April 18, 1954: Vietnamese troops destroy fortress 105

The preparations had been completed, and the combat missions of the second phase continued to be carried out. Vietnamese soldiers continued to dig trenches surrounding the enemy’s bunkers, with the trenches in many places only 15 to 30 meters away from the enemy bunkers.
French troops sent an 18-tonne tank to protect the airport, but it was hit and set on fire by Vietnamese artillery. (Photo: VNA)
French troops sent an 18-tonne tank to protect the airport, but it was hit and set on fire by Vietnamese artillery. (Photo: VNA)

From the captured high points, Vietnamese soldiers were able to control the enemy's daily actions. Vietnamese soldiers used direct fire, such as DKZ rifles and Bazooka anti-tank rocket launchers, to knock down the enemy’s bunkers.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese snipers shot down French soldiers who went out from the bunkers to repair fortifications, scout, or walk around the station.

The enemy’s fence consisted of many layers, and in some places, they were 50 to 100 meters thick.

Every night, Vietnamese soldiers cut a few sections of the fences or used explosives to destroy them. By April 18, 1954, no fence was left in the post north of Muong Thanh airport.

The French troops guarding the post panicked and tried to withdraw. Vietnamese troops carried out the attack, killed more than 100 of them and captured 30 others.

At 8:00 AM on the same day, Vietnamese troops took control of the northern post - an important base protecting the airport, and our battlefield reached 700 additional metres toward Muong Thanh.

On the night of April 18, 1954, Regiment 165 attacked Fortress 105. When the enemy sent a tank to cover the trenches, Vietnam’s Regiment 36 under Company 308, which was assigned to protect trenches, were forced to retreat far away and use guns to shoot down enemy troops.

When the scope went bad, soldier Tran Dinh Hung calmly aimed at the target through the gun barrel, loaded bullets and shot down a tank. The feat of Hung forced the enemy to withdraw.

Given the situation, the enemies stationed north of the airport secretly withdrew at 3:00 a.m. As Vietnamese soldiers had dug trenches across the airport, the French were blocked without water or food.

Following their commander's orders, the retreating soldiers fired short bursts of bullets, threw bunches of grenades at Vietnamese troops and then fled. Only around 60 out of a total of 120 French troops, covered in blood and mud, made it through a distance of 1,500 meters to take shelter at Huguette 2 base.