2nd Lieutenant Waaka recalls the breakout at Minqar Qaim

Second-Lieutenant Kuru Waaka, commanding the leading platoon of B Company, describes the dramatic night-time breakout at Minqar Qaim, 28 June 1942:

I called to my platoon (No. 11) to deploy and swing right and we headed straight in at the gallop. We went straight through Jerry's groups of slit trenches (I always thought he grouped his trenches too closely—not more than six feet apart in this instance). Those who were not accounted for were left for the remainder of the Battalion who by now were following with the usual Maori roar and battle cry. By now ‘A’ Coy, the Ngapuhis from Northland, had swung up on our right ... It was a tough job in the heat of the moment to get the boys to swing left again but we managed it ...

A lone Jerry suddenly jumped up not more than twenty yards in front of our line of advance and ran. He didn't run directly away but at about a 45 degrees angle to the left. The moment he was sighted which was plain enough in the moonlight, a cry went up, everyone let fly with tommy guns, brens and rifles. As the chap beside me was reloading he yelled out ‘Go for it boy!’ Well go for it he did, flat out and believe it or not he got away with at least 20 or 30 weapons firing at him. I'm sure everyone had a grin on his face. I know I did.

Fairly early in the piece we ran into a truck on the back of which was posted an anti tank gun. Beside the gun a German was crouched and when he saw us coming he turned. My batman-runner Jimmy (Whiti) Ratema went at him with such force that his bayonet went right through him, struck the gun behind him and broke off at the nose cap of the rifle. Each officer normally carried rifles with fixed bayonets into any action as it proved more effective than the .38 pistol on issue. Ratema came back to me, showed me his rifle, threw it away and calmly took mine off me. The thought passed through my mind as to whether the QM would believe my batman's story when the time came to explain its loss.

From J.F. Cody's official history, 28 (Maori) Battalion (Wellington, 1956), p. 194. 

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