Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The battle of 29 November 1941 near Sidi Rezegh

After the transport convoy took off for Tobruk, after crossing over the Ed Duda pass, the German heavy artillery switched targets to the Australians of the 2/13th Battalion. The Australians were not dug in, but were sitting in exposed positions. Fortunately, Colonel Burrows was quick to recognize what they should do. He pointed out an area towards the east to Lieutenant Maughan. This was at the base of the escarpment on the far side of the pass. He had him point the men to defensive positions looking towards the south. The battalion headquarters would be located at the escarpment foot. They would be deployed with two companies forward and two behind them. This just happened to put the men in the right place for the Sidi Rezegh attack that was planned.
The enemy artillery soon found the battalion. Fortunately, there were some positions dug by previous inhabitants, and there were also deep tracks from the infantry tanks. The fact that many shells were duds didn'r hurt.
About 7:30am, Colonel Burrows rode in a light tank that was covering the route that was planned for the attack. They captured two wounded Italians while they were driving. Burrows initial impression was that they were in for trouble, because the ground was flat, had no cover, and the distance to the objective seemed rather great. The recent rain had turned the area into a bog. The only relief came when the attack was postponed for four hours. At a 10am meeting, the company commanders learned of the postponement, and that the 19th New Zealand Battalion would make the attack. The 2/13th Battalion would be in a support role, rather than being the attackers.
General Godwin-Austen, the XIII Corps commander had made the decisions. His new headquarters was at the El Gubbi airfield in the Tobruk fortress area. Brigadier Willison learned that General Godwin-Austen wanted to extend the corridor that stretched from outpost Grumpy north beyond Prince Town. He wanted to use the 2/13th Battalion for the task. For that reason, they were spared any direct involvement at Sidi Rezegh. They also learned that the 1st South African Brigade would move to the north to solidify the situation at Sidi Rezegh.
They soon noticed enemy vehicles and tanks moving towards the Sidi Rezegh area that would be attacked. They could see them approaching Ed Duda. To counter that movement, a squadron of Matilda tanks moved towards them. That was enough to cause the enemy force to pull back from where they had been headed. The Matilda tanks thought that the enemy pulling back might have been intended to draw them into a trap with guns, so they pulled back.
The enemy forces continued to move around at Sidi Rezegh. They seemed to be heading for the feature that the 2/13th Battalion had been going to attack. The picture now looked to be that the enemy force was driving towards the escarpment west of Ed Duda. The commanders thought that the enemy forces were going to concentrate on the New Zealand Division.
The new Eighth Army commander, General Ritchie, interpreted what the enemy intended as trying to drive the British forces back from the Axis lines of communication. The British needed to concentrate their tanks, guns, and infantry, along with bomber aircraft, into position to fight the enemy forces. Sadly, the British commanders did not react that way. General Ritchie had been a staff officer who was not as knowledgable about mechanized warfare as even General Scobie. The fault likes not so much in General Ritchie as in General Auchinleck's incompetence at judging people. Auchinleck was good as a field commander, but was a failure as a theater commander. Churchill constalby begged Auchinleck to take command of the Eighth Army. He was the best army commander around until Bernard Law Montgomery arrived in North Africa. We dislike Montgomery as a p0erson but respect him as an army commander, even with all his faults. This is based on Vol.III of the Australian Official History and our general knowledge of the topic.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The night of 28 to 29 November 1941 near Ed Duda, Sidi Rezegh, and Tobruk

The convoy to transport the 2/13th Battalion had arrived. They then moved on carrying the Australians through the perimeter defenses. This was somewhat emotional affair for the Australians who had been trapped in Tobruk since early in 1941. They stopped at the Tiger outpost (which had been renamed as Sneezy). The 32nd Army Tank Brigade had a command center located at Tiger. The Australians learned at Tiger that they were to be involved with an attack by Brigadier Willison's armored brigade in the morning. They were supposed to attack Sidi Rezegh along with the armored brigade and a New Zealand battalion. They would receive formal orders about the operation when the 2/13th Battalion arrived at Ed Duda. The plan was mentioned in the 70th Division operations report. Apparently, the goal was to occupy a position on a spur at Sidi Rezegh that lies to the east. They would be operating with the 32nd Army Tank Brigade as well as the New Zealand Battalion.
The convoy grew in size while sitting at Tiger. They now had a supply column carrying supplies for the New Zealand Division and an augmented escort force. They did not need to wait long before they drove off to Ed Duda, which was relatively nearby. They had reached Ed Duda not long after midnight. The men climbed down off their trucks and were shown to their assigned spots on the eastern slopes of Ed Duda. This was a cold November night. The air was so cold that many men were not able to sleep. The passage from Tobruk to Ed Duda was very visible. You could see long lines of vehicles that were part of British and New Zealand convoys. They had driven in from the outposts in the desert and had turned onto the bypass road and then headed for the Tobruk corridor.
Colonel Burrows, of the 2/13th Battalion, was summoned to a meeting at Brigadier Willison's headquarters. The topic was to plan the details of the attack on Sidi Rezegh. They quickly realized that the 19th New Zealand Battalion commander and at least hald of the battalion were not there for the meeting and would not participate in the attack. The revised plan was that the Australians would attack and then take the ground that they would occupy. Colonel Burrows pointed out that he would need time to look over the situation in daylight before trying to attack. The guns from the 1st RHA would also need to be moved up to where they could be fired to support the 2/13th Battalion. That all meant that the attack needed to be postponed until 11am. The orders noted that the enemy forces were on the southwest slope down from Sidi Rezegh. The 2/13th Battalion would be under the operational command of the 4th RTR, which would provide tank support. The New Zealand forces would take over the rest of Sidi Rezegh. They desired that the Australian battalion would take the highest ground, designated by three grid squares. The men who had guided the Australians to their night positions at Ed Duda warned them to watch for gunfire early in the day. The veteran Australians didn't take the warning seriously, but this was different from what they were used to seeing. The German heavy artillery ws involved.
A New Zealand truck convoy stopped at the Ed Duda pass, right before dawn. The trucks were following good dispersal tactics, and they started to move again. German heavy guns opened fire on them. The bursting shells caused a high column of dense, black smoke. The trucks were now moving at high speed towards Tobruk. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The battle on the afternoon of 28 November 1941

At outpost Freddie, some of the tanks that attacked got on top of Freddie. They drove around the outpost and took some 300 prisoners. They turned out to be mostly German soldiers. In the process, though, about five tanks were lost, mostly mined. The forward artillery observer was killed during the attack. The negative results were enough to cancel the proposed exploitation. As the time got closer to night, the infantry that were involved were withdrawn. The fact that the Tobruk force was able to attack the enemy forces was a sign that the situation could improve over time. The troops that were attacked in this case were from the 90th Light Division, and were units that had not taken losses prior to this battle.
General Scobie was getting increasingly concerned about his men at Ed Duda. The one cruiser squadron from the 1st RTR had now been used at outpost Freddie and had felt the effects. The one squadron of Matilda infantry tanks of the 4th RTR that remained had been sent to Belhamed. The diversions had left the 1/Essex with little support. Pretty late in the afternoon saw enemy troop movements on the escarpment. Right before 6pm, General Scobie received a message from the New Zealand Division about the enemy movements. General Scobie ordered the 16th Brigade to transport the Australians of the 2/13th Battalion to Ed Duda. He directed the battalion commander to report to Scobie for instructions. The purpose of the move was to strengthen Ed Duda.
Colonel Burrows, of the 2/13th Battalion was driving towards Post R69 when Brigadier Willison stopped him and told him that General Scobie was in route to speak with him. General Scobie was there to meet Colonel Burrows about 15 minutes later. General Scobie was riding in the back of a truck. He showed Colonel Burrows a map of the Ed Duda position. He pointed out that the area between Ed Duda, Sidi Rezegh, and Belhamed had the advantage of sitting on the enemy's retreat path. It also was a good spot to join forces with British units from the Egyptian Frontier. With the corps headquarters moving into Tobruk, it became increasingly important to keep the corridor to Ed Duda unobstructed. To stir things up further, there was a false report that the enemy had taken Sidi Rezegh during the afternoon. There would be a New Zealand move to recapture Sidi Rezegh the next day. Still, the main concern was to continue to hold Ed Duda.
When Colonel Burrows meeting with General Scobie had ended, General Scobie emphasized that they must continue to hold Ed Duda (at all costs).
The Australians had all sorts of emotions when the time came to drive out of Tobruk. There were armored cars leading the column and on the sides. They drove until they reached the Tiger outpost. The outpost had since been renamed as Sneezy. They stopped at that point. Tiger was a sort of headquarters or communications center for the 32nd Army Tank Brigade. This si based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The battle continues near Tobruk on 28 November 1941

28 November 1941 saw the New Zealand Division conducting attacks to clean up pockets of enemy troops. There had been two groups of German troops located along the Trigh Capuzzo that were troublesome. The group that stretched between Sidi Rezegh and Belhamed faced a squadron of tanks from the 44th RTR and troops from the 18th New Zealand Battalion. Two platoons attacked and took the defensive position near the tomb. The infantry were from the 26th New Zealand Battalion.
There was another enemy force looking down on the airfield and plateau from the second escarpment. This was the Artillery Command 104, commanded by Major-General Boettcher. They had reestablished themselves after the forward movement by the New Zealand Division. While the other attacks were happening, enemy troops attacked 24th New Zealand Battalion from the escarpment. The enemy was able to push the battalion back from their previous position. A counter-attack by tanks from the 8th RTR were unsuccessful in pushing the enemy back.
The German armored divisions had supply problems and were scattered. The British armor were not causing the German tanks any problems early in the day on 28 November. The 7th Armoured Division main accomplishment was to escort the 1st South African Brigade so that they joined the New Zealand Division. They wasted some strength while exchanging fire with the German 15th Armored Division. They accidentally helped the New Zealand Division by drawing the 15th Armored Division further south. During the afternoon, the Germans overran the New Zealand Division "main dressing station". They allowed them to continue to function, however. Towards dark, the German leading forces fought the New Zealand Division headquarters. By night, the German 21st Armored Division was close to the New Zealand Division headquarters as well as XIII Corps. Part of XXX Corps headquarters were also present. The two corps commanders decided during the night to move into Tobruk. Somewhat to the south were the 7th Armoured Division leaguer. The 1st South African Brigade was also close by.
By the end of 28 November 1941, the enemy seemed not ready yet to collapse. The situation had delayed any possible move to push through to the Bardia Road. The push to the Bardia Road was to commence with capturing outposts Freddie and Walter. Freddie alone proved to be a tough place to attack. Two companies of the 2/Queen's and 7th RTR D Squadron. The infantry was bothered by enemy fire. A tank force was sent from Ed Duda to help. hey consisted of some light tanks and nine cruiser tanks, all from the 1st RTR. They did take twenty prisoners and roced 11 enemy tanks back. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.>/p?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

27-28 November 1941 near Tobruk

The men in command decided late on 27 November 1941 that the 1st South African Brigade was going to be given to the New Zealand Division. They found that they could make that decision, but actually making that work was to be more difficult. Not being able to have a third brigade created problems, as well, since the South Africans were slow to join.
From the perspective of the Tobruk force, they began to hope that they could cause the enemy forces to withdraw. The proposed move to move forward along the Bardia Road was thought to be likely to succeed. Progress was delayed by rain, and misinterpreted news about enemy tank operations near Ed Duda also caused the progress forward to be pushed out into the future. By dawn, the situation at Ed Duda seemed less threatening. The enemy had pulled out of the positions on the west side of Ed Duda. The 19th New Zealand Battalion furnished two companies to move forward to create an outpost south of the Trigh Capuzzo, located on the escarpment to the south. This was also on the west side of Sidi Rezegh. They were to determine if nearby troops were friends or enemies. They were ordered back before they could do that.
From the perspective of the 1st RHA, they thought that the enemy must have troops at Belhamed, despite the claim that there were New Zealand troops in possession of the place. In the morning light, the troops there were seen to be enemy. They were on the northwest side of the Belhamed. The enemy would have a great view of the planned move forward by the 2/Queens through the enemy forces on the east side of the Bardia Road.
XIII Corps notified the Tobruk Fortress commander that they needed to take an area designated by map position. This included the Belhamed pocket of enemy troops. This was east of the corridor that the Tobruk sortie force had created. They needed to take the place at 2pm and hold the position starting from that time. This may have just to have been needed to help the 4th New Zealand Brigade protect their northern side. The New Zealand Division would be preoccupied with clearing enemy troop pockets from the south.
The 19th New Zealand Battalion, minus the troops involved elsewhere, were designated for the operation along with a 4th RTR squadron. They started late, but when they approached enemy troops with tanks, they surrendered. Those that surrendered were a mixed force of German and Italian troops. Typically bad practice in this case allowed the force that General Scobie had sent to do the task had been appropriated by the New Zealand Division. The culprit in this case was the XIII Corps headquarters. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Continued action in the Crusader Battle on 27 and 28 November 1941

One problem created by Rommel sending the German Africa Corps to the Egyptian Frontier for three days is that he provided time for the 7th Armoured Division to regroup and recover. General Gott, the 7th Armoured Division commander heard the report from the King's Dragoon Guards armored cars that a column was headed for Gasr el Arid. General Gott ordered the 22nd Armoured Brigade to attack the front of the column and told the 4th Armoured Brigade with Stuart tanks to attack the flank.
The 22nd Armoured Brigade made contact with the German 15th Armored Division close to Bir el Chleta at about 1:30pm. They were both about the same strength in tanks. The 22nd Armoured Brigade was short of artillery, though, as they only had one 25pdr battery and one 2pdr anti-tank gun battery. The Support Group artillery had been scattered among a large number of Jock columns, so that few gun were available when they were needed.
After a while the 4th Armoured Brigade made contact. They were better equipped with tanks at this point. The British armored brigades had kept the Germans from taking a position on the escarpment, overlooking the Trigh Capuzzo. The British threw their advantage away at dark, when they pulled to leaguer away from the important ground. The Germans responded after dark by taking  the important pass that went up the escarpment.
In the dark, at the 2/13th Battalion, the land to Gambut was studied by the light of a lamp. At Gambut, Rommel and the Africa Corps Commander were meeting. Rommel apparently wanted to attack either to the west or southwest. The Division zbV Africa was renamed to the 90th Light Division, they name that they made famous over time. The 90th Light Division would participate in Rommel's proposed attack.
At this point in the Crusader Battle, the British continued to "do the wrong thing". General Blamey had repeated criticised the British practice of breaking up divisions and scattering their units across the desert. The New Zealand Division was a victim of this practice in the Cruader Battle. General Freyberg wanted his 5th New Zealand Brigade returned to his control. The British, instead,wanted him to use the 1st South African Brigade.
During the night of 27-28 November 1941 the decision was mzde by the British command to send the 1st South African Brigade to the New Zealand Division. The New Zealand DIvision at this point in time was short of strength to clear out the groups of enemy troops that were still present. They also needed to better prepare defensive positions on the most important of its territory. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Crusader Battle turns on 27 November 1941

27 November 1941 saw enemy forces turn from the Egyptian frontier and return to the Tobruk area. The big operation by British forces had dwindled over three days. The action was reduced to what three infantry brigades and three tank battalions could achieve. Even though the British strength was fading, they brought enough pressure on the enemy to cause Rommel to change the focus back to the Tobruk area from the frontier.
The Africa Corps commander, General Cruewell, wanted to turn the armored divisions back to Tobruk to counter the pressure from the British forces. Rommel was reluctant to make the move, because he hoped to obtain some cheap successes on the Egyptian frontier. The German armored forces typically started the day about two hours before dawn. Early in the day, the 8th Armored Regiment crushed the headquarters of the 5th New Zealand Brigade, which was located at Sidi Azeiz. After that, most of the 15th Armored Division drove along the Trigh Capuzzo. If they were not opposed, they would first overrun the XXX Corps Headquarters followed by the XIII Corps Headquarters, and then the New Zealand Division, and finally, the 1st Army Tank Brigade.
At the same time, the 21st Armored Division left Bardia and drove along the coast road. They hit the 22nd New Zealand Battalion, which was holding Menastir. They succeeded in holding up the armored division. The division changed to a different route on the following day so as to make some progress. The 23rd New Zealand Division successfully blocked an attack at Capuzzo by the German 33rd Engineer Battalion with some other detachments under Rommel's close control. The Germans penetrated the New Zealand position, but where finally blocked. After dark, the Germans backed off from the attack and drove west to rejoin their division.
Both the British and the Germans made extensive use of signals intelligence from their enemy. The British were able to warn the New Zealand and the Tobruk force that the enemy armored divisions were driving back to the Tobruk area. The Eighth Army had dismissed the enemy forces on the frontier simply as roaming columns of motor vehicles and tanks that were not accomplishing much. The British command also portrayed the enemy moves toward Tobruk more as a move to escape rather than a threatening attack at a critical point. Earlier, the move towards the Sidi Rezegh area had also been misinterpreted as a retreat while they were chased by the British armor.

While the Germans had been on the Egyptian frontier not accomplishing much, the 7th Armoured Division was able to recover strength from a number of different sources. They were successful in recovering damaged tanks which were repaired. Other tanks were sent from workshops. There were also new tanks recently received. The 22nd Armoured Brigade was rebuilt up to 40 cruiser tanks from almost nothing. The 4th Armoured Brigade was back up to 77 Stuart tanks. The 7th Armoured Brigade was pulled back so as to be rebuilt. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trying to get some clarity on 27 November 1941

General Godwin-Austen's message very early on 27 November 1941 had the problem that it sounded like the XIII Corps should cut loose and move into a general chase of the enemy forces. By midday, General Godwin-Austen had visited the New Zealand Division and could observe the state of the New Zealand Division and could see the battered division for himself. There was also the news of approaching German armored divisions headed towards the area of his corps from the Egyptian frontier. General Godwin-Austen cautioned General Scobie that the best that the New Zealand Division could do was to hold the ground that they had taken. The Tobruk force was given responsibility for holding open the corridor from Tobruk to Ed Duda, Sidi Rezegh, and Belhamed.
The Australians of the 2/13th Battalion were described as being "in the last ditch at Pilastrano". This reminded me of William III having coined the "last ditch" phrase, where he said that they would find his dead body in the "last ditch" of the defenses. They had been about to be ordered to handle more prisoners, but that was canceled and they were ordered to meet with Brigadier Martin, General Scobie's deputy commander. They received word that they were to be ready to move out in an hour. They would leave the fortress and move out to Gambut, following the Bardia Road. There were assorted rumors of mass Italian surrender.
When the time was almost 5pm, Colonel Burrows was called to meet General Scobie. He heard that the Tobruk fortress had been told to be prepared for a German attack, coming from Bardia. The 2/13th Battalion had become Tobruk's last reserve force. They needed to be ready to stage a counter-attack against German forces. They would be a blocking force on the Bardia Road. If the German attack did not happen, they would be in position to join a push to the east by the 32nd Army Tank Brigade and the 2/Queens battalion south of the Bardia Road and the 1/King's Own on the north side. This move was planned to commence at 7am, if the German attack had not materialized.
As Colonel Burrows was leaving the meeting with General Scobie, he was informed that his battalion had been sent to a position across the Bardia Road, near King's Cross. Colonel Burrows reached his battalion in time to direct they dispositions. Conditions then radically changed and they were "miserable" because they had to endure 24 hours of rain. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

General Scobie has a bad impression of the New Zealand Division on 27 November 1941

During the 70th Division occupation of Ed Duda and the attempt at cooperation with the New Zealand Division, General Scobie was very irritated with the New Zealand Division and General Freyberg. General Scobie had ordered two of his senior staff officers to drive to Ed Duda. He had expected that the New Zealand Division would have created a controlled corridor from the rest of the division to Ed Duda. That had not happened and that indicated to General Scobie a sloppiness on the part of the New Zealanders.
Early during 27 November 1941, XIII Corps gave orders to the Tobruk Fortress, the New Zealand Division and to armored units. As soon as the situation had stabilized, they were to advance to the line of Tobruk, El Adem, and the Bir el Gubi track. Those orders went to the Tobruk headquarters, the New Zealand Division, and the 22nd Armoured Brigade. The orders were that the New Zealand Division would continue west on the escarpment. The Tobruk sortie force would continue along in parallel on the north side. The Tobruk sortie force was asked to accomplish a great deal. They were to send "columns", approximating to the German battle groups, to the west to clear away the enemy from between Tobruk and Gambut. They were to occupy all the "landing grounds" in the area.
General Scobie responded that his troops holding Ed Duda needed to be relieved. That needed to happen so that they could provide enough strength for the clearing operation. General Freyberg sent a message that angered General Scobie. General Scobie replied that there were no New Zealand Division troops at Ed Duda on "square 424409." General Freyberg had said that his troops firmly held Ed Duda, when that was clearly not the case. He also had no idea where the Tobruk troops were located and he hoped that they would tell him.
At this point, General Scobie asked point blank if the New Zealand Division held :"Sidi Rezegh and the hill to the north". He also asked if his troops and tanks were under General Scobie's command. That at least got a reply from General Freyberg that the 44th RTR was needed to return to the New Zealand Division, but the 19th Battalion was available to help defend Ed Duda.
The Australian historian gives both the New Zealand Division and the Tobruk sortie force having lack of information about each other that caused severe miscommunication. The Tobruk sortie force was stretched across forty miles with out considering the clearing mission. General Scobie was also not aware of the condition of the New Zealand units and how close they were to the breaking point. He described them as "near exhaustion".
While General Scobie did not want to risk weakening the Tobruk defenses, he also thought that the enemy were close to "cracking" and that that they might see the enemy go into a general retreat back to the frontier between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. After General Godwin-Austen visited the New Zealand forces at lunchtime. He got a sobering view of just how shakey they were and that there was still the threat of approaching German armored divisions. General Godwin-Austen informed General Scobie that they New Zealand Division was only capable of holding their territory and that the Tobruk sortie force would have to lear a corridor to the New Zealand DIvision. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

The New Zealand plan for the fighting at SIdi Rezegh and Belhamed

The New Zealand plan for the battles at Sidi Rezegh, Belhamed, and Ed Duda were over-optimisitic. General Freyberg had expected to attack Belhamed and at Sidi Rezegh during the night of 25-26 November 1941. After Sidi Rezegh was captured, the 6th New Zealand Brigade would move forward and take Ed Duda. The two Zealand Brigades would move along each side of the Trigh Capuzzo. In the event, the New Zealanders were not ready to go at 9pm.
The 4th New Zealand Brigade easily took Belhamed, as they had not realized how little strength was holding the place. The Australian historian mentioned that the New Zealand division had not done any serious planning, and that contributed to the delays. The 6th New Zealand Brigade had trouble. The enemy was in the process of relieving some of the forces at Sidi Rezegh while they were reorganizing the defenses. That meant that the 6th Brigade was confused by what they were seeing. They had two sets of two battalions involved. The 21st and 26th New Zealand Battalions would move down the escarpment to the Trigh Capuzzo and then move to Ed Duda. The other two battalions, the 24th and 25th would move into a position and form a box defense above the escarpment.
One immediate issue was that there enemy units sitting in the way on the route to Ed Duda. There was not time prior to dawn to clear the way, so the move to Ed Duda was cancelled. At dawn on 26 November, the New Zealand units at Sidi Rezegh were disorganized and were under fire by the enemy. With trouble, the New Zealand units at Sidi Rezegh were able to hold onto their positions.
Once General Freyberg learned that the Tobruk sortie force had taken Ed Duda, he ordered the 4th Brigade to move to Ed Duda to join forces with the Tobruk force that was there. The 6th New Zealand Brigade was left to strengthen their hold on Sidi Rezegh. An ad hoc group of tanks from the 44th RTR were ordered to Ed Duda, to set off at 9:30pm. At 9:45pm, the 19h Infantry Battalion and six more tanks followed. They arrived at Ed Duda without any real opposition.
The night at Sidi Rezegh had been filled with desperate fighting, including charges with fixed bayonets. Two German strong points remained. One was at Sidi Rezegh and the other was between Behamed and Sidi Rezegh.General Scobie was dismayed to find that the New Zealanders did not control the area between Ed Duda, Sidi Rezegh, and Belhamed. We can only think that the New Zealand Division was still affected by the losses in the Battles for Greece and Crete. They were still not the old New Zealand Division that existed at the start of the Greek Campaign. Another possibility is that General Freyberg was overrated. His poor performance at Crete almost makes us think that could be the case. He may have had Churchill's complete confidence, but that does not mean much, sadly. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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