Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Peer review/Operation Camargue

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Operation Camargue[edit]

Article on one of the largest operations of the First Indochina War, which validated French concerns that they couldn't operate well in the jungle (i.e. they needed, in thier opinion, to try a fixed position like Dien Bien Phu I think it is well written and well referenced, if a little dominated by Fall. Some tweaks will be needed and the last sections may be debated, hoping to make FA eventually. Thanks. SGGH speak! 12:51, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Anyone? I don't want to have to go into FAC with zero comments on two peer reviews.... SGGH speak! 19:51, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Kirill Lokshin[edit]

Quite nice, overall; but a few (mostly stylistic) matters that need fixing:

  • The ranks of commanding officers are generally not indicated in the infobox. Done
  • The "Territorial changes" field doesn't really make sense here, I think; it was intended for formal changes of control following wars, rather than interim gains or losses of tactical control over an area. Done
  • I would avoid placing footnotes inside sentences unless the material is truly controversial. In all other cases, it should be sufficient to collect things at the end of a sentence. Done where appropriate
  • The lead doesn't need footnotes for anything already cited in the body. Done
  • Any chance of getting a tactical map of the operation? Not one that can be used on wikipedia unless I draw it, will give it a go
  • I don't think the pulled-out link to the war at the beginning of the "Background" section is needed; there are already two links to it before then, and another link can be added in-text in the first sentence. Done

Hope that helps! Kirill 20:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Kirill, very helpful. I have worked on the points you gave and commented where appropriate. SGGH speak! 22:50, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Roger Davies[edit]

I have noted what you say about FA and this review is almost entirely focused on that. I read somewhere that you are considering expanding the background. This, I think, is the best way forward as Operation Camargue seems to me one of those battles that gets infinitely more interesting in context than in isolation. Apologies if I am trying to get my grandmother to suck eggs, as you already touch on some of the issues so they're clearly not far from your thoughts, but I'd be tempted to explore the following:

  • The weather-change in Viet Minh fortunes provided by the Chinese Communist victory in '49. Done I have mentioned 1949 as the turning point in the development of the Viet-Minh
  • The failure of French Colnial efforts to keep a lid on events; the politicisation of young Indochinese militants in the French penal colonies; the role of Indochina as a Cold War proxy conflict; events in Korea. I wonder if the last two are two broad-scope to be in this ariticle, and more suited to First Indochina War, I have expanded the background section to include role of Vichy France now
  • The progress of war and the growing Free Zone north of Annam. I feel the background has enough
  • Comparison of differences in Viet Minh tactics in the Free Zone (nascent conventional standing army) and in the French-held areas (irregular guerrilla cells). Done
  • Discussion of French tactical choices: use of troops offensively en masse or in dispersed garrisons holding down the local population in a primarily counter-insurgency role.I think this is covered by the sentences detailing the tactics of the French using small defensive locations rather than roaming battle groups
  • Operation Camargue as an experimental French use of jungle-adapted armour (discussed briefly in "Vietnam on Track"), which the French had started developing in 1951. Done
  • American behind-the-scenes involvement, supply of matériel, and funding. Fall doesn't mention much on this (though hardly suprising, he is scathing of all American involvement, understandably. Windrow only really discusses it in relation to Dien Bien Phu, do you have work you grab citations from?
  • There's a passing reference in "Vietnam on Track" I think. Otherwise, it would be a translation from Gen Aussaresses' Pour la France: Services spéciaux 1942-1954.
  • I've found a good French source and added a paragraph into background with facts and figures. The scale is astonishing. --ROGER DAVIES talk 07:15, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • More or more local French-trained Vietnamese troops coming on-stream, releasing French combat troops for offensive operations. Done
  • Giap's thoughts: he discusses the operation in "The Miltary Art of the People's War". I don't have access to this, unfortunately
  • Much more on Viet Minh Regiment 95, which seems to have consisted of at least three battalions [310, 302, & 227).I can hardly find anything, hopefully you have some information
  • On closer examination, only scraps. I have read about this regiment somewhere but I can't find where. --ROGER DAVIES talk 17:46, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Camargue's role as the last major battle before Dien Bien Phu and its pre-cursor, Operation Castor. Done I have added this to the introduction and cited it to Fall

If you're looking for collaborators, I'd love to get involved with this. I was heavily involved with Battle of Arras (1917), which took a similar explain-the-background approach. My French is fluent, which may help with sources. And, at a pinch, I can do simple campaign maps (see the Arras schematic one) though the work is usually in the research rather than the execution :)

I am hoping that my partner can sketch a map, she's a fantastic artist and hopefully it will turn out quite clear SGGH speak! 10:02, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh good, mine take ages. --ROGER DAVIES talk 17:48, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Other things

I was a bit puzzled about the accent on Mobilé in the text. Normally, it shouldn't be there. Does this come from a really reliable source, perhaps indicating a special usage?

All the best, --ROGER DAVIES talk 17:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

In answer to your final question, the French operate in battle groups that they called 'groupment mobiles' and both Fall and from memory Windrow have the accent, so I think it's right. Thanks for your comments, I'll get cracking soon! SGGH speak! 21:05, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
My copy (Pen & Sword 2005) of Fall doesn't. He calls them Groupement mobiles or GMs. Perhaps it's an edition difference. I can understand calling the individual troops "mobilés" as slang, but it's the French/English hybrid (Mobilé Group), I'm puzzling over. --ROGER DAVIES talk 10:38, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
That is interesting.... while my Fall does seem to do it, having looked at Windrow, he doesn't, he only has the accent for Groupment Mobilés, I'll remove the accent in that case. SGGH speak! 10:49, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Probably safest. --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:26, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
And yes you are welcome to get involved, all help is appreciated SGGH speak! 16:55, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it might be ready for FAC now. What do you think? SGGH speak! 10:29, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I'll take a look :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 10:38, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Based on a quick read through, it's broadly much improved (and it was good to start with). a few niggles:
  1. It might be helpful to explicitly refer to Communist China's 1949 victory;
  2. The Aftermath section has a large number of "howevers" in it (including two in the same sentence);
  3. Giap is less charitable about calling it a French victory (I'll see if I can dig out a quote, the problem is his stuff is written in Maoist jargon so it's difficult extracting sound-bytes);
  4. A regional map would be good;
  5. A few missing hyphens: "division size" > division-sized; "French dominated" > French-dominated
  6. 18th Century > 18th century;
  7. "Freed regular French forces up" > freed up regular French forces;
  8. "to conduct the reassertion of French government" > reassert French governance ?
  9. "French felt that their new strategy of strong ground bases, a versatile French Air Force and a model based on the British Burma campaign would bring victory over the Viet Minh insurgents". A bit clunky. Perhaps brackets or dashes after "new strategy" and "Burma campaign"?
Overall, it still needs a close copy-edit.
--ROGER DAVIES talk 11:26, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) While I remember, the connection between the name is that the Camargue is a river delta and Operation Camargue took place in the Red River delta. (Navarre makes this point in his Agonie de l'indochine and Giap in The Military Art etc.) --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:37, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, red herring. I misread the text. --ROGER DAVIES talk 17:46, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Giap quotes (he calls Operation Camargue the "First Phase of the Navarre Plan", Dien Bien Phu being the second one).
  • "the enemy concentrated in the Red River delta more than 50 percent of the mobile forces and declared that they were changing over to the offensive to regain the initiative in the operations". Giap, p 121
  • "it was announced we suffered heavy losses although in fact our losses were insignificant ... their troops had to withdraw with heavy losses". Giap, p. 121
Hope this helps, --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:37, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Giap also summarises the entire Navarre Plan strategy (Summer 1953-Spring 1954) on p. 120. --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:39, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Thats cool, could you implement many of the above? I have to go take care of some university work at present. I'll be back later but it would be good to get things done as quickly as possible. See you later SGGH speak! 11:41, 31 January 2008 (UTC)