The Vietnamese teenager who captured a French general
Published on May 4, 2014 1:12 PM
BAC NINH, Vietnam (AFP) - One of Vietnam's last surviving veterans of the battle of Dien Bien Phu recounts with pride the day in May 1954 when, aged just 19, he captured the commander of the French colonial forces.
Hoang Dang Vinh's display of military prowess earned him the supreme honour of meeting revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh - "Uncle Ho" - the future founding president of modern Vietnam.
Sixty years ago, after two months of hard fighting in the Dien Bien Phu valley, Vietnamese troops unexpectedly but conclusively defeated the country's colonial master France.
"The sky was filled with tall columns of black smoke from burning vehicles. The fields were covered with dead soldiers and destroyed military equipment," said Vinh, now a 79-year-old retired colonel.
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