Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan

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  Learn more about the Battle of Long Tan and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War at

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