Long Tan: the True Story
The internationally-acclaimed classic documentary of Australia’s Vietnam War, Long Tan: the True Story, investigates the battle of Long Tan, when an infantry company of untried Australians and New Zealanders held off repeated attacks by two heavily-armed North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units outnumbering them 20 to 1.
For the Viet Cong, this was to be a master stroke — annihilate the soldiers of two nations thus forcing Australia and New Zealand to withdraw from Vietnam, embarrass the US, and influence the looming Manila peace talks.
The VC ruse was to “lure the tiger away from the mountain”, mortaring the Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat to decoy an Australian patrol into ambush in the neighbouring Xa Long Tan rubber plantation. To dodge the deadly Task Force artillery, the VC would close quickly on the patrol, “fighting while hugging the enemy’s belt”.
Masters of the annihilation ambush and with a much stronger force, the VC believed victory would take about 20 minutes.
But in a grim firefight in monsoonal rain the Vietnamese were mauled badly, losing more than 500 men to D Company’s 18 KIA.
What went wrong for the ‘invincible’ VC?
Long Tan: the True Story uses outstanding original research with both D Company veterans and former VC commanders backed by in-depth analysis by the Official War Historian for Ground Operations in Vietnam, the late Ian McNeill, to answer this fascinating question.
For their amazing feat D Company was awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for Gallantry, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation and the Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry.
This documentary film has been broadcast on television in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and across the Asia-Pacific region.
It is now available for purchase on DVD from the Forward Scout Films store.
Read more about this project at http://longtanbattle.com.