Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, One day I am going to visit the Long Tan Cross:
The¬†Battle of Long Tan¬†was fought between the¬†Australian Army and¬†Viet Cong forces in a rubber plantation near the village of¬†Long TŠļßn, about 27 kilometres (17¬†mi) north east of¬†Vung Tau,¬†South Vietnam. The action occurred when D¬†Company of the¬†6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment¬†(6RAR), part of the¬†1st Australian Task Force¬†(1 ATF), encountered the¬†Viet Cong (VC)¬†275 Regiment¬†and elements of the¬†D445 Local Forces Battalion. D Company was supported by other Australian units, as well as New Zealand and United States artillery.
During the battle the company from 6RAR, despite being heavily outnumbered, fought off a large enemy assault of regimental strength. 18 Australians were killed and 24 wounded, while at least 245 Viet Cong were killed. It was a decisive Australian victory and is often cited as an example of the importance of combining and coordinating infantry, artillery, armour and military aviation. The battle had considerable tactical implications as well, being significant in allowing the Australians to gain dominance over Ph∆įŠĽõc Tuy province, and although there were a number of other large-scale encounters in later years, 1ATF was not fundamentally challenged again.
The battle has since achieved similar symbolic significance for the Australian military in the¬†Vietnam War as battles such as the¬†Gallipoli Campaign have for the¬†First World War, the¬†Kokoda Track Campaign for the¬†Second World War¬†and the¬†Battle of Kapyong for the¬†Korean War.
One of those men who fought in the Battle of Long Tan that day was my father in law. He was firstly in the field as an OP and then brought back to man the guns that day as they fought to save the Aussie soldiers.
The Kiwi guns were instru¬≠men¬≠tal in sav¬≠ing 3 pla¬≠toons of D Com¬≠pany of the ¬†6th¬†Bat¬≠tal¬≠ion, Royal Aus¬≠tralian Reg¬≠i¬≠ment¬†(6RAR) and enabling the thrash¬≠ing of a Reg¬≠i¬≠ment of Viet¬†Cong.
Each gun fired over 1200 rounds that day and night in sup¬≠port of the Aussies. The bat¬≠tle was fought in a rub¬≠ber tree plan¬≠ta¬≠tion near the vil¬≠lage of Long Tan, about 40¬†km north-east of Vung Tau, South Viet¬≠nam on August 18‚Äď19, 1966. The bat¬≠tle was fought all after¬≠noon and most of the night in pour¬≠ing mon¬≠soon rain. The guns ran so hot that wet blan¬≠kets were draped over them in an attempt to keep the bar¬≠rels¬†cool.
Last year another veteran of this battle¬†Major Morrie Stanley sadly passed away. Our news media at the time barely covered it but the Aussie media did. They know what these guys did to save their boys and they well remember it.
This post is to remember their service.
There is an online documentary about the Battle of Long Tan [embedded below]. It is superb and well worth spending the time watching.