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

158 — General Froyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Froyberg to the Minister of Defence

17 August 1942

I am now back in command of the Division.

The Division, less the 4th Infantry Brigade, is holding part of the forward position in the Western Desert. The 19th, 20th, 22nd, and 24th Battalions, which suffered most heavily, are at Maadi with Headquarters 4th Infantry Brigade refitting and training as fast as possible, but they are not up to establishment except for the 22nd Battalion, which returns here in a few days.

I feel it is my duty to report for your information that the situation here will be difficult for the next few weeks until additional heavy American tanks arrive. If the enemy attacks within the next week, Eighth Army will be hard put to it to maintain its position. Present indications point to the possibility of an enemy attack after 22 August.

Although heavy casualties during July blunted the Division, everyone is in good spirits, and I am certain the Division will again give a good account of itself. The knowledge that we are to be reinforced has given great satisfaction.2