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Campaign 366 Dien Bien Phu 1954, The French Defeat that Lured America into Vietnam from Osprey Publications

Dien Bien Phu 1954
The French Defeat that Lured America into Vietnam



Martin Windrow

Illustrated by

Peter Dennis

This 96-page paperback book is the 366th book in the Campaign Series of books that are available from Osprey Publications.

This book is a highly illustrated study of the battle at Dien Bien Phu, the 56-day siege that eventually led to the surrender of the remaining French-led forces, this iconic battle provided the climax of the First Indochina War.

Generals Gilles Navarre And Cogny Discussing Strategy

In late 1953, the seventh year of France’s war against the Viet Minh insurgency in its colony of Vietnam, the C-in-C, General Navarre, was encouraged to plant an ‘air-ground base’ in the Thai Highlands at Dien Bien Phu, to distract General Giap’s Vietnamese People’s Army from both Annam and the French northern heartland in the Red River Delta, and to protect the Laotian border. Elite French paratroopers captured Dien Bien Phu, which was reinforced between December 1953 and February 1954 with infantry and artillery, a squadron of tanks and one of fighter-bombers, to a strength of 10,000 men. Giap and the VPA General Staff accepted the challenge of a major positional battle; through a total mobilization of national resources, and with Chinese logistical help, they assembled a siege army of 58,000 regular troops, equipped for the first time with 105mm artillery and 37mm AA guns. Here, author Martin Windrow describes how from their first assaults on 13 March 1954, the battle quickly developed into a dramatic 56-day ‘Stalingrad in the jungle’ that drew the attention of the world.

105mm Howitzer


The contents of this book are:

  • Origins of the Campaign
    • Strategic Background
    • Operational Background: the prepared battlefield
  • Chronology
  • Opposing Commanders
    • French
    • Vietnamese
  • Opposing Forces
    • French
    • Vietnam People’s Army
    • Orders of Battle
  • Opposing Plans
    • French
    • Vietnamese
  • The Battle
    • First Assault Phase 13 – 17 March
    • Beatrice
    • Gabrielle
    • The Lull 17 – 30 March
    • Second Assault Phase: 30 March – 5 April
    • Battle of the Five Hills’
    • Stranglehold and Attrition: 8 – 30 April
  • Third Assault Phase: 1 – 6 May
    • The Final Assault: 6/7 May
  • Aftermath
  • The Battlefield Today
  • Further Reading
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Index

Map of Road Clearing Actions


Campaign 366, Dien Bien Phu 1954 is a beautifully illustrated 96 page paperback book. This is a book that readers will enjoy reading. Whether you’re a wargamer or historian there is a lot of information that either reader will get from reading this excellent book and referencing the many pictures, drawings and maps. This reader will learn the background of how the United States was pulled into the Vietnam war. The wargamer will be able to study the battles of how the Vietnamese defeated the French forces in Indochina. No matter what your primary interest is, Dien Bien Phu 1954 is a well written, beautifully illustrated 96-page book that readers will enjoy reading the history of this pivotal battle in Vietnamese history.

Campaign 366, Dien Bien Phu 1954, the French defeat that lured America into Vietnam is available from Osprey Publications.




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There is a SPECIAL “Bundle Offer” available from Osprey Publications. If you choose a print and eBook format above you get 25% off both!

(The photographs used in this review are copied with the permission of Osprey Publications.)

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