Vietnam's greatest military hero a humbler of the West
HANOI (AFP) - General Vo Nguyen Giap, who died on Friday aged 102, was considered one of history's greatest military strategists and was the architect of Vietnam's stunning battlefield victories against France and the United States.
Second only to late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh as modern Vietnam's most revered figure, the former history teacher's first military lesson came from an old encyclopedia entry about the mechanism of a hand grenade.
The son of a poor scholar, he went on to defeat Vietnam's colonial masters in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu, the battle that ended French rule in Indochina and started direct US involvement leading to the Vietnam war.
Over the next two decades the founding father of the Vietnam People's Army, whose guerrilla tactics inspired anti-colonial fighters worldwide, again led his forces to victory with the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.