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THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS.

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Presentation on theme: "THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS."— Presentation transcript:

1 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS presented by DAVE SABBEN MG 01 - Dien Bien Phu

2 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT BACKGROUND The French ruled Indo-China since late 1800s, always against nationalist movements. 1920s: The Vietnamese Nationalist Party. 1930: Ho Chi Minh & Communist Party. Then WW2: When France fell to Germany, Indo-China part of Vichy govt – thus pro-Japan. Japan was at war with China (since 1937) so they entered Viet Nam to flank China. 1941: VN Independence Movement = Viet Minh, who opposed both French & Japanese – thus were pro-British & pro-USA Potsdam Conf: after the war: NorthVN was to be administered by China; SouthVN was to be administered by the British. 1945: Ho Chi Minh with US support declared Democratic Republic of Vietnam. 1946: French troops arrived back in Viet Nam. Viet Minh & French drove Chinese forces out. Then Viet Minh opposed French for power: Start of 1 st Indo-China War. 2a The VIET MINH can be thought of as the Viet Cong of the 40s & 50s. Their official name was the League for the Independence of Vietnam.

3 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT 2b CONDUCT 1)The French immediately seized the major ports, towns and infrastructure; 2)The Viet Minh seized control of the countryside and rural communities; 3)The French established chains of forts and garrisons along major routes; 4)By 1949, 300,000 Viet Minh under Gen, Giap, with huge China & Soviet support; 5)Viet Minh hit outposts, ambushing relief – force French onto defence; 6) – wins and losses to each side – battle honours very even (losses never admitted by Vietnamese); 7) FACTORS French – national prestige, economics USA – stop global communism, strategic China – deny Soviet access to Indian Ocean Soviet – keep China hemmed in Vietnamese – nationalism, self-determination. THE NATURE OF THE WAR For the Vietnamese: Political, with military support; For all non-Vietnamese: Military, with political support – Giap invades Laos (part of French Indo-China) – focus on support; France wants to interdict Giap’s supply lines – so they set up… Dien Bien Phu General Vo Nguyen Giap

4 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Here’s a simplified conventional map (vertical view), and an oblique-view map-diagram… 3a

5 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT 3b

6 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT 20 Nov 1953 – Operation Castor Six Battalions of French Paratroopers from 1 st and 2 nd Airborne Battle Groups (3500 men) parachute into the valley around the village of Dien Bien Phu. Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND 4 Commander of the French forces, Colonel Christian De Castries.

7 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND 20 Nov 1953 – Operation Castor Six Battalions of French Paratroopers from 1 st and 2 nd Airborne Battle Groups (3500 men) parachute into the valley around the village of Dien Bien Phu. Within 10 days, the force built to 10,800 men. An interlocking network of strong-points was established – reputedly named after the former mistresses of the French Commander, Colonel de Castries, but in fact, just 9 names starting alphabetically from “A” to “I”. Anne-Marie Huguette Francoise Beatrice Dominique Eliane HQ ClaudineGabrielle 1km Isabelle 5

8 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND 20 Nov 1953 – Operation Castor Six Battalions of French Paratroopers from 1 st and 2 nd Airborne Battle Groups (3500 men) parachute into the valley around the village of Dien Bien Phu. Within 10 days, the force built to 10,800 men. An interlocking network of strong-points was established – reputedly named after the former mistresses of the French Commander, Colonel de Castries, but in fact, just 9 names starting alphabetically from “A” to “I”. Air strip Anne-Marie Huguette Francoise Beatrice Dominique Eliane HQ ClaudineGabrielle Once operational, they then flew in more troops, artillery, transport, supplies, concrete, wire etc… Artillery was dug in. Tanks and fighter aircraft arrived, and the defences were hardened up. 1km Isabelle 6 The first priority, after securing their ground was to re-commission an old Japanese airstrip

9 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT The Viet Minh reaction was to gather all available forces to the valley. In three months General Giap had gathered 3 Divisions onto the high ground overlooking Dien Bien Phu, building that to 5 Divisions (55,000 men) plus a 15,000-strong supply line. He had a new supply road built and brought in a newly-formed Heavy Weapons Division - the 371 st. He stockpiled artillery and Anti-Aircraft ammunition in the hills East of DBP. By the time he was ready, his artillery outnumbered the French 4 to 1. …THE REALITY… By the end of January, 1954, Giap was in a position to isolate DBP except from the air. All he needed was to get the supplies in... The propaganda machine was put to work: Huge guns manhandled up steep slopes? The reality was less spectacular, but just as deadly. Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND Air strip Anne-Marie Huguette Francoise Beatrice Dominique Eliane HQ ClaudineGabrielle Viet Minh 312 nd Division Viet Minh 308 th Division Viet Minh 316 th Division Viet Minh 308 th Division 1km Isabelle 7 VM 304 th Div opposes Isabelle HUGE GUNS… …UP STEEP SLOPES…

10 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND 1700 hrs, 13 March 1954 The siege of Dien Bien Phu began with a massive Viet Minh barrage followed by human wave assaults on the three northern outlying positions: Gabrielle, Anne-Marie and Beatrice. Air strip Anne-Marie Huguette Francoise Beatrice Dominique Eliane HQ ClaudineGabrielle Viet Minh 312 nd Division Viet Minh 308 th Division Viet Minh 316 th Division Beatrice fell quickly with 550 French KIA or POW and 600 Viet Minh KIA and 1200 WIA. Gabrielle fell 2 days later on the 15 th, with 1000 French and up to 2000 Viet Minh dead. Anne-Marie 3 days after that, on the 18 th when most of the defenders (T’ai- an ethnic Vietnamese minority loyal to France) deserted. Viet Minh 308 th Division 312 Div 312 Div 308 Div 308 Div 308 Div 316 Div 1km Isabelle 8 VM 304 th Div opposes Isabelle The airstrip was now exposed and unusable. The French could not evacuate their wounded or land supplies, which now had to be parachuted in. Anti-aircraft fire made the drops inaccurate, and 30% of drops fell outside the perimeter. Ammo, food and water was rationed.

11 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND The period 18 to 30 March was a lull. Viet Minh forces in the north were exhausted. While they were rested, those in the south closed in on Isabelle, isolating its 1800 men. Air strip Huguette FrancoiseDominique Eliane HQ Claudine Viet Minh 308 th Division Viet Minh 316 th Division While he awaited the arrival of his reinforcements, Giap changed his strategy from direct assault to a slow encirclement of encroaching trenches. (Propaganda again came to the fore!) The monsoon broke on 22 April. From 31 March to 5 April, not yet fully resupplied & rested, Giap ordered his forces to attack again, now targeting Huguette, Dominique and Elaine. 312 Div 308 Div 308 Div 308 Div 316 Div 312 Div 312 Div 308 Div 308 Div 316 Div 316 Div 1km Isabelle 9 VM 304 th Div opposes Isabelle By the end of the first week of April, all three strong-points had been breached but were held. Once again, the Viet Minh were exhausted. In mid-April several Viet Minh units mutinied. They’d been fighting for a month and had suffered 6000 killed, about 9000 wounded and 2500 POW. 33%. Giap called in fresh reserves from Laos.

12 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND After intense fighting on 2, 3 and 4 May, the remainder of Dominique and Elaine fell and the Viet Minh were crossing the river to attack Claudine. On 7 May, despite heavy bombing of the hills, the final assaults began. 25,000 Viet Minh against 3000 French Air strip Huguette FrancoiseDominique Eliane HQ Claudine The French hastily set up two more strong-points: Sparrowhawk and Juno, to help protect the HQ Command Post. The position was just over one mile in diameter. 312 Div 308 Div 308 Div 316 Div 316 Div 312 Div 312 Div 308 Div 316 Div 316 Div 308 Div Juno Sparrowhawk By 1 May, after more fighting, much of the area in strong-points Dominique and Elaine were in Viet Minh hands and Huguette had fallen. The northern half of the airstrip was lost. Resupply was stopped. Isabelle was out of water and low on ammo. 1km Isabelle 10

13 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Nam Yum River Route 41 N Dien Bien Phu mile 1km HIGH GROUND HIGH GROUND In total, some 9500 French and Colonial troops were marched off into captivity to join over 2000 from other battles. In the space of just 4 months, Over 8000 of these POWs died at the hands of the Viet Minh. Air strip Francoise HQ Claudine Isabelle survived for less than 24 hours men attempted a breakout to Laos. About 70 arrived. 312 Div 312 Div 308 Div 316 Div 316 Div 308 Div Juno Sparrowhawk By 1730hrs on 7 May it was over. The French Command Bunkers were captured. 1km Isabelle 11 Giap lost over 20,000 men.

14 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Dien Bien Phu was decisive in that it brought to an end the First Indo-China War. The French empire in Indo-China ended. The loss of French prestige as a colonial power triggered conflict in it’s other colonies and protectorates. Six months later, the Algerian War started. By 1956, the Morocco and Tunisia gained their independence. Others followed. The Geneva Accords subsequently divided the former French colony at the 17 th Parallel (the “DMZ”). However, within 5 years, the North was infiltrating, subverting and destabilising the South so much that a Second Indo-China War became inevitable in Victory Monument on Hill D1 at Dien Bien Phu. 16.2m high on 3.6m base. The largest cast bronze statue in Viet Nam. 12

15 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS presented by DAVE SABBEN MG 01 - Dien Bien Phu Questions?

16 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE FINE PRINT This Powerpoint show is copyright to Dave Sabben but is freely available for any non-profit use. It may be downloaded free from Dave’s website: It was prepared for presentation to those who join his Decisive Battlefields and Long Tan Trek Tours of Viet Nam (see green panel for the “commercial”) as introductions for the various battles. Because the shows are live presentations, much more is in the narrative than is included in the text on the slides. The shows are intended to be introductions and overviews – not detailed expositions or analyses. Views and conclusions are the author’s and are not offered as the only possible or even as fully comprehensive views. Where possible, permissions have been obtained to use maps or photos but some have been used without specific permission. Copyright holders who want their material either not used or credited, please contact Dave Sabben at Anyone wishing to make an anonymous donation towards the cost and time of putting this show together is invited to make a donation of any amount to (Australian) Westpac bank account BSB# , Account# (branch = 360 Collins St, Melbourne), or (Australian) CBA bank account BSB# , Account# (branch = Hampton, Victoria), either account in the name of David Sabben. If passing this slide show to others, please don’t remove this slide. THE “COMMERCIAL” As at 2011, Dave Sabben leads one tour per year (second half of October) to visit some of the areas of Australian/ANZAC operations of The highlight of these tours is to walk the Long Tan battlefield with Dave (a platoon Commander in that battle). The walk takes about 4 hours – about the time of the battle – so the group goes to all the key locations of the battle and hears about what happened pretty much in “real time”. For further enquiry into these tours, please visit: and select VN%20Long%20Tan%20Trek%20Tours.html orVN%20Long%20Tan%20Trek%20Tours.html VN%20Decisive%20Battlefields%20Tours.html An optional extension to the Long Tan Trek Tour takes in the main US battles of northern South Viet Nam including Da Nang, Hue, the DMZ (including Khe Sanh) and the A Shau Valley (Hamburger Hill), then visits both Hanoi (‘Hanoi Hilton’, War Museum) and the Dien Bien Phu valley (both Viet Minh and French positions). As well as the once –a-year-in-October tours, Dave can arrange a similar tour at any time of year for a group of 20 or more. Dates, durations, standards of accommodation, inclusions etc will be all your call. Please contact Dave (with numbers and preferences) at Note that these are “battlefield-oriented” tours – they do NOT go to the popular tourist sites. “Tourist” tours can be added before or after. If passing this slide show to others, please don’t remove this slide. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS SLIDE

17 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT VICTORY MONUMENT Note all the elements of victory at Dien Bien Phu.

18 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT


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