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Remembering General Giap's wisdom at Dien Bien Phu

by VTV408 May 2016 Last updated at 16:05 PM

photo: VTV
photo: VTV

VTV.vn - 62 years have passed since the Điện Biên Phủ victory on May 7th 1954, a glorious “golden milestone” in the history of the Vietnamese struggle against foreign aggressors.

The victory was achieved thanks to a historic decision by General Võ Nguyễn Giáp to change his strategy.

In 9 days, the Vietnamese army crossed 12 kilometres to transport 48 canons to the belt of the Điện Biên Phủ battlefield, only 400 metres from Độc Lập hill. Each canon weighed 2.4 tonnes and required 80 to 100 men to pull it by hand.

However, hours before the battle, the soldiers were ordered to pull the canons out. According to Phạm Đức Cư, who was a 24 year old soldier at that time, pulling the canons out is much harder than putting them in. One of his comrades, national hero Tô Vĩnh Diễn, sacrificed his life using his body to pull the canons.

Pham Duc Cu, veteran of Battalion 394, Regiment 367 said: “I’m not saying that we won or lost. But the sacrifices were huge. Before the battle, we were not prepared to combat aircraft. If we had not retreated to consolidate our forces, we would have been destroyed”.

Historians agree that the battle of Điện Biên Phủ would have seen many more casualties and lasted much longer if General Giáp had not altered his strategy from a quick assault to a slow, but certain victory. More than 100 kilometres of communication trench was dug by hand to surround 49 French bunkers in Điện Biên Phủ.

Nguyen Huu Chap, veteran of Battalion 116, Regiment 209 said: “General Navarre also believed that if General Giáp had not changed the tactic from “quick attack, quick win” to “slow advance, certain victory”, he would not have any soldiers left to command. Even the French acknowledged the wit of General Võ Nguyên Giáp”.

The statue of canon pulling on Bó hill next to highway 279 reminds motorists of the glorious victory 62 years ago, when the legendary Vietnamese general made a difficult decision and achieved one of the most remarkable victories in the country's history.

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