Dien Bien Phu 21 Nov 1953
or cost. Par- by school's In Indochina felony , South Hows$i-e. French Paratroopers Drop Into Rebel Mountain Center DIEN BIEN PHU, Indochina -- (Â£Â·) -- Thousands French and Vietnamese paratroopers have jumped into mountain territory of the Communist-led Vietminh grab a major base for new raids on their "guerrilla The French high command announced their forces, upported by U. S.-suppliecl fighter fighter bombers, yesterday seized the big rebel war base of Dten Bien Phu, 180 miles west of Hanoi. Gen. Rene Cogny, French commander commander in north Indochina, said the capture: 1--Provides a .center of the rallying rallying and training of partisan fighters from the pro-French Thai tribes and for raids by them and the French forces on the V i e t m i n h . 2--Removes a major threat to the Thai tribal capital of Lai Chau, 50 miles to the north. The V;ptminh failed to capture Lai Chau in their sweeping offensive offensive last winter which seized large areas of the Thai country. 3--Takes from the rebels a pot pot e n t i a l springboard for a renewed renewed attack on the kingdom of Laos, whose northern frontier is less than 10 miles south of Dien Bien Phu. 4 -- S e i z e s "highly important" V i e t m i n h base in the center of a rice-growing area and at the crossroads of supply routes to the northeast and to the south. Cogny said the French dropped "many battalions" on the broad plain a r o u n d Dien Bien Phu and t h a t they q u i c k l y captured the town and its ' a i r f i e l d . Fighter bombers flew more than 100 sorties against the area. IN PKKVroCS such paratroop raids deep in enemy territory, the French have w i t h d r a w n a f t e r destroying destroying enemy arms and stores. This time, said Cogny, they would remain and shortly would be reinforced reinforced by air-borne troops and War. supplies poured in through the captured airfield, The French claimed to have Inflicted heavy casualties on the Red-commanded rebels. It was believed the Reds had about regiment of 3,000 men around town. A full Vietminh division^ No. 316, is based about 50 miles' to the east. Â· Cogny said he felt certain of the Thais in the Jarge areas' now held by the Vietminh rally q u i c k l y to' the bands the French plan to raise and lead, He predicted that by stages they would retake their tribal territory south of the Chinese Chinese border which the Vietminh had seized. f DIEN BIEN Phu had not .been defended against the Vietminh attack last winter. After their successes in the j Thai country, the rebels last spring turned south into Laos, one of the three French associat-! ed states of Indochina and a gateway to Thailand and Cambo- dia. They withdrew from in I f r o n t of the capital, Luang bang, without a major battle held on to large chunks of territory in northern and northeastern northeastern Laos. Dipn Bien Phti. had been one of the invasion takeoff points. Observers had anticipated the Red march -intp Laos might be resumed this winter or n e spring.