Tag Archives: Jean Gilles

Vietnam Notebook: First Indochina War, Dien Bien Phu (1953-1954)

English: memorial to the 10,000+ French coloni...

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…Cabanier arrived in Saigon on the 19th of November, 1953, just as Operation CASTOR, the occupation of Dien Bien Phu by airborne assault, was launching.  He would meet with General Navarre as the first French paras were floating down over Dien Bien Phu. Interestingly, the weather was questionable for jumping over western Tonkin that day. Cogny and the commander of the assault force, Brigadier General Jean Gilles, considered calling the operation off. The window of opportunity was a brief one, and it’s quite possible that had they opted out that day the operation would not have been re-mounted, ever…. MORE >>