Late afternoon August 18, 1966 South Vietnam – for three and a half hours, in the pouring rain, amid the mud and shattered trees of a rubber plantation called Long Tan, Major Harry Smith and his dispersed company of 108 young and mostly inexperienced Australian and New Zealand soldiers are fighting for their lives, holding off an overwhelming enemy force of 2,500 battle hardened Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers.
With their ammunition running out, their casualties mounting and the enemy massing for a final assault each man begins to search for his own answer – and the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
The ensuing Battle of Long Tan becomes one of the most savage and decisive engagements in ANZAC history, earning both the United States and South Vietnamese Presidential Unit Citations for gallantry along with many individual awards. But sadly not before 18 Australians and more than 500 enemy are killed.
Heroism, tragedy and the sacrifice of battle, Long Tan is a grueling and dramatic exploration of war with all its horror, that rightly takes its place alongside other legendary ANZAC battles and campaigns such as Gallipoli, Beersheba, Kokoda, Tobruk, Kapyong, Balmoral, Coral and many others.
You can also learn more about the specific facts & figures on The Battle of Long Tan as well as download a fact sheet.
Obviously with any documentary or movie, everything about the story from the individuals, the background and the context simply can’t be told. We highly recommend that if you are interested to learn more about The Battle of Long Tan then you must purchase these two critically acclaimed books; 1. The Battle of Long Tan As Told By The Commanders, 2. The Battle of Long Tan by Lex McAulay:
The following 60 Minutes story which was broadcast on 13 August 2006 gives you a good high level overview of some aspects of the Long Tan story:
And this is the follow up 60 Minutes story broadcast on 17 August 2008 providing an update in relation to the ongoing medals controversy: