INDO-CHINA: Crucial Battle

INDOCHINA

To the shrilling of bugles, troops of the Communist Viet Minh poured onto a saucerlike plateau in the mountains of Indo-China one day last week and launched a crucial battle of the seven-year Indo-China war. Their objective: Dienbienphu, a huge French fortress 175 miles west of Hanoi.

The stronghold, isolated between the Red River delta and Laos, was even more a psychological than a military pivot of the war. The French seized the saucer last November, built it into a bastion with a tireless airlift and talked of sucking the forces of wily...

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