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Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu

 
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Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/26/2018 8:12:50 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Partly in preparation for the Launch of CS Vietnam next year I have got my hands on “Valley of the Shadow”, the new book by Kevin Boylan and Luc Olivier on Dien Bien Phu.

Its well worth it with some new detailed maps and a look in depth at the sequence of attacks and counter attacks for the various positions. Reading it has also prompted me to go back and look at “The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam” by Martin Windrow, which looks at the battle within the context of the wider war, and came out back in 2004.

One of the things that stands out from both books is the need for a special kind of unit to represent the bulk of the Viet Minh artillery units that were emplaced before the battle started on the forward slopes overlooking the valley.

Its clear that these pretty much had their protective bunkers built round them indeed , “Valley of the Shadow” makes the point that these fortified artillery positions gave rather better defensive cover than the French strongpoint’s they were there to attack.

The flip side of this is that it was difficult if not impossible to move these units once they were in place, that their fields of fire would necessarily have been fixed and that they used direct rather than indirect fire, partly from choice and partly due to the limited training their crews had received,

I wonder if we need something here akin to the “Pantherturm” tank turret fortification units, in East and West Front but mounting the relevent 75mm and 105mm guns able to do direct fire only. In the ideal world these units would only be able to fire through a limited ark but as the coding for that is (as far as I know) not yet available, as historically they were placed in fairly restrictive terrain a way back from the front lines, that will probably restrict their fields of fire in any case.

Perhaps when you get to West Front II and want to do casement fortifications for the Maginot Line and Fort Eben-Emael that would be the time to update the Viet Minh artillery bunkers envisaged here.

Also with Dien Bien Phu mind how about the 13th March next year (the 75th anniversary of the start of the battle) as a release date for the CS Vietnam game ?


Really looking forward to this one but please take as much time as you need to get it right.


All the best

Ian

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/26/2018 8:26:09 PM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

Perhaps when you get to West Front II and want to do casement fortifications for the Maginot Line and Fort Eben-Emael that would be the time to update the Viet Minh artillery bunkers envisaged here.


West Front II would be a more realistic timeline for such features. We're pretty well in code freeze now for Vietnam.


quote:

Also with Dien Bien Phu mind how about the 13th March next year (the 75th anniversary of the start of the battle) as a release date for the CS Vietnam game ?


Very interesting idea, Ian!



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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 11:32:18 AM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Hi Jason

Thanks for the quick reply here. Is there any chance that we can have artillery bunker type units of the kind envisaged in my original post (all be it with the ability to fire through the full 360 degree ark) and with their defensive values somewhat in between the “bunkers” and “pill boxes” already in the game, available for scenario designers when the game comes out next year ?

Kind regards
Ian

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 1:09:57 PM   
Jason Petho


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What sizes of artillery?

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 3:58:03 PM   
MrRoadrunner


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I like the idea of having a separate unit to represent these.

Would an artillery piece in an existing "pillbox" essentially do the same?
Though the 360 degree fire would be there the hard versus soft attack factor would preserve the artillery in the pillbox from artillery counter fire. If you need them to direct fire only, notes could be put into the scenario description to restrict their use?
On the flip side you might need notes to restrict the defender from firing hard attack units at the pillboxes?

I know you might not want the pillbox on the map but it would replicate what was created until one could be added?

RR

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 4:57:38 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Hi Jason
Here I think we should be looking at

US 105mm M2A1 Howitzers, (already in West Front & Rising Sun) US 75mm M1A1 Pack Howitzers (already in CSME) and Japanese Type 74 75mm Mountain Guns (already in Rising Sun)


Kind regards

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 5:33:36 PM   
ironbar61

 

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Would you be able to replicate the arc of fire through terrain elevations? If I recall these were positioned on the western face of the ridges (about military crest I would think) to the east side of Dominique and Elaine.

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 6:40:08 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Given careful placement with terrain features blocking line of sight to right left and rear I think scenerio designers should be able to take care of this.

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 9:16:52 PM   
Warhorse


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hoplite1963

Hi Jason
Here I think we should be looking at

US 105mm M2A1 Howitzers, (already in West Front & Rising Sun) US 75mm M1A1 Pack Howitzers (already in CSME) and Japanese Type 74 75mm Mountain Guns (already in Rising Sun)


Kind regards



Yep, these are all included!


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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 9/27/2018 9:30:41 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Thanks Warhorse

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 11/18/2018 1:54:52 AM   
David Galster

 

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Viet Minh Artillery Casemates

I am now working on some Dien Bien Phu scenarios. Yes, the placement of Viet Minh
artillery on the forward slopes toward the valley was something the French did
not expect. And, they dug into the sides of mountains "casemates" for the howitzers
for protection against French counterbattery fire and airstrikes. The Viet Minh
used mostly direct fire against the French strongpoints. It was very effective.

French counterbattery fire was not effective, although their 155's did take out
some Viet Minh artillery overlooking the southern strongpoint, Isabelle.

The Viet Minh had 105mm M101 howitzers obtained through the Chinese -captured
from the Nationalist Chinese. They also had some 75mm pack howitzers of US design.
Also, they had some of the older Japanese 75mm Type 94 Mountain howitzers.

For the "casemates" I am using the regular bunkers in the scenario editor for
Viet Minh howitzers. They also have porter units which can move them in closer
if need be. This is useful at night. That seems to work out well, although
probably not quite as effective against French counterbatter fire as historical.

I playtested the Beatrice and Gabrielle scenarios, and the Viet Minh
artillery does a pretty good job of killing French units in these strongpoints.

Indirect fire at night is worthless, however, and so the players need to move as many
howitzers to within 6 hexes at night for direct fire. Otherwise the cannons are virtually
useless.

Campaign Series Kudos,

David Galster

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 11/18/2018 7:02:06 AM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Hi David
Thanks for the update here.

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RE: Viet Minh artillery at Dien Bien Phu - 11/18/2018 7:56:45 AM   
Big Ivan


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hoplite1963

Hi David
Thanks for the update here.


Yes David thanks for the update here!


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