The Principles of War Podcast
Nui Dat base defences
Long TanPodcast

35 – The Defence of Nui Dat

These are the show notes for the podcast episode looking at the defences of Nui Dat.  Have a listen to the Dave Sabben interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite Android podcast player.

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We continue our discussion with Dave Sabben about the Battle of Long Tan, looking at the defences at Nui Dat, following on from our discussion about the control of artillery.

We start with a discussion about the number of enemy casualties at Long Tan between 275th   NVA Regiment and D445.  The Australians buried 245 enemy, but there were many more casualties.

We discuss the reasoning behind the Australian’s withdrawal from the battlefield after the battle and the possible enemy courses of action overnight after the battle.  Dave discusses how the Coy felt that night after taking 1 in 3 casualties.  It was Day 72 for D Coy in Vietnam and for almost everyone in the Coy, it was their first contact.

When did the SAS arrive in Vietnam and how were they employed?  What limited the usefulness of the SAS patrols prior to the battle?

What were the defences like at Nui Dat?

Dave discusses the tempo for the troops at Nui Dat and the restrictions on the equipment that could be used to improve the defensive position.  We discuss the defensive posture of the base.  What defensive works had been completed and how was wire employed in the defence?  What bunkers had been built prior to the attack?  What changes were made to the standard operating procedures after Long Tan and how were they refined over time?  How did expectations of most likely enemy courses of action change?

Lastly, how tight was security at the base?  We discuss the press reporting on the troops and the state of the base and how it may have influenced the NVA thinking.

Nui Dat Map
The map of Line Alpha, the area which had been cleared of inhabitants, and the road from Hoa Long to Binh Ba, which at the time of Long Tan, ran through the base.
  • Long Tan
  • The Defence of Nui Dat
  • NVA Casualties, 275th NVA Regiment and D445 Battalion.
Little Patty Concert Long Tan
This concert was after Long Tan, but shows the kind of conditions that Little Patty would have performed in.


These images from the Pronto in Vietnam website.  Check out the image gallery, there are some amazing images from around the time of Long Tan and the whole duration of the ADF in Vietnam.

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John Pritchard March 30, 2019 at 10:49 pm

I can comment on the perimeter defences of 1 APC Sqn. We had double single dannert fences in place with a low wire entanglement. We had APCs with 50 cal HMGs on 2 hr shifts on a 24 hour rotation. We tied into 105 Bty who also had their wire out. To the East we tied into Route 2 which was a North South artery until the Sappers built the by pass late 1966. This was covered by both our HQ Tp and LAD

Chris S April 21, 2019 at 6:14 pm

This series continues to excel! First rate presentation.


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