Before the brigades left Petawawa, they engaged in Competition Shoots — a kind of graduation exercise, if you like.
The competition was fierce. A battery was given thirty minutes, to start from a given location, to bring their guns into action and fire fifteen rounds against another battery, designated the hostile battery, and return to their original location. It was not just a matter of driving the guns and limbers into position: they needed to locate the hostile battery and take aim, which required reconnaissance, an observation post, and telephone wires to communicate between observers and battery command.(1)
When they got good at the thirty-minute competition shoots, they did the whole contest again in only fifteen. The 60th Battery historian notes that his battery came out ahead of all competitors, winning the most points from the umpires for their speed, accuracy and general efficiency. (2)
Some sense of the excitement and urgency of such a competition can be gained by watching a film of the Danish Artillery responding to the summons, careening across the firing range, unlimbering their guns, and firing. In this case, the artillerymen were participating in a “Feltartilleriets Fest” — a field artillery gala — but they were clearly trying to do their best. The film is from the Danish Film Institute, and dates from 1916 or 1917.
(1) 60th C.F.A. Battery Book, 1916-1919.. 16
(2) 60th C.F.A. Battery Book, 1916-1919.. 17
Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”