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

164 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

page 130

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

15 October 1942

The following message is sent with the concurrence of the Com mander-in-Chief, Middle East, to whom it has been shown:

The New Zealand Division has been allotted a role for the forthcoming offensive of Eighth Army in respect of which I wish to give you the following information:

We are at present in 10th Corps, described in my telegram of 3 October (No. 162) as the Desert Corps. The plan provides for the New Zealand Division to take part in the initial attack and operations as a mobile division, with armoured divisions, to exploit success should that be possible.

Full use has been made of the present training period to train the new commanders and staff officers and to co-operate with our armoured brigade. We are, in my opinion, well trained for any operation we may be fighting in.

As reported in my telegram of 3 October, we are better equipped than ever before. Further, the 9th Armoured Brigade with us and the British armoured divisions have been greatly strengthened by the arrival of modern, powerful tanks. The situation has changed completely and we have substantial tank and air superiority.

Secrecy is of course vital. You will be advised of the commencement of operations by General Headquarters in the usual way. It is hoped that strategic surprise will be achieved. Tactical surprise is of paramount importance. I earnestly ask, therefore, that as before no public statement be made concerning your Division before our presence in the line is announced in the official communique. We have no illusions about the hard fighting still to be done, but for the first time it would appear that we will meet the enemy without weakness in vital items of equipment. Would you kindly acknowledge this cable.