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Long Tan Day

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by John-Melb, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. John-Melb

    John-Melb Well-Known Member

    Today is Long Tan Day,

    Forty years ago today, in the Long Tan rubber plantation, A large force of NVA regulars and Viet Cong sprung an ambush on a company of Australian infantry.

    When the smoke cleared the NVA had been taught a serious and bloody lesson.

    To those who served, there or elsewhere, and those who still serve today, thank you.
  2. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

  3. Phil Ca

    Phil Ca Well-Known Member

    40 years ago I met some Aussie LRRP troops when they entered our old
    French Fort just before jumping off for a night patrol. They were wearing the bush shorts and widebrimmed hats that our officers hated so much. They were carrying two types of firearms, a rifle or Owen SMG in 9 mm. They carried as little as possible and very little food. Mostly ammo and at least two canteens each. They looked tough and were very reserved when talking to our guys. TYhey all looked like field-worthy troops though. I have wondered over the years if they all made it home to Oz OK.
  4. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Well-Known Member

    I know a couple of people who served in Vietnam...one as a soldier, one as an Army nurse. The words "Thanks for your service" don't even come close to conveying my appreciation
  5. statelineblues

    statelineblues Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, Vietnam is considered an "American" war, and the heroic contributions of other nations forces that supported us, like those of the Austrailians and the South Korean "Tiger" units are often overlooked. Here's to a job well done with honor and integrity!
  6. John-Melb

    John-Melb Well-Known Member

    Found this
    As 11 Platoon continued to advance they were attacked by heavy machine gun fire and sustained casualties. Following normal contact procedures, the platoon went into a defensive position. The VC formed an assault and attacked 11 Platoon around 20 minutes after initial contact with support from their heavy machine guns.

    Stanley called in all available artillery support from the 1ATF artillery units, and 10 Platoon moved up to the left of 11 Platoon to relieve pressure on them and allow them to withdraw to the company defensive position out of the heavy machine gun fire. The commander of 11 Platoon, a conscript 2nd Lt named Gordon Sharp, was killed and Sergeant Bob Buick assumed command of the platoon.

    Heavy monsoon rain began falling on the battlefield.

    10 Platoon also came under fire and went into a defensive position. 12 Platoon, which had been the reserve platoon, was ordered to the right to support 11 Platoon. 12 Platoon left one section behind to support Company HQ.

    Stanley called for close air support but when it arrived it was unable to identify targets due to the weather and rubber plantation. The US aircraft dropped their bombs to the east causing disruption to the VC rear areas. The VC commanders probably thought the Australians had a better understanding of their position than they did, causing them to act more cautiously than otherwise.

    The Australian soldiers were carrying a light load, and quickly ran low on ammunition. At 5:00pm Smith called for an ammunition resupply. By coincidence, two Iroquois helicopters of the Royal Australian Air Force were available at the Nui Dat base, having just been used as transport for a Col Joye and Little Pattie concert. The helicopters flew low in monsoon rain and dropped the ammunition right into the company perimeter.

    The survivors of 11 Platoon withdrew to the company position.

    Smith requested reinforcements. B Company HQ with its one platoon had not yet got back to base and was ordered back to D Company’s position. Back at Nui Dat base A Company were ordered to ready themselves and the M-113 armoured personnel carriers of 3 Troop 1 APC Squadron to transport them. There is some controversy as there was a long delay in this force departing. It seems they were ordered to be ready to move but not ordered to move.

    The VC continually formed assault waves and moved forward but were annihilated by artillery fire. The soldiers of D Company showed excellent discipline, holding their line and repulsing any VC that got through the artillery barrage. D Company were supported by 24 105 mm and 155 mm guns from Australian, New Zealand artillery units and the US 2/35 Battalion, which fired deeper into VC positions. Over 3,000 rounds of artillery were fired. The Australian A Battery fired rounds every 15 seconds for three hours. The 2/35 Battalion was in the same base as the A Battery and US gunners assisted the exhausted Australian gunners by carrying artillery rounds to the guns.

    The reverse slope that D Company used for defense meant that the VC found it difficult to use their heavy calibre weapons effectively; the VC could only engage the Australians at close range. The VC tried to find the Australian flanks but the wide dispersal and excellent defensive position meant the VC thought they were up against a larger enemy.

    At last light the armoured reinforcement arrived and smashed into the flank of the VC, taking them completely by surprise, destroying several heavy weapons and stopping their flanking manoeuvre. 2 Platoon, A Company dismounted and attacked the fleeing enemy. B Company HQ and the one platoon also arrived. As darkness fell the VC broke off their attack, withdrawing to the east.

    The fresh reinforcements formed a perimeter around D Company allowing them to treat the wounded and rest. During the night some wounded were evacuated by helicopter. This was a strong force and should have been able to repulse any attack the next day. As it was there was no further contact.

    The next day the dead and wounded from 11 Platoon’s position were recovered and 245 enemy dead buried. US forces later captured documents indicating 500 killed and 750 wounded.

    The Australian losses were 18 killed and 24 wounded.

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