Foreign Legion Against Vietnam and the Dienbienf Catastrophe

Foreign Legion Against Vietnam and the Dienbienf Catastrophe
Foreign Legion Soldiers in French Indochina, 1953


Now we will talk about the tragic events of the First Indochina War, during which the patriots of Vietnam led by Ho Chi Minh forced the French colonialists to leave Vietnam. And as part of the cycle, we look at these events through a prism stories French Foreign Legion. For the first time we will name the names of some famous legion commanders - they will become the heroes of the following articles, but we will begin to get acquainted with them already in this.

Vietnam Independence League (Vietnam)


How the French came to Indochina was described in an article "Dogs of War" of the French Foreign Legion ". And after the outbreak of World War II, the territory of French Indochina fell under Japanese rule. The French administration (controlled by the Vichy government) tacitly agreed with the presence of Japanese troops in the colony, but for some reason they reacted very nervously to attempts by the Vietnamese to resist the Japanese. French officials believed that at the end of the war they would be able to agree with the Japanese on the division of spheres of influence. And the Vietnamese, in their opinion, did not have to worry about the question of who would later be their masters. It was the French colonial forces who crushed two anti-Japanese uprisings of 1940 - in the county of Baxon in the north of the country and in the central county of Dyolong.

As a result, the Vietnamese, having not found understanding among the French colonial authorities, in May 1941 created the patriotic organization “Vietnam Independence League” (Vietnam), in which the Communists played a key role. The Japanese were forced to join the fight against partisans in Vietnam only in November 1943 - until then, the French had successfully dealt with them.

At first, the weak and poorly armed detachments of the Vietnamese rebels were continuously replenished and gained combat experience. On December 22, 1944, the first detachment of the regular army of Vietnam was created, commanded by the then little-known Vo Nguyen Ziap, a graduate of the University of Hanoi and a former teacher of the French language - later he would be called the Red Napoleon and included in various versions of the lists of the greatest commanders of the XNUMXth century.


Wo Nguyen Ziap

Although the officials of the Vichy government of French Indochina actually acted as allies of Japan, this did not save them from arrest when on March 9, 1945, the Japanese disarmed the French colonial troops in Vietnam. The absolute majority of the military personnel of these units obediently and meekly weapon. The soldiers and officers of the Fifth Regiment of the Foreign Legion tried to save the honor of France, who broke into China with fights and heavy losses (this was described in a previous article - “The French Foreign Legion in the First and Second World Wars”).

Vietnam turned out to be a much more serious rival - its units continued to successfully fight against the Japanese troops. Finally, on August 13, 1945, Vietmin launched an offensive; on August 19, it was taken by Hanoi; at the end of the month, the Japanese were held only in the south of the country. On September 2, at a rally in liberated Saigon, Ho Chi Minh announced the creation of a new state - the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. On this day, Vietnam took control of almost all the cities of the country.


Nguyen Shin Kung, better known as Ho Chi Minh ("Light Carrier"). No, this is not self-conceit and not a hint to the citizens of Vietnam: this is the name of the poor man whose documents were used by a young revolutionary arrested by the Kuomintang. Ho Chi Minh had 12 more pseudonyms. Collage of photos of different years

And only from September 6 to 11, soldiers of the 20th (Indian) division of the British began to land in Saigon. The first thing they saw was the slogans:

“Welcome, Britons, Americans, Chinese, Russians — all but the French!”

“Down with French imperialism!”

But British Major General Douglas Gracie, the commander of the 20th Division, who arrived in Saigon on September 13, said he did not recognize the national government of Vietnam. The former masters of the country, the French, were to come to power.

The return of the colonialists


On September 22, the liberated representatives of the French administration, with the help of the British, took control of Saigon, the response was a strike and unrest in the city, to suppress which Gracie had to re-arm three regiments of Japanese prisoners. And only on October 15 the first French combat unit arrived in Saigon - the Sixth Colonial Regiment. Finally, on October 29, Raul Salan arrived in Indochina, which was described a little in the previous article. He took command of the French troops in Tonkin and China.


Commander of the French Armed Forces in the Far East, Cavalier of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor Raul Salan and Prince of Laos Savang Loeang Prabang, May 4, 1953


French soldiers proudly march around Saigon, liberated by Vietnamese troops, but taken from the Vietnamese by the British, November 1945

In the second half of October, the British and Japanese drove the Vietmin detachments from Saigon, capturing the cities of Thuduk, Bien Hoa, Thuzaumoti, and then Suanlok and Benkat. And the French paratroopers of the Foreign Legion, led by Lt. Col. Jacques Massouux (whose name we will hear more than once in the next articles of the cycle) took the city of Mitho.

And then from the north the offensive was also launched by the 200th Kuomintang army.

By the end of the year, the French brought the number of their troops in the south of the country to 80 thousand people. They acted in this extremely stupid way - so much so that Tom Driberg, adviser to Lord Mountbatten (who accepted the official surrender of the troops of the Japanese field marshal Terauti), wrote in October 1945 about the "extreme cruelty" and "shameful vengeance scenes of oppressed French degenerates being smoked by defenseless annamites."

And Major Robert Clark spoke of returning Frenchmen like this:

"They were a gang of rather undisciplined thugs, and subsequently it came as no surprise to me that the Vietnamese did not want to accept their rule."

The British were shocked by the frankly contemptuous attitude of the French towards the Allied Indians from the 20th British division. Her commander, Douglas Gracie, even turned to the French authorities with an official request to explain to his soldiers that his people "regardless of skin color, are friends and can not be considered as" black "."

When shocked by reports of British units participating in punitive operations against the Vietnamese, Lord Mountbatten tried to get clarification from Gracie himself (“couldn’t the French leave such dubious work?”), He calmly replied:

“The involvement of the French would lead to the destruction of not 20, but 2 houses, and most likely, together with the residents.”

That is, having destroyed 20 Vietnamese houses, the British also rendered this service to the unfortunate Aborigines - they did not allow them to be “smoked with opium from French degenerates.”

In mid-December 1945, the British began to transfer their positions to the Allies.

On January 28, 1946, a farewell joint parade of British and French military units took place in front of the Saigon Cathedral, at which Gracie handed over two Japanese swords obtained by surrender to French General Leclerc: thus he showed everyone that power over Vietnam was transferred to France.


General Gracie hands a Japanese sword to General Leclerc, January 28, 1946


General Leclerc conducts a review of parts of the 13th half-brigade of the Foreign Legion, 1946

With a sigh of relief, the English general flew away from Saigon, giving the French the opportunity to deal with the unexpectedly strong communists of Vietnam. The last two Indian battalions left Vietnam on March 30, 1946.

Reply Ho Chi Minh


Ho Chi Minh tried to negotiate for a long time, even turned to President Truman for help, and only having exhausted all the possibilities of a peaceful settlement, he gave orders to attack the Anglo-French troops in the south and the Kuomintang troops in the north.

On January 30, 1946, the Vietnamese army hit the Kuomintang troops, and on February 28, the Chinese fled in panic to their territory. Under these conditions, the French reluctantly had to go on March 6 to recognize the independence of the DRV - as part of the Indochina Federation and the French Union, hastily invented by de Gaulle's lawyers.

It soon became clear that France is still considering Vietnam as its powerless colony and the agreement on the recognition of the DRV was concluded only in order to accumulate forces sufficient to wage a full-fledged war. Troops from Africa, Syria and Europe were hastily transferred to Vietnam. Soon, hostilities were resumed and the shock forces of the French army became precisely parts of the Foreign Legion. France threw four infantry and one armored cavalry regiments of the Legion, two parachute battalions (which later became regiments), and also its engineer and engineer units into the "meat grinder" of this war.


Soldiers of the First Parachute Battalion of the Foreign Legion, Vietnam, 1950


Soldiers of the Second Parachute Battalion of the Foreign Legion in Indochina


Soldiers of the Fifth Regiment of the Foreign Legion in North Vietnam, 1950


Legionnaires during dismissal in Saigon

The beginning of the First Indochina War


The fighting began after the French demanded from the DRV authorities to transfer the city of Haiphong to them on November 21, 1946. The Vietnamese refused and on November 22, warships of the metropolis began shelling the city: according to French estimates, about 2000 civilians were killed. Thus began the First Indochina War. The French troops launched an offensive in all directions, on December 19 they approached Hanoi, but managed to take it only after 2 months of continuous fighting, almost completely destroying the city.


Legionnaires from 1st Battalion, 2e REI in French Indochina, 1950


1er REC legionnaires with their Alligator (LVT 4) in French Indochina, early 1952


Viet Minh rebel captured by 2e BEP legionnaires during Operation Rouleaux, 1950


Legionnaires in Indochina

To the surprise of the French, the Vietnamese did not give up: having withdrawn the remaining troops to the northern border province of Vietnam, they resorted to the tactics of “a thousand pin shots”.

The most interesting thing is that up to 5 thousand Japanese soldiers, for some reason remaining in Vietnam, fought with the French on the side of Vietnam, sometimes occupying high command posts. For example, Major Ishii Takuo became a colonel in Vietnam. For some time he headed the Quang Ngai Military Academy (where 5 more former Japanese officers worked as teachers), and then served as the “chief adviser” to the partisans of South Vietnam. Colonel Mukayama, who had previously served in the headquarters of the 38th Imperial Army, became an adviser to Vo Nguyen Ziap, commander of the armed forces of Vietnam, and then the Viet Cong. In the hospitals in Vietnam, 2 Japanese doctors and 11 Japanese nurses worked.

What were the reasons for the transfer of Japanese troops to the side of Vietnam? Perhaps they believed that after surrender they “lost face” and were ashamed to return to their homeland. It has also been suggested that some of these Japanese had reason to fear prosecution for war crimes.

On October 7, 1947, the French tried to end the war by destroying the leadership of Vietnam: during the Lea operation, three parachute battalions of the legion (1200 people) landed in the city of Bak-Kan, but Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Ziap managed to leave, and the paratroopers and the hurrying them to help the infantry units suffered heavy losses in battles with parts of Vietnam and partisans.


Paratroopers of the First Battalion of the Legion during Operation Lea, 1947

The two hundred thousandth colonial army of France, which included 1500 tanks, supported by "native" troops (also about 200 thousand people) could not do anything with the Vietnamese rebels, the number of which at first barely reached 35-40 thousand soldiers, and only by the end of 1949 increased to 80 thousand.


French troops move along the river at Hoa Binh


1er REC legionnaires and their Crabs (M29 Weasel) in French Indochina, 1952

The first successes of Vietnam


In March 1949, the Kuomintang was defeated in China, which immediately improved the supply of the Vietnamese troops, and in the autumn of that year the military units of Vietnam went on the offensive. In September 1950, the French garrisons near the Chinese border were destroyed. And on October 9, 1950, in the battle of Khao Bang, the French lost 7 thousand people killed and wounded, 500 cars, 125 mortars, 13 howitzers, 3 armored platoons and 9000 small arms.


Cao Bang in late 1950

The 6th Parachute Colonial Battalion was surrounded at Tat Ke (Kao-Bang post-satellite). On the night of October 6, his troops made an unsuccessful attempt at a breakthrough, during which they suffered heavy losses. The surviving soldiers and officers were captured. Among them was Lieutenant Jean Graziani, who was twenty-four years old, three of whom (from 16 years old) he fought against Nazi Germany - first in the US Army, then in the British SAS and finally as part of the Free France troops. He tried to escape twice (the second time he walked 70 km), spent 4 years in captivity and at the time of his release he weighed about 40 kg (such as he was called the "squad of the living dead"). Jean Graziani will be one of the heroes of the article, which will talk about the war in Algeria.


That was Captain Jean Graziani in Algeria in 1957

Another member of the "squad of the living dead" was Pierre-Paul Janpierre, an active participant in the French Resistance (he spent more than a year in the Mauthausen-Gouzen concentration camp) and the legendary commander of the Foreign Legion, who fought at the Charton stronghold as part of the First Parachute Battalion and was also wounded captured. After his recovery, he led the newly created First Parachute Battalion, which became a regiment on September 1, 1955. We will also talk about him in an article on the Algerian war.


Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Jeanpierre shortly before his death

Vietnam’s forces were growing, and already at the end of October 1950, French troops retreated from most of North Vietnam.

As a result, on December 22, 1950, the French again declared recognition of Vietnam's sovereignty within the French Union, but the leaders of Vietnam no longer believed them. And the situation on the fronts was clearly not in favor of the colonialists and their "native" allies. In 1953, at the disposal of Vietnam there were already about 425 thousand soldiers - soldiers of regular troops and partisans.

At this time, the United States provided huge military assistance to France. From 1950 to 1954 Americans handed over to the French 360 combat aircraft, 390 ships (including 2 aircraft carriers), 1400 tanks and armored vehicles, 175 thousand small arms. 24 American pilots made 682 sorties, two of them were killed.

In 1952, US military assistance accounted for 40% of all armaments received by French units in Indochina, in 1953 - 60%, in 1954 - 80%.

Fierce hostilities continued with varying success for several more years, but in the spring of 1953, Vietmin both strategically and tactically outplayed the self-confident Europeans: made a horse move, hitting Laos and forcing the French to concentrate large forces in Dien Bien Phu.

Dienbienfu: Vietnamese trap for the French army



Dienbienfu Valley, view from above, photograph of 1953

On November 20, 1953, French paratroopers seized the remaining airfield from the Japanese in the Kuvshinov Valley (Dienbienfu) and a 3 km bridgehead 16, on which planes with soldiers and equipment began to arrive. On the hills around, on the orders of Colonel Christian de Castries, 11 forts were built - Anna-Marie, Gabriel, Beatrice, Claudine, Francoise, Huguette, Natasha, Dominic, Juno, Elian and Isabelle. In the French army, it was said that they got their names from the names of de Castries's mistresses.


Dienbienfu and Fort Isabelle

11 thousand soldiers and officers of various units of the French army occupied 49 fortified points surrounded by galleries of trench passages and protected from all sides by minefields. Later, their number was brought up to 15 thousand (15.094 people): 6 parachute and 17 infantry battalions, three artillery regiments, a sapper regiment, a tank battalion and 12 aircraft.


French trenches at Dienbienfu

The supply of these parts was carried out by a grouping of 150 large transport aircraft. For the time being, Vietmin did not interfere with the French, and what happened next, the famous stratagem says: "lure to the roof and remove the stairs."

On March 6–7, Vietnam’s units practically “removed” this: they attacked Za-Lam and Kat-bi airfields, destroying more than half of the “transporters” —78 vehicles.

Then the Katyusha of Vietnam broke down the Dienbienfu runways, the last French plane managed to land and take off on March 26th.


One of the last aircraft takes the wounded from Dienbenfu. March 1954

Since then, the supply was carried out only by dropping goods by parachute, which was actively tried to interfere with the Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns concentrated around the base.

Now the encircled French group was almost doomed.


Fighters of Vietnam at Dienbienfu

To supply their group, the Vietnamese, without exaggeration, accomplished a labor feat by cutting a hundred-kilometer highway in the jungle and building a transshipment base 55 km from Dienbienfu. The French command considered it impossible to deliver artillery shells and mortars to Dienbienf - the Vietnamese carried them in the mountains and the jungle and dragged them into the hills around the base.

On March 13, the 38th (Steel) Vietnamese division went on the offensive and captured Beatrice Fort. On March 14th, Fort Gabriel fell. On March 17, part of the Thai soldiers who defended Fort Anna-Marie crossed over to the Vietnamese, the rest retreated. After that, the siege of other fortifications of Dienbenfu began.


French soldiers lead a wounded man to a hospital in Dienbienfu, March 1954

On March 15, Colonel Charles Piro, commander of the artillery units of the garrison Dienbienfu committed suicide: he promised that the French artillery would dominate throughout the battle and easily suppress the enemy’s guns:

"The Vietnamese guns will fire no more than three times, as I destroy them."

Since he did not have a hand, he could not load the gun on his own. And therefore, seeing the results of the “work” of the Vietnamese artillery (mountains of corpses and many wounded), he blew himself up with a grenade.

Marcel Bijard and his paratroopers



Marcel Bijard in Indochina

On March 16, at the head of the paratroopers of the 6th colonial battalion, Marcel Bijar arrived in Dienbienf — a truly legendary person in the French army. He never thought about military service, and even during military service in the 23rd regiment (1936-1938), his commander told the young man that he did not see “anything military” in him. However, Bijar again appeared in the army in 1939, and after the outbreak of hostilities he asked for a groupe franc, an intelligence and sabotage unit of his regiment. In June 1940, this detachment was able to break out of the encirclement, but France surrendered, and Bijar was still in German captivity. Only 18 months later, on the third attempt, he managed to escape to the territory controlled by the Vichy government, from where he was sent to one of the Siregal's tyrael regiments. In October 1943, this regiment was transferred to Morocco. After the landing of the allies, Bijar was in the unit of the British Special Air Service (SAS), which in 1944 operated on the border of France and Andorra. Then he received the nickname "Bruno" (call sign), which remained with him for life. In 1945, Bijar ended up in Vietnam, where he was later destined to become famous with the phrase:

“This will be done, if possible. And if it’s impossible, too. ”


Marcel Bijard (with walkie-talkie), Indochina, autumn 1953

In Dienbienfu, the influence of six commanders of paratrooper battalions on the decisions made by de Castries was so great that they were called the "parachute mafia." At the head of this "mafia group" was Lt. Col. Langle, who signed his reports to the authorities: "Langle and his 6 battalions." And his deputy was Bijar.


Lt. Col. Langle, March 1954

On the activities of Bijar in Vietnam, Jean Puget wrote:

“Bijar was not yet BB. He did not eat breakfast with the ministers, did not pose for the cover of the Paris Match, did not graduate from the General Staff academy, and did not even think about general stars. He did not know that he was a genius. He was him: he made a decision at a glance, gave the command in one word, carried away with him with one gesture. "

Bijar himself called the multi-day battle of Dienbyenf “Verdun of the jungle” and wrote later:

“If they had given me at least 10 thousand legionnaires, we would have survived. Everyone else, except for the legionnaires and paratroopers, was an incapable rabble, and it was impossible to hope for victory with such forces. ”

When the French army surrendered to Dienbienfu, Bijar was captured, where he spent 4 months, but the American journalist Robert Messenger in 2010 compared him with Tsar Leonid in obituary and his paratroopers with 300 Spartans.

And Max Booth, an American historian, said:

“Bijar’s life refutes the myth popular in the English world that the French are cowardly soldiers,“ cheese-eating surrender monkeys ””
(raw foodists surrendered to monkeys).

He called him "a perfect warrior, one of the great soldiers of the century."

The Vietnamese government did not allow to dispel the ashes of Bijar in Dienbienf, so he was buried in the "Indochina War Memorial" (city of Frejus, France).

It was Bijar that became the prototype of the main character of the film by Mark Robson “The Lost Command”, the action of which begins with Dienbienfu.


Shot from the movie “The Missing Squad” - the main character (left) in Vietnam

Now look at the funny 17-year-old sailor who smiles at us from this photo:


In 1953-1956 this goner served in the military navy in Saigon and constantly received outfits out of turn for razdolbayskoy behavior. He also played a major role in the movie The Lost Squad:


Did you recognize him? This is ... Alain Delon! Even the salaga from the first photo can become a cult actor and a sex symbol of an entire generation if at the age of 17 he will not “drink the cologne”, but instead will serve in the navy during the not very popular war.


Here is how he recalled his service in the Navy:

“This time was the happiest in my life. It allowed me to become what I later became and who I am now. ”



And again, Alain Delon - with his former colleagues. The fighters remember the past days

We will also recall both Bijar and the film “The Missing Squad” in an article on the Algerian War. In the meantime, look again at this brave skydiver and his soldiers:


Marcel Bijard during Operation Irondel, Vietnam, July 1953


Paratroopers of the Bijar battalion, July 1953. The first three will die in Dienbienfu

The disaster of the French army at Dienbyenfu


The famous 13th half-brigade of the Foreign Legion also ended up in Dienbienf and suffered the greatest losses in its history - about three thousand people, including two lieutenant colonel commanders.


Officer and his legionnaires from 3rd Battalion, 13e DBLE, Northern Vietnam, October 1953

The defeat in this battle actually predetermined the outcome of the First Indochina War.

Former Sergeant of the Legion Claude-Yves Solange recalled Dienbienf:

“It may be immodest to say so about the legion, but in our ranks the real gods of war fought, and not only the French, but also the Germans, Scandinavians, Russians, Japanese, even a couple of South Africans. The Germans passed the Second World War, and the Russians, too. I remember that in the second company of my battalion there were two Russian Cossacks who fought near Stalingrad: one was a lieutenant of the Soviet field gendarmerie (meaning the NKVD troops), the other was a zugfuhrer in the cavalry division of the SS (!). Both died during the defense of the Isabel stronghold. The Communists fought like hell, but we also showed them that we knew how to fight. I think that not a single European army in the second half of the 20th century happened - and, God willing, will never be able to - wage such terrible and large-scale battles hand-to-hand, as we do in this damned valley. The hurricane fire of their artillery and torrential rains turned trenches and dugouts into a mess, and we often fought waist-deep in water. "Their assault groups either made a breakthrough or brought their trenches to ours, and then dozens, hundreds of fighters launched knives, bayonets, stocks, sapper shovels, hatchets."

By the way, I don’t know how valuable this information will seem to you, but, according to eyewitnesses, the German legionnaires fought in hand-to-hand fights in Dienbienfu silently, the Russians screamed loudly (possibly with obscene words).

In 1965, the French director Pierre Schönderfer (a former front-line cameraman captured in Dienbienfu) made his first film about the Vietnam War and the events of 1954 - "317 Platoon", one of the heroes of which is a former Wehrmacht soldier, and now the ensign of the Legion Wildorf.


Frame from the film "317 Platoon", 1965

This film remained in the shadow of his other grandiose work - “Dienbyenfu” (1992), among the heroes of which, by the will of the director, was the captain of the Foreign Legion, a former pilot of the Normandie-Niemen squadron (hero of the Soviet Union!).


Shot from Pierre Schönderffer's film “Dienbienfu” (1992). Patrick Chauvel as a pilot Duroc: on his chest is a real star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, which was “borrowed” by one of the senior Vietnamese consultants

Images from the film "Dienbienfu":



And this is front-line cameraman Pierre Shenderfer, the photo was taken on September 1, 1953:


Realizing what they had plunged into, the French decided to attract the “elder brother” - they turned to the United States with a request to deliver an air strike on the Vietnamese troops surrounding Dienbienf with hundreds of B-29 bombers, even hinting at the possibility of using atomic bombs (Operation Vulture). The Americans then prudently avoided - their turn to "get on the neck" from the Vietnamese has not yet arrived.

The Condor plan, which involved the landing of the last parachute units in the Vietnamese rear, was not implemented due to a lack of transport aircraft. As a result, the infantry units of the French moved to Dienbienf by land - and were late. The Albatross plan, which implied a breakthrough in the base’s garrison, was declared unrealistic by the command of the blocked units.

Fort Isabelle was surrounded on March 30 (the battle for which Claude-Yves Solange recalled above was recalled), but his garrison resisted until May 7.

Fort Elian-1 fell on April 12, on the night of May 6 - Fort Elian-2. On May 7, the French army surrendered.

The battle of Dienbienf lasted 54 days - from March 13 to May 7, 1954. The losses of the French in manpower and military equipment were huge. 10863 soldiers and officers of the elite French regiments were captured. Only about 3290 people returned to France, including several hundred legionnaires: many died from wounds or tropical diseases, and citizens of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe were carefully removed from the Vietnamese camps and sent home to “atone with blast labor”. Incidentally, they were much more fortunate than the rest - among them, the percentage of survivors was an order of magnitude higher.


Vietnamese soldiers hoist a flag over the captured headquarters of the French army, Dienbienfu, 1954


French soldiers captured during the battle of Dienbienf, 1954


French prisoners after liberation from the camp. Haipong, end of August 1954

Not all French units surrendered at Dienbienf: Colonel Laland, commander of Fort Isabel, ordered the garrison to break through the positions of the Vietnamese. These were the Legionnaires of the Third Regiment, the tyrants of the First Algerian Regiment and the soldiers of the Thai units. Tanks, guns, heavy machine guns were thrown at the fort - they went into battle with light small arms. The seriously wounded were left in the fort, slightly wounded were offered a choice - to join the assault group or to stay, warning that they would stop because of them, and, moreover, no one would carry them. Laland himself was captured before he could leave the fort. Algerians, stumbling into an ambush, surrendered on May 7. On May 8–9, the column of Captain Michaud surrendered, which the Vietnamese pressed to the cliffs 12 km from Isabel, but 4 Europeans and 40 Thais, jumping into the water, through the mountains and the jungle nevertheless reached the location of the French units in Laos. A platoon formed by abandoned tank crews and several 11th company legionnaires left the encirclement, having completed 20 km in 160 days. Four tank crews and two paratroopers of Isabel Fort escaped captivity on May 13, four of them (three tank crews and a paratrooper) also managed to get to their own.


Legionnaire of the 1st Parachute Battalion of the Foreign Legion, 1954

As early as May 8, 1954, negotiations began in Geneva on peace and the withdrawal of French troops from Indochina. After losing a long war to the patriotic movement of Vietnam, France left Vietnam, which remained divided along the 17th parallel.


Vietnam, Dien Bien Phu, Victory Monument: three Vietnamese soldiers on the roof of the de Castries bunker with a flag on which the phrase: “Decided to fight. Decided to win "

Raul Salan, who had been fighting in Indochina since October 1945, did not experience the shame of defeat at Dienbienf: on January 1, 1954 he was appointed inspector general of the national defense forces and returned to Vietnam on June 8, 1954, again leading the French forces. But the time of French Indochina has already expired.


Vietnam squad on Hanoi street, October 9, 1954

On October 27, 1954, Salan returned to Paris, and on the night of November 1, militants of the Algerian National Liberation Front attacked government offices, army barracks, houses of the "black-footed" and shot a school bus with children in the city of Bon. Ahead, Salan had a bloody war in North Africa and his desperate and hopeless attempt to save French Algeria.

This will be discussed in separate articles, in the next we will talk about the uprising in Madagascar, the Suez crisis and the circumstances of the independence of Tunisia and Morocco.
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  1. Lopatov 14 May 2020 18: 11 New
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    +18
    In the second half of October, the British and Japanese drove the detachments of Vietnam from Saigon

    These British are such entertainers .....
    With the Japanese in Vietnam, with the Nazi collaborators in Greece ...
  2. alone 14 May 2020 18: 39 New
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    +14
    One very remarkable fact: All countries that were French colonies and were able to gain their independence through struggle, suffered huge losses in civilians .. The French destroyed millions of civilians
    1. Alexey RA 15 May 2020 11: 03 New
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      +3
      Quote: lonely
      One very remarkable fact: All countries that were French colonies and were able to gain their independence through struggle, suffered huge losses in civilians .. The French destroyed millions of civilians

      Stanyukovich’s novel "Around the World on the Kite", a pomnitsa, described well how the French could restore order in Kokhinkhin (South Vietnam). French methods have not changed since the XNUMXth century.
      1. alone 15 May 2020 11: 11 New
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        +1
        Quote: Alexey RA
        Stanyukovich’s novel "Around the World on the Kite", a pomnitsa, described well how the French could restore order in Kokhinkhin (South Vietnam). French methods have not changed since the XNUMXth century.

        I do not want to get ahead of myself, because the author is preparing material about IL in Algeria .. What they did in Algeria is generally incomprehensible to the mind
  3. Basil50 14 May 2020 18: 39 New
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    +16
    Thanks to the author
    It simply brilliantly shows the basis of the * well-being * of the republic, which for its own well-being robs and kills those who do not want to be robbed.
    It is very significant how the French fought fiercely before and are fighting today for the feed base of their republic in the colonies.
    The idea of ​​racial superiority among the French is TRAINED even today, they seriously believe in their superiority over their neighbors in Europe, and even over different * Papuans * they generally write themselves into celestials.
    It's funny to watch how blacks with other natives of their colonies who were born in France are ALSO convinced of their superiority over their neighbors on the globe. Had * pleasure * to watch like that
    1. Sergey S. 14 May 2020 19: 42 New
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      +6
      Thanks to the author, the material is good from all points of view.
      Although ... It can be concretized militarily. It will be interesting.

      Quote: Vasily50
      It is very significant how the French fought fiercely before and are fighting today for the feed base of their republic in the colonies.

      The French have long been ashamed.
      1. They came up with a foreign legion so that someone else would fight for them ...
      2. They practically did not try to defend their homeland - at the first setbacks they gave up ...
      3. Who does not respect himself, and will not respect another person, - that’s the atrocities.
      They and war crimes left behind a trail of villainy and abomination.
      In almost native Algeria, they poisoned them with chemical weapons ...
    2. Blacksmith 55 14 May 2020 21: 03 New
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      +9
      I liked all the publications about the foreign legion. I read with great interest, thank you very much. I look forward to continuing.
      1. Vladimir_2U 15 May 2020 04: 07 New
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        It is a pity SoF is not available on the Internet, although maybe I was looking so sucky, here there are many articles about the Legion of 90-00, from our former compatriots. Thank you for the article, thanks to the author, Alain Delon is more on cognac. )))
  4. bubalik 14 May 2020 18: 43 New
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    Really, really liked good Valery hi
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka 14 May 2020 19: 44 New
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      I will join Sergey! I read it with pleasure !!!
  5. Pavel57 14 May 2020 18: 55 New
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    Of all the invaders and friends, the Vietnamese do not like the French.
    1. 3x3zsave 14 May 2020 20: 33 New
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      Sorry, did you learn this directly from the Vietnamese?
      1. Krasnodar 15 May 2020 12: 46 New
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        Quote: 3x3zsave
        Sorry, did you learn this directly from the Vietnamese?

        When they ask the Saigon with whom it was better to live — theirs, the Americans or now under the Communists, they answer — under the French)).
        1. hohol95 15 May 2020 15: 48 New
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          When they ask the Saigon with whom it was better to live — theirs, the Americans or now under the Communists, they answer — under the French)).

          Or maybe they were better off at Bao-dai-de ???
          Ask ... your Saigon friends.
          1. Krasnodar 15 May 2020 17: 06 New
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            This is an old joke. Considering Vietnam’s leading position in Southeast Asia for US investments and grater between Trump and China, in 20 years they will have everything wonderful.
      2. Pavel57 30 May 2020 13: 19 New
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        Yes, I was in Vietnam somehow.
    2. Dmitriy170 30 May 2020 10: 36 New
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      Nonsense. The first thing I saw when I went outside in Hanoi was the French fair. With croissants, wine and a layout of the Eiffel tower. Right next to the monument to the heroes of the Hanoi uprising of 1946. Less than a week before the anniversary thereof. To women of European appearance, locals still turn to Madame. The Vietnamese do not feel any hostility to the French, as well as to the Americans. They say that the war is long over and we must live on.
  6. Legionista 14 May 2020 19: 39 New
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    Very interesting and detailed. Thanks to the author! Every year, on May 7, in a 2 parachute regiment (2 REP) during construction, they remind of a lost battle and honor the memory of the dead.
  7. Graz 14 May 2020 19: 42 New
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    Glory to the heroic and suffering people of Vietnam!
  8. 3x3zsave 14 May 2020 19: 54 New
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    Thank you Valery! Great article!
    There was an impression that the French, having "not having finished" in WWII, decided to "take off."
    Not fused. In this regard, the first shots of the movie Platoon are recalled (or is it Apocalypse Today?).
    By the way, on the subject of A. Delon, who "does not drink cologne." At the time of writing these lines, he was already 54 years old, and it would be unlikely that he would be interested in the provincial Soviet nymphet.
    1. VLR
      VLR 14 May 2020 22: 40 New
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      Yes, I like this article myself. There will also be very good articles about Algeria - now I’m finalizing it and with goosebumps myself - it really turns out very unexpectedly, scary and epic. Not like we usually wrote about it.
      About the song "Nautilus" (it seems): I was even interested - would someone remember it and understand what does the cologne have to do with it? smile
      1. Basil50 15 May 2020 06: 25 New
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        Ryzhov
        I ask you to write about Saint Exupyury. The very thing that he wrote about * The Little Prince * and managed to become a military pilot in Algeria.
        That's where * the separation of personality. On the one hand, the storyteller, on the other hand, participated in the suppression of the discontented in the colonies.
      2. 3x3zsave 15 May 2020 07: 35 New
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        Nautilus
        Absolutely right! The Prince of Silence album (1989)
        1. VLR
          VLR 15 May 2020 08: 32 New
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          By the way, 54-year-old Delon could have been “lost” to the “Soviet nympho” - 3 months so: “gray hair in the beard, demon in the ribs” smile
          1. 3x3zsave 15 May 2020 08: 35 New
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            Yes, I thought about that, having already typed a comment.
        2. madrobot 15 May 2020 10: 06 New
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          “Separation” (1986). It’s just that the song quickly became popular and later went into a whole bunch of different publications.
          1. 3x3zsave 15 May 2020 10: 36 New
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            It may very well be. Thank! We need to re-study the discography hi
      3. Alex013 15 May 2020 09: 05 New
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        The article is excellent, it is very easy to read. By the way, there was more than once information on this topic that the core of the paratroopers of the legion were former SS men. And among the Americans, in the next war, characters also surfaced. For example, Terni Lauri, a Finn who passed the Finnish and Patriotic War, left after the 44th year to join the SS (i.e., an ideological Nazi), and the Finns themselves tried him for this. He escaped from prison (of course, to Sweden), then the USA, special forces, Vietnam ... and stayed there.
      4. Krasnodar 15 May 2020 12: 47 New
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        Quote: VlR
        Yes, I like this article myself. There will also be very good articles about Algeria - now I’m finalizing it and with goosebumps myself - it really turns out very unexpectedly, scary and epic. Not like we usually wrote about it.
        About the song "Nautilus" (it seems): I was even interested - would someone remember it and understand what does the cologne have to do with it? smile

        Double bourbon))
      5. 72jora72 15 May 2020 16: 10 New
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        and the goosebumps itself - it really turns out very unexpectedly, scary and epic. Not like we usually wrote about it.
        Be that as it may, but the people of that era (regardless of the occupied side) were made of more durable material than most contemporaries (many modern Europeans will be able to spend hours in hand-to-hand melee standing waist-deep in water?).
        1. VLR
          VLR 15 May 2020 17: 08 New
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          Yes, that's for sure, now 18-year-old girls get tired faster than 60-year-old grandmothers, and 20-year-old sons do not keep pace with 50-year-old fathers. Perhaps the reason is that natural selection has ceased to function: a woman gave birth to 8 children, 4 or 5 survived until adulthood, but survivors could be killed only with some weapons or superinfection like the plague.
  9. Operator 14 May 2020 20: 33 New
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    Quote: Vasily50
    they seriously believe in their superiority over their neighbors in Europe

    Frogs are still bullshit.
    1. nalogoplatelschik 20 May 2020 13: 28 New
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      Maybe so. But they did not just eat frog legs and grape snails. They simply could not get anything else at their table. Ordinary people everywhere is not sweet life.
  10. Catfish 14 May 2020 21: 09 New
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    Good evening friends. hi
    The article is good, like all of this cycle. In general, I am grateful to Valery for the topic, little known and "mysterious." Interesting people served and fought in the Legion, there were brave soldiers, there were talented commanders, there were even their heroes. But the whole question is, in the name of what was all this done? The Legionnaires carried nothing but grief, ruin, and death to the countries in which they fought. Everywhere they were either thrown out, or, at best, they left themselves after the political surrender of the French authorities. I would not want to serve in such a unit and make this the meaning of my life, but ... fate controls people, not people fate. Although this is a moot point.
    And now I’ll try to "sober up" smile author, and also say a few words about the movie. Again the GDR, the DEFA film studio and the movie "Bat Squadron" 1958. A film about a private transport squadron from the United States (I don’t know if it really was) in which, like in the Legion, there were pilots of different nationalities who fought in World War II on opposite sides of the front line. It was this squadron that supplied the encircled garrison in Dienbienf. Closer to the finals, having returned from the next departure, the pilots discovered something that had not happened before - holes in planes of the fiftieth caliber and, as a result, refused to fly further. But the French general offered such an unthinkable amount for a single flight that almost everyone agreed. Nobody came back. Only the protagonist of the film did not put his head in this loop, but simply ran away on his plane to the Communists, at the same time taking with him the beautiful Vietnamese who was spying for Vietnam.
    1. Legionista 14 May 2020 21: 39 New
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      Perhaps we are talking about a private company "CAT" (Civil Air Transport) which really was engaged in the delivery of goods for the Dienbienfu garrison. Subsequently, this company evolved into the famous “Air America”. Cargo delivery to Dienbienf was carried out by Fairchild C119 Flying Boxcar aircraft. Crews are mercenaries. All this, of course, under the control of the CIA (CIA). The motto of the company is "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime- Professionally"
  11. Cowbra 14 May 2020 21: 52 New
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    Ryzhov, listen ... There was such a man, you won’t believe it, he wrote in newspapers ... He became a talent. And NOT recommended to talents. What brevity. she is a sister, Ryzhov, even if she will be godmother - you do not understand. I'm in such a cart. Mr. Ryzhov - you are the point of the article - is that the most? You have lost the meaning of the article - do not you understand? Hi sister
  12. bubalik 14 May 2020 22: 10 New
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    ,,, why did the French command make no attempt to unlock the encircled group and break through to it?
    1. VLR
      VLR 14 May 2020 22: 33 New
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      It was not possible. I am writing about this. The Vietnamese allowed the French to "climb onto the roof", and then - "removed the stairs": with one blow at the airfields of Za Lam and Cat Bi
      destroyed more than half of the transport aircraft, and with Katyusha strikes disabled the runway to Dienbienf, the goods had to be dropped from parachutes. Ground units through the mountains and the jungle made their way to Dienbienf, but could not.
      1. Nikolaevich I 15 May 2020 01: 21 New
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        Quote: VlR
        The Vietnamese allowed the French to "climb onto the roof", and then - "removed the stairs":

        Something similar happened in the Donbass ... it is worth recalling those "cauldrons" that the militia of the LDNR organized ykropam ...
      2. bubalik 15 May 2020 10: 50 New
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        hi Is the French command so underestimated the Vietnamese.
      3. Dmitriy170 30 May 2020 09: 45 New
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        About the "Katyusha" I already wrote below. The parking area and the strip were fired by the artillery fire. After the fall of “Gabriel”, approaches to the airfield began to be shot through by anti-aircraft fire and aircraft began to land and take off at night. Well, after the fall of Dominic 2, the runway became completely impossible to use, because from that moment she was shot by machine-gun fire - the distance in a straight line is about a kilometer.
    2. Dmitriy170 30 May 2020 09: 20 New
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      Because it was impossible physically, taking into account the nature of the terrain, the enemy and the available forces and means. But, nevertheless, an attempt to break through from Laos was undertaken. At the time of the surrender of the garrison between the unlocking group and the besieged, there was something left about 30 kilometers.
  13. saygon66 14 May 2020 22: 39 New
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    - Poster of those years ... Or later? Algeria?
    1. Legionista 14 May 2020 23: 18 New
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      Quote: saygon66
      - Poster of those years ... Or later? Algeria?

      I think that the poster relates to 1 colonial semi-brigade of paratroopers-commandos (1 DBCCP) which was located in Vannes-Morbihan (a city in France) from 1947 to 1954. Fought in Indochina. Currently transformed into 1 parachute regiment of the Marine Corps (1RPIMa)
  14. Major48 14 May 2020 23: 07 New
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    Accessible and understandable for neophytes. It would be possible to give more information about the personnel of the Legion, about the number of former soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the SS. And in the aforementioned 13th brigade, former punishers from 118 Schutzmannsaftsbattalion served.
  15. Proctologist 14 May 2020 23: 32 New
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    Thank! Although he knew the outline of events, he read it with undisguised interest.
  16. certero 14 May 2020 23: 44 New
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    The Vietnamese fought for their freedom and independence.
  17. Nikolaevich I 15 May 2020 02: 08 New
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    On March 9, 1945, the Japanese disarmed the French colonial troops in Vietnam. The vast majority of the military personnel of these units dutifully and meekly laid down their arms. Oh, it’s not in vain that the Germans once said about the French: “Did these even defeat us ?!”
    Tom Drieberg, Advisor to Lord Mountbatten (who accepted the official surrender of Japanese Field Marshal Terauchi), wrote in October 1945 about "Beyond cruelty" and "shameful scenes of vengeance on French degenerates smoked with opium by defenseless annamites."

    And Major Robert Clark spoke of returning Frenchmen like this:

    "They were a gang of rather undisciplined thugs, and subsequently it came as no surprise to me that the Vietnamese did not want to accept their rule. ”
    European civilizers, eat their mother by the foot !!! Russia, no matter how good it is, it’s all equally bad ... "European Pithecanthropus", whatever abominations they did, it’s all the same "good!"
    For the time being, Vietmin did not interfere with the French, and what happened next, the famous stratagem says: "Lure to the roof and remove the stairs." Recalled how the militia of the LDNR arranged "boilers" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine ...
    Since then, the supply was carried out only by dropping goods by parachute, which was actively tried to interfere with the Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns concentrated around the base. Like in Stalingrad ...
    [The French command considered it impossible to deliver artillery shells and mortars to Dienbienf - Vietnamese they carried them in their arms through the mountains and the jungle and dragged them into the hills around the base.
    The guns were carried in disassembled form ..
    In Dienbienf, the influence of six paratrooper battalion commanders on de Castries decisions was so great that they were called "Parachute mafia." Mdaaa ... nowadays the expression "parachute mafia" can be used if "someone" sells parachutes of the times of 1MB to special troops at the price of "golden parachutes" of top managers!
    “Bijar’s life refutes the myth popular in the English world that the French are cowardly soldiers Yeah! French heroes, because they can fight with the hands of mercenaries!
    Films: "The missing squad", "317 platoon", "Dienbienfu" ... well. yes ... as always, they are in a hurry to explain, to justify themselves ... in general, almost as Gradsky sang: "they explain to us intelligently, why they live badly ..."!
    1. Alexey RA 15 May 2020 11: 10 New
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      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      Oh, it’s not in vain that the Germans once said about the French: “Did these even defeat us ?!”

      French rifle for sale. The condition is excellent: they never fired, they threw them twice. © smile
      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      The guns were carried in disassembled form ..

      It is immediately clear that the French had no experience of a normal war in Southeast Asia - the same Japanese dragged everything that was possible through the jungle.
  18. Okolotochny 15 May 2020 05: 14 New
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    Nice article, written in a lively and colorful language, Thank you!
  19. KOLORADO73 15 May 2020 07: 29 New
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    The French raided and fled halfway around the world right up to Paris, in order to receive from the Arab migrants who massively began to move to France in the 70s of the last century! Who just did not beat the French in the 20th century: from Hitler to the Vietnamese peasants! Shameful nation of the French!
  20. KOLORADO73 15 May 2020 07: 33 New
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    After the French collapse, the invasion of the 540th Anglo-American corps followed Vietnam! The Yankees have been fighting in the jungle for 8 years until, like the French, they have also raked and shamefully fled from there!
    We recall the greatest bombardment in the history of the Air Force: Operation Linebacker 2, when over 100 B52 strategic bombers simultaneously appeared in the sky over Vietnam!
  21. VLR
    VLR 15 May 2020 08: 26 New
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    I was not able to confidently identify the fetus in the hands of Ho Chi Minh. Perhaps he simply demonstrates to the peasants of the Hung Province the size of a certain organ that the French had the misfortune to meet in Diebenfu smile
  22. Alexey Lobanov 15 May 2020 09: 50 New
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    Quote: Vasily50
    Ryzhov
    I ask you to write about Saint Exupyury. The very thing that he wrote about * The Little Prince * and managed to become a military pilot in Algeria.
    That's where * the separation of personality. On the one hand, the storyteller, on the other hand, participated in the suppression of the discontented in the colonies.

    Well, if only the "dissatisfied" were Germans ...
  23. Edvid 15 May 2020 11: 36 New
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    I want to note the following. Before World War II, the largest colonial powers were England and France in second place. By the beginning of the seventies, England had "lost" 90% of its colonial territories. But France has retained most of the overseas territories. For example, French Polynesia alone has an area that is ten times larger than the European metropolis. This refers to the territory of the islands and the sea spaces between them, internal waters ...
    1. cat Rusich 15 May 2020 22: 38 New
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      French Guiana (91 000 km square), about. Guadeloupe (1 800 km ...), about. Martinique (1 km ...), about. New Caledonia (100 19 km ...), French Polynesia Islands (000 4 km ...), about. Reunion (000 km ...), about. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (2km ...), Wallis and Futuna Islands (500km ...), half about. Saint Martin (about 200km ...) - that’s all that was found. The area was considered by land.
  24. Petrik66 15 May 2020 12: 48 New
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    Great article. I want to add - for all the winners, memoirs, books and films are boring and monotonous, our “Liberation” alone is worth it, well, only Spielberg stands out and that is somewhat boring. And all the beaten people take off and write - it's kind of expensive to watch. And the General they have a hero, as there is a deputy of Napoleon, and the soldiers - all as one and the other, the other. from formidable names of parts - blood freezes and Delon turns out to be an old soldier, unaware of words of love. Former Vlasovites from near Stalingrad with a mat, waist-deep in water, are fighting with the local Chingachguk in hand-to-hand fighting near the comrades from the SS. But in fact, everyone got enchanting lyuli and got out to write memoirs.
    1. VLR
      VLR 16 May 2020 17: 45 New
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      Your comment seems to me the best in this "thread" smile
      And on business, and with good humor
  25. Brancodd 15 May 2020 22: 03 New
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    Great article. Thanks to the author
  26. Amborlakatay 16 May 2020 09: 21 New
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    Interesting, thanks!
  27. k174oun7 16 May 2020 10: 22 New
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    The article is interesting, informative. I would like to know where and in what amounts the Vietnamese received help.
  28. Ham
    Ham 16 May 2020 10: 40 New
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    the French women only confirmed their reputation as weaklings who strengthened after them after 1940 ...
    Well, Alen Delon is beautiful of course))) and the movie "missing squad" is super
  29. 911sx 16 May 2020 14: 18 New
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    Guys, why did you attack the French like that? In the 20th century, they did not always receive lyuli. World War I they worked for 90%. In the colonies, did the British and the Portuguese show humanity and respect to the local aborigines? Remember Zaire in 1978, (a local coup d'etat), two French paratrooper battalions under the command of a major (Indochina veteran) and a week later the order in Zaire. The Americans sent the 6th fleet (fleet, guys) to the same Zaire, the French did not have time, the French two battalions all decided. The paratroopers landed from the plane, then the planes landed and the rest landed. The 6th fleet turned halfway and went back. After that, the Americans began to form rapid reaction forces. The Izvestia and KP newspapers made reports from Zaire in great detail, with photos. Something like this. Regarding Amer’s help in Vietnam, look at the globe where France and Vietnam are. USA - Crossing the Pacific Ocean. I do not whitewash the French, especially in that war. However, it is not necessary to try the Anglo-Saxon tales about their weak fighting spirit and so on. Who cares to read the memoirs of De Gaulle. In the article, by the way, not a word about Chinese and Soviet assistance to Ho Chi Minh. And, yes, who bared the front and took to the metropolis through Dunkirk all the personnel of the royal security forces, abandoning all the equipment, weapons, ammunition to the Fritz in 1940. Well, yes, the French lost the war. Although in France itself, many accepted fascism (as in Italy, for example). And by signing an agreement with Germany, the Vichy government immediately divided France into those who are with Germany and are categorically against it. That’s why the reaction of the Germans during the surrender (own in the 45th). Well, they did not expect this to happen with a neutral state in their opinion.
    1. Legionista 16 May 2020 17: 08 New
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      Mentioning the events in Zaire, you probably mean “Opération Bonite”. Then, in May 1978, 655 2REP legionnaires, led by their regiment commander, Colonel (colonel) Philippe RRULIN, landed from 250 meters and occupied the city. About 2500 hostages were released.
      1. VLR
        VLR 16 May 2020 17: 40 New
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        There will be an article about this - the penultimate in the series - about Bonit, which is often called Leopard and Philippe Erulene, and some other other operations
        1. Legionista 16 May 2020 18: 02 New
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          This will undoubtedly be interesting to everyone who carefully reads your articles! With respect hi
  30. DimanC 16 May 2020 16: 03 New
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    The article is definitely interesting. I’ll only annoyingly note: why do Indo-Chinese names be written in Latin? Is this more correct? Write hieroglyphs already then laughing. Better immediately in Cyrillic, so it’s more understandable drinks
  31. 911sx 16 May 2020 20: 22 New
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    I read about Zaire for a long time (in 1978) about the 6th fleet, commander major-veteran Indochina from there. The photos were with shaved heads and black uniforms with berets, paratroopers (usually patrols on the roads). From this, there were several events. Because after many years I read something somewhat different (ranks, composition and number of military personnel). Although the correspondents could confuse something. As they say, for what I bought ...
  32. O. Bender 17 May 2020 18: 18 New
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    As a teenager, in the sixth grade, I found the book “Foreign Legion” at my aunt. I don’t remember the author, but the book turned out to be very tough, which was done by IL soldiers, among whom there were many Nazi fighters from Germany. In general, judging by the book, there was a lot of garbage there, they took everyone to the legion without asking about the past, under any guise. It doesn’t matter who you were a sergeant or regiment before the legion, all the recruits were equal, the selection was monstrously cruel in terms of physical and a moral barn. I remember the book describes the torture of the legionnaires themselves, tin. But after the service, if you stay alive, any documents, any country, a good pension. And who did not ask about the past.
    1. Dmitriy170 30 May 2020 09: 14 New
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      It was most likely the book of Halle. Read. This is a crude propaganda craft, in which part of the facts is deliberately distorted, and some are simply invented.
  33. Kostadinov 18 May 2020 14: 29 New
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    Another proof is that the original typesetting infantry, without tanks, heavy artillery and aviation, are defeated by the most selective thugs from around the world, weapons to the teeth, with tanks and with the absolute dominance of their aircraft. With a 2-3 year old, a threefold numerical superiority was quite enough. The same thing hit in Korea. in addition, the loss of the two sides beat comparable.
    This is a material for clearing up what could happen on the Eastern Front in 1943-45 without any lend-lease.
    1. Ryazan87 19 May 2020 23: 09 New
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      1.
      generalized infantry

      the Vietnamese infantry at that time had a significant percentage of soldiers who had fresh combat experience in an extremely specific theater of operations — the war had already been going on for several years, so these were by no means recruits. Senior officers (and some of the younger ones) participated in the Second World War. finally, they were also local, which in the conditions of the equatorial belt gives some advantage. Their small arms were modern, including a large number of heavy machine guns DShK.
      2.
      without tanks, heavy artillery

      Well, specifically under Dienbienf, the Vietnamese had 24 105-mm howitzers, 16 rocket artillery installations + a couple dozen 120-mm mortars. Not Verdun, of course, but the French could counter them only 28 barrels of heavy artillery.
      Yes, the French had tanks. Already 10 light "Chaffee". In the jungle, this is not a trump card. For 15 years before this and a much larger number of armored vehicles in the forests of Suomussalmi the Red Army did not really help.
      3.
      With a 2-3 year old, a threefold numerical superiority was quite enough.

      Well, the French group under Dienbienf has an average of 10-12 thousand people (note that some of them are Thais and local Vietnamese of dubious fighting efficiency), the Vietnamese brought the group to a maximum of 80 thousand people. Well, let’s throw back the supply parts, on average 50 thousand fight against 10 thousand (the French also suffered losses and had non-combatant ones).
      Total it took 5-fold superiority and 2 months of fighting.
      4.
      the losses of the two sides beat comparable.

      T.N. "bloody losses": the French - 7500 killed and wounded, the Vietnamese - 14 thousand killed, wounded and missing (this is their own estimate, according to other sources - 23 thousand). Multiple difference.

      R.S. here some confusion may arise, since the author described the First Indo-Chinese War in a very blissful vein for the Vietnamese, they say, "from victory to victory."
      Well i.e. from wikipedia he took this:

      but did not mention what happened afterwards:

      And, by the way, according to the results of the failed "ordinary" war with the French in relation to Comrade Ziap didn’t make any organizational conclusions.
      The French in many respects relaxed, they say, in the “right” war we will win anyway, underestimated the enemy, and at the same time the capabilities of their own aviation. And de Castries was not up to par (in every sense))): unless there would be an adequate commander to endure some kind of "junta" of the battalions ..
  34. VladimirGore 19 May 2020 16: 59 New
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    https://youtu.be/xUEdJ1jW-6Y
  35. Dmitry V. 20 May 2020 12: 12 New
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    In the 82nd year, I had a chance to communicate with Vietnamese anti-aircraft gunners, infantrymen in Volgograd - all with combat experience, with wounds.
    People of small stature, but of huge internal strength - a steel core inside, while very kind and sociable.
    Not surprised that these simple Vietnamese guys piled on the "gods of war" French mercenaries and American warriors and at the same time did not become hardened, did not become embittered and remained human.
  36. nalogoplatelschik 20 May 2020 13: 23 New
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    When I read about Vietnam, I never cease to admire these people. They are like Russian only cooler.
  37. Molot1979 29 May 2020 07: 03 New
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    Hmmm .... French as always. Desperately courageous to kill a housekeeper and destroy houses and are completely hopeless against an armed enemy.
  38. Dmitriy170 29 May 2020 17: 40 New
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    Often I read articles on the portal with interest. Most often sensible things are written. But here's how it comes about the Indochinese in general and Dien Bien Fu in particular - even bear the saints! It’s a myth and myth. It’s right away: “... the remaining airfield from the Japanese in the Valley of Pitchers (Dienbienfu) was captured ...” Who and when launched this heresy about pitchers into runet? The real Valley of Pitchers is located in Laos, and is named so thanks to the mass of huge ancient pitchers. And in Dien Bien Fu there are no jugs, neither in the valley itself, nor in the name. Open "Hell in a very small place. The siege of Dien Bien Fu." Bernard Fall. Chapter Two "Airborne Base". We read:
    "Dien Bien Fu" is not exactly the name of the area. In fact, it belongs to a Thai village, whose real name is Muong Tan ... ... When Ho's pirates almost captured the whole of Laos in 1887, the adventurous French consul Auguste Pavier turned to the French troops in Tonkin for help to secure the northern approaches both to Laos and to Vietnam. On April 7, 1889, in Muong Tan, Pavier signed a protectorate agreement with the powerful leader Ho Deo Van Tri. Since the village was located on the border of the territory controlled by the Vietnamese administration, they began to call it "the location of the border district administration", which in Vietnamese sounds like Dien Bien Phu.
    With jugs, I hope that's all? Now to the airfield. He did not stay from the Japanese. He was there greatly before them. We read in the same place:
    "... When aviation appeared in Indochina at the end of the 1920s, the French government began to clear small runways in hundreds of places throughout the country, as fragile aircraft of that time often had to make emergency landings. ... ... Twice, French planes used Dien Bien Fu to evacuate American pilots who were forced to leave their crashed planes over the Japanese-controlled areas of Indochina ... for the French, and two obsolete French fighter Potez-14, used the runway as a temporary base for operations against the advancing Japanese, flying 25 hours in forty days before they had to retreat to China. ...
    ... the Japanese occupied Dien Bien Fu for less than two months ... ... and limited their activities to lengthening the existing grass strip using forced labor by the local population. ... "
    Продолжение следует ...
  39. Dmitriy170 29 May 2020 19: 36 New
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    Move on. "... 11 forts were built - Anna Marie, Gabriel, Beatrice, Claudine, Francoise, Huguette, Natasha, Dominic, Juno, Elian and Isabelle. ..." Natasha is not a fortification, this is the landing zone during the operation " Castor". And "Natasha" because the north - "N" - Nord. There was also "Simone" - south - "S" - Sud.
    To call strong points dug in loose earth “forts” means flattering them very much. The only thing that was more or less strengthened was the main command post, communications center and command post of the “Elian 2” strongpoint, which was located in the brick basement of the French governor’s residence converted into a bunker. It was generally the only fortification in the valley, not from earth and wood.
    "... three artillery regiments ..." - parts of three artillery regiments, in total barely pulling on one full-fledged. Three four-gun batteries 105-mm from the 10th and 4th colonial artillery regiments and one 155-mm battery from the 4th.
    "... combat engineer regiment ..." - 31st engineer battalion.
    "... a tank battalion ..." - an incomplete squadron of ten vehicles (in full - 17) - the 3rd march squadron of the 1st Horse-Jaeger Regiment.
    "... The supply of these units was carried out by a grouping of 150 large transport aircraft ..." - S-47 is not so big, and far from 150. Even for the operation "Castor" managed to scrape together only 10 S-119 and 70 S -47 for which there were only 65 crews. This despite the fact that the commander of the transport aircraft Colonel Nico and the officers of his headquarters got into the helm.
    "... Then the Katyusha of Vietnam broke the runways ..." - the Chinese six-barreled towed MLRS - "H6, Kachiusa" (as it is signed at the Victory Museum in Dien Bien Phu) with Chinese calculations, were used in the battle 1 (one) time - on May 6th. They fired at what is still left of the French positions in the center. Most of the runway by that time had long been under the control of Vietnam.
    "... March 13, the 38th (" Steel ") division ..." - 308th "Iron". There were no double-digit divisions in Vietnam.
    "... The famous 13th half-brigade of the Foreign Legion also ended up in Dienbienfu ..." - not all. 1st and 3rd battalions.
    About the breakthrough with Isabelle.
    "... Tanks, guns, heavy machine guns were thrown at the fort ..." - all this was destroyed in battle by the time of the breakthrough. The last remaining 105 mm howitzer was detonated. The 3rd tank platoon (on foot) became the only unit that was able to leave Dien Bien Fu precisely as a unit, and not individual survivors.
    So far, briefly, what has been straightforward - without in-depth analysis of individual combat episodes.