The Principles of War Podcast
Long Tan Rubber Plantation Encounter Battle
Long TanPodcast

27 – Long Tan 5: The Encounter Battle in the Long Tan Rubber Plantation

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We continue our discussion with Dave Sabben, picking in the in the second half of July.

The base was being heavily reconnoitered.  We discuss the preparation for the defences at Nui Dat.  Dave suggests that Canberra believed that the base was considered to be safe and unlikely to be attacked.

The South Vietnamese intelligence was treated as suspect, as was the US intelligence because a lot of it was sourced from the South Vietnamese.

A radio intercept unit was located at Nui Dat.  They were tracking the morse code communications.  With direction finding, the sigint was providing some good intelligence showing a large force moving towards the east of Nui Dat 2.

The shelling on the 17th of August by mortars, RCLs and at least one artillery piece.  B Coy was sent to locate the location of the mortar base plates and attempt to track down the force responsible.

Tracking the enemy was laborious, in dangerous terrain.  B Coy remained out on the 17th and D Coy was sent to relieve them.

D Coy finds bullock tracks and blood stains leading into the rubber plantation.  The tracks split and 10 Pl follows one and 11 Pl follows the second with 12 Pl bringing up the rear.

An minor obstacle crossing drill is conducted by the Coy as they come across a cattle fence.  Sgt Bob Buick, the Pl SGT for 11 Pl sees 6 – 7 enemy soldiers with slung AK-47s, completely non tac.  He opens fire with his Armalite, hitting at least one.

Six 6 vs a platoon with 30 troops is a good troop ratio orders Maj Smith gives LT Sharp to follow up the enemy.  Shortly, they are engaged by a force that looks like another Pl, so the Coy needs to to reinforce 11 Pl.

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