Exhibition reviews Dien Bien Phu in the Air campaign

Update: 09:14 | 18/12/2017
Photos and objects on the Dien Bien Phu in the Air victory are on displayed at an exhibition called “Battle of Dien Bien Phu in the Air and the Trench of the Command Post of Operations,” which opened in Ha Noi on December 15 to mark the 45th anniversary of the victory.
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Ha Noi, Hai Phong and their vicinities were heavily bombarded in an aerial raids in December 1972, known in Vietnam as "Dien Bien Phu in the Air” and in the West as the 1972 Christmas bombing.

exhibition reviews dien bien phu in the air campaign
A visitor learns about the Dien Bien Phu in the Air campaign in 1972. (Photo: VNA)

It was the last US military campaign during the war and lasted for 12 days from December 18 to 29.

Over 12 days and nights, the Ha Noi air defence grids and all across the north of Vietnam shot down 4,181 airplanes, including 34 expensive B52s, referred to as flying fortresses, which had their own radar bomb navigation systems with well-trained crews.

Linebacker II was to be a "maximum effort" bombing campaign to "destroy major target complexes in the Ha Noi and Hai Phong areas, which could only be accomplished by B-52s”, according to military experts.

It saw the largest heavy bomber strikes launched by the US Air Force since the end of World War II.

But the people of Ha Noi triumphed over the heavy bombardment, although more than 1,600 civilians were killed and three Mic 21 were shot down. The Hanoians had named the 12 day and night campaign their Dien Bien Phu in the Air, recalling their decisive victory over the French in 1954.

The victory under Ha Noi skies prompted the US to return to the negotiating table in Paris and finally sign the peace accords that they had previously refused to.

The exhibition is divided into two parts, the ‘Battle of Dien Bien Phu in the Air’ and the ‘Trench of the Command Post of Operations aka T1 bunker’.

The trench of the Command Post of Operations, built in 1964, was the place where the country’s leaders received reports and gave directions for the resistance war throughout the country. During the 12 days and nights in 1972, operations from bunker T1 helped shoot down several B52 planes.

Today T1 is an important part of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel relic, making it an outstanding heritage site in Ha Noi.

The exhibition will run until the end of the year at the Thang Long – Ha Noi Heritage Conservation Centre in Ha Noi.

During the exhibition, the organiser will also screen documentaries and hold talks with witnesses and experts. 

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(Source: VNA)