The Battle of Long Tan was one of the major battles that Australian soldier where involved in, in Vietnam.
The newly arrived 1st Australia Task Force establish its Phuoc Tuy base in 1966 at Nui Dat on high ground surrounded by a rubber plantation.
On the 16th of August 1966 Viet Cong fired a barrage of shell in to Nui Dat, wounding twenty four Australian Soldiers, from a rubber plantation nearby, there plan was to get the Australian to move out of the base, in the path of the waiting Viet Cong, where they would be out numbered.
On the 18th August at about 3.15pm D Company of 6RAR was patrolling the area around the Long Tan Plantation when they encountered a small group of Viet Cong; they fled leaving behind one of the number killed by the Australians. The Patrolling continued until, the main body of the Viet Cong 275 Regiment was found, the Viet Cong attached vigorously with mortars, rifle and machine guns.
In pouring rain, the Australian returned fire from where they where and with artillery fire from Nui Dat some five kilometres away. Close air support was ask for but could not be use as the enemy could not identified accurately.
The Commander of D Company, radioed to be resupplied. Two RAAF helicopters which happen to be in Nui Dat to transport a concert party flew at tree top level into the battle area to drop much need boxes of ammunition.
The heavy fire from D Comany and the aggressive artillery fire from Nui Dat, turned the battle in favour of the Australians. But the Viet Cong continued fighting trying to gain the upper hand.
A Company of 6RAR where ordered to move in to support D Company, they did so in armoured personnel carriers, they found the enemy and two Platoon of A Company dismounted and moved forward to meet the enemy, who turn and fled.
The Viet Cong could be seen massing in the diming light. At 6.15pm the relief force from D company arrived in the area and the enemy could be seen melting in to the darkness.
The Australian consolidated their position for the night and started to fly out there wounded by helicopters. During the night the Viet Cong removed many of the wounded and died from the battle field. For some Australians it was a terrifying night as they lay there wounded with Viet Cong moving around them.
When the Battle for Long Tan was over.
Morning showed that the Viet Cong force well beaten, Questioning of prisoners ascertained that the offensive force comprised the Viet Cong 275 regiment and the D445 Battalion, a total force of two thousand five hundred men, two hundred and fifty Viet Cong bodies where found on the battle area.
D Company number one hundred and eight men, eighteen where killed and twenty four wounded.
Lest We Forget
S.M MacArthur. ©
18th of August Long Tan or Vietnam Vets Day, most people who know me know that Nam Vets hold a place in my heart, be they Vets I know or ones I’m yet to meet, for I know what some of these men have been through and what some of them are still going through.
Has it got any easy for these man over the years, for some of them No, a lot of them are still fighting to get the help they need, most of them just want help, with the medications that they need, for some the medicines each month cost the so much, it just not funny, these man are not asking for a hand out, they asking for help.
In every DVA office there are men passing judgment on these soldier, “ yes this one should get the pension, not this one shouldn’t get help with his medical” and so on, they are carrying on like it there money they have to use to help these man, well it Not it our money, we are the one’s paying our Tax’s and it our Tax money that use to help these men.
You know what really worries me, what going to happen when those who are now fighting over sea come home, what will it be like for them. Will it be the same as the Nam Vet and what will they have had to put up with, will it take them years to make the Government see that they need help.
It is our Government who send these young men and woman to war, they are Australia very best, and they go and do what ask of them.
Some of these young men and women are killed fighting for this country and our Pollies go to their funerals and so they should, all Respect should be given by not only the Pollies but everyone in this country to those who died for this country.
But the same Respect should be given to those who have come home, there fight should end when they step foot back in this country, they should be give the Respect in the form of the help they need, they should not have to come home and start fighting all over again.
If I had my way, everyone who leave this country to fight for this country, would be look after when they get home, for they have laid there life on the line for this country, they should all get the medical help they need and they should all get the pension, they should not have to fight for it.
To the Nam Vet’s I know and those I’m yet to meet,
God Bless each and every one of you and “Welcome Home”.
S.M. Mac Arthur ©