Author(s): Watty McEwan
The story of General Freyberg's Divisional Protective Troop, so crucial to the success of the North African campaign in World War 2, is told for the first times by the one living participant. Churchill called Freyberg "The Salamander" and his Protective Troop was dubbed "The Salamander's Brood". Freyberg, whose military legacy has been questioned in recent years, could have won the Battle of Crete with a handful of working radios. After the early chaotic months in North Africa, Freyberg decided, over the opposition of other military commanders, to direct the 2nd NZ Division from a forward mobile tactical headquaters - his own tank, with a small protective troop of other tanks. Wounded for the eleventh time at Minqar Qaim, 'Tiny' Freyberg was trusted and admired by his mean for 'leading from the front' and his military brilliance in assessing possibilities and seeing opportunities made the crucial battlefield difference. Direct radio communications from his command tank to his Division were key to Freyberg's success, and author Watty McEwan was his wireless operator through most of the North African campaign. His is a fascinating insight into a campaign nearly lost to Field Marsgall Rommel and a uniquely close observation of Bernard Freyberg, general and fellow tank crewman. 316 pages 225 x 150mm First published November 2007.