22/05/2024 at 12:04 (GMT+7)
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The historic campaign of Dien Bien Phu

The historic victory of Dien Bien Phu is a brilliant milestone for the Vietnamese people in the struggle against French colonialism in the 20th century. Victory became a symbol of Vietnamese heroism and strength; leaving behind many profound lessons, which still remain of great value for the cause of innovation, construction and defense of the Fatherland in the current period.
President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap discussed planning the way to open the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, 1954. Photo: Documentary

 

After the August Revolution in 1945, the French colonialists were determined to use force to re-establish their rule over our country again. On September 23, 1945, they opened fire to capture Saigon, beginning their second invasion of Vietnam; then gradually expanding the war, rejecting all the highest diplomatic efforts of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

On December 19, 1946, with President Ho Chi Minh's call for national resistance, the entire Party, entire people, and entire army heroically entered the long-term resistance war against the invading French colonialists. Implementing the line of all-people, comprehensive, long-term resistance, relying on one's own strength, with rudimentary weapons and decisive and decisive fighting spirit, our troops and people in turn defeated the military plans of the French colonialists, making resounding victories: Vietnam North autumn and winter 1947, The 1950 border created a fundamental transition for the resistance to enter a new phase - the period when we took the strategic initiative on the main battlefield of Tonkin, launching attacks and counterattacking the enemy.

In May 1953, with the support of the United States, the French Government appointed General Henri Nava, Chief of Staff of the French Army of the North Atlantic bloc (NATO) stationed in Central Europe, to be the General Commander of the French Expeditionary Force in Indochina. After surveying and understanding the reality of the battlefield, Nava proposed a comprehensive military plan (later known as the Nava plan), approved by the French Government and National Defense Council on July 24, 1953.

To implement this plan, France reinforced the expeditionary force, expanded the mobile army, aggressively conscripted young people into puppet soldiers, and developed banditry in the mountainous areas. In the summer and fall of 1953, the enemy launched dozens of large and small raids in the North, Binh Tri Thien, and the South, fiercely attacking our bases; In July 1953, they sent paratroopers to raid Lang Son; In August 1953, they withdrew their forces in Na San to reinforce the Northern Delta region.

In mid-November 1953, our main army carried out a plan to advance to the Northwest, a division to Central Laos in coordination with the Pathet Lao Army. Faced with this situation, Nava was forced to parachute troops to Dien Bien Phu to stop the advance of our troops. The Nava plan was turned upside down, they had to disperse their forces to deal with us. Accepting the fight at Dien Bien Phu, Nava concentrated all efforts, with the great help of the United States, to build Dien Bien Phu - a location of strategic significance not only for Northwest Vietnam but also for Upper Laos and Northern Indochina into the strongest group of strongholds in Indochina. "An impregnable fortress", consisting of 49 strongholds, divided into three subdivisions supporting each other, has a strong defensive structure. The enemy has gathered here more than 16,200 troops including 21 battalions including 17 infantry battalions, 3 artillery battalions, 1 engineer battalion, 1 tank company, 1 air squadron, 1 motorized transport company, with the intention of challenging our troops and people, crush my main army.

Realizing clearly the tricks of the French colonialists in the Nava plan, at the end of September 1953, the Politburo of the Party Central Committee held a meeting to discuss military tasks, deeply analyze the strategic position between us and the enemy, and came up with a solution. Resolution approving the Winter - Spring 1953 - 1954 battle plan, maintaining the right to proactively fight the enemy on both fronts and behind the enemy's back, coordinating nationwide and coordinating throughout Indochina, emphasizing Strong fighting motto: "active, proactive, mobile, flexible".

On the basis of firmly grasping all the enemy's plots and actions, analyzing and evaluating the situation scientifically, in early December 1953, the Politburo decided to open the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, adopting a combat plan of the General Military Commission and assigned General Vo Nguyen Giap, Member of the Politburo, Minister of National Defense, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army to directly act as Secretary of the Party Committee and Commander of the front. The Government decided to establish a Front Supply Council with Mr. Pham Van Dong as Chairman.

With the special significance of the campaign, the Politburo and the Central Military Commission decided to concentrate 04 infantry companies, 1 artillery company with a total force of over 40,000 people. In obedience to the decision of the Politburo, all preparations for the operation were carried out urgently. The whole country has concentrated strength on the Dien Bien Phu front with the slogan "All for the frontline, all for victory". The main army units quickly assembled, day and night canvassed, cut mountains to open roads, tow artillery, build battlefields, and be ready to attack the enemy. 261,451 citizens and young people volunteered despite the bombs and bullets, heading to Dien Bien to ensure logistics for the operation.

The strategic battle of Dien Bien Phu took place in 3 phases:

1st phase: From March 13 to March 17, 1954, our troops cleverly and bravely destroyed Him Lam and Independence strongholds, Ban Keo stronghold, broke the northern gateway of Dien Bien Phu stronghold; killing and capturing over 2,000 enemies, destroying 25 aircraft, wiping out 01 regiment, threatening Muong Thanh airport; Pirot; the commander of the French artillery at Dien Bien Phu, helpless against our artillery, used a suicide grenade.

2nd phase: From March 30 to April 30, 1954, our troops simultaneously attacked the eastern positions of the central division to tighten the encirclement, divide and continuously attack, control Muong Thanh airfield, limit enemy reinforcements to the base group. The enemy is very stubborn, wanting to prolong time. General Nava hoped that by the rainy season we would have to unwrap the enclosure. This was the longest, longest, fiercest, toughest attack, we and the enemy fought every inch of land, every trench of traffic. Especially at Cl Hill we and the enemy struggled for up to 20 days, Hill A1 struggled for up to 30 days. After the 2nd attack, the central area of Dien Bien Phu was within range of our guns, the enemy fell into a state of passivity and high demoralization.

3rd phase: From May 1 to May 7, 1954, our troops captured the eastern strongholds and launched a general offensive to destroy the entire Dien Bien Phu stronghold group. On the night of May 6, 1954, at Hill A1, the battle between us and the enemy took place fiercely, our troops rushed to destroy the blockhouses and used explosives to destroy the enemy's fortified bunkers. The commander of Hill A1 and about 400 surviving enemy surrendered. At 17:30 on May 7, 1954, we occupied the enemy's headquarters, General de Castries and the entire General Staff and soldiers of Dien Bien Phu Group had to surrender. The flag "Decisive Battle, Decisive Victory" of our army flew on the roof of the enemy's command bunker. That same night our troops continued to advance on the Southern Division, drove the enemy to Upper Laos, and by 24 hours all the enemy troops had been taken prisoner.

After 55 days and nights of courageous, cunning and creative fighting, our army and people destroyed the entire Dien Bien Phu stronghold group, destroyed and captured 16,200 people, shot down 62 planes, captured 64 cars and all weapons, ammunition and military equipment of the enemy. The strategic Winter-Spring Offensive of 1953 - 1954, culminating in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, was a decisive strategic battle, the most typical battle of destruction, directly leading to the signing of the Geneva Agreement to end the war. restore peace in Indochina. Create the basis and conditions for our people to advance to win great victory in the resistance war against America, liberate the South, and unify the country./.

People's Army Newspaper