The Greek campaign : 'Freyberg's circus enters a Balkan imbroglio' : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Defence Studies at Massey University
In April 1941, the New Zealand Division of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force fought its first campaign in Greece. Not-withstanding the campaign's short duration it had significant effect on the New Zealand Division. The Division suffered over 2,500 casualties and it lost all of its heavy equipment. The Greek Campaign also exposed the duplicity of the British Government and High Command who sent the Division to Greece without fully informing the New Zealand Government of the risks that course would entail. As a Dominion within the Commonwealth, pursuing an independent foreign policy, the New Zealand Government wished to have its Expeditionary Force integrated with the British but also expected to be fully informed about the use of its military formations. The conduct of the Balkan campaign so excised the New Zealand Prime Minister Peter Fraser that he sought independent advice about General Freyberg's competency and also sought an explanation on the conduct of the battle fiom the United Kingdom's Chief of Staff. Why did the New Zealand Government send its Army so far away from New Zealand when there was a potential threat in the Pacific from Japan? How well prepared were these citizen soldiers in training and equipment for the battles in Greece? To elucidate the above the purpose of this thesis is to answer the following five questions examining New Zealand's involvement in the Greek Campaign of 1947: 1. What was the political and strategic rationale of sending the 2nd New Zealand Division to Greece? 2. How well did the training and composition of the New Zealand Division prepare them for war in Greece? 3. How suitable for command were the major protagonists in the 2nd New Zealand Division? 4. How well did the New Zealand Army's equipment compared with that of the German Army-(das Heer)? 5. How did the morale of the New Zealand citizen soldiers stand up after their first campaign? The method of research to answer these questions were: l. Interviewing, or sending questionnaires to survivors of the campaign; 2. Interviewing experts who have an academic interest in the campaign; 3. Examining original material in the National Archives, the Turnbull Library and the Kippenberger Memorial Library at Waiouru Army Museum; 4. Obtaining relevant written material in book reviews and articles from libraries and private individuals.