Battle of Long Tan
Soldiers of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) arrived in Vietnam in May 1966. Australian forces established a task force base at Nui Dat. By early August 1966, radio signals from Viet Cong forces indicated a strong Viet Cong presence in the area. On August 16 and 17, Nui Dat came under mortar fire, but there was no additional assault.
D Company left Nui Dat for the Long Tan rubber plantation late in the morning on August 18, 1966. Less than an hour after D Company arrived at Long Tan, the Viet Cong attacked. The Australians lacked adequate ammunition, and called for more to be helicoptered in. RAF choppers dropped blankets for the wounded and ammo for their guns.
Reinforcements arrived as the battle wore on, including New Zealand’s 161 Field Battery, two Australian Field Batteries, and an American Field Battery. Additional Australian troop reinforcements arrived by 7:00 P.M. that night. As they fought at the Battle of Long Tan, the troops had no idea how many Viet Cong they faced.
The next morning, Australian forces found 245 Viet Cong dead, and evidence that many more had been removed from the battlefield. Documents and information found after the battle suggested that as many as 2,500 Viet Cong. Only 18 Australians were killed and 24 wounded, nearly all from D Company, in the fighting.