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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

This is coolbert: Which of the timeless verities of De Puy are considerations with regard to Dien Bien Phu? For each combatant, these verities seem to apply:

For the Viet Minh:

#1 Offensive action. The Viet Minh were not just content to surround the French for a long siege. The Viet Minh surrounded the French and attacked.

#5 Initiative. With the exception of the initial seizure of DBP by the French, the Viet Minh held the initiative throughout the siege. The French responded to whatever the Viet Minh did, not the other way around.

#7 Willing to pay the price. General Giap was willing to pay a heavy cost in lives lost to defeat the French at DBP. Willing to do so as he realized that the outcome of this siege would decide the war.

#9 Superior combat power. Giap not only possessed superior combat power, he used it in a superior way.

#10 Surprise. Suprise greatly enhanced the amount of firepower the Viet Minh were able to muster at DBP. This was vital to victory for the Viet Minh at DBP, the French having no counter.

#11 Firepower. Vital to the victory was the use of tremendous firepower by the Viet Minh. Not only numbers alone, but the constriction of the terrain allowed for no dispersion on the part of the French. They had no where to go.

For the French:

#2 Defense is the stronger form of combat. The French felt they could gain more by utilizing the strategic defensive. A smaller unit can do better easier on the defensive than by conducting an offensive. This was the consideration for the French to deploy their troops at DBP.

#3 Defensive posture is necessary. The French could not go on the offensive and hope to succeed against the Viet Minh at this stage of the war. Defensive strategy was the only thing that maybe would succeed.

#6 Fortifications. The French had not prepared properly for the firepower they faced at DBP. Unknown to them, the Viet Minh had amassed firepower that would be decisive. If the French had prepared positions that had overhead cover and deep dugouts, they would have had a better chance of successfully defending.

#8 Successful defense requires depth and reserves. The French at DBP had neither. No room to move and withdraw to, and no reserves could be called upon.



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