Late afternoon August 18, 1966 South Vietnam — for three and a half hours, in the pouring rain, amid the mud and shattered trees of a rubber plantation called Long Tan, Major Harry Smith and his dispersed company of 108 young and mostly inexperienced Australian and New Zealand soldiers are fighting for their lives, holding off an overwhelming enemy force of 2,500 battle hardened Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers. With their ammunition running out, their casualties mounting and the enemy massing for a final assault each man begins to search for his own answer — and the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
The ensuing Battle of Long Tan becomes one of the most savage and decisive engagements in ANZAC history, earning both the United States and South Vietnamese Presidential Unit Citations for gallantry along with many individual awards. But sadly not before 18 Australians and more than 500 enemy are killed. Heroism, tragedy and the sacrifice of battle, Long Tan is a grueling and dramatic exploration of war with all its horror, that will rightly take its place alongside war classics such as Gallipoli, Breaker Morant, Saving Private Ryan, Zulu & Blackhawk Down.
This documentary and our upcoming movie is a tribute to the nobility and uncommon valor of these men — many of them conscripts – under fire. It honors their loyalty to their country and to each other, and it brings to light the heroism and unimaginable sacrifice of all military men and women both home and abroad.
Long Tan is the true story of ordinary boys who became extraordinary men.