Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by dbf, Jul 14, 2017.
From Illustrated London News 26 January 1946
Rather than add this to the Cassino thread I think it fits better here.
I'd never heard of 'The Furlough Mutiny', let alone the effect on the 2nd New Zealand Division, but was aware from elsewhere that shortages of manpower had a profound effect. See:The Furlough Mutiny and the Struggle for Cassino in the Second World War The author:
Two passages to whet the appetite and the author refers to the Third Battle for Cassino:
Incidentally Dr Fennell is giving an open lecture on his book @ Birmingham University this coming Tuesday 26th March 2019: Fighting the People's War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War
If I have read this correctly, Fennell argues that the failure of the Third Battle of Cassino is attributable to 2 NZ Inf Div being short of soldiers. He is talking hog wash.
The Third Battle of Cassino failed because Freyberg produced a very poor plan based around dropping 1,112 tonnes of bombs on an urban area and then advancing 2 NZ Inf Div through it after three weeks of rains. His plan was bonkers.
I think you've misunderstood Fennell's argument re the 3rd battle of Cassino:
"It is difficult to reconcile the 'lack of troops' explanation ['as a number of other historians have intimated'] with the facts as they are known...this raises again the question of morale...By mid-January , 50 per cent of letters had a 'homesick' tone [according to the censors report]...10 per cent of letters [by Feb 44] referring to the mishandling of the [furlough] scheme in New Zealand and the thousands of 'essentials' that could be used to replace them on the front line...Undoubtedly, the furlough scheme and the news of the mutiny was having a 'psychological effect' on those remaining in the Mediterranean...The departure of the furlough men from the Middle East left many of those remaining wondering why they should not go too...The Furlough Mutiny moreover had the effect of depriving 2NZEF of many of its veteran troops just as the division was to face one of its greatest challenges." [pp.411-414]
It is true that Fennell doesn't comment specifically on the quality of Freyberg's plan in his book [although he says he was "workable" in the article that davidbfpo linked to], but the extent of the evidence [censor reports, sickness and desertion rates, etc] he has gathered to demonstrate the [understandable] slump in the morale of the New Zealanders during the first half of 1944 is impressive. His book, and I'm about half way through, concentrates on the motivation and morale of the fighting man rather than the pros and cons of particular operational plans. I would recommend it, but with the health warning that it is a massive tome and covers an enormous remit.
Looking at John Ellis' account together with Fennell's account, it looks like Freyberg's misjudgement in overdoing the bombing and artillery was likely due to his accurate judgement of the 'spirit' of his division. Of course, that 'spirit' was hardly helped by sitting in front of Cassino in the rain surrounded by the debris of the first two battles knowing that you were about to be involved in yet another attempt which would likely only add to the death and destruction which surrounded you.
For the folks at t'other side of the world (hope it sits ok within this thread).
I appreciate it will be old news to many, but if only one person from the younger generation reads this it will hopefully sow the seed of an interest in history.
From 'For Valour".
Cpt Upham's own words in the top paragraph on the last page. If only a few more folks paid heed to the like today the world would be a better place.
Another good fellow incarcerated in IVC.
Crete. Another extract form "Detour".
Thanks for posting those, Jim. I just read the first article and was astounded to read of Captain Upham's VC and bar.
Thanks Seroster, much appreciated. There's lots of interesting stuff in "Detour" related to Canada. I'll get a new thread started and post it up for you when I get back from my shift tonight (well tonight in UK time!)
(And I've read everything you've posted now too)
I really need to change my account name to my real name... let me see if the mods will let me do that
Starting new thread now before I head off, more to follow around midnight!
Separate names with a comma.