“No combat; just cargo.”
So reads the contract American pilot Tom Coyle signs with the French Air Force in 1953. Hired to supply French ground forces as they fight to maintain their economic interests in Vietnam, Coyle is soon caught up in the nightmarish battles at the climax of the First Indochina War.
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte (attributed)
French General Henri Navarre has a plan to establish a fortified airhead to lure Viet Minh forces into a frontal assault, a strategy that had worked very well at Nà Sản the prior year. Despite the tactical differences, and over the objections of every one of his subordinate officers, he chooses Dien Bien Phu as the location of the base.
“When you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
General Võ Nguyên Giáp has learned from his defeat at the Battle of Nà Sản in 1952. As the French build up their base in the valley, he directs his forces to dig tunnels and trenches throughout the surrounding mountains, covertly positioning the heavy artillery that will unleash fifty-four days of hell onto the surrounded soldiers.
Expertly blending fictional characters and real people, David Lee Corley delves into the men, the motivations, and the missions of the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the last major conflict before the Vietnam War. We Stand Alone is a historical novel that reads like a modern political thriller, full of exciting action, larger-than-life characters, and unforgettable events.