The Last Pitched Battle Fought By A European Colonial Power In Southeast Asia

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The Last Pitched Battle Fought By A European Colonial Power In Southeast Asia

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:19 am

Captured French soldiers from Dien Bien Phu, escorted by Vietnamese troops, walk to a prisoner-of-war camp

Jay Hemmings
Feb 8, 2019

The fierce battle between around 15,000 French troops and 40,000 Viet Minh guerrillas resulted in around 4,800 French troops wounded, along with 1,600 killed and an equal number missing.

After almost two months of intense fighting in the valley of Bien Dien Phu, the Viet Minh army – a force that consisted largely of poorly-trained but determined peasants – crushed the French army in what historian Jean-Pierre Roux described as “the only pitched battle to be lost by a European army in the history of decolonization.”

The French colonial administration, initially confident in their ability to quash what was seen as little more than a peasant uprising, soon realized that the fight was going to be a lot harder and bloodier than they had imagined. Regardless of how many Viet Minh troops they killed, their determined opponents simply refused to give up.

Seeing his chance to encircle and crush the French and achieve a decisive victory, General Giap moved as much artillery as he could muster into the surrounding hills. He also set up masses of anti-aircraft guns on the hills, knowing that if he could prevent French helicopters and supply planes from getting close, he could effectively cut off French supplies. Over the next few months, he succeeded in doing this.

After initially trying to hold off the seemingly unstoppable waves of Viet Minh infantry with machine guns, as more French troops fell and the Viet Minh advanced, the final stages of the fight became brutal hand-to-hand combat in the trenches and the ruins of the fortification.

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Re: The Last Pitched Battle Fought By A European Colonial Power In Southeast Asia

Post by Yobbo » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:04 am

One of the greatest military feats of the 20th century commanded by a history teacher.
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Re: The Last Pitched Battle Fought By A European Colonial Power In Southeast Asia

Post by Pizzalover » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:37 am

Last pitched battle fought by a 'Western' colonial power. The last battle as such is still to be fought. Being in Cambo it is abundantly clear that colonialism is alive and well. Just the major protagonist has changed. Informal domination following western colonial rule was a transitory phenomenon. Now it is back to classical 19th century and before land grab. By the way, the other empire leftover, Russia, is doing similar things on its margins (Georgia, Ukraine). For the face to face competition of the two look to Central Asia and increasingly the Trans-Caucasus. To add to the litany the heir to the Ottomans, Turkey, is formulating claims to Iraqi, Syrian, Cypriot, and Greek territory. Leave alone the talk of their nut cases about Iranian, Armenian and Georgian lands. ahh, Trump wants to 'buy' Greenland.............
In sum, we view a return to the past.
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