Jean Étienne Valluy

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Jean Etienne Valluy
Born15 May 1899
Rive-de-Gier, France
Died4 January 1970(1970-01-04) (aged 70)
Paris, France
Service/branch French Army
Years of service1918-1960
Rank Général d'Armée
Commands held French Far East Expeditionary Corps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
First Indochina War

Jean Etienne Valluy (15 May 1899 4 January 1970) was a French general.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.


Early life

He was born in Rive-de-Gier, Loire, on 15 May 1899 to Claude (Claudius) Valluy and Jeanne, Adrienne Cossanges.

Rive-de-Gier Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Rive-de-Gier is a commune in the Loire department in central France.

Loire Longest river in France

The Loire is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of 1,012 kilometres (629 mi), it drains an area of 117,054 km2 (45,195 sq mi), or more than a fifth of France's land area, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône.

Military career

World War I

In 1917 he entered the military academy of Saint-Cyr. He left as "Aspirant" in July 1918 and joined the Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale du Maroc (RICM) in August 1918. He took part in the last four months of the First World War, where he was wounded in the neck and received the first of his citations which included the Croix de Guerre. [1] :168

Aspirant is a rank in the Royal Canadian Navy, Estonian Defence Forces, French military, Brazilian military, Portuguese military, Swiss military, Italian Air Force, Argentinian Armed Forces, Romanian Navy, Polish Policja and Państwowa Straż Pożarna.

Régiment dinfanterie-chars de marine

The Régiment d'infanterie chars de marine RICM in French, is a light cavalry regiment of the French Army heir to the Régiment d'infanterie coloniale du Maroc RICM.

<i>Croix de Guerre</i> class of French military award

The Croix de Guerre is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts. The Croix de Guerre was also commonly bestowed on foreign military forces allied to France.

World War II

At the outbreak of the war, Valluy was a Major and operations officer with the XX1 Corps, captured by the Germans he was released in 1941 and by 1944 had become a Brigadier General in the First Army. In 1945 he was given command of the 9th Colonial Infantry Division (9th DIC). [2]


The French colonial government had co-existed uneasily with the Japanese occupying force during the Second World War but had been swept aside by Japanese military action in March 1945, leading to the Vietnamese declaration of independence in August 1945. By 1946, the French had re-occupied the south of Viêtnam and in July 1946 Valluy replaced Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque as the commander of French Forces in Indochina. [3] Following the breakdown of negotiations between the French and Viet Minh in August 1946, and amid ongoing tensions between French and Viet Minh forces in Tonkin, on 20 November a French patrol boat seized a Chinese junk carrying gasoline and the Viet Minh then seized the French boat arresting its crew, rioting then broke out in Haiphong resulting in the deaths of 240 Vietnamese and 7 French. [4] On 22 November Valluy ordered the local commander, Colonel Pierre-Louis Debès to take complete control of Haiphong "and force the Vietnamese Government and army into submission. [5] [6] French infantry with armored units went through Haiphong fighting house to house against the Vietminh. French aircraft bombed and strafed while the cruiser Suffren, in the harbor, shelled the city, demolishing whole neighborhoods of flimsy structures. Refugees streamed into nearby provinces with their belongings in baskets and on bicycles, and the naval guns shelled them as well. Days passed before the French finally overcame the last Vietminh snipers. The Vietnamese claimed that the French actions caused twenty thousand deaths. A French admiral later estimated that no more than six thousand Vietnamese had been killed. Vu Quoc Uy, then chairman of the Haiphong municipal committee, said in an interview in 1981 that the toll had been between five hundred and a thousand.

Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque Marshal of France

Philippe François Marie Leclerc de Hauteclocque was a French general during the Second World War. He became Marshal of France posthumously in 1952, and is known in France simply as le maréchal Leclerc or just Leclerc.

Tonkin northern part of Vietnam, to the west of the Gulf of Tonkin

Tonkin, also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is in the Red River Delta Region of northern Vietnam.

Haiphong Municipality in Vietnam

Haiphong is a major industrial city, the second largest city in the northern part of Vietnam, and third largest city overall in Vietnam. Hai Phong is also the center of technology, economy, culture, medicine, education, science and trade in the northern coast of Vietnam.

French forces moved from Haiphong towards Hanoi, various areas of which were controlled by the French and the Viet Minh. On 17 December Valluy ordered the removal of all Viet Minh roadblocks in the city, stating "If the Viets want a fight, they'll get it." [7] While the Viet Minh leadership had slipped out of Hanoi, Viet Minh units engaged the French in house to house fighting for almost two months allowing the Viet Minh to re-establish itself in the Việt Bắc. [8]

Việt Bắc is a region of Vietnam north of Hanoi that served as the Việt Minh's base of support during the First Indochina War (1946–1954).

After securing control of Hanoi and Haiphong, Valluy sought to quickly cut off and destroy the Viet Minh through a series of pincer movements by air, land, riverine and naval forces before the Viet Minh could build up their forces. [9]

On 7 October 1947, after months of preparations, Valluy launched Operation Lea with the aim of capturing the Vietminh leadership and destroying their forces in the Viet Bac. While French paratroops almost captured Ho Chi Minh at Bac Kan, the Viet Minh slipped away through gaps in the French lines. Operation Lea concluded on 8 November. [10]

On 20 November Valluy launched Operation Ceinture between Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang, while the French seized Viet Minh supplies and bases no set-piece battle developed as the Viet Minh simply broke contact. The French withdrew from the area on 22 December. [11]

Valluy had failed to destroy the Viet Minh through a knockout blow and realised that he was now facing a long war. With limited manpower he was unable to launch large-scale attacks against the Viet Minh and 1948 saw him consolidate the gains of the previous year including the thin string of forts along Route Coloniale 4 (RC4), a twisting road running through ravines and over high passes between the towns of Lang Son and Cao Bang. By the end of 1948 French forces had suffered over 30 major ambushes along RC4. [12]

In 1949 Valluy was replaced as French commander in Indochina by General Marcel Carpentier.

Post Indochina

He was Director of the French Colonial Forces, Chief of Staff 1st Army, Inspector of Overseas Land Forces, Assistant Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Head French Delegation at NATO Council, chief of the French Military Mission and French member of the Nato Standing Group in Washington [13] and Commander in Chief Allied Forces Central Europe.

He died in Paris in 1970 and is buried at Rive-de-Gier.

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  1. Logevall, Fredrik (2012). Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the making of America's Vietnam. Random House. ISBN   978-0-375-75647-4.
  2. Logevall, p. 168.
  3. Logevall, p. 142.
  4. Logevall, p. 156.
  5. Phillippe Devillers, Histoire du Viêt-Nam de 1940 à 1952. Editions du Seuil, Paris. Third edition,1952, pp. 331-340
  6. Logevall, p. 157.
  7. Philippe Devillers, Histoire du Viêt-Nam de 1940 à 1952, p. 352
  8. Logevall, p. 160.
  9. Logevall, p. 170.
  10. Logevall, p. 201-3.
  11. Logevall, p. 203.
  12. Logevall, p. 207-8.
  13. Logevall, p. 455.