Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quotation of the day for November 17, 2009

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Quotation of the Day for November 17, 2009

"At 2200, de Castries' headquarters reported to Hanoi a successful raid on the Communist trenches and fortifications south of E2 by Maj. Coutant's 1/13 Foreign Legion. One Viet-Minh blockhouse was completely destroyed with plastic charges and two others were severely damaged. In addition at least ten enemy soldiers were killed and other were wounded, while there were no friendly losses to report. The communique, however, failed to stress that the idea of the raid originated in the fact that two complete crates of "Vinogel" wine concentrate had fallen into no man's land east of the Eliane ridgeline held by the Legionnaires. The Legionnaires who thus far that day had had to celebrate Camerone with exactly one bottle of wine per platoon, were not about to let that precious booty fall into enemy hands. A commando of volunteers was organized (as one non-Legionnaire observed: everybody would have volunteered for that raid) and as soon as night fell pushed off into no man's land. The main objective was rapidly secured, the knocking out of the enemy bunkers being a mere tactical necessity incident to the success of the operation."

- Bernard Fall, in Hell in a Very Small Place, a history of the siege of Dien Bien Phu over 1953-54. Camerone is the annual celebration of a heroic stand made by French Foreign Legionnaires on April 30, 1863.

Submitted by: Terry Labach
Nov. 13, 2009

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