Vietnam veterans and members of Moree RSL sub-branch, John Williams and Cr John Tramby with the plaque honouring Max Wales at the Max Wales Memorial Park, where Saturday’s service will be held.
Nanjing Night Net

Exactly 50 years ago to the day,August 18 1966, 108 young Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought and defeated anarmy of 2500 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers, upholding the Anzac legend in a battle that would go down in the history books as one of the most significant in the Vietnam War.

“There were bigger battles andbigger casualties but never had so few defeated so many,” Moree RSL sub-branch member and Vietnam veteranJohn Tramby said.

Moree RSL sub-branch will be holding a commemorative service to mark the 50thanniversary of the Battle of Long Tan on Saturday, August 20, beginning at 3.30pm, roughly the same time the battle began in torrential downpour in 1966.

Outnumbered 25 to 1 and finding themselves short of ammunition, D Company 6RAR managed to inflict heavy losses to the enemy, who eventually retreated after the arrival of A Company reinforcements in the night.

Eighteen Australians were killed, and 24 wounded in the battle,compared to the 245 North Vietnamese casualties.Moree’s Max Wales was one of those killed in the battle.

Local Vietnam veteran John Williams said the Battle of Long Tan shaped the rest of the war in many ways.

“They ran out of ammunition, but that was the last time that would ever happen,” he said.

“Now, you carry a lot more than that.I used to carry 200 rounds for machine guns, 400 rounds for armalite.It’s an awful lot of weight.”

In addition to soldiers carrying more ammunition,there was always a reaction force ready to go from then on.

The community is invited to attend Saturday’s service and pay tribute to Max Walesand the other 108 soldiers who fought at Long Tan, as well as allthose who served intheVietnam War, including Moree’s Ronald Thomas Carroll whose body was only recently returned to Australia.

The Moree Town Band and choir will be part of the service, whichwill includewreath-laying and a speech by Mr Williams. Everyone is invited to stay for tea and coffee at the conclusion.

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