Menu Site Map Links Misc. Terrain Scenarios Operations Viet Minh CEFEO History Home What's New

This is very far from exhaustive and is merely a list of sources that have been used to put this site together.

General Works
The Ground War
The Naval War
The Air War
The Viet Minh

General Works

BODARD (Lucien), La Guerre d'Indochine, 4 vols. A good if somewhat long history of the Indochina war written by one of the best French journalist to have covered the war. It should be noted however that Bodard's main strength comes from his ability to capture an ambience rather than from factual accuracy. An abridged English translation of the first two volumes has been published as The Quicksand War (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967 ; London: Faber, 1967).
  • L'Enlisement Paris: Gallimard, 1963.
  • L'Humiliation Paris: Gallimard, 1965.
  • L'Aventure Paris: Gallimard, 1967.
  • L'Épuisement, Paris: Gallimard, 1973.

FALL (Bernard). Guerres d'Indochine : France 1946/54, America 1957/.... Paris : Robert Laffont, 1970. No ISBN. French 1965 translation of the 4th, revised edition Street Without Joy. A classic book on the war, this one is hard to beat as far as insight and style are concerned but is not without its own  inaccuracies. Street Without Joy is available in English from Stackpole Books (1994) ISBN 0811717003

GRAS (General Yves), Histoire de la guerre d'Indochine, Paris: Denoël, 1992 (2nd edition, revised and enlarged). ISBN 2-207-23958-6. Probably the best single-volume military history of the war even if a little biased in places.

VALETTE (Jacques), La guerre d'Indochine 1945-1954. Paris: Armand Colin, 1994. ISBN 2-200-21537-1. A good overall history of the war with some new insights on various, mainly political, aspects.

Photo histories

BAIL (René) and BERNIER (Jean-Pierre), Indochine 1945-1954, 4 vols. Bayeux : Heimdal, 1988. A photographic history covering the early part of the war up to 1948. The quality of the photos is very uneven but some have not  been published elsewhere. Captions and historical summaries are concise and read as though they were written at the height of the Cold War... 
  • vol. 1 : La Reconquête. ISBN 2-840-48038-7. 
  • vol. 2 : Haiphong et Hanoi. ISBN 2-840-48037-9. 
  • vol. 3 : La Guerre. ISBN 2-902-17154-4. 
  • vol. 4 : Le Tournant. ISBN 2-902-17151-X.

FERRARI (Pierre) & VERNET (Jacques), Une guerre sans fin, Indochine 1945-1954, Paris : Lavauzelle, 1984.196 pp, 193 photos. A pretty good photo book, most of the contents are both previously unpublished and good quality.

HEDUY (Philippe), La guerre d'Indochine, 1945-1954. Paris : Société de Production Littéraire, 1981. No ISBN. An excellent photo history of the CEFEO with interesting historical summaries and personal accounts by various veterans. 

The Ground War

MESKO (Jim), Armor in Vietnam : a Pictorial History. Carrolton : Squadron Signal publications, 1982. ISBN 0-89747-127-X. Once again, the part dealing with the French war is a bit approximate but some of the photos are quite good.

DE BRANCION (Henri), Retour en Indochine du Sud. Paris : Presses de la Cité, 1999. ISBN : 2258050049
A good account of the role of artillery units in Cochinchina.

DE BRANCION (Henri), Tonkin (1946-1954). Paris : Presses de la Cité, 2002. ISBN : 2258059097
A good account of the role of artillery units in Cochinchina.

DUNSTAN (Simon), Vietnam Tracks: Armor in Battle 1945-1975. Novato : Presidio Press, 1982. ISBN : 0-89141-171-2
Excellent coverage of armour in Indochina. The section on French armour is very good and the one on later use of armour by US and Australian forces is even better. Originally published by Osprey Publishing Ltd.

VAISSE (Maurice), Ed. L'Armée française dans la guerre d'Indochine (1946-1954) : Adaptation ou inadaptation. Paris : Editions Complexe, 2000. ISBN  2870278101
Excellent collection of papers from various authors taking part in a seminar on the French army's struggle to adapt to the Indochina. war.

WINDROW (Martin), The French Indochina War, 1946-1954 (Men-at-Arms n.322). London : Osprey Military, 1998. ISBN 1-85532-789-9. One of the better Ospreys, this is a very good introduction to the military aspects of the war. Oddly enough, the bibliography includes books by a certain "Dennis" FALL...

Dien Bien Phu

FALL (Bernard), Hell in a Very Small Place. New York : Da Capo, 1985. ISBN : 0306802317

GIAP (General Vo Nguyen), Dien Bien Phu, The Most Difficult Decision, Hanoi : The Gioi Publishers, 1992. 76 pp

GIAP (General Vo Nguyen), Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi : The Gioi Publishers, 1994. 166 pp

ROCOLLE (Pierre), Pourquoi Dien Bien Phu ? Paris : Flammarion, 1968. ISBN 2-08-060-339-6. Quite probably the best history of the battle. While it lacks the style of Fall's or Roy's books this work relies extensively on archival material, cross-checked when possible with Vietnamese sources, and is extensively footnoted.

ROY (Jules), La bataille de Dien Bien Phu. Paris : Julliard, 1963. 612 pp. No ISBN. This history of the battle is heavy on anecdotes written in stirring style but is mostly an anti-Navarre, pro-Cogny pamphlet. Since the author was an Armée de l'Air officer, the book also glosses over the air force's shortcomings. A very useful and detailed book, this should nevertheless be used with care. Published in English as The Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

The RC4 battles

VAN VIET (Colonel Dang), Highway 4: The Border Campaign 1947-1950, Hanoi : The Gioi Publishers, 1990. 170 pp
A very good account of the formative years of the PAVN.

Unit Histories

BAIL (René), Corsaires en bérets verts. Paris : Presses de la Cité. 1976. ISBN 2-258-00101-3. A three-part (WW2, Indochina, Algeria) book on the naval commandos, the Indochina chapters deal mainly with the fate of Commando François during the battle of the Day.

FLEURY (Georges). Le 1er Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes, tome 2 : les bataillons d'Indochine 1946-1954. Paris : Editions Lavauzelles, 1984. ISBN 2-7025-0046-3. A relatively detailed history of the regiment's battles in Indochina.

Personal Accounts

JAUFFRET (Jacques), Crabes et alligators dans les rizières : (Indochine 1953-1954). Paris : Lavauzelle. 2000. ISBN 2702504477. Based on over 100 letters written by the author during his service in a Foreign Legion amphibious unit during the last two years of the war. Recommended.

The Naval War

CROIZAT (Victor), The Brown Water Navy : The River and Coastal War in Indo-China and Vietnam, 1948-1972, Poole : Blandford Press, 1984. 160pp (reprinted by Blandford Press in 1986 as Vietnam River Warfare 1945-1975, ISBN 0-7137-1830-7). About half of this book covers the Dinassaut. Contains some very good information although part of it has been corrected by other works since this was first written.

ESTIVAL (Rear-Admiral Bernard), La Marine Française dans la guerre d'Indochine. Nantes : Marines édition, 1998, ISBN 2-209-675-40-8. An excellent synthesis of the French navy's involvement in Indochina.

KOBURGER (Charles W.), The French Navy in Indochina - Riverine and Coastal Forces, 1945-54, New York : Praeger, 1991. 160 pp. ISBN 0-275-93833-6. From a very quick read on a bookshop shelf this looks rather interesting but not worth its high price in France.

MESKO (Jim), Riverine : a Pictorial History of the Brown Water War in Vietnam. Carrolton : Squadron Signal publications, 1985. ISBN 0-89747-163-6. This deals mainly with the US period forces. The part on the First Indochina War is interesting but, as with most of Jim Mesko's books, contains a number of errors but then again it's main subject is the Amercian war.

Personal Accounts

de BROSSARD (Commandant), Dinassaut. Paris : France-Empire, 1952. No ISBN. A very good account of Dinassaut 1's operations in 1950-1951 written by the unit's commander.

GUIBERTEAU (Yannick), La Dévastation, cuirassé de rivière. Paris : Albin Michel, 1984. ISBN 2-226-01947-2. Written by the captain of a Gressier armoured barge, this covers the 1947-1948 period.

ESTIVAL (Rear-Admiral Bernard), L'Enseigne dans le Delta. Versailles : Les 7 vents, 1989. ISBN 2-877-16010-6. A good account of the author's experience as a junior lieutenant on LSSLs Arquebuse and Hallebarde in 1953-1954.

The Air War

CHENEL (Bernard), Les chasseurs Grumman de l'Armée de l'Air : Hellcat et Bearcat en Indochine, Paris : Hors Série Avion n.6, 1987. ISSN 1258-2700. As its name implies, a comprehensive history of the Grumman fighters used by the French Air Force over Indochina with some good photos.

CROSNIER (Alain) and GUHL (Jean-Michel), L'Armée de L'Air en Indochine, Volume 1: Transport et Bombardement, Paris, Sup Air Publications, 1981. A very well illustrated history of the French transport and bomber squadrons in Indochina, the following volumes were never published.

MESKO (Jim), VNAF : South Vietnamese Airforce 1945-1975. Carrolton : Squadron Signal publications, 1987. ISBN 0-89747-193-8. Another photo history, this includes some very average material on the French air force.

SOUMILLE (Jean-Claude), L'Aviation Francaise en Indochine 1946-1954, Tome 2, Association AIRDOC, 1997. A good photo history of the French air force in Indochina.

The Viet Minh

DOYON (Jacques), Les soldats blancs de Ho Chi Minh. Paris: Fayard, 1973. Covers the CEFEO deserters who sided with the Viet Minh.

GIAP (General Vo Nguyen), Unforgettable Days, Hanoi : The Gioi Publishers, 1994. 404 pp. Covers the period from August 1945 to December 1946. 

LABROUSSE (Pierre), La méthode Vietminh : Indochine, 1945-1954. Paris : Charles Lavauzelle, 1996. ISBN 0-7025-0387-X. An interesting study of the Viet Minh which contains some good information but is marred by very poor editing. Along with the good stuff you'll have to put up with comments that are at times puzzling, redundant, irrelevant or downright hilarious.

PIKE (Douglas), PAVN : People's Army of Vietnam. New York, Da Capo Press, 1991, ISBN 0-306-80432-8. Although it deals mainly with the PAVN of the American war era, this book's excellent analysis of the Vietnamese military system is most relevant for the earlier conflict.


SCHOENDOERFFER (Pierre), La 317ème section. Paris : La Table Ronde, 1963. No ISBN. Basis on the author's later film of the same name, this relatively short novel describes the tragic retreat of the 317th Laotian Auxiliary Platoon, four Frenchmen and forty-one Laotians, from the outpost of Luong Ba towards Phong Saly during the Viet Minh's Winter 1953 offensive against Luang Prabang.

Top - Home