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Glossary, World War I Terminology

Term Definition
A. E. F. American Expeditionary Force
Axis of Liaison The line on which telephone, telegraph lines or other means of communication are extended.
A.C.I. Advance Center of Information. A point in advance of a Post of Command, designated in orders, where messages and information may be sent.
Barrage A wall or curtain of fire, provided by artillery or machine guns.
Brig. Brigade or Brigadier
Bn. Battalion
Boche Derogatory slang word for Germans.
Bound A word used in French orders, e.g., “to advance by bounds” meaning advancing in regulated distances according to a schedule
Btry Battery
Bridge Head The holding of sufficient amount of territory on the enemy side of a river to enable friendly troops to build bridges and cross, or cross troops on preexisting bridges.
Bus Move A move of troops by motor. A Bus is a covered motor vehicle with seats along each side and accomodating from 18 to 30 men each. The French called these vehicles “camion.” The British called them “lorries.”
“Bucks” Private soldiers.
Bois The French word for Wood or woods.
Casualty A man or animal, killed, wounded or missing in action.
Co. Company
C.O. Commanding Officer
Col. Colonel
C. G. Commanding General
Cóte The French word for hill.
C. of S. Chief of Staff
D-Day The day an attack or movement is to take place. Generally mentioned in secret orders which can be prepared long in advance of the day of an action. When the proper time for the attack arrives, notice is sent out that D-Day for the attack prescribed in such and such an order will be 4 July 1918–for example. (The same definition for H-Hour-except that the hour is named instead of the day.) For example, H Hour and D Day might be 5:30 a.m. 4 July 1918.
Dump A designated place for the storage or assembling of rations, forage, ammunition or other supplies.
Div. Division
Dug in or Dig In The construction of individual shelters, “fox” or “funk” holes
D.S. Detached service
Evacuate To send back. Evacuating the wounded means sending them to hospitals or dressing stations in rear of the firing line. Sick men are counted as evacuations but not casaulties.
Eng. Engineer
Field Tn. Field Train
F. A. Field Artillery
F. O. Field Order. Orders issued in the field.
Fox Hole An individual shelter, generally a hole in the ground in the side of a hill, ditch, or embankment away from the enemy.
Funk Hole Same as fox hole
Ferme The French word for Farm.
G. S. General Staff
G-1 The first section of the General Staff, the section having the administration, supply and co-ordination of all the services the services of an organization.
G-2 The second section of the General Staff, the section which collects all information on the enemy, and produces and distributes maps.
G-3 The third section of the General Staff; the section responsible for the training of an organization and of its organization during combat.
G. H.Q. The General Headquarters of the American Expeditionary Forces. (Pershing’s Headquarters).
“Hommes 40 – Chevaux 8” This French phrase meaning that the capacity of 40 men or 8 horses was painted on the side of most French railway box cars.
H-Hour See D-Day
15 Hours The French system (and current U.S. Military way of stating the time), based on a 24 hour clock.
Hq. Headquarters
H plus 3 hours Three hours after an attack begins.
Inf. Infantry
Infirmary A medical treatment facility, where minor cases or illnesses or injury are treated. A first aide station.
I.D. French designation for an Infantry Division.
Jump Off Line A line from which an attack is launched.
J. A. Judge Advocate.
“Kriemhilde Stellung” The name of a strong German position; the main line of resistance corresponding to the Hindenburg Line. “Position” is meant to be a line of prepared trenches, in front of which masses of wire entanglements or other obstructions are placed.
Kamerad The German term for “I surrender.”
Km. Abbreviation for kilometer, more or less six tenths of one mile.
Liaison Communication
Lieut. Col. Lieutenant Colonel
Machine Gun Nest Several machine guns in different locations but in close proximity to each other.
M.M. Millimeter (.039 inch). The term used in describing the calibre of artillery pieces.
M.S.T.U. Motor Supply Truck Unit — A Truck repair shop.
M.O.R.S. Moblie Ordnance Repair Shop – Shop for repairing artillery, small arms and other weapons.
M.P. Military Police
M.C. Medical Corps
M.D. Medical Department or Medical Doctor
M.T.O. Motor Transportation Officer
“minnie” The nickname for the German minnenwerfer — a type of trench mortar.
N.G. National Guard
N. A. National Army (composed mostly of draftees)
Non-Coms Non-Commissioned Officers
N.C.O Non-Commissioned Officer
No Man’s Land The land between the trenches of opposing forces.
O. P. Observation Post. A post from which the movements or actions of the enemy are observed.
Objective Successive lines which troops are to take or advance to according to schedule.
“Over the Top” The phrase used by troops in describing their start to an attack. (Over the top of the trench).
O. D. Olive Drab
O. O. Operation Officer or Ordnance Officer
P. C. Post of Command. Sometimes the sameplace as Headquarters of an organization. Generally in combat the headquarters, the supply and administrative branch, is left behind in some convenient place where it can function without annoyance from the enemy, while the Commanding Officer, with part of his staff go forward to be nearer the front line that he may better direct the operations. This forward location or headquarters is called the “Post of Command” or P. C.
Poilu A private in the French Army; the French doughboy
Panels A piece of white cloth or paper, used to signal from the ground to an airplane. Carried by the infantry. When a friendly airplane flies over and calls for the signal, the panels are shown. The observer in the plane marks their location on his map, flies back and drops the map at headquarters, thus locating the front line.
P. W. R. Prisoner of War Enclosure
Q. M. C. Quartermaster Corps
Runner A messenger
R. H. Railhead. A railway station where the replacements and supplies of a camp or Division are received from warehouses in the rear.
Replacements Men, animals or material sent forward to replace those killed, wounded, or broken and worn out.
Ration The food for one man or one animal for one day. For example, 1000 rations means food for 1000 men for one day.
R. T. O. Railway Transportation Officer
R. L. O. Regimental Liaison Officer
S. O. S. Service of Supply, formerly known as the Line of Communications. The service responsible for the supply of all troops on an army.
Sanitary Train The Medical Organization of a Division, Corps or Army. It consists, in a Division, principally of four Ambulance Companies and four field hospitals.
Sector A section or area alloted to and occupied by an Army, Army Corps, Division, Brigade, Regiment or other organization
“In Square so-and-so” A kilometer square referred to on a map. French maps are generally laid off in one kilometer squares to facilitate the reading of the coordinate. In sending messages, it was sometimes easier to refer to some woods or cross roads “in square 64” than to name the coordinates.
S. C. Signal Corps.
Triage The French term for casualty clearing station, where the casualties were classified as “transportable,” “non-transportable,” and “slightly wounded, not to be evacuated.”
Take Off Line A line or position from which an attack is to be launched.
Tn. Train
Tommy British soldier
T.S.F. Radio or wireless telegraphy
T.P.S. Earth Telegraphy