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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II

22 — General Freyberg to the acting Prime Minister

General Freyberg to the acting Prime Minister

25 June 1941

Please refer to your telegram of 12 June (No. 19). The term ‘Corps troops’ is a misnomer to some extent as many units of the nature indicated in FFC 363 support the Division whether they form part of the Corps or not, e.g., a medium regiment and a heavy antiaircraft regiment are allotted on the scale of one for each division as required, but normally are not under the direct orders of the page 14 Divisional Commander; also all services behind the Division, such as Signal units, Reserve Mechanical Transport Company, &c., working in the gap between Divisional and Corps headquarters. Up to the present the British Army has found this quota of units for us behind the actual Division. It has always been a source of criticism, and it is most desirable as equipment becomes available and manpower in the United Kingdom becomes the bottleneck, that we should take over our share. Without any doubt it is an imperative essential to have our Corps troops if we are in the Anzac Corps. A Corps of three divisions is certainly referred to in FFC 36, but I gather that our quota would not be increased if the Corps is of two divisions only. Most Corps troops units are allotted to a Corps on the basis of so many for each division in such Corps. I strongly recommend that you accept responsibility if the manpower situation permits, and as the rearrangement will require a great deal of planning here, especially as regards new commanders and staff officers, I would be grateful to learn whether the Government agree in principle to the proposals. As men can be made available, details can be altered to suit the New Zealand Government.

3 Field Force Committee, War Office, Organisation Plan 36 (Part 12–2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force) contained proposals for the organisation of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The organisation was on the basis of one New Zealand Division forming part of an Anzac Corps of three divisions (the other two divisions being Australian), one New Zealand Army Tank Brigade, and one independent brigade (B Force) in Fiji. The plan gave details of the composition and strength of the force and of new units to be formed, and the estimated numbers of reinforcements required to maintain it at various periods of activity.