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

96 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

27 September 1940

I have just returned after two days in the Western Desert with the 4th Brigade Group who occupy a defensive position in reserve. Everybody is fit and well and in excellent spirits. Their arms and equipment are now practically complete, except that they are still armed with 18-pounders. I would be unwilling to pass any opinion upon the likelihood of the Italians launching a serious attack here. My views two months ago were as expressed in my official appreciation to the British Prime Minister on 29 July1 which should have reached you by now. Owing to the arrival here of aeroplanes, tanks, and equipment upon a large scale the situation is easing. Nevertheless, if the Italians do attack in the next month we shall be fighting numerically superior forces and will be at a disadvantage as regards artillery, tanks, and aircraft. Tomorrow I go to Suez to meet the Third Echelon.

1 For the text of this appreciation see Appendix 4.