On 18 August 1966, D Company of 6RAR set out on a sweep through an area from which VC forces had bombarded the 1ATF base at Nui Dat two days before. In the Long Tan rubber plantation five kilometres east of Nui Dat they encountered a combined NVA and VC force estimated at 1500-2000 strong.

During the ensuing battle D Company managed to hold off repeated attacks with artillery support from 161 Battery and the other three batteries at Nui Dat (two Australian, one United States). Amongst the troops pinned down in the rubber plantation, a New Zealand artillery FO party – Captain Maurice Stanley, Lance-Bombardier Murray Broomhall and Signaller Willie Walker – worked efficiently to bring down devastating artillery fire on the enemy forces. Their task was made more difficult by the extraordinary storm that began early in the engagement.

From their position at Nui Dat, the guns of 161 Battery fired more than 180 shells in two and half hours. All of the Battery's manpower – including clerks and drivers – were called into action to keep the guns supplied with ammunition. With the help of this continuous artillery support, D Company repelled repeated enemy assaults until an armoured relief force arrived. The accuracy of the artillery fire provided by the New Zealand, Australian and American batteries was revealed next day, with some 245 enemy bodies discovered on or near the battlefield.

For their part in the Battle of Long Tan, Captain Stanley was made an MBE and Signaller Corporal Willie Walker was Mentioned in Dispatches.

Reference: 

Editorial Team

How to cite this page: 'Long Tan', URL: http://www.vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/long-tan, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Dec-2013