Death on the Highway: The Destruction of G.M. 100
Groupement Mobile No. 100 ("Mobile Group 100" or G.M. 100) was an elite regimental task force unit of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps which was assembled as a convoy in Vietnam. It included battle-hardened veterans of the Korean War who fought at Chipyong-ni, Wonju and Heartbreak Ridge. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Anxious to avoid a second disaster like the siege at Dien Bien Phu, the French Chief of Staff ordered G.M. 100 to abandon their isolated position in the Central Highlands and fall back to Pleiku on Jun. 24, 1954. At the road marker 'Kilometer 15' the column was ambushed by Viet Minh troops belonging to the 803rd Regiment and suffered heavy losses. The remains of G.M. 100 managed to break through the ambush.⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The remnants of G.M. 100, now with G.M. 42 and the 1st Airborne Group had to brave 30 kilometres (19 mi) more of enemy road and were ambushed again on June 28 and 29 by the Viet Minh 108th Regiment. This time they were forced to fight a pitch battle near the town of Mang Yang, at times hand-to-hand. Caught in a hail of Communist fire, the French defenders took up perimeter defensive positions on each side of the road. Some trucks refused to stop, pushing trucks in front of them into ditches and running over the injured soldiers. The survivors finally straggled into Pleiku. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In five days of fighting, G.M. 100 lost 85 percent of vehicles, 100 percent of artillery, 68 percent of signal equipment and 50 percent of crew-served weapons. They had lost more troops in those five days than in all of the Korean War. In fact, the number of troops remaining was less than half what it had been when the unit entered the war.
The ambush and destruction of G.M. 100 was considered the last significant battle of the First Indochina War. Three weeks later, on Jul. 20, 1954, a battlefield ceasefire was announced when the Geneva agreements were signed, and on Aug. 1, the armistice went into effect, sealing the end of the French Indochina and the partition of Vietnam along the 17th parallel. - 27 minutes ago