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Long Tan Day

By Thumper - 17 August 2006 22

Friday 18 August is Vietnam Veterans Day and also the 40th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. This was the most significant Australian battle of the Vietnam War, where a rifle company of 108 withstood, for four hours, repeated mass attacks from a Viet Cong force estimated at 2,500.

The first Commemorative service will be held this afternoon at the ACT Veterans Memorial on Ainslie Avenue & London Circuit at 4 pm, followed by the traditional Long Tan Memorial Service at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade at 10 am tomorrow.

A wide range of activities, centred on the Australian War Memorial, will run over the weekend.

On the 40th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan, 18 August 2006, we salute all Vietnam Veterans.

Lest We Forget.

More here from the SMH.

What’s Your opinion?

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22 Responses to
Long Tan Day
Mr_Shab 9:15 pm 17 Aug 06

Sorry Al – just being facaetious (sp?)

Pandy 7:55 pm 17 Aug 06

Thanks Bonfire for the story. Don’t know why am crying but…………..

Big Al 7:10 pm 17 Aug 06

No Mr Shab they probably weren’t … they were doing what Australian soldiers do best – achieving their objective in a professional manner.

Mr_Shab 5:34 pm 17 Aug 06

Dunno if those boys lying out there in the mud and the rain and the bullets were thinking about free markets, Al…

Big Al 5:05 pm 17 Aug 06

We only truly deserve the things that we have been prepared to fight for – freedom, peace, democracy and a free market … Thank you to those who have fought for these things on my behalf.

Mr_Shab 4:44 pm 17 Aug 06

Thumper – I wasn’t referring to Bob Buick. I’m more than happy for him to have his opinion.

I was referring more to the general tone of the journalism.

Memorial days (especially in recent times) seem to be treated as an oppotunity for nationalist self-aggrandising, and not for remembering those who fought and those who fell.

The article was liberally doused with the word “heroes”. It came across as chest-beating, and “look how good we whupped those gooks”.

The soldiers who fought at Long Tan fought as capable, brave and professional soldiers should. The battle wasn’t quite as one-sided an affair as the numbers would suggest – the NZ artillery support swung the balance very substantially towards the Australian side, and the infantry would have been overrun if not for being resupplied and reinforced by the APC troop.

Long Tan was a graphic demonstration of the capability of the Australian and New Zealand Armies in Vietnam, but I think anyone who was there would think it more important to commemorate the 18 Aussies who fell, rather than the military victory.

bonfire 4:23 pm 17 Aug 06

i think firing howitzers horizontally with rocks, spent shells and glass at your enemy is definitely a force multiplier.

the vet i worked with told me the rain was so heavy you couldnt hear gunfire unless it was ‘close’.

he was running between positions with a message and came across an nva troopie, they were both as surprised as each other. he shot first with an owen gun and kept running.

he didnt like the owen gun. said it couldnt shoot through a wet greatcoat.

Mr Evil 4:13 pm 17 Aug 06

Anyway, we all know the truth is that it was a Kiwi Artillery Officer who saved the Diggers from decimation! 😉

Thumper 4:09 pm 17 Aug 06

Mr Shab,

Bob Buick MM, is a good bloke. He may have some strong views about some things, but a genuinely nice bloke all the same.

Absent Diane 4:07 pm 17 Aug 06

I think the long tan special was on history channel last night.. I forgot to watch it though.. sounds like an amazing story.

Thumper 4:06 pm 17 Aug 06

My first instructors were Viet Vets.

Tough, uncompromising. Why?

Because they’d been through it and didn’t want new young Diggers to be unprepared if it ever happened again.

I have the utmost respect for them.

Mr_Shab 4:05 pm 17 Aug 06

Did anyone catch the story on Long Tan on Sunday. What a pile of unmitigated chest-beating drivel.

Indeed, lest we forget.

bonfire 4:01 pm 17 Aug 06

it was a long tan veteran that made me realise the terrible effects of war on young men.

he was in his early 50’s and was working for me in a very very junior level. he had shot nerves and shook uncontrollably.

one day i was looking for him and went into the main area from my office, i shouted hsi surname and he jumped up looked at me and bolted from the room.

this was puzzling.

i went back into my office and a few minutes later he came in and said i had startled him, he’d shat himself and needed to attend to it.

the next day he showed me a photo of himself when he was in vietnam and told me about long tan. he said that he didnt think about the danger, he just said ‘yes sir’ and did what he was told. it wasnt until he was back in oz that the effects of what he went through hit home, several years later.

he wasnt the most reliable worker, and had a range of issues from alcoholism to erratic behaviour, but he also had access to a sergeants mess and i reckon this kept him partly sane.

now its called post traumatic stress disorder.

i cut veterans a lot of slack these days.

he volunteered and was damaged as a result.

Thumper 4:00 pm 17 Aug 06

And I’ll be trying hard to skite off from work to be there.

Ari 3:59 pm 17 Aug 06

I’ll be there tomorrow to pay my respects.

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