Hero­ism of sol­diers in bat­tle hon­oured

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Elisha Pearce

The 50th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Long Tan is an op­por­tu­nity to re­mem­ber the price paid by West­ern Syd­ney sol­diers in the Viet­nam War.

The bat­tle was fought by Aus­tralians on Au­gust 18, 1966, in a rub­ber plan­ta­tion in the Viet­nam prov­ince of Phuoc Tuy.

St Marys man Lance Cor­po­ral Jack Jewry, 19, died dur­ing the fierce fight­ing.

Pri­vate Terry Ryan, of Pen­rith, was shot in the arm dur­ing the bat­tle but his pla­toon com­man­der re­moved the bul­let dur­ing the fire fight.

In all, 18 sol­diers died dur­ing the bat­tle, Aus­tralia’s costli­est in Viet­nam.

It was also one of the few bat­tles in recorded his­tory to be won against such odds.

The 108 sol­diers of the 6th Bat­tal­ion, Royal Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment D Com­pany were cut off dur­ing a pa­trol through the plan­ta­tions and fought to with­stand mas­sive waves of at­tacks by the Viet Cong 275th Reg­i­ment, num­ber­ing at least 2000 fight­ers.

Caught in the rub­ber plan­ta­tion in tor­ren­tial rain, away from the rel­a­tive safety of the Aus­tralian Task Force base at Nui Dat, the in­fantry­men fired at the en­emy and cir­cled around their wounded.

They called in ar­tillery sup­port from four bat­ter­ies, some­times in the “dan­ger close” range, within 50m of their po­si­tion, to pre­vent be­ing over­whelmed by Viet Cong.

Al­most four hours af­ter ini­tial con­tact, ar­moured per­son­nel car­ri­ers caught the Viet Cong by sur­prise with an as­sault on the flank, pro­tect­ing D Com­pany and forc­ing a re­treat.

Harry Smith and Jack Kirby test­fire a cap­tured ma­chine gun.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.