Valley of the Shadow

Valley of the Shadow

The Siege of Dien Bien Phu

General Military
  • Author: Kevin Boylan, Luc Olivier
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 25 Jul 2019
  • ISBN: 9781472824417
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 368
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About this Product

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.

Biographical Note

Dr Kevin M. Boylan, PhD earned his bachelors in History from Rutgers University and his doctorate from Temple University. He was employed for a decade at the Pentagon as a defence analyst for the US Defense Department - Director of Program Analysis and Evaluation and the US Army Staff - War Plans Division before returning to academia. He won the Society for Military History's Moncado Prize in both 2010 and 2015, and authored Losing Binh Dinh: The Failure of Pacification and Vietnamization, 1969-1971 (University Press of Kansas, 2016). Dr Boylan currently teaches at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts.Luc Olivier earned his Masters in Geography at the CESA in the University of Tours, and served in the French Army as a second lieutenant and platoon commander. He also has an extensive background in IT consulting and is presently the managing director of a French-Hungarian IT company. He has designed a dozen commercial wargames - including two on Dien Bien Phu - which have been published in magazines including Vae Victis and Battles Magazine. He also written and published many articles on historical military topics over the last 20 years. He lives in Paris, France.


Chapter 1: The Road to Dien Bien Phu
Chapter 2: People's War - People's Army
Chapter 3: Base AĆ©ro-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