The Principles of War Podcast
How did the Australians win at Long Tan?
Long Tan Podcast

36 – Why was Long Tan a Victory?

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We continue our discussion with Dave Sabben, PL COMD of 12 Pl at Long Tan.  We cover a wide range of questions, including what Dave thinks the factors were that enabled Long Tan to be a 1 ATF victory.


What was the procedure for the handover between Bns as they rotated through Nui Dat?

What were the long term effects of the victory at Long Tan?  We discuss some of the strategic implications of the battle?

Why was Long Tan a Victory for the D Coy, 6 RAR?

We discuss some of the factors that weighed in favour of the Australians and of the Communist forces.

Who had the advantage as far as command and control went?
What impact did the mutual surprise of both of the forces have?
How did the Communist RPD compare with the Australian M60s?
We’ve already discussed the contribution that the Artillery made at Long Tan.  In this episode we discuss how close was the artillery delivered to the Coy perimeter and was there any friendly fire from the indirect fire support?

Was there a difference in D Coy training?

How was the training a decisive factor in the way that D Coy was prepared for the battle?  MAJ Harry Smith worked to instill  some attitudes in his company – “Good enough is not good enough,”,  “While you can keep going, keep going”, and this created an unspoken attitude of “You’re not dead until your dead.”

We look at how MAJ Harry Smith prepared the Coy – the training, the techniques and the mindset that set them up for success.  What had his experiences been and how did that help set D Coy up for success on the battlefield?
How did the training of D Coy prepare them mentally so that not one soldier broke and ran from the battle?
What was the reaction to the US forces to the reports of the battle that had been sent by the Task Force and why did they get the Presidential Unit Citation?

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2 comments

Mike Duffy April 28, 2019 at 9:01 pm

Looking forward

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Russel Kingshott September 6, 2021 at 11:00 pm

I have heard a few podcasts with Dave Sabben as speaker. Must say he is exceptionally eloquent and extremely precise and clear in details about what happened in Long Tan. His overview and general commentary is also second to none. Great podcast series.

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