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

Friday, February 13, 2004

Dien Bien Phu.

This is coolbert:

This unclassified memo written to Westmoreland just prior to the siege of Khe Sanh starting is most interesting.

It does seem to suggest that Westmoreland did have the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu (DBP) on his mind.

Did want to understand what happened at DBP and why the French lost.

Two interesting points from that memo.

* The French force did consist of mixed troops. French, Legionairres, North Africans, Vietnamese, Tai [montagnards]. Such a mix cannot fight well.

* Of special interest is the inclusion in the memo that parachutist reinforcements send to DBP included over six hundred "legs" [non-airborne] troops making their first jump when they parachuted into DBP. These were men who made the jump without any prior training. They did this knowing the risks, and knowing that the battle was lost and they were doomed to be killed or captured in the subsequent fighting. They wanted to participate in the disaster and did so willingly.

Knowing what did not succeed in the past is a way to know what will succeed in the future?



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