Cao Xuan Nghia:
It was a fort on a hilltop which we had to attack. And the terrain around the area was extremely treacherous, not very suitable for our purpose at all. We used a platoon against the fort.
We had some units with explosive charges which preceded us in order to open holes in the perimeter and the walls. The explosive charges were about this long. We attached them to the fence and then set them off, opening up holes in the perimeter. And then the rest of us charged in through the holes.
When I rushed into the fort with my squad I was carrying a Remington which I had captured from the French in the Dong Bac area. My squad was commanded by Mr. Nhan who died in that battle. He was killed by a 12.7 millimeter gun located in a bunker. So I ran to the bunker with an explosive charge to silence the gun and succeeded in doing so.
I was very angry at the time because I really loved Brother Nhan. Before he died he told me to remember to tell his mother that he had sacrificed himself. I buried him later on on the side of the hill next to the fort.
We fought from 11:30 p.m. til 5:00 a.m. Then my own unit withdrew to the outside to consolidate our position. But other units stayed on to complete the job. The battle was a successful one. It was a significant battle not only in terms of proving how high our morale was but also because it was the first battle which opened the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.
The next battle was the battle of Hien Lam. But it was another division, not mine, which fought there.