August 18 marks the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. On this day in 1966, in a rubber plantation near the village of Long Tan, Australian soldiers fought one of their fiercest battles of the Vietnam War.
This battle saw D Company, 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, face an enemy force of over 2000. Heavily outnumbered, D Company held fast for 4 hours, supported by accurate artillery fire from Nui Dat, before reinforcements arrived. The battle saw 18 killed, and was the largest loss of life on a single day for the Australians.
In 1969, D Company returned to Long Tan to erect a memorial cross and commemorate the battle. Over time, this day became synonymous with all those who served and died in the Vietnam War. In 1987, then Prime Minister Bob Hawke made this official, announcing that Long Tan Day would now be known as Vietnam Veterans' Day.
We continue to honour the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam veterans on this day. Approximately 60,000 Australians served in the Vietnam War. Of these 3,000 were wounded, and 521 were killed.
Watch the commemorative broadcast:
Reviewed 18 August 2021