NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
18th January, 1951 : All is quiet today in Hanoi. After the fierce fighting of the last four days, the Viet Minh guerrillas have been forced to retreat, leaving behind them 500 prisoners and 6,000 dead. It is a major victory for the French, and reverses a string of defeats for them in Tonkin. Much of the credit rests with the new High Commissioner and Commander-in-Chief, General Jean de Latre de Tassigny. The General, called “King Jean” by his men because of his elegance and courtly manner, has put a new spirit into the troops. He flew into one besieged outpost and cabled his men to come and rescue him. They came in force and inflicted the first major defeat on General Giap’s Communist guerrillas.