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

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

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

23 August 1942

Reference your telegram of 22 August.

In replying to your telegram of 16 August (No. 85) I assumed that both your suggestions were considered practicable from the New Zealand point of view and recommended the first as it seemed to cause less dislocation for you and would have avoided breaking up the Brigade here. Having read your latest telegram (No. 87), however, I appreciate your reasons for preferring to send the whole brigade and agree also with the advantages mentioned from our point of view.

In the circumstances, do not press the objection to breaking up the 6th Brigade1 as the sentimental aspect is, of course, outweighed by the advantage of having an armoured brigade in the Division as soon as possible. Regarding the question of sending tanks with personnel, I am informed by Stevens who saw the new Chief of the General Staff2 that tanks would be available here.

You will appreciate the present difficulties of communication with Divisional Headquarters separated from Headquarters 2nd NZEF.

We have just commenced a period of special vigilance as we expect a German offensive in the next few days. The weather is very hot and there are innumerable flies. The situation has improved here. The troops, although tired, are very cheerful and can be relied upon to do well.

The 4th Brigade is still at Maadi.

1 The 6th Brigade had been provisionally selected for disbandment had the complete Army Tank Brigade been despatched to the Middle East.

2 Major-General R. L. (later General Sir Richard) McCreery, KCB, KBE, DSO, MC, succeeded Lieutenant-General T. W. Corbett, CB, MC, as Chief of the General Staff, Middle East, in Aug 1942.