Valley of the Shadow

The Siege of Dien Bien Phu

Valley of the Shadow cover


Using new material unearthed in French archives, Vietnamese-language publications and the testimony of veterans, Valley of the Shadow offers a new perspective on the climactic French defeat at Dien Bien Phu.

Following the end of World War II, France attempted to reassert control over its colonies in Indochina. In Vietnam, this was resisted by the Viet Minh leading to the First Indochina War. By 1954, the French army was on the defensive and determined to force the Viet Minh into a decisive set-piece battle at Dien Bien Phu.

Over the past five decades, Western authors have generally followed a standard narrative of the siege of Dien Bien Phu, depicting the Viet Minh besiegers as a faceless horde which overwhelmed the intrepid garrison by sheer weight of numbers, superior firepower, and logistics. However, a wealth of new Vietnamese-language sources tell a very different story, revealing for the first time the true Viet Minh order of battle and the details of the severe logistical constraints within which the besiegers had to operate.

Using these sources, complemented by interviews with French veterans and research in the French Army and French Foreign Legion archives, this book, now publishing in paperback, provides a new telling of the climactic battle in the Indochina War, the conflict that set the stage for the Vietnam War a decade later.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Road to Dien Bien Phu
Chapter 2: People's War – People's Army
Chapter 3: Base Aéro-Terrestre
Chapter 4: Giap's First Offensive
Chapter 5: The Lull
Chapter 6: Giap's Second Offensive
Chapter 7: Grignotage
Chapter 8: Giap's Final Offensives
Chapter 9: Conclusion


Product details

Published Jul 26 2018
Format Ebook (Epub)
Edition 1st
Extent 368
ISBN 9781472824387
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Kevin Boylan

Kevin Boylan is a military historian who earned hi…


Luc Olivier

Luc Olivier earned his Masters in Geography at the…


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