By Royal Australian Mint ……
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Khanh, one of Australia’s last battles during the Vietnam War, the Royal Australian Mint has released a new commemorative coin.
Developed in collaboration with members from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), the coin pays tribute to the brave soldiers who fought in one of the most intense actions of the Vietnam War, code-named Operation Overlord.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the release of this commemorative coin is a symbol of the service and achievement of the 3RAR during the significant battle.
“The Royal Australian Mint has a long and proud history of commemorating Australia’s military service. The 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Khanh is another opportunity to remind us of the courage our troops fought with and the sacrifices that were made in this battle,” Minister Sukkar said.
Following Australia’s decision to withdraw soldiers from Vietnam in 1970, the Battle of Long Khanh took place on 7 June 1971. During the battle, two RAAF crewmen and one gunnery officer were killed, and another 10 soldiers were wounded.
Royal Australian Mint CEO Leigh Gordon said that this coin tells the important story of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
“The coin depicts a scene inspired by the elements of the Battle of Long Khanh, featuring a Centurion tank, manned by an Australian soldier, set deep in the Vietnam jungle,” Mr. Gordon said. “The intricate design of this coin … captures aspects of the Battle of Long Khanh, recognizing those who fought in the battle, and keeping alive the memory of those whose lives were lost.”
Battle of Long Khanh
By June 1971, Australia had been involved in the Vietnam War for nine years. With no end in sight to an unpopular war, the Australians – like the Americans – were reducing their forces as they prepared to pull out of Vietnam.
In one of the most intense actions during this period, soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, assaulted a concealed bunker complex in South Vietnam’s Long Khanh Province. Three soldiers died in combat, with five wounded.
Australian withdrawal from Vietnam would take time and would not be easy.
Aware of the enemy movement, the Australians launched Operation Overlord aimed at destroying the enemy forces and preventing them from interfering with the province’s security and the Australian withdrawal.
The most significant fighting took place on 7 June and became known as the ‘Battle of Long Khanh’.
After two days of patrolling, the Australians found what they thought was the main enemy position, just across the border in Long Khanh province. B Company of 3RAR began a morning assault before being pinned down by the intense fire. Trapped on the edge of a cleverly concealed bunker system, they paused and called in artillery and air support.
The Battle of Long Khanh 2021 50c Uncirculated coins have a limited mintage of 27,500 and retail for $10.00 AUD (about $7.75 USD at the time of publication). They are available now from the Mint’s eShop and Call Centre (1300 652 020).
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