a Dien Bien Phu Diary

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#1
Thanks to Patrick, who posted this diary on the BBS last year (for the 50th anniversary) and who made, recently, some corrections to allow us to read it again...

the urls are:

1/ a Dien Bien Phu Diary -
if you have problems to open the .pdf file online ( some have, others don't...?)

2/ there's also a flash version here:
a Dien Bien Phu Diary it's maybe easier to read (lighter in Ko)

3/ there's a web page gallery here

Thanks for sharing Patrick!

tech info:
1/ light text, .pdf file ( -free-acrobat reader needed you should already have it...or get it here http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html); right click on the document to get adequate font size and navigation tools, or use your usual keyboard keys...

2/ for the flash version: you already have the flash plugin ...
 
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voltigeur

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#2
boss said:
Thanks to Patrick, who posted this diary on the BBS last year (for the 50th anniversary) and who made, recently, some corrections to allow us to read it again...

the url is:
a Dien Bien Phu Diary - P. Hervier

Thanks for sharing Patrick!

tech info: light text, .pdf file ( -free-acrobat reader needed you should already have it...or get it here http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html); right click on the document to get adequate font size and navigation tools, or use your usual keyboard keys...
Hi Boss, the url provided does not work when I click on it. Even after I shut temporarely down the firewall. I have it all on my web site, but would like to check on the latest corrections. Can you post the url itself please. Thanks
 
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#3
hi Joe!

hum....some pple have problems, some haven't...I don't know if it has something with
-your version of acrobat reader ( in this case you have to update with the provided link)
- or your connection ( you have to wait a few seconds cause it's 'round 400 k)

here i have some bandwith
, so I forget sometimes it's not the case for all surfers

btw I recorded a swf to show you the link is valid : I open online 1st and last page of the .pdf....

anyway, for all the people who have problems to open the file written by patrick, i'll upload an html version

to check that it works
: http://cervens.net/legion/dienbienphu/dbp.swf
 

voltigeur

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#4
I got the update on acrobat reader and then I tried the link in I.E instead of Netscape. I just get the title page. Anyone has ideas?
 

BobW

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Bonjour Boss,

Lima Charlie re the one page at a time viewing.

(Lima: phoenetic "L")
(Charlie: phoenetic "C")

("L.C." in American ancien radio protocol [actually slang] is "loud and clear".

Had casually reread the Diary. Thanks again to Patrick.

On page 29 it mentions the "Free French SAS" of WWII. Was this a formal SAS type organization or an expression to denote commandos? Anyone familiar?

Well, may I ask for any personal thoughts; was Major Liesenfelt, CO of 2 BEP at DBP, a scapegoat?

Saluations,
BobW
 

Rapace

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#8
BobW said:
On page 29 it mentions the "Free French SAS" of WWII. Was this a formal SAS type organization or an expression to denote commandos? Anyone familiar?
Those units had received the same training as the "original" British SAS. They did all the campaign in France in 1944, on "LRDG-type" jeeps, doing commandos raids behind the German lines. Their biggest exploit was operation "Ahmerst" in early April 1945, where 2 Free French SAS regiments were dropped in Northern Holland behind the German lines. A book titled « Bataillon du ciel » was written after the war by the renowned journalist and writer Joseph Kessel to celebrate their deeds. Immediately after WWII, a unit called « Demi-Brigade SAS » was dispatched to Indochina. They were to give birth later to the colonial paras.

BobW said:
Well, may I ask for any personal thoughts; was Major Liesenfelt, CO of 2 BEP at DBP, a scapegoat?
Not easy to discuss someone else's merits or shortcomings on a public BBS. The root cause of the failure of the attack to retake Huguette 1 on April 23 1954 was the lack of coordination between the support fire (artillery and aviation) and the ground troops. Major Liesenfelt has no responsibility in it, since he was only in charge of the infantry component of the operation. In the course of the attack, some (Lt-Col Bigeard in particular) reproached him for not being at the right place to coordinate his units, therefore not having a clear view of what was happening (all the more that radio coms were jammed) and not taking the right decisions. I can't tell whether this is justified or not. In any case, even if he holds part of the responsibility for the failure, he was singled out as the main responsible and this doesn't seem fair.
 

Eagle eye

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#9
I came across this link with a good bird's eye view of the RC4 though not directly connected with Dien Bien Phu: RC4 outline map and another link:Dien Bien Phu.
After Diên Biên Phû and the French Indochina débâcle, General SALAN was later sentence to death with commuted life sentence for being among the French officers instigating and leading the putsch against De Gaulle after the latter opted for 'Algérie libre/Algerian independence' shortly after running an electoral campaign based on 'Algérie française/continued French colonial presence'. A plan was devised to parachute FFL paratroopers into Paris to overthrow the French government. A sense of French officer honour beckoned this general to rebel as a patriot but in the end he was villified by the French political establishment for treachery...The 1eBEP was disbanded in disgrace, L'Organisation d'Armée Secrète/Secret Army Organisation (OAS) was formed with its veterans after the Algeria débâcle and several failed attempts on De Gaulle's life were made by the OAS...

The FFL was thereafter put into the political 'dog house' and unlike the USMC were denied the use of heavy artillery/armour/airlift capacities. All three components remain to this day an integral part of the French Army and separate from the FFL...De gaulle was on the point of disbanding the FFL and only Pierre Messmer, a French minister, intervened and literally begged De Gaulle to back up....Messmer is much revered in the FFL....he was again to intervene in written form in Le Monde in June 1998 when Mitterand was contemplating reducing the FFL size in a perceived attempt to terminate it...
 
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lionclaws

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Can anyone here help put me in touch with a German WWII vet who served with FFL in Indochina? I tried their forum/e mails without any success (some of their e mails are no longer valid).

My purpose of contacting these men is to honor their reputation as fighting men (no politics please) via our annual Weekend of Heroes convention (www.weekendofheroes.com). As some of you may know that military history is no longer taught in schools if not already twisted; hence we run an annual military action figure toy convention combined with REAL military veteran plus recruitment displays to keep the tradition alive which has been extremely effective.

Would appreciate any help anyone here can extend. My thanks to Klemen who had pointed me in the Legion's forum. Please drop me a line at bestofusamkt@aol.com Thank you!

Respectfully,

John
 

Tomislav

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Rapace, thanks for the diary. As of late I've become fascinated with Dien Bien Phu. It's great to read about first-hand experiences.
 

Mise

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#12
Just rembered today that when my parents moved into our house, Dien Bien Phu was in full swing, they layed newspapers under the lino and they are full of reports from the action, a long number of years ago I was sent to prepare the room for carpeting and spent most of the day reading the reports. A lot of them are still there.
 

MOONPLAYER

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Hi
i put on the gallery a compilation of FFL picts in INDOCHINE
....MORE MAJORUM....
 
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#16
Can anyone here help put me in touch with a German WWII vet who served with FFL in Indochina?

My purpose of contacting these men is to honor their reputation as fighting men (no politics please) via our annual Weekend of Heroes convention (www.weekendofheroes.com). As some of you may know that military history is no longer taught in schools if not already twisted; hence we run an annual military action figure toy convention combined with REAL military veteran plus recruitment displays to keep the tradition alive which has been extremely effective.
I don't believe John has had any luck finding any WW II German FFL vets. It's too bad as the Weekend of Heroes would be a great way to recognize the heroism and sacrifice of the Legion.
 
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#17
Five years old, but this site seems to have some pretty interesting Dien Bien Phu info, including this...

One of the more bizarre incidents in modern warfare concerns the French deserters. The French have an amazing bureaucracy, and this is shown in the meticulous detailing of deserters, mainly Algerian, Moroccan, and Vietnamese irregulars. Deserters are listed as 1161. During the course of the battle, about 2,000 men announced to their commanders that they were deserting. Their commanders - and here is that Gallic fatalism again - let them go. But there was no place for them to go, as the base was surrounded on all sides. So the deserters deserted - to the middle of the camp - and made themselves as comfortable as possible while the fighting raged non-stop around them, draining the steadily dwindling resources of the base, and even relaxing with some prostitutes. One account says the French did not have the resources to attend to the deserters. This event and the way the French handled it boggles the mind. One wonders what the fate of the deserters would have been in just about any army one can think of.
http://orbat.com/site/history/historical/vietnam/dienbenphu1954.html
 
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