‘The Soldiers’ Story’ is based on the best selling book ‘The Soldiers’ Story’ by Terry Burstall.
Synopsis: In 1966, three young Australian infantry soldiers, Bob, Doug and Pat, attached to 11 platoon, D company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, serve their tour of duty in Vietnam. From their training camp at Vung Tau to the setting up of the Task Force base in enemy territory, they are drawn into a war that even experienced soldiers are unprepared for; an inhospitable land, relentless heat, torrential rain; a hidden enemy. Under constant threat of attack they struggle to come to terms with their situation.
Meanwhile, two young Vietnamese soldiers, Thanh and Khuong, of the local Viet Cong battalion reflect on their situation and what is happening to their families and their community in this brutal and relentless struggle that is tearing their country apart.
Ordered to destroy the substantial and beautiful village of Long Phuoc, the young Australians are taken aback at the ruthlessness of their first operation. And unbeknown to them they have helped sow the seeds of revenge.
The news of this incursion and destruction in one of their secure base areas is relayed back to the Viet Cong in their secure divisional base area in the mountains. The Viet Cong Officers of 5 Division see this incursion as a direct challenge to their moral, political and military authority, and plan an attack on the Australians.
A brief repose comes with leave of duty in Vung Tau for both the Australian and the Viet Cong soldiers, where the vagaries of the situation in Vietnam further presents itself. Personal conflicts heighten as the stress of war takes it toll on both sides.
Bob, Doug and Pat are no sooner back at Task Force when the Viet Cong launch a mortar attack. Ordered on a search and destroy mission, the boy’s company of one hundred and twenty young Australians set out to the rubber plantation near the village of Long Tan. Despite U.S. intelligence from the area indicating only minor pockets of enemy resistance, the company walk into an horrific and bloody death-trap.
With no escape route, pinned by mortar and machine gun fire and overwhelmingly outnumbered, the Australians refuse to succumb. They stand to fight a courageous battle against the might and determination of a large, well equipped and disciplined enemy force. For the men who fight wars there is no such thing as victory, and for the young combatants on both sides, it was a devastating initiation into the horror and brutality of war.
‘The Soldiers’ Story’ aka ‘Long Tan’ was initially supported with financial assistance for script and marketing development from the Queensland Film Development Office in 1992 – 91.
Writers Terry Burstall and Wayne Moore.
Script Editor Harold Lander.
3rd draft development TBA.