Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Zealand Division attacks

The New Zealand Division attack to close minefield gaps started with raids by the 6th New Zealand Brigade, starting at about 11pm on 3 September 1942. The raids, however, put the enemy on notice that something was happening. The 132nd Brigade was slow to reach the starting line, and when they did, the enemy was waiting for them. The 132nd Brigade commander, Brigadier Robertson, was severely wounded. The 6th New Zealand Brigade commander, Brigadier Clifton, was captured when he drove into an enemy position. The only bright spot was the 5th New Zealand Brigade, which not only reached its objective but penetrated beyond, thanks to the 28th Maori Battalion. In the early afternoon of 4 September, the enemy launched a counter attack, which was repelled. Another attempted attack was broken up by the New Zealand Division artillery, with bomber help. With the pitiful results of the attack, General Freyberg proposed a withdrawal, which happened in the night of 4th/5th September, with more losses. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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