Second Hand MP38

Maori troops line up on the quayside at Alexandria in Egypt following their evacuation from Crete, 3 June 1941.

Photograph taken by Lieutenant L.B. Davis. IWM E 3373

The men above, of the New Zealand Army 28th (Māori) Battalion, were among the 18,000 Australian, New Zealand, and British troops transported by the Royal Navy across the Med between 28 May and 1 June 1941, following a week of bitter fighting against German airborne forces. As witnessed by the German MP38 carried by the fourth man in line, the Maori gave the Fallschirmjäger a tough time.

The 28th is recognized today as the most decorated Kiwi battalion during WWII, receiving battle honors: Olympus Pass, Crete, El Alamein, Tebega Gap, Takrouna, North Africa 1942–43, Orsogna, Cassino 1, The Senio, Italy 1943–45, Mount Olympus, Greece 1941, Maleme, Canea, 42nd Street, Withdrawal to Sphakia, Middle East 1941–44, Tobruk 1941, Sidi Azeiz, Zemla, Alem Hamza, Mersa Matruh, Minqar Qaim, Defence of Alamein Line, El Mreir, Alam el Halfa, Nofilia, Medinine, El Hamma, Enfidaville, Djebibina, The Sangro, Castel Frentano, Monastery Hill, Advance to Florence, San Michele, Paula Line, Celle, Saint Angelo in Salute, Santerno Crossing, Bologna and Idice Bridgehead, as a unit.

Its men would receive no less than 7 DSOs, 1 OBE, 21 MCs, 13 DCMs, and 55 MMs in addition to a U.S. Silver Star and at least one was recommended, but ultimately did not receive, a VC.

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