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

144 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

24 June 1942

Further to my telegram of 20 June, there is no doubt that our forces in the Western Desert have suffered a major reverse and the situation at the moment causes anxiety. General Auchinleck has a difficult task here with inadequate resources and inferior tank, tank gun, and anti-tank gun.

The enemy must be stopped, and this will be achieved only after heavy fighting. Casualties must be expected.

The bulk of the Division is already at Matruh, but we are to be relieved and will move almost at once to an area to the south. We shall take the field as a division, less the 6th Brigade, which remains in the rear. The infantry brigades will be changed for purposes of rest. Everyone is in excellent heart and I am certain the Division will not lower its reputation.