The Australian operations base at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province was fired upon by the Viet Cong with mortar and shell at about 2 am on 17 August 1966. On 18 August, D Company, 6 RAR Battalion, numbering 105 Australians and a three-man New Zealand artillery team, was sent into the Long Tan rubber plantation, all coming under heavy machine-gun fire and mortar attacks from Viet Cong - estimated to be at least 1,500 and possibly 2,500 troops. D Company commander, Major Harry Smith, requested resupply of ammunition and troop reinforcements by helicopter, which was supplied.
After almost three hours of intense fighting by D Company, reinforcements from A Company arrived in armoured personnel carriers (APC). Ammunition was distributed and the wounded were tended. Early in the evening, B Company also arrived and engaged the Viet Cong. Soon after that, seven APCs arrived, having risked skirmishes with the Viet Cong along the way. The extra fire-power finally stopped the Viet Cong, and all firing ceased.
There were 18 Australians killed - 17 from D Company and one from the 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron - and 21 wounded. The Viet Cong insurgents left 245 dead and many more wounded. In later years, it was found out that D Company had run into a reinforced regimental force waiting to attack Nui Dat.
Courtesy of http://australia.gov.au. Learn more about the Battle of Long Tan and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War at http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/battle-of-long-tan
The Government of Australia is a proud supporter of the Education Center at The Wall.