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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Lull in the Fighting

Lull in the Fighting

After the desperate days in early July, Eighth Army gradually reorganised. Fresh troops, tanks, guns, and all the paraphernalia of war arrived in Egypt. Confidence began to return. In mid-August General Sir Harold Alexander was appointed Commander-in-Chief Middle East, and Lieutenant-General Montgomery took over command of Eighth Army. About the same time, General Freyberg resumed command of the Division after a quick recovery from his wounds.

There was a lull in the fighting. The frequent Stuka raids wounded a few of the troops, but the ADSs and 6 MDS were kept busy attending to the sick. On 18 August 4 and 6 ADSs moved within the Division's defensive area with its protective minefields and barbed wire. A reserve of food and water was supplied, and page 218 the men were told to expect an attack at any time with the possibility that the dressing stations might be isolated. As part of the defensive plan, the MDS was moved a few miles back on two occasions, and the staff took up their duties again in the stifling heat. When 6 MDS was relieved by 4 MDS on 25 August, it had treated over 1600 patients in four weeks.