Battle of Long Tan Day

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, One day I am going to visit the Long Tan Cross:

In 1966:

The Battle of Long Tan was fought between the Australian Army and Viet Cong forces in a rubber plantation near the village of Long Tần, 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 Phước 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 instru­men­tal in sav­ing 3 pla­toons of D Com­pany of the  6th Bat­tal­ion, Royal Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment (6RAR) and enabling the thrash­ing of a Reg­i­ment of Viet Cong.

Each gun fired over 1200 rounds that day and night in sup­port of the Aussies. The bat­tle was fought in a rub­ber tree plan­ta­tion near the vil­lage of Long Tan, about 40 km north-east of Vung Tau, South Viet­nam on August 18–19, 1966. The bat­tle was fought all after­noon and most of the night in pour­ing mon­soon rain. The guns ran so hot that wet blan­kets were draped over them in an attempt to keep the bar­rels 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.


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  • coNZervative

    Amazing NZ soldiers in an horrific ghastly battle with dead body parts everywhere and unbelievable suffering. Totally unacknowledged.

  • Gazzaw

    NZ histories written since Long Tan are not about to commemorate anything to do with Kiwi involvement in Vietnam in a positive way & even if they were the education system would ensure that it was distorted. I am afraid WO that the Vietnam war will never get the recognition that it deserves in our history.

  • ConwayCaptain

    My father worked with Morrie Stanley at Green Lane Hospital in the 70’s. A quiet unassuming man. didnt know he had the MC until many years after I lost touch with him.

  • pukakidon

    It is good to see that most of the heads of the National RSAs are our veterans of Vietnam now and they are very much respected by the members and indeed most of the NZ population. 161 battery were very crucial in their part of the battle of Long Tan.

    When they returned home we witnessed the most disgraceful and cowardly treatment of those that served in the history of this country.

  • Mark

    Thanks for remembering these fine men WO,it is posts like this that brought me here & keep me viewing.