10 May 2018
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF
AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST VIETNAM BATTLES
VETERANS will gather in Canberra on Sunday to
attend a national service to recognise the
Battles at Fire Support Bases Coral and
Balmoral—Australia’s most protracted and costly
battles of the Vietnam War.
involvement in the Vietnam War began in 1962
with the introduction of military trainers whose
role was to instruct South Vietnamese troops.
Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said Australian
service men and women established Fire Support
Bases Coral and Balmoral in the vicinity of
routes used by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong
forces to attack Saigon, the southern capital
now known as Ho Chi Minh City.
“The bases were
considered a great threat to the enemy, as they
were located across routes used by Communist
forces to move to and from Saigon into nearby
Bien Hoa province,” Mr Chester said.
“In the early
hours of 13 May 1968, the North Vietnamese
attacked Fire Support Base Coral which had been
established only hours earlier. There was
another major attack on the base shortly
afterwards and over the following weeks the
Australians launched a series of aggressive
patrols, engaging in combat against North
Vietnamese forces and experiencing fierce combat
through until early June.
time, the North Vietnamese also turned their
attention to Fire Support Base Balmoral which
had been established about 4.5 kilometres north
of Coral. Two battalions of North Vietnamese
attacked Balmoral on 26 May. A second attack
followed on 28 May, but a combination of
infantry, armour, aircraft, artillery and
mortars repelled the North Vietnamese assault.”
The Battles at
Coral and Balmoral resulted in more Australian
casualties than any other series of engagements
in Vietnam and were described by an Australian
brigadier as ‘some of the heaviest fighting the
Task Force ever undertook’.
Australians were killed during the fighting at
Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral,” Mr
suggest that some 300 North Vietnamese were
killed in these actions, but exact figures will
never be known.”
Members of the
public are encouraged to attend the event on
Sunday at the Australian Vietnam Forces National
Memorial, Anzac Parade, Canberra.
information for veterans is available. Further
details regarding the event below.**
from all over the country will gather in
Canberra to attend a national service to
recognise the Battles at Fire Support Bases
Coral and Balmoral – Australia’s most protracted
and costly battles of the Vietnam War
on Sunday, 13 May 2018
Vietnam Forces National Memorial, Anzac
Minister Chester will conduct a doorstop at
10.30 am on Sunday 13 May.
Whil Prendergast on 0427 672 815 or
for further details.
Definition (HD) broadcast feed from the event
site will be available for distribution via
Sydney Teleports. Please contact Sydney
Teleports MCR (email
or phone 02 9292 0000) for more information and
Whil Prendergast: 0427 672 815
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon. Darren Chester MP,
Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can
be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for
support and free and confidential counselling.
Phone 1800 011 046 (international:
+61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a
service founded by Vietnam veterans.