The Battle of Long Tan
From the bestselling author of Kokoda and Gallipoli comes the epic story of Australia's deadliest Vietnam War battle.
4.31 pm: Enemy [on] left flank. Could be serious.
5.01 pm: Enemy ... penetrating both flanks and to north and south.
5.02 pm: Running short of ammo. Require drop through trees.
It was the afternoon of 18 August 1966, hot, humid with grey monsoonal skies. D Company, 6RAR were four kilometres east of their Nui Dat base, on patrol in a rubber plantation not far from the abandoned village of Long Tan. A day after their base had suffered a mortar strike, they were looking for Viet Cong soldiers.
Then - just when they were least expecting - they found them. Under withering fire, some Diggers perished, some were grievously wounded, the rest fought on, as they remained under sustained attack.
For hours these men fought for their lives against the enemy onslaught. The skies opened and the rain fell as ferocious mortar and automatic fire pinned them down. Snipers shot at close quarters from the trees that surrounded them. The Aussie, Kiwi and Yankee artillery batteries knew it was up to them but, outnumbered and running out of ammunition they fired, loaded, fired as Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces just kept coming. And coming.
Their only hope was if Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) could reach them before they were wiped out. The APCs did their best but low cloud and thunderstorms meant air support was stalled. A daring helicopter resupply mission was suggested but who would want to fly that? The odds against this small force were monumental...
By far the deadliest battle for Australian forces in Vietnam, the Battle of Long Tan has a proud place in the annals of Australian military history - and every ANZAC who fought there could hold his head high.
Peter Fitzsimons, Australia's greatest storyteller, tells the real story of this classic battle. He reveals the horror, the bravery, the wins and the losses that faced our soldiers. He brings to life the personal stories of the men who fought, the events leading up to that memorable battle and the long war that followed, and the political decisions made in the halls of power that sealed their fates. The Battle of Long Tan is an engrossing and powerful history that shows the costs of war never end.
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