Tag Archives: New Zealand Army

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.

Desert Haka, 80 Years Ago Today

Via Time to Go Home.

25 June 1941, Egypt: Members of the 28 (Māori) Battalion, Royal New Zealand Army, performing a haka, the ancestral Māori war cry.

“The four men in the foreground are (from left to right): Private John Manuel (he was killed in action six months after this picture was taken), Private Maaka White (he was killed in action five months after this picture was taken), Private Te Kooti Reihana (he was later wounded by enemy fire), and Lance Corporal Rangi Henderson (he was killed in action two years after this picture was taken).”

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.

Kiwis ditch SIG, go Glock

The New Zealand Defense Force has decided to replace the Sig Sauer 9mm pistols they have issued for almost a quarter century with Glock 17s within the next calendar year.

What is the NZDF?

nzdf anzac day
The combined military service for New Zealand, the 9,000 members of the Defense Force make up the New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Air Force, and Royal New Zealand Navy. With a history that dates back to 1845 with the formation of the Wellington Battalion of the Militia and before that to the Maori martial traditions, the Kiwis have fought far and above the comparative size of their country.

During World War I, over 100,000 soldiers from the Dominion fought the Turks, Austrians, and Germans, suffering a staggering 58 percent casualty rate in slaughterhouses such as Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele.

In the Second World War, the country mobilized even deeper, sending 150,000 men to Europe and the Middle East while another 150,000 remained at home to prepare for a possible Japanese invasion. As in the Great War that preceded it, the small country’s butcher’s bill was enormous, with over 11,000 killed in action– the highest loss rate per capita in the Commonwealth.

Since 1945, the Kiwis were on the ground in Korea, the Malayan Emergency, and countless UN peacekeeping operations as well as sending 4,000 men and women to help the U.S. in the Vietnam conflict. Earlier this month a 105-soldier contingent returned home from Iraq, proving that the NZDF has and continues to remain at the sharp end of the stick.

Moving to Glock

nzdf sig

The current handgun of the NZDF, adopted in 1992, is the Sig Sauer P226 in 9mm, designated as the P226AL. The Sig is a great 15-shot DA/SA handgun with an aluminum frame and a steel slide. It was so good that back in the 1980s, the U.S. Army wanted them instead of the Beretta 92 for the new M9 pistol program, but the Italian stallion won out due to cost issues with the Swiss/German design. Still, the SEALs have long used them, as have the militaries of many other NATO and allied countries.

However the Sigs are getting long in the tooth and New Zealand is taking a page from the UK’s armed forces and has chosen the Gen 4 Glock 17 as a replacement.

rnzdf glock

Read the rest in my column at Glock Forum