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Bardia to Enfidaville

6 Infantry Brigade Group

6 Infantry Brigade Group

  • Headquarters 6 Infantry Brigade

  • 24 Battalion

  • 25 Battalion

  • 26 Battalion

  • 6 Field Regiment

  • 33 Anti-Tank Battery

  • 43 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery

  • 8 Field Company

  • 2 Machine-Gun Company

  • company 6 Field Ambulance

  • troop-carrying transport of 6 Reserve Mechanical Transport Company

This continued affiliation had obvious advantages. The remaining units of the Division were organised into a Divisional Headquarters Group, a Divisional Reserve Group, and an Administrative Group. The Headquarters Group usually consisted of Headquarters 2 New Zealand Division, the headquarters of the Divisional Artillery, Divisional Engineers and Divisional Signals. The Reserve Group included 4 Field Regiment, 5 Field Park Company, 6 Field Company, 36 Survey Battery, and the headquarters and unattached sub-units of 7 Anti-Tank Regiment, 14 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, and 27 (Machine-Gun) Battalion.

Sometimes, again depending on the tactical situation, a gun group, consisting of the field artillery units not under brigade command (for example, 4 Field Regiment) and any attached Royal Artillery units, would be formed separately under the CRA.

The Administrative Group consisted of all the units of the Division not otherwise allocated: Headquarters Command NZASC, 1 Ammunition Company, 1 Petrol Company, 1 Supply Company, 4 and 6 RMT Companies less troop-carrying transport, 4 Field page 10 Ambulance, 5 and 6 Field Ambulances each less a company, 4 Field Hygiene Section, Mobile Dental Section, Divisional Workshops, Divisional Ordnance Field Park, Postal Unit, and so on. This group moved under orders issued by the Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General of the Division. Sometimes the group was divided in two, the rear part consisting of those units not likely to be required for some days.

The Divisional Cavalry was usually reconnoitring under the direct command of Divisional Headquarters and so leading the advance. But if a light armoured brigade was attached, the cavalry acted in concert with the armoured car regiments of that brigade.

During active operations, and certainly in a pursuit, the GOC generally moved well forward with a small Tactical Headquarters consisting of himself, a ‘G’ staff officer, an ADC and the Protective Troop of tanks. Normally Tactical Headquarters moved near the headquarters of the reconnoitring force.

None of the above arrangements was invariable; but an organisation of infantry brigade groups and Divisional Reserve Group persisted throughout the campaign.

It was the custom to issue few formal written orders. Conversations, discussions, exchanges of information and conferences went on continually and provided the background necessary for a clear understanding of any impending move or operation. The divisional conferences under the direction of General Freyberg were an essential part of this procedure; the form they took was no doubt peculiar to the Division, for the General had his own ideas of how to get the best out of his subordinates.

Before any major operation or move it was necessary to issue a written order stating all the main points; but this was only the culmination of the interchange of ideas during the preceding few days or even weeks. Experience had shown, however, that an operation order for a course of events extending over several days often proved inadequate to cope with the vagaries of fortune, and orders for the later stages had to be altered; so there was a tendency to issue the formal order for the first phase only and leave remaining phases to be controlled by the usual conference, verbal order or signal.

The pause at Bardia was a welcome one, for pursuit is fatiguing both to the nerves and physically. The Division was able to collect and rest itself before approaching the next hurdle. Nevertheless, for commanders and staff, planning went on without a break.