only 73 made good their escape from the various shattered strongpoints to be rescued by the pro-French guerrilla units awaiting them in the Laotian jungle. This accord left Vietnam divided into the northern half and southern half (borderline was the 17th parallel). En route, the Viet Minh effectively destroyed the 2,100-man column and only 185 reached the new base on December 22. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Operations at Dien Bien Phu began at 10:35 on the morning of 20 November 1953. With the First Indochina War going poorly for the French, Premier Rene Mayer dispatched General Henri Navarre to take command in May 1953. ThoughtCo. French prisoners of war are marched out of Dien Bien Phu, 1954. An American reporter finds himself in the middle of the 57-day battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam between the French army and the Vietminh, which finally resulted in the defeat and surrender of the French forces and France's eventual withdrawal from Vietnam. Despite heavy U.S. aid, the base was overrun on May 7, 1954. 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. But then the Battle of Dien Bien Phu happened. Though Viet Minh shells began falling on the French position on January 31, 1954, Giap did not open the battle in earnest until 5:00 PM on March 13. "First Indochina War: Battle of Dien Bien Phu." The French sense of national humiliation, particularly acute within the army, had lasting repercussions on French public opinion and contributed—along with later events in Algeria—to the downfall of the Fourth Republic in 1958. 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. The battle of Dien Bien Phu is today overshadowed by the later involvement of the Americans in Vietnam in the 1960s. 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.…. 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. Fighting raged in Dominique and Eliane through April 5, with the French desperately defending and counterattacking. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu A French newspaper from 1954, with the headline ‘Dien Bien Phu is a tomb’. Dien Bien Phu was a major battle of the first Indochina war in which the French fought against the Viet Minh communists. Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the decisive engagement in the First Indochina War (1946–54). 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. . Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the decisive engagement in the First Indochina War (1946–54). With the defeat of the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the United States became concerned about communist gains in Vietnam. 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. About 2,000 lay dead all over the battlefield in graves left unmarked to this day. American policymakers saw it as proof that communism in Asia could be contained. Despite intense criticism from French officers, Navarre began to fortify Dien Bien Phu, by launching Operation Castor, in which 9,000 French soldiers were airlifted into the region. Fighting to the end, the last French resistance ended by nightfall on May 7. This Battle Analysis is written to illustrate the importance of logistics to complement tactical decisions with the war fighter on the battleground. Dien Bien Phu Battle Analysis. The causes of which were the division of Vietnam in 1946, and the first Indo-China war, 1946-54. . "First Indochina War: Battle of Dien Bien Phu." Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Between May 1 and May 7, Giap renewed his assault and succeeded in overrunning the defenders. In June 1953, Major General René Cogny first proposed the idea of creating a "mooring point" at Dien Bien Phu in northwest Vietnam. Viet Minh casualties are estimated at around 23,000. Updates? The preponderance of Viet Minh guns came as a surprise to the French who did not believe that Giap possessed a large artillery arm. 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 battle of Dien Bien Phu was a monumental event in Vietnam which decided the fate of Vietnam for the next 50 years. Omissions? 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 By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 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. 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. While Cogny had envisioned a lightly defended airbase, Navarre seized on the location for trying the hedgehog approach. Those two areas were held by five understrength battalions, composed of Frenchmen, Legionnaires, Vietnamese, North Africans, and Tais. Though the next two weeks saw a lull in fighting, the French command structure was in tatters. After their success in Na San (1952) against the Vietminh—the Revolutionary League for the Independence of Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh (b. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the final, defining conflict of the First Indochinese War, and led to the Geneva Accords, which divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel into … Corrections? In July 1953, the Korean War ended in a negotiated settlement and a divided peninsula. Over the next several days, fighting continued with heavy losses on both sides. A disaster for the French, losses at Dien Bien Phu numbered 2,293 killed, 5,195 wounded, and 10,998 captured. 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 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. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was fought between French … 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. Hickman, Kennedy. A French counterattack the next morning was easily defeated. The great battle in the valley of Dien Bien Phu was over. Hickman, Kennedy. In 1954, French forces in French Indochina sought to cut the Viet Minh's supply lines to Laos. 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. The Viet Minh victory in this battle effectively ended the eight-year-old war. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Despairing over the early defeats, de Castries secluded himself in his bunker and Colonel Pierre Langlais effectively took command of the garrison. 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. 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 victory effectively ended the First Indochina War and led to the 1954 Geneva Accords which split the country into North and South Vietnam. Diên Biên Phu is a 1992 film written and directed by French veteran Pierre Schoendoerffer. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Vietm Minh try to take the fortified Dien Bien Phu position, French try to stop them. 4 Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954) The Battle of Bien Dien Phu was the first crucial engagement in the first Indochina War. 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. That evening, Giap sent two regiments from the 308th Division against Gabrielle. To accomplish this, a large fortified base was constructed at Dien Bien Phu in northwest Vietnam. It was hoped that the presence of the base would draw the Viet Minh into a pitched battle where superior French firepower could destroy its army. Battling Algerian troops, they fought through the night. 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. This battle was a symbolic turning point in Indochina. 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… 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. 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. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the most decisive battle in the Indochina War (1946–54). 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. 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. Moving to attack the French, Giap dispatched troops against the fortified camp at Lai Chau, forcing the garrison to flee towards Dien Bien Phu. It ended with victory to the Viet Minh, the surrender of French colonial forces and eventually, the … Over the coming weeks, de Castries' garrison increased to 10,800 men supported by artillery and ten M24 Chaffee light tanks. French M24 Chaffee light tanks firing during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, 1954. In 1954, French forces in French Indochina sought to cut the Viet Minh's supply lines to Laos. 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. Though his subordinates protested, pointing out that unlike Na San they would not hold the high ground around the camp, Navarre persisted and planning moved forward. It took place in March 13, 1954 - May 7, 1954. 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. While the battle raged on the eastern side, Viet Minh forces succeeded in penetrating Huguette and by April 22 had captured 90% of the air strip. The Cadres of Regiment 88, Brigade 308 disseminate the combat plan to the soldiers. 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. During this time, Giap tightened his lines around the four central French fortifications. 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