55 years ago today, Australian and New Zealand forces were attacked, resulting in their largest battle of the Vietnam War – the Battle of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral.
FILE IMAGE: A 102 Battery gun in action at Fire Support Base Coral. AWM P01770.015
25 Australians lost their lives in the 25-day battle.
Australian and New Zealand Forces were setting up bases to defend Saigon when they were attacked in the early hours of 13 May 1968.
An Australian artillery battery, its mortar platoon and machine gunners were subject to intense fire.
First light revealed the aftermath of the overnight attack – nine Australian soldiers killed in action, with a further 28 wounded.
Over the next 25 days, another 16 Australian lives were lost.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said today, we honour those who lost their lives in combat and we commend the bravery of all those who served in the defence of our nation during the Vietnam War.
“The Battle of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral, during the Vietnam War, must never be forgotten,” Minister Keogh said.
Throughout 2023, the Australian government is recognising the contribution of our Vietnam veterans, their service in Vietnam and their role as integral members of the ex-service community in the decades since the war.
On Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August 2023, a national commemorative service will be held at the Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra to recognise the 50thanniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
For more information about the service and the 50th anniversary, visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.
Read more about the Battle of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral here.