Struggling to reassert control over their Indochinese colonies after World War II, the French established a huge air-land base in the valley of Dien Bien Phu. But when the opposing Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA) began massing its forces against the base in late 1953, French commanders seized the opportunity to draw their elusive enemy into a decisive set-piece battle.
Defending a series of fortified positions which were reliant upon a single airstrip – and later, risky and inaccurate airdrops – for reinforcement and resupply, the French troops quickly discovered that they had underestimated their enemy. In 56 days of costly close-quarters fighting, the VPA slowly dislodged the French from one strongpoint after another by developing novel tactics and accomplishing incredible feats of engineering.
Drawing upon Vietnamese-language sources never previously employed in Western accounts of the siege, Valley of the Shadow is a dramatic re-telling of the climactic battle of the First Indochina War, the conflict that saw the French expelled from their former colony and set the stage for the “American War” in Vietnam.
Narrator: Joe Barrett
Duration: 11 hours 27 minutes
Released: 19 Dec 2002
Publisher: Tantor Audio