Kiwis the Best

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by A Potts, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. Macca

    Macca Member

    Jess, I think you will find thats what the German propaganda said about the Maori Battalion, not the actual truth.:)

    Speak for your self Waikato boy- we Arawa boys will eat anyone alive! especially if they're keeping us from the toheroas eh!

    For all the rest of you - just kidding- but the secret of the Maori btns success was that virtually our whole race was concentrated into a single battalion full of relatives and pre existing good mates so the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation allready existed. It helped by being predisposed to being a martial race too. If anyone wants to know about Maoris at war there are 2 very insightful books - James Bellich's 'New Zealand Wars' and Wira Gardners 'Maori Battalion'.

    And by the way George Patton also rated the Kiwis as the best British unit however it is my personal opinion that any poor bugger who sticks his head above the parapit is the bravest there is - not sure if I could do it.
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Macca -
    US Gen. George S Patton was hardly the best judge of the New Zealand Divisions as he was never anywhere near them in action - although he might have spotted them in the Victory parade at Tunis......
    Cheers
     
  3. Macca

    Macca Member

    Tom - He visited the div in Tripoli on his only visit to 8th Army (during the 'negotiations' over Husky planning) and we paraded for him. He lunched with the senior staff and chatted about their experiences. According to Carlo D'Este he confided to Col Codman that he wasn't v impressed with what he'd seen except the Kiwi's who he thought were warlike and magnificent. I know that you have perhaps a different view of Patton than I do but he was always someone who appreciated a fine display. I know that he didn't see them in action but then I haven't seen the Mongols in action but still know that they are the best light cavalry that ever took to their horses.
    Best wishes
    Macca
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Apparently, not sure where I read this, but the NZ Maori Btn. was the most feared Btn. in WW2, because they were still canabals.

    Is that right, or am I going to have to re-check that?


    No mention of them here in WW2. It appears the Russians, Eastern Europeans and the Japanese par took in this delicacy though.

    Cannibalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Quite a grim picture:
    [​IMG]
    Finnish soldiers displaying Soviet soldiers' skins near Maaselkä, on the strand of lake Seesjärvi during Continuation War on the 15th of December in 1942. Original caption: "An enemy recon patrol that was cut out of food supplies had butchered a few members of their own patrol group, and had eaten most of them."

    Propoganda by any chance?
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    What is it in the British character, that makes them put other soldiers on a pedastal? The Gurkha's as well as other troops, are always portrayed as better....Utter Crap"
    The best is the British Soldier. He gets on with the job in his own dour and grumbling way. We never had the SAS, we did it ourselves.
    Sappers First in! Last out! (Of the bar that is)

    But I wish I had perfected ther Regular soldiers art of being present ..But invisible
    Sapper
     
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Macca -
    The only reason that Patton was in Tripoli was to attend Monty's lecture on how to win battles - and as Patton said - out loud - " I may be old - and I may be deef - but I ain't stoopid -" - he did write in his diary that he was very impressed with the lecture.........
    Cheers
     
  7. Macca

    Macca Member

    Hi Tom-
    According to D'Este in 'A Genius For War' Patton spent a week at lectures in Tripoli in mid Feb 1943 (after the Casablanca conference). Here he met Freyberg and accepted an invitation to visit the div. He left with good opinions of the Kiwis but also Monty who he described as 'small, very alert, wonderfully conceited and the best soldier-or so it seems-I have met in this war'. He was also much impressed by your old boss Alex. I've always thought it such a shame that Sicily caused the level of animosity that it did between Patton and Monty. Can you imagine how much quicker the Germans would have been rolled up if the 2 had seen eye to eye after the breakout from Normandy. I know that I'm straying off topic here but I have always thought that Monty copped a lot of undeserved flak for the time he took around Caen, yet if you study his plans and pre invasion timetable the whole thing is almost perfect. What I find unfortunate is that the 2 Army commanders would have been perfect foils for each other, Monty the master of the steady build up attritional battle and Patton the dashing cavalryman.

    Regards Macca
     
  8. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    There were brave soldiers from every country in WW2, and the idea that an entire race is better than any other in combat is a hard one to back up. there were acts of cowardice, desertion in all armies, just as there were acts of extreme bravery in every army. The idea that one nation has the best soldiers is a ridiculous notion. The human element renders that argument null and void. There is no "Best" soldiers.
     
  9. Macca

    Macca Member

    GH maybe we should completely misquote The Duke of Wellington here 'The best soldier is a lucky one' - and the lucky one's went home at the end of it all to wherever they were from. My dad's ex RN and is always quick to remark that it was the 'best' navy but I know that he'd have swapped being any superlative for the knowledge that he would get home alive.
     
  10. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    GH maybe we should completely misquote The Duke of Wellington here 'The best soldier is a lucky one' - and the lucky one's went home at the end of it all to wherever they were from. My dad's ex RN and is always quick to remark that it was the 'best' navy but I know that he'd have swapped being any superlative for the knowledge that he would get home alive.
    Give that man a sandwich, completely agree with you Macca. And it took an Irishman to say it!!! :lol:
     
  11. Macca

    Macca Member

    Not the first time luck has been associated with the Irish eh GH!
     
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Macca -
    I always had the impression that owing to the fact that the US took no part in the desert - apart from an Aircraft bomber group - they needed a hero and Monty filled the bill - you will note that when the Torch landings came about - the interest in the 8th army - and Monty died down - until Kasserine that is when Alex had to fly in from Cairo to help sort out the mess - when Fredendal was finally fired - Patton took over with a deputy - Bradley - they still made a mess of cutting out the 10th Panzer at Gabes - to the detriment of the Kiiwi's coming up from El Hamma - this was after the lecture series at Tripoli.......then they tooled down the highway to capture Bizerta -went the wrong way to Palermo and it was about that time that the Brits had the impression that he was all set to avoid battle - at any cost ......but he thing - he was always courteous- and if he was offered a free Lunch - then he was big enough to compliment the Hosts ..... Monty was the complete professional - and hated incompetance ....
    Cheers
     
  13. Macca

    Macca Member

    You are a hard critic Tom...surely the Yanks deserve some latitude for their inexperience in North Africa. It's not as if the British army performed flawlessly in their opening campaigns (I'm thinking Malaya here more than anywhere else). I believe that with Generals it's a matter of horses for courses. Love him or hate him Patton was a master at mobile warfare but only where the terrain was suitable (ie: northern France). I don't need to tell you that he probably would have failed in Italy where the going was so restrictive. I appreciate that in Sicily he could perhaps have stayed closer to 8th army's flank but I think that this was more Alex's fault as he gave virtually no overall campaign direction (and angered the Americans by taking the Caltigirone road away from Bradleys II Corps). But surely his performance from Avranches onwards (apart from a halt around Metz) was inspirational and the fact that by rapid penetration he avoided pitched battles saved allied lives and hastened the end in western Europe.
    As always a pleasure to debate the topic with you mate.
    Macca
     
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Macca -
    you are probably right in thinking that I am a hard critic - but with fair reason I think.....there is no doubt that we were guilty also of bad organistaion in Malaya - but the seeds of that debacle were planted in 1931-

    I would give the US great compliments for learning their lessons very quickly but it is also hard to wipe out the memories of their boasting - it was said in our regiment that at the time of Kasserine - they took over our sector with the words - "where is this here shootin' gallery bub" as they swaggered past - so it was with some astonishment that we found a Tiger in the midst of our Laager at 1.am - from then on it went downhill.

    While Alex might have been weak in allowing the road to be changed - and allowing Patton to swan off to Palermo - it has to remembered that he also knew that the situation with the Americans - especially George Marshal and Admiral King - was extremeley volatile and they did not have their hearts in the operations in the Mediterranian - both FDR and Marshall's view on Strategy in '43 was a geometric line from the Eastern seaboard - Cherbourg - Berlin - completely ignoring the strongest Army at that time - whereas Brooke's strategy was to weaken the German army by attrition and keeping major forces away from France's beaches in preparation for the D day landings - if you will note that the Italian campaign held some 22 German Divisions and many more in the Balkans away from France for a long time.....
    notwithstanding the fact that we lost seven divisions after sicily and a further seven after Rome..then the Canadians after the winter of '44 along with three divisions for Greece...

    I often had the feeling that there was only a handful of us- and a few Kiwi's - keeping 20 German Divs at bay.....

    Cheers
     
  15. Macca

    Macca Member

    Hi Tom- essentially I agree with you about being a bit fed up at times with the US bluster but that's just the way they are. Nobody knows better than a Kiwi about putting up with a neighbouring countries swaggering (but we still have a special fondness for out Anzac brothers). And as you say there were very differing strategic outlooks between the 2 general staffs. As the world's foremost naval power it was logical for British military planners to advocate nibbling away at peripheries, using their superior ability to transport forces by sea and, as was one of the intentions, to keep the Axis off balance and committing larger garrison forces than necessary. The British had been doing this effectively since the Crusades. US isolationism needs no explanation from me, suffice to say though that that very concept had blinded their military planners to the larger picture. While they had plans for conflicts against various nations (the Rainbow plans) they did not to the best of my knowledge and even after WW1 have anything that came close to the situation they found in 1941-2. I think it indicative of the whole debate about their different approaches that they promoted capable officers to the top ranks from amongst their most capable organisers and man managers (Marshall and Ike and dare I say it Clark who I rate about as highly as you and anyone else who fought in Italy). In a way Dieppe may have been a godsend because Brooke was able to point to it as the prime example of the difficulties of attacking the French coast without overwhelming force. I also understand how King must have felt. His navy had had the heart ripped out of it at Pearl Harbour by treachery (let's not go into the myriad complexities of that one eh!) and so like the rest of the nation he wanted vengeance on the Japs. Maybe if he'd been responsible for merchant shipping too he may have been more wrathful towards the Germans.

    At the end of the day though perhaps our greatest victory was holding the alliance together. I think that Oscar Wilde was wrong (clever but wrong) when he made the 2 peoples separated by a common language comment, we were separated by a lot more and at times and I think only our fundamental beliefs in individual liberty and self determination kept us on the same path. And back to Italy I imagine that there were times when the sheer difficulty of the geography and weather must have seemed as much of an enemy as the Germans.

    Hope you are having a good weekend
    Cheers
    Macca
     
  16. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Macc -
    again I can only agrree with your with your comments on the difference of Strategic goals - with one reservation- the Americans kept theirs pretty well hidden from us ! I long suspected they didn't have one ! But were extrememly suspicious of our Mediterranian objectives as they felt that we were trying to hold onto Empire - in the Balkans ...sheesh.

    Their knowledge of geography left something to be desired as all they had to do was send untried troops over the Atlanric - regardless of the U Boat menace at that time - land as - say Cherbourg - regardless of the best Army in occupation at that time - drive all along the Autobahn until they came to Berlin - ergo - job done - lets get back to the Pacific.

    FDR had more wisdom that the others when he insisted on blooding his troops in North Africa and I think that possibly Kasserine woke them up - after Casablanca they felt that we were too insistent of retaining activity for the million troops there as we were trying to preserve our Empire - in the Balkans ....shheesh !

    How Alanbrooke retained his patience is the main reason the Alliance was held together - in my view !

    The weather and geogrphy of Italy was a big factor in our misery - one has only to read of the Guards at Monte Camino - or the Kiwi's and 4th Indian at Cassino to get some idea of what it was like in winter in "Sunny Italy"...

    Cheers
     

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