The Command bunker of De Castries

Lying in the heart of the entrenched camp of  Dien Bien Phu, in the middle of the Muong Thanh Field, in Dien Bien district, Dien Bien province,  the Command bunker of  De Castries is kept intact with  the original shape, dimension, structure and arrangement.





Fifty years ago, one could see the top of the bunker from a high hill. To reach there, however, Vietnamese troops had to fight heroically during 55 days and nights, amidst numerous hardships and difficulties. Around the bunker were situated dense systems of defense lines, including many layers of barbed wires and four tanks. With twenty meters in length and eight meters in width, the bunker consists of 4 compartments, which served as both working offices and resident places. 



Today visitors can still find the iron vaults and sandbags atop the bunker. There used to be a roofed trench connecting the bunker of De Castries with the blockhouse at Cay Da in Hill A1. French troops piled up wooden planks and sandbags to make trenches. They took the wooden planks from the houses of the Vietnamese ethnic minority groups.
 
Inside this bunker, De Castries received such high-ranking officers as French Prime Minister Joseph Laniel, US President Dwight Eisenhower, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as well as well-known journalists. At 5.30 pm on May 7th, 1954, Ta Quoc Luat, the commander of Company 360, Regiment 209, Division 312 captured alive General De Castries who was sitting at his desk in the corner of the bunker.