Popular historians tell us the French staked everything on Dien Bien Phu. But just 4 percent of the French troops in Indochina were holding down 60 percent of [Vo Nguyen] Giap’s fighting units. … The story of Dien Bien Phu’s fall is an epic of endurance—like Bataan or Stalingrad—of men fighting to the limits of body and spirit. Though [Pierre] Langlais never got the reinforcements he wanted, each day volunteers parachuted into the camp, between 1,800 and 2,600 soldiers during the battle’s last month, most at night, through heavy flak, and uncertain they would even land on French-held ground. Some arrived the night before it fell, jumping into a fortress that they knew was doomed. … The French at Dien Bien Phu had found their Thermopylae, but there would be no Salamis or Plataea.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The story of Dien Bien Phu’s fall is an epic of endurance—like Bataan or Stalingrad—of men fighting to the limits of body and spirit
A conservative American magazine, the Weekly Standard, pays homage to Marcel Bigeard, with Robert Messenger praising his French troops at Dien Bien Phu (merci à Pat Patterson).