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The battle of Dien Bien Phu, 1954. The First Indochina War between French colonial forces and the communist Viet Minh culminated with the ferocious 55-day siege of the last French stronghold in the north of the country, which began on 13 March 1954. The victory of the Vietnamese under General Giap led to the collapse of the French government and the eventual decline of their colonial empire. Vietnamese photographers restaged these scenes shortly after the real fighting occurred.

French paratroopers arrive in Diem Bien Phu in 1953. Hoping to counter the elusive guerrilla tactics of the Viet Minh, the French army executed a major operation aimed at creating a series of fortresses that would force the Viet Minh to fight an open, regular battle. In 1954, Vietnamese general Giap launched an offensive against Diem Bien Phu, using improvised but effective supply routes. The base was put under siege, sealing the fate of France in the Indochina war. Vietnam was to come soon.

from Getty Images

Prince Xu-Pha-Nu-Vong, Laos resistance leader.

Battle of Diem Bien Phu 1954-Dien Bien Phu , Vietminh HQ. Prince Xu-Pha-Nu-Vong, Laos resistance leader exchanged views with General Vo Nguyen Giap to cooprdinate in Viet-Laos battlefield.

1954: Viet Minh forces overrun the isolated French outpost of Dien Bien Phu, bringing a decisive end to the First Indochina War and France’s colonial rule in Vietnam. Five divisions of soldiers led by General Vo Nguyen Giap laid siege to the French garrison in a three-month battle. When it was over some 1,600 French troops were dead and another 8,000 held prisoner.

General Vo Nguyen Giap heard a report on the battle of Dien Bien Phu.

from Getty Images

Dien Bien Phu, General Vo Nguyen Giap

Battle of Dien Bien Phu-1954 General Vo Nguyen Giap saw French aircraft wreckage shot down beside Muong Thanh bridge.

Ho Chi Minh City. Posters celebrating defeat over the French forces at Dien Bien Phu 50 years ago. General Vo Nguyen Giap led the Vietnminh army of communist leader Ho Chi Minh in a historic 55-day siege of French forces at Dien Bien Phu, in the north of the country. The siege ended when the French troops, worn down by constant artillery barrages and unable to resupply by air, surrendered on May 7, 1954.

"DIEN BIEN PHU EST TOMBÉ" Une du Parisien après la chute de Dien Bien Phu. L'artisan de cette grande victoire vietnamienne est le général Giap mort vendredi à l'âge de 102 ans.