As everyone knows, in the initial combat plan of the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the entire fate of this stronghold corporation would be decided within 3 days by the strategy of “fast strike, fast victory”. At that time, the logistics for this campaign ensured 300% of projected demand for the necessities for the army such as rice, salt, vegetables and meat.
But at the very last minute, Vo Nguyen Giap, the Commander and General Secretary of the Dien Bien Phu Front Committee, came to a decision that he considered the most difficult in his life as a military commander, that was to switch to the “steady fight and advance” strategy.
That very decision would bring about a great victory that will shake the planet 55 days later. But at the time then, this diversion also meant giving the logistics division at the front line new and unprecedented requirements, in which the most difficult problem was to meet the new demand for necessities and many other items for the army, which has now exceeded hundreds of times.
Previously, when the General greeted Uncle Ho prior to going into battle, Uncle Ho told him that it was important to win that day, do not engage if there’re still any doubts.
Immediately after hearing the report from the Front Command, Uncle Ho and the Party’s Central Committee had many discussions and came to a strategic decision to encourage people across the country to participate in a logistics campaign for the Dien Bien Phu. The whole country reached toward the front line, providing and supplying for troops as well as participating in civil services for the campaign.
261,400 workers, equivalent with 12 million working days of mobilizing human resources from free areas at that time such as Thanh – Nghe –Tinh, Viet Bac area, combined with making use of local resources created a legendary logistics campaign in the flower season of 1954 with 23,000 tons of rice, 266 tons of salt, 2,000 tons of food being mobilized for the campaign.
When the soldiers in the battlefield “carving mountains, sleeping in tunnels and fought in the rain”, under the rain of bombs and bullets of the enemy, entire battalions of civilians with only bicycles and horses played the role of an immense flow of supplies for the front line.
The day of victory came on the afternoon of May 7th, 1954, the commander of the De Castrie stronghold, after hearing the salute from General Navarre – “Goodbye old friend” from Hanoi, had ordered his soldiers to stop firing to wave the white flag, surrendering to the Vietnam People’s Army.
The people of that era had made a revolutionary logistics feat, as commented by General Vo Nguyen Giap, our people had never contributed such an enormous amount of effort before.
In 2020, when the whole country goes to war with the Covid-19 pandemic, it still possesses the spirit of Dien Bien in the past. The whole political system got involved with the goal of pushing back the epidemic: “Fighting an epidemic like fighting the enemy.” The strategy of “steady fight and advance” is now being creatively applied as: zoning and isolating outbreaks, mobilizing national and local resources in order to supply for the quarantine areas and develop anti – Covid logistics operations.