This glossary provides acronyms, abbreviations, and WWII slang used in Combat!
absent without leave; also over the hill.
the basic military tactical and administrative unit consisting of three or more rifle
companies and certain special units. Commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel.
Browning Automatic Rifle. .30 caliber, gas-operated, air-cooled automatic rifle, fed by
a clip holding 20 cartridges. 47 inches long, a BAR weighs 15.5 pounds and can fire 450
shots per minute. It may be fired from shoulder or hip, or mounted on a bipod. When used
automatically, it is fired in short bursts. It can fire semi-automatically, which is
slower but more accurate, and the weapon will not heat as much as with automatic firing. (more info and photo)
screen of continuous military fire to protect advancing troops or stop hostile attacks;
heavy, prolonged attack.
a footing gained on hostile shores by an army.
of the lowest rank, as in buck private, buck sergeant
the diameter of the bore of a gun. Also the diameter of a projectile for a gun.
rank above 1st lieutenant and below major. Normally commands a company. Insignia is two
a short-barreled rifle; Hanley's weapon of choice. A .30 caliber semi-automatic shoulder
weapon, gas-operated with effective range up to 200 yards. Length is 36 inches, barrel 18
inches. A carbine weighs five pounds including magazine and sling. (More info and photo.)
an inverted, V-shaped bar worn on the sleeve to designate rank of non-coms and enlisted
the officer ranking between lieutenant colonel and brigadier general, usually commanding
a regiment; insignia of rank is a silver spread eagle.
lowest administration unit in the army. Usually consists of a headquarters and two or
more rifle platoons and most often commanded by a captain.
lowest grade of non-commissioned officer; often commands a squad.
generic term for the day an operation or attack is to be initiated; after the Allied
invasion of Europe, that date (June 6, 1944) became the D-Day.
slang for a soldier.
a soldier's identification tag.
to fire at targets in general linear formation along the direction of their front or
leave of absence.
government issue; slang for a soldier.
special duty that permits absence from more laborious duty; -ing - loafing.
a small bomb with a bursting radius of about 30 yards that can be hurled a short
distance by hand or rifle. Average man can throw a grenade 30 to 45 yards.
topographical term for a row of trees and bushes forming a hedge; a typical feature of
the Normandy landscape, hedgerows there grow on three- to five-foot earthen embankments. [Further information]
killed in action.
radio call sign regularly used in Combat! to designate King Company headquarters
radio call sign often used in Combat! to designate 2nd platoon of King Company (Hanley's
officer below captain. 2nd lieutenant is the lowest ranking commissioned officer, with
1st lieutenant above that. May command platoons or companies. 1st lieutenant insignia is a
silver bar; 2nd lieutenant insignia is a gold bar.
the .30 caliber model M1 Garand rifle was the principle weapon of the US infantry in WW
II. Semi-automatic, fed by a clip of eight cartridges. Gas-operated and self-loading, the
M1 is a shoulder weapon. M1 weighs 8.94 pounds, is 43 inches long. The barrel alone is
22.30 inches. The M1 has a muzzle velocity of 2,760 feet per second and a maximum range of
a chamber in or attached to a gun to hold cartridges; a case for cartridges.
the next rank above captain, they usually served as a battalion executive officer and as
staff officers at regiment and division levels. They were ocassionally assigned as
battalion commanders. Insignia of rank is a gold oak leaf.
missing in action.
a short cannon used to fire projectiles with low muzzle velocities at high angles. The
trench mortar is an infantry weapon, the larger mortars are used by both infantry and
the open end of a gun.
no man's land
land between ground of opposing forces
non-commissioned officers. Enlisted men ranking higher than private first class and
below warrant officers. Includes ser- geants and corporals. Also NCO.
officer candidate school.
over the hill
desertion; absent without leave.
German tank. "Panzer" means armor-plate.
troops moved by air, but who land by parachute.
slang for hand grenade.
a component element of a company consisting of three squads; commanded by a lieutenant.
private first class.
the lowest rank of enlisted man. Also buck private.
private first class
the grade above that of private. Designated by a single chevron on the sleeve (PFC).
R and R
rest and rehabilitation.
largest permanent unit of infantry. Consists of three battalions. Generally commanded by
a lieutenant colonel or colonel.
a shoulder weapon whose barrel is grooved, includes an attach- ment for a bayonet.
non-commissioned officer above a corporal.
weapon carried on side of body; Hanley and Saunders usually carry a Colt .45 caliber service pistol; effective range is about
shell splinters; also, shell timed to explode over, and shower bullets and splinters on,
the smallest unit of organization in the US Army. Number of men varies from 5 to 16.
bullets containing combustible pellets to produce smoke or light along the trajectory of
a projectile. Allows shooter to trace the flight of the bullets.
Thompson (also "Tommy gun")
the Thompson sub-machine gun. Saunders' weapon of choice. Thompson is a general purpose
field weapon of .45 caliber. It weighs approximately ten pounds and is 33 inches long. [More info and picture]
radio call sign often used in Combat! to designate 1st squad of King Company's 2nd
platoon (Saunders' squad).
The soldier slang of World War II was as colorful as it was
evocative. It could be insulting, pessimistic, witty, and even defeatist.
From 'spam bashers' to 'passion wagons' and 'roof pigs' to 'Hell's Ladies',
the World War II fighting man was never short of words to describe the
people and events in his life. "F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition" takes a
frank look at the British, Commonwealth, American, German, Japanese and
Russian slang used by the men on the ground, and shows how, even in the heat
of battle, they somehow managed to retain their sense of humour, black
though it might have been. Amazon.com
Swear Like a Trooper:
A Dictionary of Military Terms & Phrases
by William L. Priest Amazon.com
A comprehensive compilation of military lingo from Hannibal to Hanoi. Author William
Priest traces the evolution of each term as it moves from its point of origin to other
branches of service and into foreign countries. For instance, in the 19th century a
"swab" was a mop made from condemned rope; however, it was also the sailor's
slang for naval officer, from the shoulder epaulets (a mop-like braid) that marked an
officer's rank. At that time, to call a sailor a swab was one of the highest forms of
insult; it was not until the 1880s that sailors were called swabs or swabbies (men who
swab the decks) in general lingo. Examples such as these can be found throughout the book.
Over 5,600 entries! Slang and terms from military in the United States, Great Britain,
France, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Japan, and Germany. Indispensible reference for military
writers and just plain a fun read military enthusiasts. About the Author
William L. Priest, a graduate of Towson State University in History and Social Studies, is
a teacher with experience as a living historian aboard the U.S.S. Constellation in
Baltimore Harbor. He performs annually at several maritime festivals.
Hardcover: 256 pages ; Dimensions (inches): 0.91 x 9.28 x 6.29
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