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He said he would welcome a million American soldiers to come in

On July 17, 1945, the OSS Deer Team, led by Major A. K. Thomas, was parachuted in the jungle 200 km north of Hanoi, to make contact with a mysterious group of resistance fighters willing to help the US against the Japanese. They were greeted cordially by the group leader, "Mr C. M. Hoo", a sick-looking older man, and his acolyte "Mr Van", a dapper man wearing a white linen suit and a black fedora (and he did like his fedora). From mid-July to the Japanese capitulation, the Deer Team trained Hoo's ragtag band, provided them with explosives and small arms and followed them during skirmishes. They also allegedly saved Ho(o)'s life. Major Thomas' full report on the Deer Mission (including the FPP title and the line Forget the Communist Bogy) is buried in the 1972 Hearings on the causes of the Vietnam war (see also the same events according to Henri Prunier, last surviving member of the Deer Team). [more inside]
posted by elgilito on Mar 14, 2013 - 23 comments

An old general, cardboard bits, yesterday's battle

90+ Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Giap buys 100 copies of "Vallee De La Morte", a board game recreation of the battle of Dien Bien Phu There actually are 2 competing board game recreations of the epic 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu which was (by the French):

""....an attempt to interdict the enemy's rear area, to stop the flow of supplies and reinforcements, to establish a redoubt in the enemy's rear and disrupt his lines," says Douglas Johnson, research professor at the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute. "The enemy could then be lured into a killing ground."....Hoping to draw Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas into a classic battle, the French began to build up their garrison at Dien Bien Phu..." General Giap - who led the Vietcong forces in that battle, prefers "Vallee De La Morte". Such games are played with large multicolored paper maps broken up into hexagonal grids, with cardboard pieces representing military units. The rules can be quite complex and some wargames ( such as Drang Nach Osten) have thousands of pieces and take thousands of hours to play (sometimes longer than the actual wars they simulate). More on wargaming.
posted by troutfishing on Apr 26, 2004 - 26 comments

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