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

The Three Full-scale Exercises

The Three Full-scale Exercises

The Second Echelon moved out of camp as soon as possible and took with it all available arms and equipment, together with its ammunition, engineers' stores, picks and shovels, explosives, and five complete days' rations and water.

The object of these exercises was:


To practise Divisional staff in carrying out a bus move of the Division;

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To give Brigadiers and Battalion Commanders experience in handling their commands in the field;


To try out our administrative services in the field.

1. The first operation was the hasty occupation of a defensive position at Crowborough, Sussex. Each of the groups then moved separately in their bus columns down to the sea coast to rehearse repelling possible enemy landings.

2. The next manoeuvre was arranged for Brigadier Hargest's force to fight Brigadier Barrowclough's force.

3. The final scheme was to carry out an endurance march of 100 miles in six days.

During these exercises the Commanders learned how to handle their fast-moving bus columns and their transport, and the junior officers and men found their feet and got the idea of working together as a force. We came back at the conclusion of our last exercise on 8 August, bronzed and fit, and I feel confident that if we are asked to take part in the defence of Great Britain the Second Echelon of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force is a force to be reckoned with, and will give an excellent account of itself wherever it may be used.

Since then, more equipment has arrived and we have now got 50 per cent of our unit transport, together with 100 per cent of our field guns—eight 25-pounder guns and sixteen 75-millimetre (French) guns, 50 per cent or ten 2-pounder anti-tank guns, 100 per cent of our Bren carriers, 100 per cent of our Bren guns, 100 per cent of our Boys rifles. From today we are to all intents and purposes almost 100 per cent equipped.