Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
349 — Memorandum from the Deputy Chief of the General Staff1 to the Minister of Defence — Composition and Organisation of 3rd Division
Memorandum from the Deputy Chief of the General Staff1 to the Minister of Defence
Composition and Organisation of 3rd Division
1. With reference to previous discussions in War Cabinet and to Army Headquarters' memorandum S28/1/15/1 of 2 November 1942 [No. 347] on the composition and organisation of the 3rd Division, I am directed by Lieutenant-General Puttick to forward the attached letter 1/1/G of 17 January 1943 from Major-General Barrowclough.
2. I am to say that except for the suggestion that the Americans should be asked to take over the heavy anti-aircraft and heavy artillery regiments, General Puttick agrees with and supports General Barrowclough's proposals.
3. With regard to the heavy anti-aircraft and heavy artillery regiments, General Puttick considers that any suggestion of those units going over completely to American command, or of being manned by Americans, should either come from the Americans themselves or be raised at a more opportune moment than the present.
4. I do not think it is General Barrowclough's intention that his Division should be brought up to the same scale as the recently introduced British organisation. For operations in which he is likely to be engaged, a division based on the old organisation, modified to meet Pacific Islands conditions, would be more suitable.
5. The following additional units, shown in order of priority, would be required to bring his division up to such an organisation:
One field artillery regiment.
15th Infantry Brigade Headquarters, with its signal section, defence platoon and light aid detachment, less the ‘skeleton’ personnel already sent forward.
One infantry battalion—assuming that when the 34th Battalion from Tonga and 36th Battalion from Norfolk Island join the Division, the 1st Battalion, Scottish Regiment, and 1st Battalion, Ruahine Regiment, remain with the Division.
One composite Army Service Corps company.
One field ambulance.
One field company engineers.
One anti-tank battery.
1 Maj-Gen Sir Keith Stewart, KBE, CB, DSO, MC (Gk), Legion of Merit (US); GSO I NZ Div 1940–41; Deputy Chief of General Staff Dec 1941-Jul 1943; comd 5 Bde Aug–Nov 1943, 4 Armd Bde Nov 1943–Mar 1944, 5 Bde Mar–Aug 1944; p.w. 1 Aug 1944; comd 9 Bde (2 NZEF, Japan) Nov 1945–Jul 1946; Chief of General Staff Apr 1949–Mar 1952.
One light artillery regiment, less the 3·7-inch battery now with the Division.
In certain circumstances, and if the 75-millimetre howitzers ordered from America arrive in time, the light artillery regiment might be required before any of the other additional units.
6. The relief of the Norfolk Island garrison has a direct bearing on the provision of personnel for these additional units.
Apart from the 36th Battalion and service detachments, the garrison consists of:
One heavy artillery battery
One composite anti-aircraft battery of—
One troop field artillery
One section field engineers
Although these units were provided by 3rd Division, all except the heavy artillery and heavy anti-aircraft artillery have been replaced in the Division, and on relief the personnel will be available for the additional units enumerated in paragraph 5. If comsopac will agree to not replacing the heavy artillery and heavy anti-aircraft artillery in 3rd Division, there will be an even greater accretion of personnel for the additional units.
7. The remaining personnel for the additional units would have to come from New Zealand Home Defence forces. If it is decided to send an infantry battalion, 1st Battalion, Otago Regiment, would be selected, as it could be spared more easily than any other field force infantry unit. The units of other arms would probably be found by withdrawal of individuals and sub-units from Home Defence forces throughout New Zealand.
8. A summary of the above proposals, together with the number of men involved, is given in the attached appendix.1
9. Although these proposals will entail an addition of approximately 3000 men to the manpower calculations submitted to the War Cabinet by the National Service Department, I would point out that the extra fire power and more balanced organisation in the 3rd Division might possibly result in less casualties, and in the long run a saving in the calls on manpower. Apart from manpower considerations, the experiences of this war, including that of the 2nd Division at Sidi Rezegh in 1941, have proved that a two-brigade division and two-battalion brigades are militarily unsound.
1 Not published.
10. I suggest that if the War Cabinet approves in principle of these proposals, I be authorised to obtain comsopac's concurrence, and to ascertain if he will agree to the present deficiencies in heavy anti-aircraft and heavy artillery being left unfilled.
(Sgd) K. L. Stewart,
deputy chief of the general staff