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

90 — General Freyberg to the Chief of the General Staff (Wellington) — [Extract]

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

2 September 1942

Your telegram of 31 August.

You will have realised that the decision to have an armoured component in the 2nd New Zealand Division amends the figures of requirements as given in my telegrams of 8 August1 and 15 August2. For instance, one third of the infantry now becomes Armoured Corps and there is a big increase in ASC….3

I am under the impression that with the exception of the tank battalion you will not be able to send any large number of trained New Zealand Armoured Corps personnel, including technicians, but that we will have to train infantry drafts for this purpose. Would you please confirm this.

The question of tanks is now under discussion with GHQ and a firm reply should be available in a few days. Present indications are that no tanks will be required from New Zealand.

As stated in my telegram of 20 August (No. 86) it seems inevitable that the tank battalion will have to be broken up to provide (a) instructors, and (b) a nucleus of trained and skilled personnel for the page 67 new regiments here. Would it help you if instead of a completely organised battalion you were to send an equal total of officers, NCOs, tradesmen, and other ranks but merely as drafts that could be drawn from the whole of the Army Tank Brigade. Please advise if this appeals to you, and final confirmation will then be cabled from here.

The 4th Infantry Brigade is the one selected for the change to the Armoured Brigade.

2 Not published. Contained details of the composition of the 8th Reinforcement draft, subsequently amended.

3 Text omitted refers to the preparation and despatch of later telegrams giving details of reinforcement requirements.