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

86 — General Freyberg to the Chief of the General Staff (Wellington)

page 63

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

20 August 1942

Your telegram of 16 August.

I realise your difficulties and appreciate the Government's efforts to help in submitting alternative schemes.

I prefer your first suggestion of 4700 reinforcements and one tank battalion.

One infantry brigade, probably the 4th, would be reorganised as a tank brigade, each battalion becoming a tank battalion.

The tank battalion sent from New Zealand would, I am afraid, have to be split up to form a nucleus for the three battalions to be formed here, but care will be taken to see that all ranks, up to and including the commanding officer, are employed in positions worthy of their rank and experience.

In the change-over of the present Division, I would propose to retain the Maori and Machine Gun Battalions and to turn the Divisional Cavalry into a reconnaissance regiment.

The training of technical personnel will have to be set in hand at an early date. In this respect I realise the position that must exist in New Zealand regarding technicians and can only leave it to you to help as much as you can.

The question of the availability of equipment here is being taken up with General Headquarters, Middle East, but I consider it essential that concurrently the New Zealand Government should approach the United Kingdom Government in the matter.

Details will be worked out by Stevens once the Government has agreed in principle. An early decision would be of great help.