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



In view of the fact that the New Zealand Division will have far fewer officers from the Imperial Forces than had its predecessor of 1914, and also of the fact that a large proportion of the officers that they will bring with the Division will have had little opportunity of commanding troops in the field, even upon manœuvres, great responsibility will fall upon the GOC and his staff during the collective training period before going to France. This, in my opinion, is a very important consideration. This is, I know, offset by a leavening of officers who served in the war [1914–18].

The GOC, whoever he may be, should have been trained upon manœuvres in the command of a force of all arms, and in addition should have a wide war experience of command during the war. In my opinion, he should have commanded an Infantry Brigade, or similar Artillery Command, for the last years of the war. I suggest this because it is important that he should have practical experience of making and carrying out artillery fire plans in the various phases of battle. He should have actual experience in command during:


A retreat under heavy enemy pressure;


A counter-stroke;


The forcing of a river line against opposition;


Operations in open warfare involving the co-operation of all arms.

So much for the minimum requirements from a tactical and training point of view.

Apart from this the Commander should also have practical and very detailed knowledge in the care and comfort of his troops. He page 26 must understand the complicated structure of Army life, and be able to teach his officers and men how best to make use of the excellent arrangements and material generally, such as the ration and cooking equipment, stores, &c., with which he will be issued upon mobilisation.