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Dien Bien is a province in the Northwest region of Vietnam. It is bordered by Lai Chau and Son La provinces of Vietnam to the east and south, Pu'er City, Yunnan, China, to the north, and Phongsaly Province in Laos to the west. Dien Bien Phu is best known for the events which occurred there during the First Indochina War, the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ, during which the region was a breadbasket for the Viet Minh
One now can still find the iron vaults and sandbags atop the bunker. There used to be a roofed trench connecting the bunker of De Castries with the blockhouse at Cay Da in Hill A1. French troops piled up wooden planks and sandbags to make trenches. They took the wooden planks from the houses of the Vietnamese ethnic minority groups.
To reach there, however, Vietnamese troops had to fight heroically during 55 days and nights, amidst numerous hardships and difficulties. Around the bunker were situated dense systems of defense lines, including many layers of barbed wires and four tanks. The bunker is 20m long and 8m wide. It consists of 4 compartments, which serves as both working offices and resident places.
Hill A1 had three defense lines. The first one, stretching from the Cay Da blockhouse, protected the way to the hilltop. Currently this is the main road leading to the top of Hill A1. The second line was for counter-offensive assaults and the last one was a kind of underground bunker atop the hill.
Among these sites include artillery emplacements, remains of airplanes, Muong Thanh Bridge, the command bunker of De Castries, Hill A1 and the cemetery. Some 35km from the center of Dien Bien Phu City, in Muong Phang Commune lays the Command Post of General Vo Nguyen Giap.
Hill A1: This height stands block the way to the northeast sub-section. It has a significant role, controlling the whole battle of Dien Bien Phu. During 36 nights and days, the fierce battle claimed the lives of 2516 Vietnamese soldiers. Only until the night of May 6th, 1954 did Vietnamese soldiers win this decisive battle.
This command post had been set up as early as December 7th, 1953. In this cave, on January 14th, 1954, General Vo Nguyen Giap assigned the tactical tasks for different divisions, following the guideline of “sweep attack, sweep victory” under which the battle would last 2 days and 3 nights with the D-Day set on January 20th, 1954. On January 17th, 1954, the Command post was moved to the area beside Huoi He Stream in Na Tau Commune (Km 56+200, Tuan Giao-Dien Bien Phu road).
The museum was upgraded and its exhibition sections reorganized. To date, the museum has five exhibition sections, featuring 274 items and 122 pictures, many of which are newly added, about the 8-year resistance against the French colonialists.
The statue of Dien Bien Phu Victory represents the images of three Dien Bien soldiers, standing atop De Castries’s bunker, looking at three directions. One of them holds a rifle, one a flag and one holding a child with a bunch of flower. The words “Resolutely fight to win” are put in the flag under the suggestion of General Vo Nguyen Giap.
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