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Battle of Dien Bien Phu Prezi

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Collin Reymann

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Battle of Dien Bien Phu Prezi

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu
The French
Commanded by Brig. Gen. Christian de la Croix de Castries
Relied upon weapon superiority and conventional warfare (Indochina)
Plan was to create a base at the bottom of the Dien Bien Phu valley and bottleneck the Viet Minh into fighting conventionally
Was in a constant state of unpreparedness, in tactics, supplies, and manpower
Composed of the battle-hardened French units that survived thus far in the war
Constantly harried by Vietnamese citizens patriotic to Ho Chi Minh's cause
The Viet Minh
Led by Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, former history teacher
Used conventional tactics first, but was willing to use very unorthodox methods, such as suicide bombers, when needed (Indochina)
Able to quickly transverse the Vietnamese terrain and equipped with the best gear the Chinese could salvage from Korea (Cherian)
Composed of aggressively passionate Vietnamese, culled politically to never question authority
Vietnamese citizens assisted Viet Minh with reconnaissance, sabotage, and overall guerrilla warfare
What Caused the Loss at Dien Bien Phu?
Battle Lasted 55 days, from March 13 to May 7, 1954 (Cherian)
Biggest and last French defeat of the French Indochinese War
The French-constructed fortress was situated on the norther border between Vietnam and Laos
French planned to use the base as a means of protecting allied Laos and as a trap to help defeat the Viet Minh for political leverage
China's Support
Viet Minh's superior artillery came from China
In order to ensure that there were no hostile, capitalist countries on it's border, China supplied Gen. Giap with all the weapons and munitions he could ever need
"At one point the Vietminh had 100,000 artillery shells in reserve with more available from China." (Pennington)
This constant logistical supply from China gave the Viet Minh the advantage
Vietnamese Support
Guerrilla tactics are not possible without support from citizens
Citizen army, willing to fight and die for Ho Chi Minh's communist purpose, was able to put the French in a constant state of battle without rest
Gen. Giap was going to attack Cambodia, neighbor to Laos, but did not as he realized that they're lack of support for their cause made it impossible (Indochina)
With support of the citizens, the Viet Minh could go where they wanted and disappear without a trace
Winning Factors
The Viet Minh had two main advantages over the French that the French had not prepared for. Their effective use of artillery and guerrilla tactics slaughtered the French with ease.
The Battle was between the French, just recently liberated from the Germans and wanting to rebuild their Empire which the Japanese had taken, and the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese had watched as, "The Asians, after centuries of subjugation, had beaten the white man at his own game." (Berthold) The Japanese, not another European nation, had defeated the French and colonized Indochina. With the knowledge that it could be done and the experience of fending off the Japanese, the Vietnamese were ready for a revolution.
Communism's the Real Advantage
By fighting for communism to rid Vietnam of French capitalism and imperialism, the Viet Minh gained the support of the Chinese and Vietnamese people, ensuring victory over any enemy foolish enough to try and pry their nation from their hands.
Dien Bien Phu
Support from China and the surrounding
population, because of the Viet Minh's
Communist purpose, led to the French
Guerrilla Tactics
The French had 28 artillery pieces, against the Viet Minh's 200
"It can be argued the most important factor in the outcome of the war was the role of artillery, most importantly, the Vietminh's numeric advantage of artillery and ammunition, which nullified French air power and hindered French logistical operations." (Pennington)
The Viet Minh camouflaged their tremendous amount of artillery around the valley and ruthlessly bombarded the French into submission.
Bernard Fall, one of the worlds greatest experts on the Vietnam conflicts, wrote, "it is doubtful whether French counterbattery fire silenced more than a handful of the enemy's fieldpieces."
Cherian, John. "Remembering Dien Bien Phu." Frontline. Hindu, 13 Mar. 2004. Web.
11 Feb. 2014. <http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl2106/stories/

Fall, Bernard. Indochina--The Last Year of the War: Communist Organization and
Tactics. Clemson University. Ed. Edwin E. Moise. Clemson University, n.d.
Web. 16 Feb. 2014. <http://www.clemson.edu/caah/history/FacultyPages/

Fall, Bernard Berthold, Dr. "Battle of Dien Bien Phu." Vietnam Magazine Apr.
2004: n. pag. Rpt. in Vietnam. N.p.: Wieder History Group, n.d. N. pag.
Historynet.com. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <http://www.historynet.com/

"Map: Dien Bien Phu." Map. The Authentic History Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 June
2012. <http://www.authentichistory.com/1961-1974/4-vietnam/1-overview/

Moise, Edwin E. Clearer View of the Same 100mm Antiaircraft Gun. 1989.
Photograph. Vietnam Photos: Weapons, etc. Clemson U.

Pennington, David. "Dien Bien Phu: A Battle Assessment." Military History
Online. Military History Online, 3 Dec. 2006. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

Hoan, Pham H. Viet Minh Troops following Victory at Dien Bien Phu. N.d.
Photograph. Those are hills with a strong burning smell. Dantri

"Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam." History
Matters: The US Survey Course on the Web. City U of New York/ George Mason
U, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5139/>.
The use of Guerrilla tactics caught the French forces off guard.
Used unorthodox but effective tactics such as suicide bombing.
French had to fight the main force that was also supported by regional forces while being sabotaged by local forces.
"... at no time did the French succeed in wiping out the guerrilla threat in their own backyard. This is why the entire southern part of the Red River Delta... had to be abandoned after the loss of Dien Bien Phu freed another 40,000 Communist soliders for an all-out attack against the French Hanoi- Haiphong 'lifeline'". (Indochina)
The Beginning of War
War Began in 1945, after Ho Chi Minh wrote the the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. For background info and article, link here:

By Collin Reymann and Chris Hrytzik
French soldiers in the trenches surrounding Dien Bien Phu
Viet Minh marching in parade to celebrate the victory at Dien Bien Phu
Example of artillery used in the battle
Full transcript