The death of wartime Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap has triggered public mourning in Vietnam the likes of which have been unseen since Ho Chi Minh passed away more than four decades ago.

And given the current leaders, it may not be witnessed again, according to many of the 150,000 people who lined up to pay respects to the so-called "Red Napoleon."

The ruling Communist Party orchestrated the sendoff, and Giap's body was laid in state in Hanoi on Saturday. The country's top leaders paid their final respects, and unrelated public events were cancelled.

Giap is best remembered for leading Vietnamese forces to victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Throughout most of the war against the United States, Giap was defense minister and armed forces commander.