The Battle of Na San was a battle fought between French Far East Expeditionary Corps and the Viet Minh at Na San, Son La Province, in the French Indochina. It took place from October 2 to December 10, 1952, during the French Indochina War. In early October 1952, there was a single outpost and a short airstrip at Na San. Nevertheless by late November the Hanoi-based French Air Force Dakotas transported troops and material there in order to complete a fortified outpost allowing a direct confrontation with the Viet Minh division.
During the Battle of Na San, Colonel Jean Gilles, who was the French commander, used a new tactic, called "the hedgehog," The hedgehog was a defense system which consisted of an outpost surrounded by several armed positions. The purpose of this new military tactic was to provoke an enemy frontal assault, rather than fighting off hit and run attacks or falling into ambushes.
Using the hedgehog, the French forces defeated the Viet Minh at the battle of Na San. As a result, the hedgehog defense system became standard practice, until the defeat of Dien Bien Phu.