Thursday, April 17, 2014

GDW's "Citadel" The Battle of Dien Bien Phu

 Hi Kids,  So I know what you've been wondering....  "What are those hardcore gaming lads over in the next county up to lately?"  They've finished Marshal Enterprises' "Leipzig" and breezed through the Gamers'  "Ardenne," next up is GDW's "Citadel," Dien Bien Phu!  No doubt they are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Battle!  Or maybe they just got lucky with the timing....
 Here's the valley of Dien Bien Phu, looking north.  The Commie Viet Minh are the red counters (how appropriate) in the green areas of jungle hills, while the glorious French Union forces are in the center and south.  Naturally, any game with the French Foreign Legion is worth owning!  And playing if you get the chance!  This is the set-up.
A close up of the north chunk of the map, you can see Strongpoints Beatrice and Gabrielle, along with the airstrip and central base.  Turn one has just started with overcast skies here over the battlefield as well as over the Red River Delta.  Time for new dice!

DBP is an olde fav of mine, possibly due to the FFL connection.  All sorts of interesting stuff....
A fortress in the jungle, supplied only by air, CIA pilots, including the legendary "Earthquake McGoon," commies using American 105mm arty captured during the Korean War, including fresh ammo misdropped by the supply flights, entire units of Red Chinese manning anti-aircraft guns, human wave assaults, arty firing in self defense over open sights, huge tunneled mines just like in WW1, the "Paratroop Mafia," some units had so much surplus elan they actually went into combat singing!  Volunteers were still parachuting in the night before the fortress fell.  The night before Camerone Day one legion unit executed an assault just to capture some vinogel (wine concentrate) which had landed in no-mans-land.  Near the very end, when the Viet Minh were closing in, one Legionnaire came out of his bunker wearing his Kepi Blanc, saying, "I want them to know, they're facing the Legion." There was even a plan for the US Air Force to send in B-29's!  (Possibly with nukes!)
To learn more, here are a few books you could check out:
Martin Windrow "The Last Valley"
Jules Roy "The Battle of Dien Bien Phu"
Ted Morgan "Valley of Death"
Bernard Fall "Hell in a Very Small Place"
John Prados "Operation Vulture"
and just recently there's a new one out, JC Bourg "The Man Who Walked Out of Isabelle."
The 1992 movie "Dien Bien Phu" is definitely worth watching, its about as far from a Hollywood action/ war movie as you can get.  It was directed by a participant/witness of the battle,  Pierre Schoendoerffer.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

I'm curious to know how your game turned out! If you are interested in a video about the game, I have one at