Kiwi, Aussie trainers introduce bayonet drills to instil aggression and a fighting mentality in their charges.

New Zealand soldiers training Iraqi troops have turned to a rudimentary fighting weapon - the bayonet.

Although an archaic weapon, the bayonet still has its uses and at the instigation of New Zealand and Australian army trainers, it's making a renaissance with the Iraqi Army.

Training team commander Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Hammett says the Iraqi army had a sometimes deserved reputation for not being particularly effective or resilient between about 2013 and now.

"So how do we instil the will to fight?" he told reporters. "At the risk of sounding like a World War I general, the art of bayonet fighting is something that we use in our nations to instil self-discipline, aggression and a mentality of closing with the enemy."


On a hunch that some basic instruction in bayonet fighting might be useful, the Australian and New Zealand training team brought over 100 bayonets.

That was intended only to try out the idea and no one expected the reaction would be quite so enthusiastic.

"So now we have everyone in the training audience asking for bayonet training," Colonel Hammett says.

The bayonets are issued to groups of Iraqi soldiers who attach them to their rifles for the curious choreography of the weapon.

Through an Iraqi interpreter, the soldiers are instructed how to step, parry and thrust while screaming loudly.

Initially both the screaming and thrusting are hesitant, prompting Colonel Hammett to intervene.

"We were told you were the best, most aggressive troops in the brigade. You are not being aggressive enough. You would not scare a chicken," he yells.

At the end of their bayonet course, the Iraqi soldiers - referred to as jundis - run a combat course through coloured smoke, thrusting at makeshift targets, while loud Iraqi pop music blasts from a nearby car sound system.

Colonel Hammett says the old Iraqi Army trained with the bayonet but the weapon had disappeared when the army was dissolved in 2003 following the US invasion.

Task group commander Colonel Gavin Keating says this might sound archaic. But the bayonet was used in basic training in Western armies to remind recruits that they may have to kill and to do that requires a certain amount of aggression.

"It has a morale [boosting] effect in terms of confidence and aggression," he said.