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Phủ Lý

Phủ Lý
Thành phố Phủ Lý
Phủ Lý on the river Đáy
Phủ Lý on the river Đáy
Phủ Lý is located in Vietnam
Phủ Lý
Location of Phủ Lý in Vietnam
Country  Vietnam
Province Hà Nam

Phủ Lý is the capital city of Hà Nam Province of Vietnam 60 kilometres south of Hanoi on the river Đáy.


Phủ Lý was taken by the French canonnière l'Espingole and 28 men captained by Adrien-Paul Balny d'Avricourt on 26 October 1873, shortly before Balny's death together with Francis Garnier at Hanoi's West Gate.[1]

In the aftermath of World War II, Phủ Lý was where a significant number of VNQDĐ leaders were captured by the Viet Cong in 1946.[2] The city was attacked by retreating French forces on 30 June 1954, shortly before the country was liberated.[3] It was almost completely destroyed by the Americans in five days of bombing between 14 July and 5 November, 1966.[4][5]

Michael Maclear writes of the area afterwards as 'a wasteland without life':

"The inhabitants would have had no warning of the rain of bombs. Squadrons of B-52s flying six miles high, unseen and unheard, would systematically obliterate sections of their target, day after day. Unlike Hanoi, which was ringed with Soviet SAM missiles, here in the rural areas there was no adequate defense."[6]


  1. ^ "Après la prise de la citadelle de Hanoï par Francis Garnier le 20 novembre 1873, il participe à l'occupation du delta du fleuve Rouge, s'emparant notamment de Hung-Yen le 24 octobre, puis Phu-ly le 26, Haï-Djuong le 3 décembre."
  2. ^ Van Dao Hoang Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang: A Contemporary History of a National Struggle: 1927-1954 Pittsburgh 2008 Page 333 "However, during their retreat, many were arrested by the VC military force and public security when they arrived at Phủ Lý. They were then taken to Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An for detention. Included among the prisoners were Đỗ Văn, Bùi Anh Tuan and Mrs. Đặng Trần Hồ. Those who decided to stay had to defend their headquarters and confront their enemies, because the VC continued to terrorize and execute them."
  3. ^ Nguyen Công Luan Nationalist in the Viet Nam Wars: Memoirs of a Victim Turned Soldier 2012 "the retreating route of the French forces launched its bloody attacks at Phủ Lý, a small town thirty miles south of Hà Nội."
  4. ^ Liberation: an independent monthly Volumes 11-12 1966 "Phu Ly was attacked on six different occasions, five of them between July 14 and November 5, 1966 (when I happened to be in the outskirts)."
  5. ^ Elizabeth Jelinek Boardman The Phoenix trip: notes on a Quaker mission to Haiphong 1985 "We knew that Phu Ly was a city of 7,600 people that lay about thirty five miles south of Hanoi. We also knew that it had been completely destroyed six months before in a series of air attacks lasting five days."
  6. ^ Michael Maclear, Guerrilla Nation: My Wars In and Out of Vietnam (Dundurn, 2013) pages 59-60.
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