This is Part II of our interview with LT COL Harry Smith, the OC of Delta Coy / 6 RAR at the Battle of Long Tan. If you missed the first episode, check it out here.
6 RAR deployed to Vietnam twice, the first time being from June 1966 till June 1967. The decision to increase the Australian committment in Vietnam was made in March 1966. Up to that point 1 RAR had been serving with the 173rd Airbourne Brigade as it’s third Battalion. 1 ATF was given just 2 months to prepare for deployment into Nui Dat. We’ve covered the Mission Analysis for Long Tan in a previous episode. Op Hardihood, the Op to CLEAR Nui Dat was hard-fought, and the TAOR should still have been regarded as uncleared. 5 RAR deployed from Vung Tau on the 17th of May, (just 3 months before Long Tan).
History of 6 RAR prior to Long Tan
6 RAR was raised on the 6th of June, 1965 at Enoggera with a cadre of Officers and NCOs from 2 RAR. It received an intake of 250 national servicemen in September 1965 and in December it received 6 x 2 LTs from Scheyville. It deployed to Vietnam on HMAS Sydney in May and arrived in Vietnam in time to celebrate it’s first birthday on the beach at Vung Tau.It then departed to support 5 RAR in the establishment of the base at Nui Dat. Given that Nui Dat was a greenfield base with still a significant number of VC in the AO, there was significant work to develop the base, provide security along with the important task of dominating the AO.
D / 6 RAR fought the Battle of Long Tan on the 18th of August, just 10 weeks after arriving in Vietnam. How did Harry Smith prepare D / 6 RAR for their deployment and the Battle of Long Tan? Have a listen to the podcast to find out.
We’ve also interviewed Dave Sabben about the Battle of Long Tan.
Check out the show notes for the podcast for all of the information that we cover in this episode as well as the images and other details that didn’t make it into the podcast.