On the afternoon of 18 August 1966, Delta Company of 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (D/6RAR), fought a desperate battle with a force of North Vietnamese regular troops, a main force regiment of some 2,500 men about 1,000 of whom directly engaged the Australians.
The battle became famous as the Battle of Long Tan. 18th August is now commemorated by all Vietnam Veterans as their day. The story of this epic battle has been told elsewhere, but this presentation looks at the role and actions of the Australian armoured unit.
That unit was 3 Troop, 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron (1 APC Sqn). They were equipped with the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), a light tracked, aluminium-hulled, armoured vehicle which had been introduced into Australian service in 1964. The unit had been deployed to South Vietnam in 1965.
No 3 Troop, commanded by Lieutenant Adrian Roberts, was given the task of lifting an infantry company to reinforce Delta Company. He had ten M113A1 in his Troop. A large proportion of the soldiers of 3 Troop were National Servicemen, and their actions brought great credit to them.
The Troop was dispatched, with Alpha Company 6 RAR (A/6RAR) aboard, to the battle area late in the afternoon. They joined the battle. Heavy 0.50 inch Machine Guns on the APCs inflicted many casualties on the enemy.
The presentation will give an overview of the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier as used by 1 APC Sqn including its capabilities. The movement of the Troop to the Long Tan plantation and its subsequent engagement with enemy forces will be covered, as will events after reaching D Company.
There is no doubt that the shock action and firepower the APCs contributed greatly to the successful reinforcement of D Company, and thus established the need for armour in jungle conditions, a need that was forgotten after the Second World War.
The event will be held at Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, a NSW Government public institution which observes all necessary Covid precautions including mask wearing, audience number limits, social distancing in seating, hand sanitising and mandatory check-in.