There’s no particular last stand in which I’d want to be, but I’ve always been amused by the rumour that the French Army’s various fortified hilltop positions at Dien Bien Phu – the siege of which ended in a comprehensive French defeat – were allegedly named after former mistresses of the French commander, Colonel Christian de Castries: Anne-Marie, Beatrice, Claudine, Dominique, Eliane, Gabrielle, Huguette and Isabelle. (I guess de Castries never got around to seducing anyone called FranÃ§oise.) Similarly, the French Army’s initial paratrooper drop zones had female code names: Natasha, Octavie and Simone.
Anyway, here’s the description of the fall of Dien Bien Phu which Bernard B. Fall gives in his book Street Without Joy : “As the night fell over Dienbienphu that Friday evening – all the rest had fallen – the men could see the waves of enemy infantry surge toward them. Methodically they went about their business of destroying all the useless weapons and of caring for their wounded; and in the early dawn, led by their commander, the Legionnaires fixed bayonets in the ghostly light of the parachute flares and – 600 against 40,000 --walked into death.”