DIEN BIEN PHU 1954 v1.1b by Karim Marc HASANIC
|The epic siege of Dien Bien Phu proved to be the
French colonial rule in Indo China, but it might have ended
Design notesThe map is based on a real scale of 1km per hex but obviously 2.5 km per hex is the lowest we can go! Orders of battle are correct for the French and overall correct for VM but Icould not get specific regiment and battalion numbers for VM forces (not yet anyway). This scenario is meant to be played as the French if playing against the AI. A.I. should be set to strong for VM Forces for a well balanced game. There is only a 30% chance the USA will sanction Operation 'Vulture'..
Scenario summaryOn the 20th November 1953, French Airborne troops dropped into the valley of Dien Bien Phu in order to re occupy the village and landing strip that had been abandoned some time ago.
Marcel (Bruno) Bigeard the C.O. of 6th Colonial Parachute Battalion noted that Viet Minh resistance was heavy and the whole day was spent crushing the local force companies.
A week later General Henri Navarre inspected Dien Bien Phu and the 10000 troops already in place to execute his plan of using the position as a base for long range patrolling in enemy held territory as well as blocking the main supply routes from Laos.
Ho Chi Minh and his military leader General Giap conferred on what options to take and reached the momentous decision to fully mobilize the Viet Minh and send it against Dien Bien Phu in order to force the decisive battle of the war.
The French had begun consruction of a series of fortified positions surrounding the village and airstrip.Meanwhile Giaps troops were converging on the area and by 1st January 1954 Colonel Pierre Langlais C.O. of Airborne troops commented that 'movement in and out of Dien Bien Phu has become impossible.'
Over the next few months Navarre reinforced the position by air to 15000 men and appointed Colonel Christian de Castries a dashing,brave and womanizing cavalryman to the base command.
De Castries code named the ring of fortified positions after his mistresses and waited confidently for the Viet Minh offensive sure that his men backed by artillery, armour and air-power would smash it.
Giap meanwhile had marshalled 3 full infantry divisions an
division and elements of another infantry division as well as sappers
a regiment of AA guns.
Piroth the French artillery commander commited suicide while de Castries was paralysed with inaction, Langlais became de facto commander while the redoubtable Bigeard became tactical officer in charge of counter-attacks.
The hell of Dien Bien Phu over the next weeks saw more of de Castries mistresses fall victim to Giaps volunteers.
On the 30th March the Monsoon season began limiting French Air operations and masking Viet Minh movements.
Early April saw the Viet Minh capture 'Eliane' but they were ejected by Bigeard's Paras in a magnificent counter-attack.
Giap paused to reorganize and now launched his men into a trench building campaign designed to enable his men to 'hug the belts' of the French.
By the beginning of May it was obvious that the French were unable to hold on for much longer and in the USA the President and the govt. planned to use a massive air strike "Operation Vulture' to ease the pressure.Part of this plan was the use of 3 tactical atomic bombs to destroy Giap's advantage.
This was all to no avail as Giaps troops stormed the last bastions on May 7th, Dien Bien Phu had finally fallen. Bigeards comment: 'If they had given me 10000 SS troopers I could have held Dien Bien Phu!'
SourcesVietnam - the 10000 Day War. M. Maclear
Vietnam the Decisive Battles. J. Pimlott
The Vietnam War. D. Welsh
Article by D. Lassus Military Illustrated
Scenario designKarim Marc HASANIC