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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

De Lattre Line, Hanoi - Red River 1950

After WWII, France sought to reestablish its colonial empire in Africa and Asia.

Indochina had been taken over by the Japanese in 1940. When they left, there was a long war between the local peoples and the French and a few local allies. In what became North Vietnam the French dug in. Marshal Jean de Lattre de Tassigny arrived in 1949 to take over the colonial forces. He created the de Lattre Line as shown above. This was to protect the capital, Hanoi and its connections to the main seaport at Haiphong.

The line was approximately 3200kms long. the French had 323 artillery pieces, mainly 105mm howitzers, which they grouped into 160 X 2 gun positions. At river and railroad crossings, the French built a number of concrete bunkers. These incorporated obsolete tank turrets

Bunker with H-39 tank turret.

Bunker with Cromwell tank turret, manned by legionnaires.
These look like developments of the AtlantikWall bunkers. I find these to be fascinating, although outside my usual timelines. I may devote some more research time to the de Lattre line.

I have pinched the above map and photos from various Internet sites and I would like to thank the contributors.


  1. Fascinating stuff. I just finished Bernard Fall's 'Street Without Joy' and was fascinated by his description of the huge variety of French bunkers scattered around (then) Indochina. Pretty horrific stuff as it seems they were frequently over-run in night assaults by Viet Minh. I was curious to their construction and came across your excellent blog. Thank you.