Harry Arthur Smith as the Major Officer Commanding D Coy 6RAR interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The Sharp End'.

Place Asia: Vietnam, Phuoc Tuy Province, Long Tan
Accession Number F10631
Collection type Film
Measurement 25 min 33 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker The Notion Picture Company Pty Limited
Smith, Harry Arthur
Swanborough, Greg
Place made Australia: Queensland, Brisbane
Date made 1 June 1992
Access Open
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Permission of copyright holder required for any use and/or reproduction.

Scene 1, Take 1: Night of 16th August, 1966 – Describes hearing ‘pop-pop’ of incoming fire at 1:00 AM while entertaining American pilots who flew F1s, as part of international hospitality session. Next morning, most of the damage was in other areas. The nearest shell was 150 yards away from the Company. Scene 18, Take 2: Next day, the Task Force sent 6th Battalion under command of Noel Ford to area believed to be origin of fire. Found nothing. B Company sent east to Long Tan area where a number of abandoned positions were found. Take 3: Went to look for what was thought to be 100 Vietcong who were long gone. Another regimental force about a mile behind the mortars was unknown. Take 4: It was not an ambush. They met the Vietcong by accident. No-one really knew why they were there. The VCs didn’t follow up. The Task Force base was not defended at all – no mines, wire or troops. Most rifle companies were out on patrol. They (VCs) could have walked right through and there would have been massive casualties. Command from HQ at Nui Dat was under Colonel Townsend who talked to Brigadier Jackson, the Task Force commander. The battle was fought and the shots were called from the field. Survival was due to massive artillery from Morrie Stanley, a New Zealand artillery observer –“he was absolutely magnificent”. Talks about variouss arms carried by Australian and North Vietnamese. Did not anticipate engaging with full, main force North Vietnamese regiments. After Long Tan they were wise after the event. Review of intelligence reports revealed that, in fact, they had been told there were Vietcong regiments in the general area. More ammunition was received and Owen guns were replaced by Armalites. Talks about inadequate equipment of Australian forces in Malaya in 1955. Take 5: Describes area around Long Tan. Weather monsoonal rain with low visibility. Too dark for aeroplanes to see and drop ordinance. After 2 months, spent time putting in mine fields and stores. The Task Force did its best but was not prepared to fend off a major attack. Take 6: Describes how soldiers of “D” Company received dolls from South Vietnamese Government because Australian Government restricted the award of medals. Later it became important to present medals to our own soldiers but there were restrictions. Talks about level of awards compared to the scale of events. All received American Presidential citation. Long Tan not the hardest task but certainly the nastiest. Tedious patrols physically demanding and separated from support. Talks about forces in Long Tan area, amount of ammunition used and casualties. Take 7: D company went back in to retrieve dead and a couple still alive. The enemy left their dead and wounded – evidence of a hasty retreat. It was a tactical, military victory for the Australians who never felt ‘done for’ despite the odds. Comradeship of Delta Company made it a wonderful team due to the training and spirit. Talks about keeping Long Tan Memorial Day separate and not used as ‘the’ day for remembering the Vietnam War by all who participated.