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

387 — General Freyberg1 to General Wavell, Commander-in-Chief, Middle East

page 285

General Freyberg1 to General Wavell, Commander-in-Chief, Middle East

1 May 1941

With reference to the War Office appreciation of the scale of attack on Crete.2 The forces at my disposal are totally inadequate to meet the attack envisaged. Unless the number of fighter aircraft is greatly increased and naval forces are made available to deal with a seaborne attack I cannot hope to hold out with land forces alone, which, as a result of the campaign in Greece, are now devoid of any artillery, have insufficient tools for digging, very little transport, and inadequate war reserves of equipment and ammunition. The force here can and will fight, but cannot hope to repel invasion without full support from the Navy and Air Force. If, for other reasons, these cannot be made available at once, I urge that the question of holding Crete should be reconsidered. I consider it my duty under the terms of my charter3 to inform the New Zealand Government of the situation in which the greater part of the New Zealand Division is now placed.

1 General Freyberg had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the forces on Crete on 30 Apr 1941.

2 For the text of this appreciation see No. 388.

3 See No. 39.