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

381 — General Freyberg to General Puttick

General Freyberg to General Puttick

7 April 1944

Thank you for your telegram of 5 April. I am glad you agree. I have given the whole subject a good deal of thought and feel that if a small formation were left our reputation which stands so high might be tarnished. I realise that the question must be decided in New Zealand, but I am very much in favour of a clean break when the time comes.

With regard to a possible change-over to an armoured division, I think you will find the general opinion in England is that we have over-produced in armoured formations and that what is now required is an increase in infantry divisions with one armoured regiment. There are six armoured divisions in the Mediterranean theatre (1st page 348 British, 6th British, Polish, Canadian, South African, and ourselves) to say nothing of American formations, and none of these can be used.

While the infantry divisions here are overworked owing to the genuine shortage, the bulk of the extravagantly equipped formations have not seen a shot fired for a full year. They are feeling the effect of being LOB1 and need fresh battle experience. The answer may be to send some to the Second Front.

I will cable any other matters to you in London. I wanted you to know the feeling here with regard to armoured divisions. I am looking forward very much to seeing you here in Italy.

1 Left out of battle.