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Not far from this idyllic landscape the Battle of Dong Khe took place in September 1950. It was a major battle of the Vietnamese against France who had been established in Vietnam (Indochine) for about 100 years. It was a Viet Minh victory.

“As the Colonial Route 4 (now Highway 4A) was a vital supply line that provided the Viet Minh with weapons and ammunition from China, the commander of the Viet Minh forces, Nguyen Giap, wanted to hang on to this important route at whatever cost. Thus, in order to avoid a future French attack aimed at blocking this vital supply line, he deemed necessary to capture the French outpost of Dong Khe.

When more Chinese weapons and communist troops had arrived in Tonkin through the border of northern Vietnam, Nguyen Giap decided to launch an assault on the French Dong Khe fortress on September 15, 1950. After three days of ferocious fighting, Dong Khe fell in communist hands on September 18.

Having been defeated at the battle of Dong Khe, the French joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to protect the French forces at the Cao Bang outpost. So, they ordered the commander of the French unit deployed there, Colonel Charton, to withdraw a 100 km southwards to the town of That Khe. To protect and support their withdrawal, a Foreign Legion battalion, commanded by Colonel Lepage, was sent to the area to meet Charton’s men.

On the way back, both units were constantly under attacks carried out by both Viet Minh and Chinese forces, suffering a lot of casualties. Thus this French withdrawal from Cao Bang towards That Khe was hell on earth.” (Wikipedia)

Over 4000 men lost their lives and there were also thousands of wounded not to mention the civilians.

Tags: North east Travel photography Vietnam Landscape and travel Karst mountains Paddy fields CAO BANG PROVINCE HIGHWAY 4A

Voters: Len1950, CarolG, rontear and 16 more

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CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
11 Nov 2011 5:54PM
Beautiful scenery, Jean-Noel, and a most interesting write-up. Carol

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Maiwand 11 3 73 England
11 Nov 2011 7:25PM
Great shot Jean-Noel. A terrific narrative speaking of a war we know so little about and is seldom mentioned.
moiral 8 12 Scotland
11 Nov 2011 7:27PM
Amazing to think that such battles have taken place near this gorgeous scenery. Lovely set of shots and very interesting narrative. Moira
9 10 10 England
11 Nov 2011 7:27PM
Looking at this beautiful scenery it is hard to imagine the battles and suffering that took place.
14 Nov 2011 5:52PM
Four cracking shots, Jean-Noel, wonderful scenery so very well captured and a very interesting write up.
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
14 Nov 2011 10:11PM
An excellent set of landscapes and a fascinating narrative to accompany them

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