Viet Nam Tours -
The Long Tan Trek Tour - 2010
This page records the October 2010 Long Tan Trek Tour.
(Last updated 25 November 2010)
q Battlefield Tours
- Long Tan Trek Tours
- VN Decisive Battles Tours
- Europe Battlefield Tours
- Home Page
- Feedback/Contact Dave
q National Network
The French architecture of the Post Office, Saigon
"Bim" stands inside a huge B-52 bomb crater
Shrine to NVA killed
VC/NVA memorial to their dead at Coral and
Unfortunately, there's nothing left to see of the former 1ALSG site
(L to R) Tour Guide Tuan, Geoff, Judith and Richard enjoy the fresh air
There were several Powerpoint presentations thru the Tour, each on a decisive battle we'd cover the following day
One of the map/diagrams of the battle of Long Tan
Dave briefs the Tour
The Australian Consul- General to Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Graeme Swift, officially opens the Kindy...
...while the children
Sue leads the Trekkers out of the rubber plantation and into the unknown...
John plays "Moses" as he assists the group across a flooded part of the Trek
Dave stops for one of the briefings - they were given 10 minutes apart to
Time for another briefing:
9 Viet Vets stand at the Long Tan Cross - L to R:
Two rooms were in use, with dental procedures happening for the Long Tan
children. Pictured L to R are Ms Thuy (Tran Thi Thanh Thuy), an anaesthetic
technician, and two hygienists Kelly Bird and Lorraine Dignan
Three photos of the children at the clinic and the orphanage, where our gifts
Standing on what was the minefield, now a road. The rim of the Horseshoe is in the background
Bim negotiates the entrance to the tunnels, which are really the dirt excavated
from between huge boulders.
The boat ride gave the Tour a feel for riverine ops conducted by the Aussies in the mangrove swamps
The Tour walked the street...
Tanks and artillery next to the Forbidden City in the Citadel
Long Hung Catholic Church - damaged in the Tet '72 fighting and left by Quang Tri city as a war monument
View from Quant Tri citadel
An old French "pill box" at Con Thien
A small museum briefs visitors to the tunnels...
Richard, James and Bob discuss what's left of Camp Carroll - which is "nothing much"!
Khe Sanh has a great indoor and outdoor museum...
Da Krong Bridge - saw heavy fighting during the War
Both Da Krong and A Shau valleys offered spectacular views of rivers between huge mountain ranges
The "normal" view, with haze obscuring the heights.
But by darkening the same photo...
...the true mass of the mountain
can be seen.
French fortifications in the Hai Van Pass
There's nothing left at Red Beach II, where the Marines first landed in 1965, except the beach...
...while at China Beach, resorts have crowded out the memories and the whole beach is buzzing
Marble Mountain - a secret wartime VC hospital - stands out, surrounded by marble merchants
Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum - closed every Oct/Nov, so we didn't see inside...
...but we saw inside the Army Museum -
The 18 Tourers stand before the tank that breached the Palace gates in Saigon in 1975
Sue realised a life's dream - to stand on the airstrip at Dien Bien Phu.
The Him Lam Resort lies in a lovely green setting
The airstrip at Dien Bien Phu sits in the valley floor, still overlooked by the hills which once held the Viet Minh artillery
Richard and Dave support the sign for General Vo Giap's command bunker
Beryl, Kevin and Charles study the monument
Tourers enter by ones and twos thru the tunnel and into the hidden and enclosed
Spectacular and peaceful - Ha Long Bay well deserves its
.....until the peace is shattered by the likes of Barry...
The seven ladies of the Decisive Battlefields Tour:
Only the huge limestone caves could entice us off the boats and onto dry land
Kevin, Petrice and Don ready for lunch on board.
Our thanks to:
And as we get other
Finally, a big vote of
thanks to National Network Travel's
All the best...
Dave's second Long Tan Trek Tour departed Australia 16 October - fully booked (again), with 30 passengers, included 10 Viet Vets, 9 ladies, and ages ranging from the 20s to the 70s.
The first week took in a tour of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC - Saigon)...
...some B-52 craters left in the vicinity of FSB Balmoral...
... a VC/NVA memorial and shrine on the Coral
...the Dong Nai museum (where the original L T Cross is on
...a bus trip down Route 15 to Vung Tau where we enjoyed
an hour cyclo trip from the former 1ALSG site...
After an evening briefing on the Australian presence in
Viet Nam generally and on the Long Tan battle in particular...
...we bussed to Nui Dat, where Dave explained the base
layout and the NVA's intentions for a huge
attack on the base set for the night of the 18th of August 1966.
On Tue 19 Oct, the Nui Dat Kindy was officially opened.
The Kindy is one of the AVVRG charities that the Tour supported, so the Tour
attended the opening for an hour or so...
...after which we started on the Trek from Nui Dat to the
Long Tan rubber plantation, following as closely as possible the route that
Delta Company, 6RAR, (D/6) took on the 18th....
...negotiating a creek in the process...
...and stopping for a "bush" lunch in the plantation a few
hundred metres from where D/6 had stopped for lunch on 18 Aug 1966.
After lunch, we walked the battlefield. It was the highlight of the Tour
- the Long Tan battlefield looks VERY similar to the way it looked in 1966. The walk was timed to be as long as the actual battle
took - some 3.5 hours. We walked to all the places where the D/6 soldiers experienced significant events during the battle -
the initial contact, the first and final Company positions, the left hook by
10 Platoon, the right hook by 12 Platoon, the place the Company took the
ammo resupply and, of course, the place of the heroic stand by 11 Platoon.
Along the way, Dave described what was happening in
"real time" "sitreps" - that is, since the Trek took the same time as the
battle, those on the tour "experienced" the timings of the events, the
delays and the sequences in detail - what took ten minutes in the Battle
took ten minutes for the Tour.
And those on the tour were able to ask questions and
get details along the way.
At 600 and 1000 metres from the main battlefield, Dave also pointed out the places where the APC reinforcement column with A/6 aboard contacted the enemy on their way towards D/6.
Very little of the topography has changed in 44 years, tho' the slight rise that D/6 used for its final redoubt is now a slight depression.
The Tour ended the Trek at the Cross - the site of the gallant 11 Platoon action - at 5:00pm, in time for a short ceremony and photos:
On the next day, the Tour visited an AVVRG-supported
dental clinic at Long Tan to see further Australian charity at work...
...then visited the Horseshoe and stood on what was
formerly the infamous minefield...
...before venturing into the Light Green to the vicinity
of the mine incident on Operation Mundingburra (on day 3 - 21 July 1969) which gave rise to the song "I Was Only
After this, it was lunch on the beach and a visit to the
Minh Dam temple in the Long Hai's. The more adventurous went into some of
A short boat ride to Cat Lo and back to the Grand...
Next day it was the hydrofoil back to HCMC and - for those not on the "Decisive Battlefields" extension tour, it was RTA (Return to Australia).
From HCMC (Saigon), the "Decisive Battlefields Tour" flew to Hue to tour the scenes of Tet '68 fighting south...
...and north of the Perfume River...
From Hue, we bussed north through Quang Tri City and Dong
Ha into the DMZ, where we visited many scenes of intense fighting during the
War, including Con Thien, Cam Lo Bridge, Camp Carroll and the Rockpile...
We went down the Vinh Moc tunnels (better than & less
"commercial" than the Cu Chi tunnels)...
...and walked across the "Peace Bridge" over the Ben Hai
River - the actual DMZ demarcation line...
We spent the night on the Laos border at Lao Bao, then
returned next day to the Khe Sanh Combat Base; scene of the critical 77-day
We then drove up the Da Krong valley, past Tiger Mountain
and down the A Shau valley - both valleys scenes of major US and ARVN operations
during the War...
At A Luoi, we tried for a view of "Hamburger Hill" - scene
of a major US action that, with the 1968 Tet Offensive and Khe Sanh, triggered the
change of US policy that ultimately ended the War. Weather conditions in the
valley rarely permit a good view of this mountain massif...
On return from the A Shau valley, we overnighted in Hue and
next day bussed south to Da Nang - scene of the first US combat troop placements. On the way we viewed Lang Co and the spectacular Hai Van
Pass, complete with old French fortifications, and on to Red Beach II, scene
of the Marines' first landings...
Then through Da Nang to see China Beach and Marble Mountain...
Later in the afternoon, we flew to Hanoi...
...where we toured the city military sites including the
Army Museum which displays the tank that breached the Palace Gates in 1975,
ending the Third Indo-China War...
We then flew to Dien Bien Phu for a day and a night,
staying at the historic Him Lam Resort, built on the old French position
Visits at DBP included a trip to General Vo Giap's bunker,
the Museum, Hill A-1, French Commander de Castres' bunker and the French
memorial to their war (with the Long Tan Cross, the only two foreign war
memorials permitted on Vietnamese soil)...
It had been a hectic Tour, so the final exercise was two
nights and a day at Ha Long Bay, the World Heritage site of sheer limestone
cliffs plunging into calm green waters. A relaxing day on a boat
wrapped up what had been for all on the Tour an energetic, yet informative 9
From Ha Long to Hanoi and flights home. All of the hotels were either 4/5 star or the best available in the more remote areas. Most meals and all gratuities had been included, so hands only went into pockets for personal purchases or personal tipping.
Along the way, documentaries, presentations and discussions covered most of the significant events or places to be visited or seen. The Tour included some "surprises" not listed in the itinerary - but each of which were very much appreciated by the Tour members.
The Tour was well accepted by those on it. A selection of passenger comments follow - more may be added as they are collated:
The 2011 Tours - the Long Tan Trek and the Decisive
Battlefields Tour - have been planned with very much the same content and
sequence, but with some added sightseeing, including a visit to the Cu Chi
Tunnels and a two-night stay at Hoi An (a World Heritage town just south of Da Nang). Please visit the
2011 Tours webpage:
One of the secret "added extras" sprung on the Tour group was
an hour's briefing by the US MIA Office in Hanoi.
A Military Unit designated JPAC, Detatchment 2 is responsible for the ongoing search for the remains of the many
hundreds of the Viet Nam War's "Missing In Action" (MIAs) - whether they be US, Vietnamese or anyone else.
As the photo shows, the group was totally absorbed, for which we thank Lt Col Todd Emoto (pictured) & his staff.
*** And the Group Photo taken at the Long
Tan Cross... ***
----- =====THE OUT-TAKES ===== -----
The local vendors could never quite work out Barry's bargaining
Charles and Sue
It was an Australian Tour - two blokes worked on the wheels and 15 blokes made sure the beer was safe and offered advice..
Michael wasn't impressed with the age of the VC Q-Store issues.
Michael and Robyn do their Leonardo &
Di, our Tour Escort, had a subtle way
of telling us to
Don was pretty happy with the reaction to the new after-shave he bought in
Jan knew they were just waiting for her to step off the curb
There was no clear winner in the
All Dave said was... “The beer's run out and we may have to harbour here
Cap'n Ahab kept a keen watch out for
"Don't worry, Dear -we'll get it fixed. A quick trip to Bunnings
should do it..."
Dave hoped the decor of the room would compensate for the lecture
Peter was sure he'd stepped in something unwelcome out there in the bush
Got a pic and a caption? There's room for more - your photo next..?