Commemorating battles at Coral and Balmoral
The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest military commitment of the 20th century. Participation began in 1962 when Australia sent an initial contingent of 30 military advisors to South Vietnam. In 1965 the size of the force increased with the deployment of a battalion. One year later the commitment increased further and was upgraded to a task force. By the time Australia withdrew the last of its personnel in 1975, some 60,000 Australians had served in Vietnam, with 521 killed and approximately 2,300 wounded.
One of the most significant battles for Australia was at the Fire Support Bases of Coral and Balmoral. In May 1968, Coral was established 20 kilometres north of Bien Hoa. Its purpose was to cover foot patrols and to intercept the route of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong withdrawing from their assaults on Saigon.
Within hours of the Australians establishing Coral on 12 May, the hastily prepared perimeter was attacked by the North Vietnamese, who overran several positions. In the desperate close-quarters fighting that ensued, the Australians were able to drive the North Vietnamese back with the assistance of mortar and artillery fire. The base was heavily attacked a second time on the night of 15–16 May, while less intense assaults occurred in the following weeks, and clashes also occurred during patrols into the surrounding territory.
Later in the month, the North Vietnamese turned their focus to Fire Support Base Balmoral, established by the Australians 4.5 kilometres to the north. As at Coral, the North Vietnamese attacked Balmoral shortly after its establishment on 24–25 May. The weight of Australian firepower strengthened by the arrival of tanks enabled the Australians to repel the assault. A further incursion on 28 May was dealt with similarly, inflicting heavy losses on the attackers. By 6 June, the assaults had ceased in a battle that was costly for both sides.
The postal numismatic cover, which is limited to 7,000, contains a 50c uncirculated Royal Australian Mint coin, with a “Battles of Coral and Balmoral” design that features soldiers in action.
The 50th Anniversary of the Battles of Coral and Balmoral PPE and PNC are available now, online, via at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794, while stocks last.
This content was produced at the time of the product release date and will not be updated.