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

153 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence [Extract]

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence [Extract]

14 July 1942

The following is a short report on the situation in the Western Desert based on liaison officer's reports and situation reports from Inglis:

The 4th and 5th Brigades, Divisional Cavalry, and all the Artillery remain in the forward area in touch with the enemy. The 6th Brigade has been temporarily withdrawn to Wadi Natrun. The guns the page 120 New Zealand Division captured a week ago were the entire artillery of the Ariete Division. Our troops are in good condition and keen for decisive action, for which neither side appears ready. I cannot comment on the situation without having the full picture. I propose to attend the Commander-in-Chief's conference here (Cairo) tomorrow, after which I will begin to prepare an appreciation of the general situation for your information.

Our casualties are heavy but many of the wounds are light, and the shorter line of communication has had a good effect on the wounded, who reach hospital in excellent condition and recover rapidly.

Reports from the Division pay a glowing tribute to the gallantry and devotion to duty of the American Volunteer Field Service ambulance units serving with us. I suggest you might like to repeat this to Mr. Nash ….1

1 In the text omitted General Freyberg discussed catering facilities established at Maadi for the 2nd NZEF.