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Operation Hirondelle took place during the First Indochina War in July 1953. It was an airborne raid on Viet Minh supply depots near Lạng Sơn, involving parachute units of the French Army and Vietnamese National Army.[2] Raids near the junction of Route Coloniale 4 and Route Coloniale 1 revealed supply caches hidden in caves, which were photographed and destroyed.[1]

Operation Hirondelle
Part of the First Indochina War
Lạng Sơn Province within which lies Lạng Sơn
DateJuly 17–19, 1953
Result Successful French raid
Viet Minh caches destroyed; French withdrawal
Lạng Sơn

France French Union

North Vietnam Viet Minh
Commanders and leaders
Marcel Bigeard

The attack forces then retreated over land through Loc Binh, where other French units had been dropped on July 17 to repair and hold a river crossing for the retreating units; and then to form a rearguard for 20 miles.[2] The entire force rendezvoused with Groupe Mobile Five,[1] and was then extracted by sea on July 19, suffering from heat exhaustion. The average weight loss was 11 pounds.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Windrow, p. 215.
  2. ^ a b c Windrow, p. 195.



  • Fall, Bernard B. (December 1956). "Indochina: The Last Year of the War. The Navarre Plan" (PDF). The Military Review. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-23.


  • Fall, Bernard B. (1966). Hell in a Very Small Place. The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. London: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81157-9.
  • Fall, Bernard B. (1961). Street Without Joy. The French Debacle in Indochina. New York: Stackpole Military History. ISBN 978-0-8117-3236-9.
  • Fall, Bernard B. (1967). The Two Vietnams. A Political and Military Analysis (Second ed.). New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc.
  • Roy, Jules (1963). The Battle of Dien Bien Phu. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7867-0958-8.
  • Windrow, Martin (2004). The Last Valley. Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-304-36692-7.