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

421 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

28 March 1945

I am to report that the long-term reorganisation has now been successfully completed. The 9th Infantry Brigade has now been formed and its training is being completed. I have now inspected all units of the Division and am greatly impressed with the high standard that has been achieved during this short training period in the rear area.

The Division is now up to strength. The change-over of long-term personnel has been carried out smoothly and without hitch. We have absorbed into our organisation officers, NCOs, and men of the 3rd Division. During my inspections I heard excellent accounts of them and I am certain they will do well. We are now organised with the right balance of arms. It is basically sound—three infantry brigades and a brigade of armour. In addition, we have the advantage of having non-battleweary, short-service men with highly experienced leaders.

The Division is organised so that each infantry brigade has its own tank regiment, and in point of fact, each infantry brigade group is a small panzer division. We are still very mobile.

We are now coming to the end of our period of rest. We move into the line early in April and take part in a battle upon a broad front to break through and destroy the army opposite us. There is no doubt that this country from the point of view of defence favours the enemy, who has the advantage of having spent the whole of the winter months in putting down minefields and wire and preparing page 395 the position as strongly as possible. The enemy will fight hard and we must be prepared for casualties, but the health of the force is good and morale could not be higher. I feel confident that we shall do well in this next battle.