In 1939 more than 140,000 New Zealanders enlisted to fight overseas during World War II. Of these, 104,000 served in the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Initially thrown into the doomed campaign to halt the German blitzkrieg on Greece and Crete (1941), the division was rebuilt under the leadership of MajGen Sir Bernard Freyberg, and became the elite corps within Montgomery's Eighth Army in the desert. After playing a vital role in the victory at El Alamein (1942) the 'Kiwis' were the vanguard of the pursuit to Tunisia. In 1943–45 the division was heavily engaged in the Italian mountains, especially at Cassino (1944); it ended the war in Trieste. Meanwhile, a smaller NZ force supported US forces against the Japanese in the Solomons and New Guinea (1942–44). Fully illustrated with specially commissioned colour plates, this is the story of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force's vital contribution to Allied victory in World War II.