DIÊN BIÊN PHU: Walking Diary April 6, 1954

The situation has not changed. Medical evacuation did not take place.

Reinforcement airdrops are underway.


  • Friendly Losses: 23 killed including one officer, 112 wounded including 3 officers and 86 missing.
  • Losses of Rebels: 800 killed (many casualties), and a number out of position in the approach trenches.

240 paratroopers were dropped by the Dakotas. At 12:30 p.m. the operation was halted due to a storm in the basin. A stick of twenty exiles fell among the enemy. 12 of the 14 Dakotas were able to drop their crews.

These “banjo” missions can be very tricky and very dangerous. Paratroopers were to drop in a short DZ at 400 meters, in two passes or three. Always in the same place, in a straight line, obliged to cross at parachute speed, we were shot like pigeons.

Paratroopers did not have time to learn how to jump (the planes were taken for operational missions). Some made one or two jumps, others none: they were dropped into the Dien-Biên-Phù furnace at night, without training. Some absolutely wanted to fight, while others panicked at the last moment. They had to unfasten their SOA (Automatic Opening Bar) which delayed the others. Sometimes one of them opened his stomach in flight so as not to be forcibly pushed by the dispatchers. Hello damage!

In total, the four groups “Franche-Comté”, “Anjou”, “Béarn” and Senegal would fly 164 banjo missions and drop 3,024 paratroopers.

In semi-darkness, Dakotas line up in the parking lot where the excitement precedes banjo rides. The paratrooper sticks are preparing to jump into the furnace of the Dion pine flower in a few hours, at night.

The crew of the “Franche-Comté” of the C-47 n° 545 F-RAYA, Pilot Lamarck, NCA, a certain Capt…, theyecano VLASSOF and radio RUBEL, observe paratroopers lining up, whose equipment we check before boarding.

How many of them will return from Dien Bien Phu? There will be prisoners who are sick upon landing and who experience immediate hospitalization, who fight, who are dead or wounded, or who escape, but few escape. Actually, I don't think I was asked that many questions when I was 21. The task was there and it had to be carried out.

The paratroopers boarded, took off, taxied, took off and headed for the Dion Pine Flower. Regular

As with all night missions, flash hiders and discretion are essential. Even glow worms are banned on board!

As they approach the DZ, the paratroopers attach their SOA and the dispatcher to check on them, turning on his flashlight, allowing only a faint beam of light to filter through his fingers. Immediately our NCA shouts at him: No light!

Alignment for first pass. top fall…and instead'Press the release bell, our good NCA… turn on the headlightsComing down!!!

It's a festival of tracers that immediately merge into us. Lamarck, enraged, shakes the navigator's hand, turns off the headlights and “avoids”. Two routes to detonate paratroopers will be made without the help of a navigator. In all we took only two influences. But what heat!

Hugut 5 attack The rebels were stopped.

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