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

167 — General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

General Freyberg to the Minister of Defence

3 November 1942

As forecast in my telegram of 30 October, following the consolidation of the front after the capture of Miteiriya Ridge, the New Zealand Division moved north alongside the Australian Division and took over the line with the 6th Brigade. To conserve our strength two brigades of English and Scottish troops were placed under the command of the New Zealand Division, and at moonrise in the early morning of 1–2 November they launched an attack under an intense artillery bombardment. We finally breached all the enemy minefields and passed through our own 9th Armoured Brigade and one armoured division, which joined battle with the German Panzer divisions. The attack was planned and controlled entirely by the New Zealand Division and was a great success. Approximately two thousand prisoners were captured, the majority being Germans.

The present situation here is shaping well. I feel that it is rash to make a forecast regarding the fighting here in the Western Desert, which has been productive of so many disappointments. For the information of the Government, perhaps it would help if I gave my opinion for what it is worth. I feel that the future here is bright. I believe the German resistance was finally broken by the last attack and the cumulative effect of artillery fire during the last ten days. page 133 I feel that the present German position is precarious, that we shall push him back in the near future to the frontier, and later, under certain conditions, I am led to hope we may eventually clear Africa.