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

53 — The Chief of the General Staff (Wellington) to General Freyberg

page 37

The Chief of the General Staff (Wellington) to General Freyberg

2 January 1942

The complete mobilisation of the New Zealand Forces has been ordered for 10 January, providing twenty-three battalions and eighteen being formed, nine mounted rifle regiments, four field regiments, and miscellaneous and ancillary troops. Medium guns and howitzers are being utilised to cover various anchorages, leaving only one troop of 6-inch howitzers for the field forces. Field artillery includes thirty-six 25-pounders and fifty 18-pounders. The total strength will be approximately 50,000 by 10 January, rising to 62,000 about one month later, and 68,000 ultimately, all exclusive of the Home Guard. We had already advanced the annual training date for part of the force from January to 15 December, on which date approximately 30,000 troops of all categories, including New Zealand Expeditionary Force reinforcements, were in camp.

Fiji is of the first importance as an essential link in the United States air reinforcing chain and for other reasons, and we reinforced it in December with eighteen field guns and howitzers, four 3-inch anti-aircraft guns, six anti-aircraft searchlights, and 700 men to complete the third battalion. Further reinforcements comprising approximately 4000 troops, four 25-pounders, four Bofors, two 60-pounders, and two 6-inch howitzers are being sent in two flights to raise the force to two brigade groups and two reserve battalions organised as a division. The first flight has sailed and the remainder go in a few days. Arms and equipment have been found from New Zealand, resulting in shortages here, but the United States is despatching the equivalent, plus other equipment, urgently to Fiji and New Zealand, when adjustments will be made if the situation permits.

We have had to use the 8th Reinforcements and Potter1 as Brigade Commander, Goss,2 G1, Sugden3 and Barry4, battalion commanders,

1 Brigadier L. Potter, CBE, DSO; commanded 14th NZ Brigade Group and Western Area, Fiji, Jan-Jul 1942; commanded 14th Brigade, 3rd NZ Division, 1942–44; Commandant, Central Military District, Dec 1944– Jun 1946; commanded 2nd NZEF (Japan) 1946–48.

2 Brigadier L. G. Goss, CB; GSO 1, Army HQ, Wellington, 1939–41; commanded 8th NZ Brigade Group, Fiji, Jan-Mar 1942; Assistant Chief of the General Staff, Army HQ, May-Nov 1942; commanded 15th Brigade, 2nd NZEF IP, Nov 1942–Jul 1943; commanded 8th Brigade, 3rd NZ Division, Dec 1943—Sep 1944; Deputy Chief of the General Staff, New Zealand Military Forces, Sep 1944—Jul 1946.

3 Colonel A. H. L. Sugden; Commandant Army School of Instruction, Trentham, 1940–41; CO 37th Battalion, 2nd NZEF IP, Dec 1941—Jul 1944; Commandant Army School of Instruction, Apr 1945—Jan 1947; Area Commander, Wellington, Jan—Mar 1947.

4 Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Barry, MBE; Staff Officer Training, Trentham, 1940–41; CO 36th Battalion, 1941–43; commanded N Force (Norfolk Island) Sep 1942—Apr 1943; Area Commander, Wanganui, Sep 1943–Apr 1947.

page 38 for Fiji, and Parkinson1 for the Army Reserve Brigade here. The Tank Brigade has been organised to provide one battalion of thirty tanks under Groves2 and three battalions of infantry, all in Army Reserve here, but the training of the Tank Brigade is proceeding. The 9th Reinforcements assemble immediately for a month's intensive training before being posted to units here.

1 Major-General G. B. Parkinson, CBE, DSO; CO 4th NZ Field Regiment, Jan 1940—Aug 1941; commanded 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade and 7th Infantry Brigade Group (in NZ) 1941–42; commanded NZ Maadi Camp, Feb—Mar 1943; 6th Infantry Brigade, 1943–44; commanded 2nd NZ Division (Cassino), 3–27 Mar 1944; Commander Royal Artillery, 2nd NZ Division, Jun—Aug 1944; commanded 6th NZ Infantry Brigade, Aug 1944–Jun 1945; commanded NZ Troops in Egypt and NZ Maadi Camp, Jul—Nov 1945; Quartermaster-General, Army HQ, Jan—Sep 1946; NZ Military Liaison Officer, London, 1946–49; Commandant, Southern Military District, 1949–.

2 Lieutenant-Colonel H. B. M. Groves, MC, Royal Tank Regiment; on loan to New Zealand Military Forces, 23 Aug 1941–25 Sep 1944; Commandant NZ Armoured Fighting Vehicle School, Waiouru, 1941–44.