April 15, 1954: 141st Regiment encountered French forces going to relieve and supply Base 105 (Huguette 6)

In the Southern Division, at 4:00 p.m. on April 15, 1954, a C.119 plane flew and circled several times and then dropped a series of parachutes, including a red parachute that fell near the Vietnamese battlefield. In the evening, Vietnamese soldiers went out to get their parachutes and saw a box that had been brought back to the 57th Regiment Headquarters.
Vietnamese units under the command of military hero Nguyen Quoc Tri are attacking Muong Thanh airport (Photo: VNA)
Vietnamese units under the command of military hero Nguyen Quoc Tri are attacking Muong Thanh airport (Photo: VNA)

The box was full of gift packages including: cigarettes, wine, sausages, ham, shirts, razor blades and a pink letter sent from De Castries' wife to her husband on the occasion of his promotion to the rank of general. The unit asked the Front Command for advice on how to handle the letter. Political commissar Le Liem said it should be transferred to De Castries. Vietnam announced on the radio. Just an hour later, according to convention, a French soldier carrying a white flag arrived at the meeting place, received the letter and brought it back to Muong Thanh.

Around the Hong Cum stronghold, soldiers with rifles, machine guns, artillery, large and small mortars were ready to wait for the enemy to appear. After being deceived many times by the Vietnamese, during the day, the enemy did not dare to move or raise their heads above the trenches. Every time they went to collect parachutes, the enemy had to organise a battle with accompanying tanks and coordinated artillery fire.

On the night of April 15, 1954, the trenches of the 88th Regiment in the west and the trenches of the 141st Regiment in the east both crossed five barriers to enter the airport... Realising that Muong Thanh airport was in danger of being cut off. The airport and Base 105 (Huguette 6) at the north end of the airport were about to be destroyed, De Castries ordered Langelier to immediately relieve the airport, first of all supplying Base 105. After that, Langelier mobilised the 1st, 2nd and 6th parachute battalions to launch an operation to relieve and supply Base 105. At that time, the legionnaires at this base not only lacked ammunition, but also lacked drinking water.

At dawn on the same day, the enemy army going to relieve reached the trenches of the 141st Regiment at the airport. The battle went on for four hours before the enemy was able to open the way for the civilians to bring supplies to Base 105. At the beginning, there were 35 people carrying water, but when Vietnamese soldiers arrived at the station, there were only 7 people and 5 buckets of water left. The soldiers in the station had to share sparingly. Each soldier was only given one case of water each day during the very hot weather.