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A Gun, 21 Battery, 2 Field Regiment

Waiouru, February 1959
The Final CMT Shoot and notes on Dress

These photos were taken on the last annual camp for New Zealand Compulsory Miltary Training (CMT) trainees and this was the final shoot before CMT training finished. It was a " Uniform " target, fired on by the whole Divisional Artillery, such as it was; and was fired more or less as a swan song to CMT. The gun A3 or A4 suffered a breech premature (a very rare occurrence, where the projectile explodes inside the gun) with fatal results.

The caps were officially called "Caps, BD (Battledress)". The prototypes were more like the German cap as worn in the desert campaign but it was thought that they were unsuitable for that reason. The BD cap superseded the lemon squeezer which was most unsuitable in the field. It was designed to have some direct eye protection from the sun. The sides could be pulled down to form some ear protection (against weather, not noise) and a tie lace could be tied under the chin. When "done up", parade fashion that is, it looked quite smart and was reasonably easy to maintain compared to the lemon squeezer. The trick was to sew up the side flaps, line the inside with a piece of cardboard or plastic to stiffen the crown, and iron it over a saucepan. It could be worn to shade the eyes and in that sense was considerably better than the beret, but did not stop rain from running down one's neck like a lemon squeezer.

Caps, BD remained in service for some years but were dropped in favour of the beret when training dress standards changed to the more practical form of wearing the new green jersey and doing away with the BD jacket. Then at last, instructors were not required to wear a tie and starched collars.

From memory Caps, BD were worn by all ranks in the field, but Officers and Warrant Officers Class One wore the Officers' cap in camp in the same way that the beret was worn. Later again the Jungle hat became the field headdress.

Ear protection was a thing of the future and really didn't make an appearance until after the Vietnam War.

Bty Target. HE 117 charge 2 Bearing 90 degrees.

Check Angle of Sight.

No 1 Load.

Charge 2 correct.


No 1 Fire.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size image.

Text and photographs courtesy Tony Tustin

See also: NZ artillery units 1954-1964