Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, February 13, 2004

This is coolbert: In that memo for Westmoreland about Dien Bien Phu (DBP), the mention is made of internal deserters. These are persons who during the battle behaved in such disgraceful manner that they were counted as ineffectives and no longer took part in the defense. This was not a small number of the French forces either, this was a significant portion. Surely a sign of a leadership breakdown. Another interesting mention in the memo is of the inclusion of Algerian and French prostitutes. These were brought along to service the North African and Legionairre troops fighting at DBP. What the hell were the French high command thinking??!!

Now, as for the internal deserters, there is a parallel in WW1. On the Western Front, existed a rumor and still is a belief, that entire units of deserters roamed the battlefield on both sides, drifting in and out of trench lines, dugouts, etc. Wandering around the battlefield during "quiet periods", mostly at night time. Scrounging whatever they could for their survival. This is probably apocrypha and can never be verified or denied. But given the desperation present in such situations, it is not difficult to imagine such behavior.



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