• A-C
  • D-F
  • G-I
  • J-L
  • M-O
  • P-R
  • S-V
  • W-Z
  • TermDefinition
    A1B

    RAF category for “Medically fit to fly”.

    A-2

    Canadian Artillery Training Centre.

    A/A

    "Ack-Ack" anti-aircraft gun.

    AAF

    (RAF) Auxiliary Air Force.

    AASF

    Advanced Air Striking Force. RAF fighter serving from bases in France pre-Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

    AB

    (RAF) Aor Bomber.

    ABC

    Airbourne Cigar. A 3 stage jammer code used in 1944 to interfere with German fighter Control.

    ABDA

    American-British-Dutch- Australian forces that made up the South-West Pacific Command.

    “Abwehr”

    (Gr.) Wehrmacht intelligence service. (WWII); also POW camp ‘defense’ guards looking for escape plans aka ‘ferrets’ by the POW’s.

    a/c

    Air craft.

    A/C

    Air Commodore.

    AC2

    Aircraftman 2nd Class. Lowest rank in RCAF a.k.a. “acey-deucy”, “erks”. Promotion to AC1.

    ACDC

    Air Crew Distribution Centre.

    "Ace"

    A pilot with five confirmed enemy aircraft destroyed.

    “Acey Deucey

    (RAF/RCAF) slang for AC2 rating Aircraftsman Second Class, the lowest rank in the RCAF.

    ACH

    Aircrafthand.

    ACI

    Atlantic Convoy Instructions (1943).
    ACI also: Air Council Instructors.

    "ack"

    A highly trained technical assistant to an artillery officer. A carry over from the British Phonetic alphabet, stands for assistant
    ie: assistant gun position officer.

    "ack-ack"

    Anti-aircraft (A/A).

    ACM

    Air Chief Marshal (RAF).

    AC1

    Aircraftsman 1st Class.

    AC2

    Aircraftsman 2nd Class.

    Achnacarry

    Commando training center in Scotland.

    ACP

    Airdrome Control Pilot.

    ACRC

    Air Crew Receiving Centre.

    “Acey-Deucys”

    (RAF/RCAF) aka AC2 – Aircraftmen 2nd Class.

    ADC

    Advanced Dressing Station. (WWI)

    ADC

    Aides de camp.

    ADGB

    Air Defence of Great Britain. What the British air force was called pre 1930.

    ADS

    Advanced Dressing Station.

    AEAF

    Allied Expeditionary Air Force.

    AFA

    Australian Field Artillery. (WWI)

    AFC

    Air Force Cross.

    AFDU

    Air fighting training unit.

    AFHQ

    Allied Force Head Quarters. Censored reports for the battlefields. They also oversaw Operation Husky as “Force 141”.

    AFRO

    Air Force Regulations & Orders.

    AFS

    Auxiliary Fire Service (Established during the Blitz in England).

    AFU

    Advance Flying Unit. Usually located overseas, to finish the BCATP training before operational flying.

    AFV

    Armoured Fighting Vehicle.

    AG

    (RAF) Air Gunner.

    AGRA

    Army Group Royal Artillery.

    AI

    Airbourne Interceptor consisting of a small radar set mounted in a RAF night-fighter such as the Beaufighter air craft, first used in 1940.

    “air lines”

    Wires strung for communications on poles, frequently damaged by enemy fire or carelessness. (WWI)

    AIB

    Accident Investigation Branch (RCAF) established in March 1942 to investigate service flying accidents.

    Air Battalion – Royal Engineers

    Formed in 1911 was the first military unit of flyers (19 pilots).

    Air Observation Post Squadron

    (RAF) Light aircraft piloted by a Royal Artillery officer who controlled & directed artillery fire in Italy.

    Air-Ops

    Air Operations Plane.

    “Aktion Kugel”

    (Germ.) for ‘Operation Bullet’ where in February,1944 Heinrich Himler put re-captured POW’s in the hands of the Gestopo secret police.

    ALC

    Assault Landing Craft. Smaller and less protected than a MLC.

    A/M

    Air Marshal.

    AMC

    Armed Merchant Cruiser.

    ANC

    (US) African National Corps. Black truck drivers in WWII.

    "Angels"

    (RAF) Reference to altitude, ie: “Angles fifteen.” Is 15,000ft.

    RNS

    Air Navigation School (RCAF).

    Anti-Tank Rifle

    Introduced in 1918 by the Germans, a bolt-action rifle which fired a 13.2mm shell that could penetrate 25mm (1”) of steel plating as a anti-personnel weapon.

    ‘ANVIL’

    Code name for the invasion of Italy.

    AOC

    Air Officer Commanding.

    AOS

    Air Observers School – Navigator training.

    AP

    Armour Piercing.

    AOP

    (Br./Cdn.) Air Observation Post. A light aircraft used to ‘spot’ artillery fire on enemy position.

    APA

    US Attack transport.

    "appell"

    The German word for a roll-call in a POW camp.

    "Archie"

    Br. WW I nickname for German anti-aircraft fire. Adopted by the Am. in WWII.

    APD

    (US) Assault Personnel Destroyer.

    ARP

    Ammunition Refilling Point.

    “Artillery Formation”

    (WWI) Infantry practiced not to bunch together when under artillery attack.

    "arty rep"

    Slang for the Artillery Representative.

    ASD

    Air Service Department. (1939)

    A/S

    Anti-Submarine Escot Groups.

    ASI

    Air Speed Indicator.

    A/S/R

    Air Sea Rescue.

    ASV

    Air-to-Service – Vessel – A aircraft mounted radar 1st installed in RAF Coastal Command patrol bombers.

    ATA

    Air Transport Axillary, formed in 1940 included 166 female pilots who were able to fly various aircraft from Spitfires to bombers to RAF stations.

    ATC

    Air Traffic Control.

    ATC

    (USAAF) Air Transport Command.

    ATG

    Atlantic Transportation Group (aka Ferry Command).

    ATS

    Axillary Territorial Service (The main British women’s service in WWII).

    Athnacary

    British Commando base on the west coast of Scotland.

    AU

    (Br.) Assault Unit.

    AVM

    Air Vice-Marshal (RAF/RCAF).

    Aussies

    Australians.

    AVRE

    Armoured Vehicles Royal Engineers.

    A/S

    Anti-Submarine.

    ASDIC

    Allied Submarine Detection Investigation Committee (aka Sonar).

    ASV

    Air to Surface Vessel – Aircraft radar.

    ASW

    Anti-Submarine Warfare.

    ATA

    Air Transport Auxiliary. Ferried aircraft in the UK from the factories to the airfields.

    ATFERO

    Atlantic Ferry Organization. Established in 1940 to fly aircraft from North America to England.

    AVG

    American Volunteer Group; (RAF) also known as the “Flying Tigers”. Commanded by Chemnault in China they also fought in Burma with the RAF until the USA entered the conflict.

    AVM

    Air Vice Marshal.

    AVRE

    Armoured Vehicles Royal Engineers, these would include Churchill tanks with Petard, Short range heavy motors and various bridging devices.

    AWL / AWOL

    Absent Without Leave.

    BABS

    A system of blind approach using radar (RAF).

    BC

    Battery Commander.

    BAD

    Base Ammunition Dump. (Between the 15th & 26th of July 1944, 21st Army group fired 1,158,490 shells).

    BAR

    Browing Automatic Rifle.

    Bde. / Brigade

    Units of infantry or tanks.

    Bdr.

    Bombardier.

    BAFO

    British Air Force of Occupation.

    Bailey Bridge

    Portable, temporary bridges used in WWII, often referred to as Meccano sets, in reference to the child’s toy.

    "Balbo"

    (Br.) The combining of 2 RAF Wings into one Wing to tackle large massed German raids on England in 1940.

    "Bandits"

    (Br.) Enemy aircraft.

    Bangalore torpedo

    A long pipe filled with explosive, thrust under tangles of barbed wire and exploded to clear paths for attacking infantry.

    BAMS

    British and Allied Merchant Ship Code. A radio channel during WWII dedicated to Message traffic to convoys at sea. “Broadcasts for Allied Merchant Ships.”

    "Bank"

    A steep turn (RCAF).

    B.A.R.

    Browning Automatic Rifle (.30 Caliber, 20 round magazine).

    BAT

    Beam Approach Training (RCAF).

    BATM

    British Admiralty Technical Mission.

    Bazooka

    A shoulder launched American (WWII) anti-tank weapon.

    BBMF

    Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

    BCATP

    British Commonwealth Air Training Plan aka “The Plan”.

    BCD

    British Columbia Dragoons.

    BCDU

    Bomber command development unit.

    BCR

    British Columbia Regiment.

    BCRM

    British Canadian Recruiting Mission. A number of ‘mission’ operated between June 1917 and July 1918 recruiting British subjects living in the USA to “volunteer” to join the CEF after the Selective Service Act passed in the United States. (WWI)

    B-Dienst

    German service that intercepted British coded signals. It was located at Beobachter, 72 Tirpitzuller, Berlin.

    BDS

    Brigade Dressing Station.

    BdU

    (Gr) Befehlshaber der Unterseeboute. The U-Boat Force HQ.

    BDU

    Bomber Development Unit.

    Beachmaster

    The Naval equivalent to the MLO. The Naval officer is responsible to land with the first assault boats to clearly mark the beaches for other assault craft and to mark the routes off the beach, control traffic on the beach. The MLO does the same for attacking troops, calling in boats to evacuate wounded or troops working with the Beachmaster.

    "Beating his gums"

    Yakking too much.

    "Beat up"

    To attack a target continuously (RCAF).

    BEF

    British Expeditionary Force.

    B & GS

    Bombing & Gunnery School.

    BEM

    British Empire Medal.

    Bessoneau(x)

    French-design of aircraft field hanger, of canvas roof and sides, with a bulky Internal framework. (WWI)

    BG

    Bomb Group.

    BGGS

    (Br.) Brigadier-General – General Staff.

    BHQ

    Battalion Headquarters.

    “Big Ack”

    (WWI) RFC slang for the Armstrong/Whitworth FK8 aircraft.

    "Big Bertha"

    (Dicke Berts German) A heavy German artillery piece made by Krupp, a 420mm. howitzer, over 7 meters long, transported in sections and required a day to re-assemble.

    "Big City"

    RAF/RCAF slang for Berlin, Germany.

    "Big-X"

    Commonwealth term for the Chief of X-Organizations in POW camps, aka escape plans for POW’s.

    “Biggles Tradition"

    (RAF) Biggles was the pilot hero in a series of 1930’s young adult novels about a young heroic pilot.

    "Birds"

    RAF/RCAF slang for a plane.

    "bivies"

    Cdn. slang (WWI) see Bivouac.

    Bivouac

    A type of lean-to shelter for two men. Two rubber groundsheets slung between two rifles stuck in the ground by their bayonets.

    BLA

    British Liberation Army (1945) aka to the British Infantry as “Burma Looms Ahead” in reference to the war in SE Asia.

    "Black Pit"

    The area in mid-ocean (between N. America and Europe) where merchant ships had No protection from Naval escort ships. “The Happy Time” in 1941 for German U-Boats.

    "Blighty One"

    A WWI injury which took you out of the conflict with no discredit, but with no permanent damage to your health. A none-fatal wound a Hindustani word for a foreign country, adopted by colonial English troops for “home”.

    “Blitzkrieg”

    (Gr.) A violent campaign intended to bring about a speedy victory, ‘Lightning War’.

    "Blood April"

    (WWI) April 1917 when the German Air Force focused on defeating the RFC / RNAS prior to the Battle of Arras.

    "Blue Four"

    (RAF) Ditching over water.

    Bn.

    Battalion.

    “Boffins”

    British (RAF) slang (WWII) for scientist doing operational research. They advised on various services navigational aids, new weapons our improvements.

    “Bogey / Bogie”

    An unidentified enemy aircraft (RCAF).

    "Boost"

    Power applied to an aircraft engine by throttle setting.

    "Boozer"

    Slang, for a special receiving apparatus to warn a bomber pilot that an enemy aircraft as in a position to attack.

    "Bounce"

    (RAF) slang for a surprise attack by the enemy.

    "Bouncing Betty"

    Allied slang for German anti-personnel mine that exited the ground to explode at about head height.

    "Box climb"

    A climb over a particular point – the aircraft flew short legs in the form of a square.

    BP

    Bletchley Park. The British operational Intelligence Centre (WWII), home of the submarine Tracking room and Enigma decoding work etc.

    BPD

    Base personnel depot.

    BPO

    British Press Office. A front for the British Secret Service in Switzerland.
    Bren gun / ‘Bren’ – 303 Caliber light machine gun.

    Bren gun / ‘Bren’

    303 Caliber light machine gun.

    “Briefing”

    Instructions before a mission or sortie (RCAF).

    “Brylcreem Boys”

    (Br.) slang for RAF aircrew.

    BS

    Bomber Support (RCAF)

    BSL

    Bomber Safety Line. The line infantry was not to cross when strategic bombing was going on.

    BSR

    Burma / Siam Railway.

    BT

    “Bathythermography” – The changing temperature of the ocean mass in relation to depth. To better hunt U-Boats.

    Bty. / Battery

    Units making up artillery brigades, a battery normally of six guns of field artillery was four guns before 1917.

    BUD

    Befehlshaber der Untersee boote. The German U-Boat HQ.

    "Bulls-eye"

    Practice flying over large British cities to evade searchlights and night-fighters.

    “bundfuher”

    (Germ.) Armed guards in POW camps with guard dogs.

    "Bus"

    British slang for a bomber. (WWI)

    "Buster"

    (RAF) To push engine to max power.

    "Cabrank"

    (RCAF) Coordination of contact between aircraft in position over a battlefield and the troops on the ground. A flight could be “whistled up” when needed to support infantry.

    CAC

    Canadian Aviation Corps. Established in 1914 and Canada’s air force with two pilots and one aircraft and one mechanic.

    CAFO

    Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders.

    CAM

    Catapult Armed Merchant ship. A plane could be launched but not retrieved.

    "Came a chopper"

    RAF/RCAF slang for being killed in action.

    “Camouflet”

    A 500 wt. explosive mine, often employed in counter-mine actions. (WWI)

    CARU

    Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Unit.

    CASEVAC

    Casualty Evacuation.

    CASF

    Canadian Active Service Force. (Landed in Brest, France 12 & 13 June, 1940 and retired
    from Cherbourg, Brest and Bordeaux 15 June, 1940).

    CB

    Confined to barracks (punishment).

    CBH

    Cape Breton Highlanders Regt.

    CBO

    Combined Bomber Offensive.

    CBRD

    Canadian Base Reinforcement Depot.

    CBSO

    Counter Battery Staff Officer. (WWI)

    CCPG

    Campo Cencentramento Priqionieri Guera – Italian POW camp.

    CCRC

    Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp located at St. Aubin-Saint-Vaast.

    CCS

    Casualty Clearing Station. (WWI)

    CCS

    Combined Chiefs of Staff (WWII) headed by Churchill, Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

    CANLOAN

    673 Canadian Lieutenants volunteered to serve in British Divisions in 1944 – 45 due to a shortage of trained Subalterns. Service number for these officers begin with CDN. 70% of these volunteers were either killed or wounded (approximately 470).

    CanScot

    Canadian Scottish Regiment.

    CAP

    Canadian Air Publication. “The Principles of Instruction No.1 Book for BCAPT instructors.

    CAPC

    Canadian Army Postal Corps.

    CAPF

    Canadian Army Pacific Force. Would have been used in the war against Japan if the war had not ended with the atomic bomb.

    CARU

    Canadian Artillery Reinforcement Unit.

    CASF

    Canadian Active Service Force. The Canadian Army Overseas had 58,000 men by Sept.1939. The 1st Canadian Division of 18,376 would go to the United Kingdom.

    CAT

    Counter Acoustic Torpedo. A defensive device to divert an acoustic torpedo (GNAT).

    CATC

    Canadian Army Training Centre.

    Caterpillar Club

    (RAF/RCAF) A badge in the shape of a gold caterpillar with ruby eyes to signify having bailed out of an aircraft to save their life – worn on the uniform it was donated by the Irvin Air Chutes of Great Britain.

    "Cheese-cutter"

    Cdn. Slang for the German MG 42 machinegun with a rate of fire of 1200 rounds per minute. AKA a “rubber gun”.

    C-in-C. WA

    Commander – in –Chief Western Approaches.

    CCCS

    Commodore Commanding Canadian Ships (UK).

    CCNF

    Commodore Commanding Newfoundland Force.

    CCRD

    Canadian Convalescent Receiving Depot.

    CDA

    Canadian Divisional Artillery. (WWI)

    CDAC

    Canadian Divisional Ammunition Column. Horse drawn transport. (WWI)

    CDTMG

    Canadian Div. Trench Mortar Group. (WWI)

    CFA

    Canadian Field Artillery.

    CFCO

    Chief flying control officer.

    CFI

    Chief Flying Instructor (RCAF).

    CFS

    Central Flying School (WWI) at Upavon, England.

    CGH

    Canadian General Hospital.

    CGM

    Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.

    “Chain Home”

    Code name for Britain’s radar network (aka CH) along the south coast, operational in 1937 it could detect the number, altitude and course of air craft up to 100 miles. The US. Coined the term ‘Radar’.

    CGS

    (Br.) Chief of the General Staff.

    "Chad"

    RCAF for chatter, rapid talking over the radio.

    "Chauds"

    Slang for La Regiment de la Chaudiere.

    "Cheesed off"

    Fed up to the teeth.

    “Chiefy”

    Flight-Sergeant (RAF – Slang) or senior ground-crew NCO.

    "Chinese Attack"

    (WWI – slang) A conspicuous pre-attack preparation, followed by a rolling artillery barrage to deceive the enemy and to see where they would move.

    CHL

    Chain Home Low – code name for British radar stations designed for low flying Aircraft limited to 100 miles. Also see "Chain Home".

    Chlorine Gas

    (WWI) First used by the German army on the western font on the 22nd of April, 1915. A choking gas first dispensed from cylinders and was later uses in artillery shells.

    “Chronic merchant”

    Slang (RAF) for someone who is ‘windy’ and acts un-heroically.

    "CHOP"

    (Navy) The Atlantic ocean was divided at 35 degree West longitude in WWII as the
    boundary of the Change of Operational Control – British east of that and USA west of that.

    "Chop Rate"

    RAF slang for aircrew losses.

    CIB

    (WWI) Br. Central Information Bureau. Controlled and directed Allied aircraft to targets on the ground or in the air. Established in 1918.

    CIB / CIBde.

    Canadian Infantry Brigade.

    CIGS

    (Br. WWI) Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

    Cine-gun

    Camera operating in conjunction with, helpful in confirming claims.

    “Circuits and bumps”

    Slang for takeoffs and landings.

    "Circus"

    A RAF term for: a low-level search & destroy attack over northern France by fighters accompanied by bombers attacking targets of opportunity. Beside escorting the bombers, the fighters used them to decoy German aircraft up for a fight. Also see “Rhubarbs”.

    CIRU

    Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit. (ie: Aldershot Military District in the UK).

    Civil twilight

    Is generally 45 minutes later than ‘nautical twilight.

    "Clag"

    Slang for Clouds (RAF).

    CLH

    Canadian Light Horse.

    "Clock"

    Air speed indicator.

    "Clothing Parade"

    (WWI) The soldiers set of issued clothing was inspected by an officer, repaired And deficiencies made up.

    "Cloudy-Joe"

    RAF slang for the Meteorological Officer.

    CNA

    “Canadian North Atlantic” – Area of operation of the RCN in 1943 after the Washington Conference approx. 42N – 40W.

    CMB

    Central Medical Board (British).

    CMHQ

    Canadian Military Head Quarters – London, England. (WWII)

    CNMO

    Canadian Naval Mission Overseas. It was located in London, England.

    CNS

    Chief of Naval Staff (RCN).

    CO

    Commanding Officer.

    COAS

    Commanding Officer, Atlantic Coast (RCN).

    “Cockshivers”

    (Br. Slang) More assumption than fact.

    COCO

    Chief of Combined Operations.

    "Coffin corners"

    (Merchant Navy) Slang for the two corner ships in the 1st row of a convoy’s columns.

    COHQ

    Combined Operations Headquarters.

    Col.

    Colonel 6th level of commissioned rank in the army.

    "Comic Cuts"

    (WWI) slang for RFC action communiqués.

    COMINCH

    (USN) The Combat Intelligence Centre at the Main Navy in Washington, DC.

    Commando

    Highly trained, lightly armed elite troops designed for raiding enemy shore facilities. First used in WWII when the British raided Lofton Island, Norway 4/03/41.

    CAMPO

    Composite food ration packs (Br.).

    Conc.

    Concentration Area.

    "Cones"

    Pinpoint artillery fire. Also see “Stonks”.

    Conger

    An explosive (nitroglycerine) filled 60 meter hose launched from a universal (Bren) carrier by a rocket used to destroy enemy barbed wire.

    Coning

    A radar-operated master searchlight locks on to a bomber and is joined swiftly by other search lights which hold the aircraft in a cone of light, exposing it to ack-ack and night fighters.

    Contrail

    White condensation trail of a high-flying aircraft’s wing tip while flying at high altitudes.

    Cookie

    4,000lb. high explosive British bomb.

    "Cooler"

    Slang for the isolation cell in a POW camp.

    Comando Supremo

    WWII Italian Armed Forces High Command.

    Consols

    Navigation system used by German U-Boats.

    Contact Battery

    (WWI) Sections of horse drawn guns moved forward with the infantry to provide close support. Aka. Mobile batteries.

    Cooties

    Aka Lice.

    COP

    Commander Of Port.

    COPC

    Combined Operations Development Centre. Located at Portsmouth, England, formed in 1936. Combined Operations Development Centre. Located at Portsmouth, England, formed in 1936.

    Corpsman

    (US) Enlisted Navy Medical Personnel.

    COSSAC

    Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander.

    COTC

    Canadian Officers Training Corps.

    Coxswain (Cox’n)

    Senior Petty Officer of the ship.

    COY

    Abbreviation for Company.

    CPC

    Canadian Postal Corp.

    Cpl.

    Corporal.

    CPO

    Chief Petty Officer.

    C.P.O.

    Command Post Officer (Battery).

    CRA

    Commander Royal Artillery, Brigadier rank.

    CRB

    1st Canadian Radar Battery. Established 22/09/45 to track looping German mortar shells using radar to calculate the trajectory for counter-battery fire.

    "Crash Action"

    The rapid deployment of artillery.

    "Crate"

    Slang for aircraft.

    "Creaky Forest"

    Cercy Forest in France, a landmark for pilots in N. France, also bristled with flak guns.

    "Crows Nest"

    Top look-out point for watch-keeping at sea. Also a famous officers canteen in St. John’s, NFLD. During WWII ( Still there in 2011).

    CSL

    Close Support Line.

    CSM

    Company Sergeant Major.

    CSR

    Br. (WWI) Civil Service Rifles a unit of the London Battalion.

    CSR

    Canadian Survey Regt. (WWII)

    CT

    (WWI) Communication Trench.

    CT

    (WWII) Ceased Training in the BCATP “washed out” of training, failure.

    CTS

    Canadian Training Squadron.

    CU

    Conversion Unit. Where air crew received specific training on the aircraft they would fly.

    CUAS

    Cambridge University Air Squadron. (pre-WWII)

    "Cute little weapon"

    (RCAF) Variation on a theme of admiration.

    C.V.S.M.

    Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. Aka (slang) EBGO – “Every Bastard Got One”. Whether in combat or not. Also see V.M.K.

    CWAAF

    Canadian Women’s Axillary Air Force. Founded 21/07/1941. Later became RCAF-WD.

    CWAC

    Canadian Woman’s Army Corps. Founded 27/06/1941, by wars end there would be 22,000 enlistments.

    CW Wireless

    Continuous wave wireless communication. (WWI)

    TermDefinition
    D+1 etc.

    Days following D-Day (D+1 = 7 June).

    DADV

    Deputy Assistant Director of Veterinary Services. (WWI)

    DAF

    Desert Air Force, RAF wings that operated in North Africa and the Middle east in 1942-43. Also supported actions in Sicily and Italy.

    DAGENAN

    A ‘sulpha’ drug used in the early years of WWII, before penicillin was developed.

    DAPM

    District Assistant Provost Marshal (RCAF) aka Air Force Police.

    "Darky"

    RAF code word for aircraft in distress “SOS”; also used during FIDO landings.

    DAUD

    (Br.) Director of Anti U-Boat Division.

    Day-Ranger

    Long range forays deep into enemy territory using ‘drop-tank’ Mosquitoes.

    De-bollocker

    (Slang) for German land mine that exploded when stepped on showering splinters straight upwards – thus the name!

    "Dead Stick"

    Flying without engine power.

    "Dead reckoning"

    Navigating by use of a compass and time, following a course at a given speed for a fixed length of time.

    DD

    Duplex Drive Sherman tanks developed by British General Sir Percy Hobart on of the many “funnies” he created which included Buffaloes, Alligators, Weasels and DUWK, all to move troops over water and give some protection on land.

    DECCA

    High frequency, shore based navigational system (aka. QM) accurate to 100’ at 100 Miles.

    "Deck group"

    (RCN) General purpose Able Seaman.

    DEMS

    (Br.) Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (a merchant ship equipped with anti-aircraft guns).

    “Der dicker Hund

    (Gr.) slang for the B-17 Bomber.

    DF

    Defensive Fire, a pre-arranged offensive enemy target for artillery fire of up to 36O rounds in 3 minutes. Only a Brigadier or higher ran could order these ups.

    D/F

    Direction Finding (RCAF).

    DFC

    Distinguished Flying Cross (issued to commissioned ranks).

    DF Homing

    Directional Finding Homing (RCAF).

    DFM

    Distinguished Flying Medal (issued to non-commissioned ranks).

    DGO

    (WWI) Divisional Gas Officer. In charge of gas training and inspection of gas helmets and respirators.

    "Digger"

    Slang for Army Prison.

    “Dinghy”

    Hindu word meaning ‘small boat’. Often referred to as a ‘life-raft’.

    "Dispersal"

    Pilots’ waiting hut/club room when on readiness.

    “ditch” / ditching

    Making a forced landing in the sea.

    Div.

    Army Division.

    DMGO

    Divisional Machine Gun Officer.

    Div. H.Q.

    Divisional Headquarters.

    DMS

    Department of Munitions and Supply. (Cdn. WWII)

    DOAA

    Died of Air Accident

    DOAS

    Died on Active Service

    DOAI

    Died of Accidental Injury

    DOD

    Died of Disease.

    DOI

    Died of Injury

    "Dog Fight"

    Aerial combat.

    DONC

    Died of Natural Causes

    "Don't panic chaps"

    Chad, when boxed in by flak.

    Doodlebug

    RAF slang for the German V-1 flying bomb (WII). Jet engine propelled with a maximum speed of 400 MPH, it carried a 2,000 lb. warhead, it had a 18’ wing-span. Aka. V-1.

    Douglas Sea Scale

    Important to ships in convoy station keeping. The scale measures the height of waves and the swell of the sea from 1 to 10 degrees. It is also known as the International Sea Swell Scale. Example ‘wind sea’ 0 = calm 9 = +14 meter waves ‘swell’ 0 = no swell to 9 = confused.

    DOW

    Died of Wounds.

    DMT

    Driver, Motor Transport. (Br.)

    D/N

    (RCAF) Day / Night Training, was an eye-shade worn by the pilot, like a welders helmet That was dark on the top but allowed the glow of the instruments at AFU training.

    DR

    Dead Reckoning. Flight path without instrument confirmation.

    "Drachen"

    Gr. (WWI) Artillery observation balloons that were tethered by steel cables connected to a wench.

    "Dragging his ass"

    (RCAF) Lagging behind, a straggler in formation.

    D/R

    Dead reckoning navigation.

    D-ring

    Parachute ripcord.

    DRL

    Despatch Rider Liaison Rider.

    Drogues

    Aerial targets for gunnery practice training.

    "Don R."

    Dispatch Rider.

    DRO

    Daily Routine Orders.

    "Drum Fire"

    Term used to describe a method of intimidating or disrupting enemy activity.

    DSC

    Distinguished Service Cross (Naval only).

    DSM

    Distinguished Service Medal (Naval Ratings only).

    DSO

    Distinguished Service Order.

    "Duff"

    RAF slang for faulty equipment.

    "Duff Gen"

    Incorrect or ‘bad’ information. In RCAF “not worth a damn.”

    "Duff Gen Merchant"

    An individual who generally gave bad information.

    DUKW

    Abbreviation for 2 ½ ton amphibious truck, six-wheeled truck capable of six knots in water. Aka – Duck. First used in Operation Husky.

    Dulag Luft

    Short for Durchgangslager A transit campfor air force POW’s Interrogation center at Oberusel, near Frankfurt-am-Main.

    "Duver"

    (Br.) Slang for a ‘slit-trench'.

    DWT

    Directorate of Warfare Training (1943 Ottawa).

    DZ '0'

    Drop Zone.

    EA

    Common abbreviation for enemy aircraft.

    E-Boats

    German (WWII) Motor Torpedo Boats.

    EAC

    Easter Air Command; established 15/09/38 eventually became Maritime Air Command.

    EAR

    Enemy Air Raid

    EATS

    Empire Air Training Plan. Pre – BCATP in June 1953.

    "Eddies"

    Loyal Edmonton Regt.

    EDF

    Eastern Desert Force. (Br.)

    EFTS

    Elementary Flying Training School (RCAF).

    EG

    Escort Group (Navy).

    "Elsen"

    Chemical tolet in British bombers.

    "Emil"

    Slang for the Messerschmitt ME 109E German fighter.

    "Enigma"

    (Gr.) Code machine for encrypting messages.

    ENSA

    Entertainments National Services Association. A British entertainment group that put on shows for servicemen & women.

    ERA

    (RCN) Engine Room Artificer.

    "Erk"

    Any ground crew airman or technician.

    "Escadrille”

    French air force fighting formation (WWI) of six planes plus pilots and ground crew.

    “Estaminet”

    A French bar in WWI.

    ETA

    Estimated Target Area (RAF) The bombing of a target based on time and distance from the start point when the target was obscured by heavy cloud.

    ETO

    European Theatre of Operations.

    F.A.

    (WWI) Field Ambulance.

    FAA

    Fleet Air Arm.

    F.A.B.

    France British Aviation Flyingboats from WWI.

    “Fantassins”

    French for riflemen.

    FAP

    Forward Aid Post. The most advanced post where casualties could receive treatment.

    Fascines

    Enormous bundles of densely packed tree branches used a ‘fording material’ to aid tanks by providing a causeway over rivers or large streams.

    F.A.T.

    Field Artillery Tractor, aka ‘Quad’. In WWI it was Field Artillery Tactics.

    Fatigues

    Aka ‘chores, carrying parties’, work that supported life in the trenches. Would also include ‘engineering work’ – digging or improving trenches, burying phone lines; ‘wiring parties’ repairing or improving barb-wire defenses, almost all of these fatigues would be done at might.

    “Faustpatronen”

    (Gr.) Grenade thrower. (WWII)

    F/Cdr.

    Flight Commander (RNAS rank).

    FCO

    Flying Control Officer.

    FCP

    Forward Control Post – For air support and control.

    FDL

    Forward Defence Line / Localities.

    FDO

    Fighter Directing Officer. A Naval Lieut. Who flew with an RAF pilot catapulted from a ‘CAM’; his job was to direct the pilot back to the ship using R/T.

    FE

    (RAF) Flight Engineer.

    FES

    Flight Engineering School. Located at Alymer, ON. The school graduated 2000 Flight Engineers in the BCATP.

    “Feldwebels”

    (Gr.WWII) Sergeants and Corporals generally led in combat while officers planned actions.

    "Ferrets"

    POW slang for German guards who specialized in uncovering escape plans.

    “Festung Europa”

    (Gr. – WWII) ‘Fortress Europe’ as Hitler called his western wall against invasion.

    “Feuerzauber”

    German for ‘magic fire’ for a sudden and heavy artillery barrage fired by allied gunners in Sicily.

    FFI

    Free French of the Interior (WWII) French resistance fighters, aka “Marquis”, ‘underground’.

    "Fido"

    Allied air-dropped acoustic torpedo the Mark XXIV, developed by the US Navy and went into anti-submarine use in 1943.

    FIDO

    Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation. An apparatus made up of pipes just above ground level with jets along each side of a airfield runway when pressurized with gasoline and ignited heated the area above the runway to disperse the fog for landings. Ignited by a ground-crewman.

    “Finger – four"

    RAF/RCAF fighter attack formation two leaders (shooters) + two wingman (eyeball).

    “Finger in to the elbow”

    (RCAF) An absolutely stupid clot.

    First World War

    A name first given to the conflict of 1914 – 18 (Great War) by Charles a Count Repington in 1920.

    FIS

    Flying Instructor School. Opened at Trenton, ON. 3/08/42.

    "Fishpond"

    (Br.) An early-warning radar device.

    F/L

    Flight Lieutenant.

    "Flack"

    Enemy A/A gun fire from the ground.

    "Flies like a turkey"

    (RCAF) Not well.

    "Flight"

    2 to 6 aircraft.

    F/Sgt.

    Flight Sargeant – 3rd level of non-commissioned officer.

    F/Lt.

    Flight Lieutenant – 3rd level of commissioned officer.

    "Flamer"

    Aircraft on fire.

    “Fliegerkorps"

    German Air Corps.

    "Flying Dungheap"

    (WWI) slang for the British BE2c. aircraft because of it’s olive-drab service colouring.

    FMR

    Fusiliers Mont Royal. They were part of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division after D-Day.

    F/S

    Flight Sergeant.

    F/S/Lt.

    Flight Sub-Lieutenant (RNAS starting rank for a pilot).

    FO

    Flying Officer.

    FOB

    Forward Observation Officer – Bombardment. A Royal Artillery officer similar to FOO but directing naval bombardment.

    Fo’c’s’le

    Forward part of the ship – seaman’s mess.

    "Force J"

    Permanent Naval Assault Force used by British, Canadian and American forces.

    F/O

    Flying Officer – 2nd level of commissioned officer.

    FOO

    Forward Observation Officer (artillery spotter).

    "Force 545"

    British planning group for Operation Husky (Invasion of Italy).

    Fos.

    (Am.) Forward Observer.

    "Foxer"

    A towed noisemaker used to attract acoustic torpedoes away from convoy escort ships.

    FPU Park(t)

    German tank mounted gun.

    "Freight Trains"

    Slang for 280mm. German costal gun shells.

    "Fritz"

    (Br.) Slang for a German soldier.

    Frog

    The holder that attaches the bayonet scabbard to the soldiers belt.

    FS

    Field Security.

    F/Sgt.

    Field Security.

    FSR

    (Br.) Field Service Regulations.

    FSSF

    1st Special Service Force, Canadian / American specially trained as paratroops and Commando ship to shore assaults. Served in Aleutian Island, Italy and Southern France.

    FUP

    Forming Up Point. Where a unit gathers in preparation for an attack.

    FUSAG

    (Am.) First US Army Group.

    TermDefinition
    'G3'

    (U.S.) Chief of Operations.

    'G4'

    Chief of Supply.

    "Gaggle"

    Group of enemy aircraft. Also a bomber formation with three lead aircraft flying in a "V" formation with the bomber stream following.

    Galley

    Ships kitchen.

    “Galloping dominoes"

    Cdn. Slang for game of craps played with dice, a favorite with soldiers.

    Gammon Bombs

    WWII anti-tank explosive (Br).

    "Gardening"

    RAF/RCAF slang for a mission to drop sea-mines. Also see Planting and Vegetables.

    Garries

    Slang for Sturmont, Dundas & Gengarry Highlanders.

    G/C

    Group Captain.

    GC & SC

    Government Code & Cypher School.

    GCI

    (RAF) Ground Controlled Interception – used to guide night-fighters to intercept enemy aircraft.

    GD

    General Duty ie: Orderly Clerk – GD, not specialized.

    Gee

    A 1942 early navigational radar aid for heavy bombers, was improved in 1943 by the MkII version. A high frequency system it lacked range but was useful in the English Channel. Ships used its 400 yard accuracy to locate targets on the bottom of the Channel. (aka QH).

    "Gen"

    Slang (pronounced jen ) information you want on a particular subject ie. “What is the gen on the weather?”

    "George"

    (RCAF slang) for “Auto-Pilot” control.

    "George" Vehicle

    Gun Position Officer’s Vehicle.

    “Generalleutnant”

    (Gr.) Equates to a British Major-General in rank.

    “Generalmajor”

    (Gr.) Equates to a US. Army Brigadier-General.

    "Gen man"

    Slang for a person with excellent qualifications.

    “Geschwarder”

    (Germ.) Comparable to a RAF “Group” of about 120 aircraft of the same type.

    Gestapo

    Geheime Staatspolizei Nazi German State security police.

    "Get clued up"

    Don’t be a clot (don’t be stupid).

    “Get behind me Satan and push”

    Affirmative, with emphasis.

    “Get off your knees”

    Morning-after greeting.

    GGHG / “Gee Gees”

    Cdn. slang for Governor General Horse Guard (Tank Unit in WWII).

    “God’s Gift to Hungry Girls”

    “Good God How Gorgeous”.

    GH

    see Gee.

    Glacis

    Historically it was a gentle slope of ground in front of a fortification, in the Great war it was known as ‘No Man’s Land’ between enemy trenches.

    "George"

    Auto-pilot in a heavy bomber (RCAF).

    GOC

    General Officer Commanding.

    "Going in"

    (RAF) About to crash on land or water.

    "Going into the smoke"

    (RCAF) Going into London [England] for unspecified purposes.

    “Gone for a Burton”

    (RAF/RCAF) slang for a plane and crew lost on a sortie.

    "Gong"

    Medals.

    "Goons"

    Slang for German guards in a POW camp.

    "Gotha"

    Large German bomber of WWI.

    Geophones

    (Br.) Stethoscope like device used to listen for the sounds of tunneling/mining, through the ground.

    "Got the chop"

    Slang (RAF/RCAF) for being shot down and killed in action.

    "Got the wind up"

    Someone had a bad scare.

    Gott mit Uns

    German “God with Us".

    “Grab-and-Stumble Road"

    WWI slang for the Gravenstafel Road from the Menin Gate to the Ypres front.

    “Glamour Boys”

    Nickname for the 48th Highlanders of Canada.

    GNAT

    German naval acoustic torpedo. (“Zaunkonig” German aka T5).

    GOC

    General Officer Commanding.

    “Gone for a Burton”

    RAF slang for being shot down.

    GP

    General Purpose.

    GPO

    Gun Position Officer (artillery).

    GPO

    Government Post Office (England). Beside delivering the mail they installed telephone lines in the United Kingdom.

    GQG

    (WWI) Grand Quartier General. The general headquarters of the French army 1914-19.

    GR

    General reconnaissance.

    “Greenland air gap”

    This was the 600 to 800 mile swath of ocean S. W. of Iceland that in 1943 that could not be covered by land based aircraft to protect convoys from U-boats.

    “Der Grosse Schlag"

    (Grm.) “The Big Show” – A major air attack in Dec. 1944 when the German army attacked the US Army in the Ardennes, Fr.

    "Green ones"

    Navy slang for a very high and heavy ocean wave, may reach 75 feet high.

    "Groupie"

    RAF slang for a Group Captain.

    GRU

    Br. (WWI) Grave Registration Unit.

    "German Grupp"

    Basic German flying unit.

    GSR

    Graves Registration Service.

    Gunner /Gnr.

    The artillery regiment equivalent to a private.

    GUF

    Gibraltar to USA fast westbound convoy.

    Gunnery Officer

    Navy. Also see PCO.

    GUS

    Gibraltar to USA slow convoy.

    H+30 etc.

    H-Hours following at intervals after the first hour of landing.

    H2S

    A highly secret navigational radar developed in 1943 (Br.) to replace the “Gee” radar. It
    could read through thick cloud an give a picture of the terrain below. H2S was onboard aircraft.

    HAA

    Heavy Anti-Aircraft.

    HAG

    Heavy Artillery Group. Heavy and long range artillery in WWI.

    “Hallies" / “Hally Bag”

    Slang for Halifax bomber.

    "Happy Valley"

    Allied aircrew referred to the Ruhr Valley in Germany because of the heavy German flack and air cover, a dangerous spot to fly.

    "Harbor"

    In the Armoured Corps ”harbor” was slang for “an administrative area out of direct enemy fire.

    "Harry Tates"

    (RFC) slang for the B.E and R.E. 8 British aircraft in WWI.

    “Hasty P’s”

    Hasting & Prince Edward Regiment.

    “Have a go!”

    (RCAF) Exhortation in the air and on the ground.

    “Hawkins grenades”

    A Canadian small anti-tank mine, 2.25 lbs. could be shallowly buried or thrown from a vehicle.

    HCU

    Heavy Conversion Unit, training on large bombers. The ‘finishing school’ before flying operational flights. Shortened to CU.

    HE

    High Explosive.

    HE

    (Navy) Hydrophone Effect. Following and attacking a submarine by sound alone.

    Heads

    Ships toilets.

    “Heavy marching order"

    (WWI) A full pack and kit weighing at least 70 pounds, not including a weapon.

    “He bought it”

    Shot down, killed.

    “Heimatschuss”

    Gr. Literally a ‘home shot’ the German equivalent of a Blighty One.

    HF

    Harassing Fire (artillery).

    HF/DF

    High-frequency Direction Finding aka. “Huff Duff”.

    "Hide"

    The temporary placement of artillery in the field of conflict.

    "Hiney"

    (Cdn.) Slang for a German soldier. (WWI)

    H-Hour

    Time set for attack.

    HMCS

    His / Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship.

    HMG

    Heavy Machine Gun.

    HMS

    His/Her Majesty’s Ship (Royal Navy).

    HO

    Hostilities Only. Enlisted into service for the duration of the war. Not professional personal.

    “Hobert’s Funnies”

    Maj. General Percy Hobert formed and trained a secret armoured force for the invasion of France. They designed a number of tank varients such as: the DD (Duplex Drive tank, Flail tank to clear mines and the “Crocodile – flame-thrower tank.

    “Holzminer”

    German land mines with wooden cases that were difficult to detect.

    HOMP

    Halifax Ocean Meeting Point.

    “Horsefly"

    (Am.) Same as Br. Air Observation Post.

    "HOW"

    Slang for a Howitzer gun. (WWI)

    HQ

    Any headquarters.

    HSD

    Higher Submarine Detector (Naval rating).

    HTM

    (WWI) Heavy Trench Mortar. Usually 6-inch “Newtons” later in 1918 would include 9.45-Inch.

    "Hun"

    German aircraft.

    HUP

    Heavy Utility Personnel carrier. (4x4 station wagon).

    H.V.

    High Velocity gun used by the Germans in WWI.

    HX

    Fast Convoy leaving Halifax, NS.

    IAS

    Indicated Air Speed.

    IAU

    Intelligence Assault Unit. First in action use as No.10 Platoon, 30 Commando / 30 A.U. at Dieppe, 19/08/42.

    IFF

    Identification Friend or Foe. An electronic signal sent out by returning aircraft as they approached England (RAF).

    IG

    Instructors in gunnery (Artillery).

    Illuminated Gun Sights

    Special sights used to facilitate night firing.

    “Intense Artillery Fire”

    5 rounds per gun per minute for 3 minutes by Field Artillery. Also see Rapid.

    Independent Companies

    Organized originally for operations in Norway during WWII from companies of Regular Army units.

    Indirect Fire

    The term used when artillery gunners can’t see their target.

    I/O

    Interrogating Officer, debriefed returning aircrew. (WWII)

    IO

    Intelligence Officer.

    IOM

    (WWI) Scrap.

    “I figure, I reckon”

    (RCAF) Chad, in preface to the real gen.

    “Indianerkrieg"

    (Germ.) Description of Allied troops skill at ‘field-craft” and small group night-infiltration.

    “Indians”

    (Gr.) Enemy aircraft. (WWII)

    "Indian file"

    (WWI) slang for marching in single file.

    Inf. Bdes.

    Infantry Brigades.

    “Intrepid”

    (RCAF) Sticking your neck out.

    "Irish"

    The Irish Regiment of Canada.

    "Iron rations"

    (WWI) Hard tack (biscuits & canned corned-beef. Also known as ‘field rations’.

    ISTO

    (Br.) Inter-Service Topographical Department. Developed maps and plans for raids.

    “I-tag”

    Slang for Identity Tags. (Cdn.) aka –‘Dog Tags’.

    ITC

    (RCAF) Initial Training Course.

    ITS

    Initial Training School, Basic Navigator training (RCAF).

    ITW

    Initial Training Wing – first phase of air crew training.

    TermDefinition
    JATP

    Joint Air Training Plan.

    JCLO

    RCAF slang for "Jesus Christ's Liason Officer" aka the Padre of any denomination.

    JCS

    Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    “Jagdeschwade”

    (Gr.) “Hunting Group” a combining of four ‘Jasta’ to gain air superiority of an area. (WWI)

    “Jagdeschwader”

    (Gr.) Refers to fighter aircraft like the Bf 109. (WWII)

    “Jagdstaffel /Jasta”

    (Gr.) “Hunting packs” equivalent to a RFC / RNAS ‘Fighter Sqd. Introduced in 1916, usually consisting of 14 aircraft. (WWI)

    “Jake”

    WWI slang for fine or good.

    "Jasta"

    (Gr.) Fighter squadron. (WWI)

    JATP

    Joint Air Training Plan (British Commonwealth).

    “Jemadar”

    Lieutenant in the Indian army.

    “Jerry / Jerries”

    Slang for any German.

    JIC

    (Br.) Joint Intelligence Command (Naval / Military / Air Force).

    “Jimmy the one"

    (Cdn.) Slang for the second-in-command on a Corvette.

    "Jinking"

    RAF/RCAF slang for taking evasive action.

    "Jobos"

    (Gr.) Slang for Allied aircraft in WWII.

    ‘Johnny Gun’

    M1941 Johnson Machine Gun. Semi-automatic or Full-auto, 25 round clip rate of fire of 200 – 600 rounds per minute.

    “Joyride Shoot”

    (WWI) To describe a particular method of intimidating or disrupting enemy activity.

    JNO’s

    Standardized assault orders. The ‘J’ is in reference to “Jubilee” the code name for the raid on Dieppe, France in August 1942.

    Kacmarek

    (Gr.) “Wingman” in the Luftwaffe.

    Kaisershlacht

    (Gr.) “Battle for the Emperor” aka: Operation Michael in the spring of 1918.

    Kampfengruppen

    (Gr.) For an improvised battle group, tactically self-contained group of all arms, infantry, artillery, armor and supports.

    Kampfgeschwader

    (Gr.) bomber aircraft.

    Kanone

    German Private soldier.

    Kapo

    (Br.) Slang: Trusty.

    KBS

    (Br.) Kite Baloon Section. Usually located 2 – 5 miles behind the front lines to spot the fall of artillery shells. (WWI)

    “K. Gr.100”

    German Luftwaffe’s ‘Pathfinder Group of WWII.'

    K-Gun

    Launched depth charges from the port and starboard sides of allied war ship.

    "K. R. Can."

    King’s Regulations Canada.

    “Keil und Kessel”

    (Gr.) A wedge and Kettle maneuver to split and attack a force and trap the enemy parts.

    “Kesselring”

    (Gr.) A sporting term meaning to surround a force and drive it outwards.

    "Ki"

    A naval term for a hot drink ‘like’ a coco. A thick base of cocoa to which had to be added just the right amount of hot water, milk and sugar. A mainstay for watch keepers at sea.

    KIA

    Killed in Action.

    “Killick”

    Slang for an enlisted seaman.

    “King’s Burlap”

    Slang for the uniform worn by Cdn. Soldiers in WWII.

    Kinmel Camp

    Located near Rhyl, Wales, A roit of Canadian troops in March 1919 resulted in five killed and 23 injured.

    "Kite"

    British slang for any aircraft or one’s own aircraft.

    KLIM

    Dried milk product in WWII. The cans were used to make many items used in the “Great Escape” of POW’s in WWII. (KLIM is MILK spelled backwards).

    “Knackered”

    (Br.) slang for exhausted / tired.

    KR & AI

    King’s Regulations & Admiralty Instructions.

    “Kiregies”

    Short for Krieg Gefangenen, German for POW’s.

    KP

    Kitchen Patrol.

    Kraut

    Slang for German soldier.

    "Kriegsgefangenen”

    (Gr.) for POW’s who called themselves “kriegies”.

    KS

    A petrol / Phosphorus mixture used in Russian flamethrowers. When used in glass bottles and thrown by infantry at German tanks in WWII they were known as “Molotov Cocktails”.

    "Kukri"

    A leaf-shaped 18” long fighting knife issued to Gurkha riflemen.

    KV

    A Russian tank of WWII of 52 tons.

    KW

    Krzyz Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour).

    Kye

    Navy slang for a hot drink made from a block of coarse chocolate, scoops of sugar and canned milk served very hot.

    Laager

    Tank parking lot.

    LAC

    Landing Craft Assault. A 41ft. wooded boat carrying a maximum of 30 troops.

    LAC

    Lost at Sea (WW 1 term)

    LAC

    (RCAF) Leading aircraftsman, equal to a Corporal in the army.

    LACW

    Leading aircraftwoman.

    LAD

    Light Aid Detachment. Did major repairs to equipment in the field.

    LADO

    Light Aid Detachment Officer.

    LDAO

    Law, Discipline, Administration & Organization.

    L-Detachment

    The precursor of the SAS, served in North Africa, first commander David Stirling.

    “Lanser”

    (Gr.) A Germen Soldier – equivalent of “Tommy” (Br.), “Poilu (Fr.) or “Doughboy” (Am.).

    LAH

    (Gr.) Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler – 1st SS Battalion.

    “Large America”

    (WWI) RNAS slang for the American Curtis H.12 Flying Boat.

    LAS

    Lost At Sea.

    LAW

    Leading Air Woman.

    LBW

    Landing Bardge.

    LCA

    Landing Craft Assault. A 41ft. wooded boat carrying a maximum of 30 troops.

    LCE

    Landing Craft Equipment.

    LCF

    Light Coastal Forces. Naval ships such as Motor Gun Boats, Torpedo Boats and launches that were all fast and light.

    LCF

    Landing Craft Flak. Armed with 4 double barreled 2 lb. guns plus 10 double barreled 20 mm Oerlikon guns for anti-aircraft defense.

    LCG

    Landing Craft Gun-Armed (USN).

    LCI

    Landing Craft Infantry.

    LCM

    Landing Craft Mechanical/Mechanized. A 50ft. steel vessel usually carrying one tank or 100 men.

    LCOCU

    Landing Craft Obstacle Clearance Unit.

    LCP

    Landing Craft Personnel.

    LCR

    Landing Craft Rockets.

    L/Cpl.

    Lance Corporal.

    LCT

    Landing Craft Tank.

    LCT (A)

    Landing Craft Transport, Assault.

    LCT (R)

    Landing Craft Transport, Rocket.

    LCV

    Landing Craft Vehicles.

    LCVP

    Landing Craft Vehicles & Personnel.

    LDV

    (Br.) Local Defence Volunteer, the forerunner of the Veteran’s Guard or Home Guard.

    "Lead swingers"

    Someone who is in the forces and wants out or does not want to join.

    “Les pantaloons rouges”

    Prior to WWI and into 1914 the term referred to French Infantry who had adopted red trousers as their uniform. Later replaced by the term “Poilu”.

    "Lehr"

    (Gr.) Demonstration unit.

    "Lemonade rags"

    (WWI – slang) Reference to the Khaki kilts worn by the Canadian Scottish 16th Battalion to protect the tartan.

    Lewes Bomb

    Invent by Jock Lewes (SAS) aka a “Sticky bomb”. A deadly incendiary and blast charge made of Thermite and a plastic explosive, first used in 1941 against grounded German aircraft attacked by SAS troopers.

    LFC

    (Am.) Lieutenant 1st Class.

    LI

    Light Infantry.

    “Lichtenstein”

    (Gr.) Airborne radar sets in night-fighters used to locate Allied aircraft.

    Light Stokes

    Smaller caliber trench mortar. (WWI)

    “Like shit through a goose”

    (RCAF) Not wasting any time.

    Limey

    Slang for English soldier.

    “Little Old Red Patch”

    Aka 1st Canadian Division identified by a patch of red on the left shoulder. Begun in WWI.

    LMF

    Lack of Moral Fiber. [a.k.a. cowardice in the face of the enemy]. A much hated term used by the RAF & RCAF to describe battle fatigue and was put in a man’s record. It may also include up to 180 days of detention for NCO’s and Cashiering from the service for an officer.

    LMG

    Light machine gun.

    “Lancs”

    (Br.) slang for the Lancaster bomber.

    LOOB

    Left Out of Battle. Begun during the Great War this practice left a number of officers and other ranks behind to make a core of experienced troops should the main unit be decimated. In WWII it was a % of a unit as reserves.

    LORAN

    Low-frequency navigational system, the signal followed the curvature of the earth. Long range navigation used over the Atlantic ocean.

    "Lord Haw-Haw"

    William Joyce. British traitor, who made wartime propaganda for Germany. He was executed in 1946.

    "Lower Deck"

    Naval term for non-commissioned ratings.

    "Loyal Eddies"

    Loyal Edmonton Regiment.

    LRDG

    Long Range Desert Group. British unit that served in North Africa in WWII.

    L/S

    Leading Seaman.

    LSI

    Landing Ship Infantry, made from medium size converted passenger liners.

    LSR

    Lake Superior Regiment.

    LST

    Landing Ship Tank.

    2/Lt.

    Second Lieutenant, lowest officer rank in the army; entitled to wear one pip on each shoulder; hence “one pipper”.

    Lt. Col.

    Lieutenant Colonel.

    LTT

    Link Training Test. (RCAF/RAF) aka “flight simulator”.

    “Lufflotten”

    German Air Fleets. (WWII)

    “Luftwaffe”

    German Air Force. (WWII)

    LVT

    Land Vehicles Tracked. ie: Buffaloes.

    LZ

    Landing Zone.

    TermDefinition
    M-1

    (Am.) Standard issue infantry rifle.

    M & V

    Dehydrated meat and vegetables.

    MAC-Ships

    Converted bulk freighters converted to ‘Merchant Aircraft Carries’.

    “Mae West”

    Inflatable life jacket reference to the Hollywood actress of the same name.

    “Maisies”

    Slang for La Regiment de Maisionneuve.

    "Mal-de-mar"

    Sea sickness.

    Manning Depot

    A place that introduced men to the RCAF training.

    MAP

    Ministry of Aircraft Production. (Br.)

    "Marmites"

    Also know as ‘Sew pots’ by the British in WWI were 210 and 150mm German artillery shells.

    Marquis

    A member of one of the French underground resistance groups.

    Maple Leaf Club

    (WWI) Actually the King George & Queen Mary Maple Leaf Club, was an inexpensive and safe base for Canadian servicemen on leave in London, England.

    “Marine Einsatzkommando”

    (Gr.) Also known as MARES, German Commandos.

    MAS

    Missing at Sea.

    "Master"

    Nickname for the Miles Master – RAF trainer used by the RAF due to it’s similar characteristics to the Spitfire.

    MAUD

    British scientific committee researching an atomic bomb theory in 1940.

    Maxim gun

    A generic term for a medium tripod mounted machine gun. Canadian troops were trained on captured German “Maschinengewer” 1908 aka. MG08.

    "McNaughton’s Traveling Circus”

    Reference to the 1st Canadian Infantry Division in 1940 .

    "May day"

    Distress call.

    MBE

    Member of the British Empire.

    MC

    Military Cross.

    MDS

    Main Dressing Station. (WWI)

    MEAC

    Middle-East Air Command.

    MERF

    Middle East Raiding Force. (Br.) Made up of 246 officers and men based in Palestine; established in October 1943.

    "Mes."

    German ME109 fighter (RAF slang).

    Messerschmitt

    A German corporation that manufactured aircrafts in WWII. ie. Me 109.

    “Meteors / Met ”

    Meteorological reports on wind direction, humidity and temperature.

    “Meteor telegram”

    A telegram sent by the Meteorological Section of the Regiment (artillery) giving information on wind speed & direction, temperature & humidity and other such information that must be considered for effective artillery fire.

    MEW

    Ministry of Economic Warfare.

    MF/DF

    Medium Frequency / Direction Finding. An early means to determine an aircrafts position over the UK. (WWII) This was pre-HF/DF on Canadian ships.

    MG

    Machine gun.

    MGB

    Motor Gun Boat.

    MI14

    (Br.) Military Intelligence Branch.

    MIA

    Missing In Action.

    M/KIA

    Missing In Action / later declared dead.

    "Mick"

    RCN slang for a hammock.

    MiD

    Mentioned in Dispatches.

    Militia

    (Cdn.) Not regular army.

    “Mike target, Mike target, Mike target”

    Call of concentrated artillery fire of all 24 regimental (Cdn.) on a single target.

    “Minnenwerfer”

    (WWI) A German mine thrower a.k.a “minnie”. German trench mortar in WWII.

    "Minnies"

    (Br.) German Minenwerfers. (WWI) The German motor the French called ‘crapouillots’ fired gas, incendiary and explosive shells.

    Mission

    Sortie, trip, operation.

    ML

    Motor Launch.

    MLC

    Motor Landing Craft (Br. assault boat).

    MLO

    Military Landing Officer. Army. Also see Beachmaster.

    MLR

    Main Line of Resistance.

    MLS

    Motor Launch Seamen.

    MO

    Medical Officer.

    Mike Target

    Target calling for fire of all 24 guns of a Field Regiment.

    “Moaning Minnies” (aka. Nebelwerfers)

    A German WWII rocket launcher of 6 or 10 barrels (tubes) that fired 150 mm. 75lb. rockets 7300 yds., or 210mm. 248lb. rockets 8600yds., or 300mm. 277lb. rockets 5000yds. (WWII)

    MM

    Military Medal.

    MOEF

    Mid-Ocean Escort Force. Replaced the NEF in February, 1942.

    "Moling"

    (RAF) A modest daylight incursion into enemy territory.

    “Molotov Cocktails”

    See “KS”.

    MOMP

    Mid Ocean Meeting Point.

    MOPA

    Military Object Previously Attacked (RCAF).

    "Moreps"

    Motor reports of enemy motor positions.

    MT

    Motorized Transport. (WWI)

    "Mouse-holing"

    The procedure of blowing holes with explosives between adjoining buildings to allow troops to proceed from building to building.

    MoWT

    Ministry of War Transport.

    MP's

    Military Police.

    MPI

    Mean Point of Impact. Location for bombs dropped from medium bombers and fighter-bomber.

    MRCP

    Mobile Radar Control Post. Radar to coordinate medium and fighter bombers and ground forces.

    MRES

    (RAF) Missing Research & Equiry Service. Mandated to locate and identify all RAF crew reported missing in Europe after WWII.

    MREU/MRES

    Missing Research & Enquiring Unit/ Service. Tasked after WWII to identify and relocate bodies in unidentified graves.

    MSFU

    Merchant Ship Fighter Unit. The RAF unit on a merchant ship equipped with a catapult and a Hurricane fighter to provide convoy protection.

    MSM

    Meritorious Service Medal.

    MT

    Motor Transport.

    MTB

    (Br.) Motor Torpedo Boat.

    MTVRD

    Motor Transport Vehicle Reception Depot (motor pool).

    "Mufti"

    Civilian dress for military.

    "Mulligan"

    A ‘stew’ prepared with whatever was available ie: meat, crushed hardtack biscuit, rolled oats, oxo cubes, salt and mustard for example.

    “Mussolini scrape”

    Slang for the shoes worn by Italian peasants made from old tires and rope.

    Mustard Gas

    (WWI) Developed by the Germans, actually dichoroethyl sulfide, it was a vesicant gas that caused blistering of any exposed skin or mucus tissue, it could lay dormant for long periods of time, especially useful against artillery.

    MV

    Muzzle Velocity.

    NAAF

    North-West African Air Force.

    NAAFI

    (Br.) Navy, Army and Air Force Institute.

    Nachtjagdgeschwader

    German night-fighter squadron.

    NAG

    (USN) Naval Armed Guards consisting of gunners and signalmen that sailed on merchant ships.

    “Napooed”

    Hit by enemy fire. (WWI) Corrupted from the French ‘Ilnyena plus’ – there is no
    more or anything that was finished.

    NASAF

    North-West African Strategic Air Force.

    NATAF

    North-West African Tactical Air Force.

    National Guard

    (Am.) Not regular army.

    "Nattering"

    Unnecessary talking over the planes intercom.

    Nautical twilight

    Also known as “sailor’s dawn” – with a clear horizon at sea he is supposed to detect first light when the sun is still 6 - 12 degrees below the horizon.

    NAV

    (RAF) Navigator.

    NAV B

    (RAF) Navigator / Bomber.

    NAV W

    (RAF) Navigator / Wireless Operator.

    Naval / AG

    Naval Air Gunner. (RAF-Coastal Command)

    NBH

    New Brunswick Hussars. (Tank Regt. Italy).

    NCDU

    Naval Combat Demolition Unit.

    NCO

    Non-Commissioned Officer. All warrant officers, sergeants and corporals.

    NCSO

    Naval Control Service Officer. Determined sailing order for convoys.

    Nebels

    Slang for Nebelwerfer.

    Nebelwerfers

    See “Moaning Minnies”.

    NEF

    Newfoundland Escort Force (RCN), established in May 1941. Escorted it’s 1st convoy 2/06/1941.

    “Newfie" / "Derry”

    (RCN) The convoy run in WWII from Newfoundland to Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

    Newtons 6-inch

    (WWI) Large caliber trench mortar used in close infantry support.

    NFT

    Night Flying Test. A pre-mission test flight to check out an aircrews performance.

    “Nickel Op." / "Nickels" / "Nickling"

    A mission to drop leaflets over enemy territory or occupied countries in WWII.

    NID

    Naval Intelligence Division (RN).

    NOIC

    Navy Officer in Command.

    NP

    Neuropsychiatric. Also known as “Battle fatigue”.

    Nr.

    Near.

    NRMA

    (Cdn.) National Resources Mobilization Act 1940 – Conscription.

    NSHQ

    Naval Services Headquarters (Ottawa pre-1942).

    NTR

    Nothing to report.

    NYD

    (Br.) Not Yet Diagnosed. Nervous condition may be ‘shell-shock’. (WWI)

    OAFU

    (RCAF) Overseas Advanced Flying Unit.

    Oberheflshaber Sued. (OB Sud.)

    (Gr.) Commander-in-Chief South. In 1943 this was Generalfield- Marshall Albert Kesselring in Italy. “Smiling Albert”.

    Oboe

    An electronic target location device, usually carried in pathfinder Mosquito aircraft in
    1943. Usually using signal from two ground stations.

    Observer

    Later replaced by Navigator (RAF).

    OBV

    Ocean Boarding Vessel. An armed merchant ship staffed with Royal Navy gunners.

    OC

    Officer Commanding.

    O/C

    Operational Intelligence Centre.

    OCS

    (Am.) Officer Candidate School (Officer Training).

    OCTU

    Officer Cadet Training Unit.

    OCU

    Operational conversion unit (RCAF).

    OS

    Ordinary Seaman.

    Oerlikon

    20mm Naval gun.

    “Ofenrohr”

    (Gr.) Shoulder fired weapon resembling an American ‘Bazooka’.

    O-Group / OGp.

    Orders Group where orders setting out tactics for a coming action are given to participating commanders.

    OHL

    (Gr.) Oberste Heerseleitung – WWI German High Command.

    OIC

    Operational Intelligence Centre.

    OKW

    German Armed Force High Command. (WWII)

    ON

    Fast Westbound Convoy. Usually with accompanying number ie: ON42.

    ONS

    Slow Westbound Convoy.

    OOW

    Officer of the Watch (Navy).

    Operation Overlord

    Plan for the invasion of Europe 6 June, 1944.

    Operation Michael

    Also known as Kaiserschlacht, ‘Emperor’s Battle, Spring Offensive of 1918.

    OP

    Observation Post.

    O – Pip / OboePeter

    Observation Post.

    O.O.C.

    (RAF) “Out Of Control” a term to describe the situation of an enemy aircraft reported being attacked.

    “Ops”

    Combat operations or mission (RCAF).

    “Ops Room”

    Operation room for crew assembly (RCAF).

    OR

    Other Ranks (Not Officers).

    ORB

    Operational Record Book (RCAF).

    ORS

    Operational Record Section (RCAF) / Operational Research Station.

    OS

    Out bound slow convoy going west from UK ports.

    OSS

    (Am.) Office of Strategic Services – forerunner of the CIA.

    OTF

    Operational Training Flight.

    OTU

    Operational Training Unit. Follows AFU (RCAF).

    OUAS

    Oxford University Air Squadron. (pre-WWII)

    "Over the bags"

    Leaving the trenches to attack the enemy.

    Ox-box

    Slang for the Airspeed Oxford, twin-engine monoplane used a and advanced trainer in the BCATP.

    TermDefinition
    25 – pdr.

    WWII gun – howitzer using a high explosive shell weighing twenty-five pounds.

    PAC

    Parachute and Cable Device.

    Palliasses

    A straw or other soft filled mattress.

    "Pancake"

    (RAF) An order to come back to base and land.

    Panzerarmee

    The German Afrika Corps Tank Division.

    Panzerfaust

    A German (WWII) hand-held, on shot, throw away anti-tank weapon. Its missle could pierce 80mm of armour at up to 80 meters. The British PIAT was effective up to 100 meters and the American Bazooka could not penetrate any main battle tank frontal armour.

    Panzerjager

    (Gr.) Anti-tank gunner. (WWII)

    Panerturm

    The turrets from Mk. III & IV tanks, mounted atop concrete casements with a 75mm gun plus machine guns and rocket launchers. With a three man crew they were first encountered in Italy.

    Parapet

    (WWI) A mound of earth or sand bags that ran in front of a trench.

    Parados

    (WWI) A mound of earth or sand bags that ran behind a trench.

    Pay parade

    Means by which the forces were paid on duty.

    "Pasting"

    RAF slang for receiving a heavy attack.

    PBI

    Poor Bloody Infantry. (WWI)

    PBO

    Poor Bloody Observer. Also known as a Winged ‘O’. (WWI)

    PCO

    Principle Control Officer (Navy) Responsible for gunnery control on ships with multiple guns.

    PDC

    Pilot disposal centre.

    "Penguins"

    Kriegie (POW’s) who secretly carried sand away from escape tunnels.

    Peraxin

    Trench Fever.

    ‘Permanent Force’

    In reference to the Canadian Army in the summer of 1939 consisted of 4,261 Officers and Men + a militia of 46,500 Militia Soldiers.

    PFC

    (Am.) Private 1st Class.

    PFF

    Path Finder Force (Air force).

    PJBD

    Permanent Joint Board of Defence. The committee for Canada / USA co-operation.

    PSU

    (Br.) Phantom Signals Unit Secret WWII communications force.

    PH-Helmet

    British ‘gas helmet’ used in the early days of WWI consisting of a flannel bag treated with phenate-hexamine, and eyepieces, tucked into the tunic for protection against chlorine gas.

    "Phantoms"

    (Br.) Headquarters Liaison Regt.

    "Phony War"

    The period between 3/09/1939 and 8/04/1940.

    Phosgene gas

    A compound of Chlorine and carbon monoxide. A choking gas in 1918 the Germans used it in artillery shells.

    PIAT

    Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank. A hand held anti-tank weapon of Commonwealth forces. Came in 2, 6, and 17 pound versions.

    Pigeon Service

    A much used method of communication in the field. (WWI)

    Pivot gun

    The right hand gun in each group of four artillery pieces making up a troop.

    "Planting"

    Refers to dropping sea-mines from aircraft. Also see "Gardening and Vegetables".

    PLDG

    Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. Cdn. Reconnaissance unit in WWII. Aka ‘Plugs’, ‘Piddley Gee’.

    "Plough Jockeys"

    Nickname for the Hastings & Prince Edward Regt.

    PNM

    “Pipe Noise Markers” aka “Foxer” in the RN. Slang for CAT anti-acoustic torpedo equipment towed by Navy ships.

    P/O

    Pilot Officer (RCAF) – 1st level of commissioned officer.

    PO

    Petty Officer (Navy).

    “Poilu”

    A slang term adopted in WWI to refer to French Infantry. Literally meaning ‘hairy’ it became ingrained in the national consciousness as a symbol of their suffering and doggedness.

    "Polders"

    Rectangular fields built by the Dutch from reclaimed coastal areas and pumped dry for farming.

    Pongos

    (Br.) Slang for a British soldier.

    “Portapee”

    (Gr.) The sword and waist belt worn by a German officer. (WWI)

    POU

    (WWI) Pains of an Unknown Origin or ‘medically’ Pyrexia of unknown Origin, ie: The 1918 Spanish flu outbreak.

    “Pour le Merite”

    (Gr.) Create by Frederick the Great of Prussia was Germany’s most coveted military medal. Frederick only spoke French thus the name of the Order.

    POW

    Prisoner of War

    PPCLI

    Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

    PPF

    Path Finder Force. Highly trained crews that ‘marked’ targets for the main bombing force (RAF / RCAF). (WWII)

    PPI

    Plan Position Indicator. The plot on early RAF radar.

    PPO

    Provisional pilot Officer (a 1939-40 rank for pilots being trained for the RCAF).

    PR

    (RAF) Photo Reconnaissance.

    "Prang"

    Crashed / damaged air craft or for a city being bombed “pranged”.

    PRC

    Personal Receiving Centre (RAF/RCAF).

    "Prize Money"

    Through greatly modified from it’s 18th century beginnings, awarded to air or sea Captains who sank an enemy ship or submarine, it was given until the end of WWII.

    PRO

    Public Relations Officer.

    Pro. Station

    Prophylactic Station.

    PRU

    (RAF/RCAF) Photo Reconnaissance Unit.

    P.T.

    Physical training.

    “Pukka Gen”

    Correct or authorative information or information not wanted (RCAF).

    “Pundit crawling”

    (RAF) Slang for night flying using electronic signals to identify air fields.

    Pundits

    Also known as beacons; a navigational aid to identify a ground position.

    "Purple"

    A Japanese code name aka “Magic by the Americans."

    "Put up a black"

    (RCAF) Break the rules, being a clot.

    PW

    British for Prisoner of War, also known as a POW.

    QDM

    Wireless Q-code – “course to fly to reach me”. A magnetic course to steer for base, assuming zero wind.

    QGH

    Wireless Q-code – “requesting radio-controlled approach”.

    QM

    Quartermaster.

    QOR / QORofC

    Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

    Quad

    Four-wheel gun towing vehicle, also known as a F.A.T.

    "Quandrant"

    Code name for the Quebec conference in 1943.

    "Quads"

    Humpbacked gun tractors (Br./Cdn.) generally known as ‘quads’, short for quadrupeds because of their (4x4) four wheel drive.

    "Queen Marys"

    British slang for a low-loading lorrey (truck) used in the recovery of wrecked aircraft.

    "Quisling"

    In reference to Vidkum Quisling, the Norwegian Nazi Premier of the Norwegian puppet government. A “quisling” is anyone who helped betray their country.
    Norwegian collaborators were referred to as ‘quislings’.

    "Quit twisting my arm"

    Sure I’ll have a drink.

    R22eR

    Royal 22nd Regt. “Van Doos”

    R-Boat

    German Motor Gun Boat. (WWII)

    R-Talk

    Radio Talk.

    R/T

    Radio telephone.

    R.A.

    Royal Artillery.

    RAAF

    Royal Australian Air Force.

    RAF

    Royal Air Force, replace the RFC and RNAS 1/04/1918.

    "Raff"

    (Br.) Infantry slang for the RAF.

    RAFVR

    Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (WWII)

    RAMC

    Royal Army Medical Corps.

    "Ramrod"

    Air force squadron strength: an operation in which the destruction of the target was the prime purpose. Also a fighter escorted daylight raid.

    "Ranger"

    Air force term for: a strong fighter sweep in search of German fighters, usually close to enemy airfields.

    RAP

    Regimental Aid Post. (WWI)

    "Rapid Artillerary Fire"

    1 ½ rounds per minute for medium guns and 1 round per minute for heavy guns.

    R-Boats

    Raid boats used by British commando.

    RCAF

    Royal Canadian Air Force.

    RCAF-WD

    Royal Canadian Air Force – Women’s Division (17,000).

    RCASC

    Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.

    RCDC

    Royal Canadian Dental Corps.

    RCEROD

    Royal Canadian Engineers Railway Operating Division.

    RCHA

    Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (a.k.a 1st Field Regt.).

    RCM

    Radio Counter Measures. Jamming enemy radar and night-fighter communications.

    RCN

    Royal Canadian Navy. The permanent naval force of Canada prior to 1939. Officers had joined the permanent force and had been through naval college. Officers rank war denoted by broad straight strips.

    RCNAS

    Royal Canadian Naval Air Service. (WWI)

    RCNVR

    Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. A WWII force of naval personnel recruited for “Hostilities Only”. Officers rank was denoted by thin zigzag stripes, the “Wavy Navy”.

    RCNR

    Royal Canadian Naval Reserve. The officers came from the merchant marine. Officers rank was denoted by crisscross stripes.

    RCT

    (Am.) Regional Combat Team or Regimental Combat Team.

    RDF

    Range Detection Finding (the early name for Radar).

    RDFO

    Radar Officer (Navy).

    RE

    Royal Engineers.

    Recco

    Reconnaissance operation searching for Huns or ground targets.

    "Reece"

    Armed reconnaissance.

    “Regia Aeronautica”

    The Italian Air Force in WWII.

    "Reginas"

    Regina Rifle Regiment.

    "Reliable fix"

    The location of an aircraft at any moment.

    REME

    Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. Responsible for more sophisticated repairs.

    RFA

    Royal Field Artillery.

    RFC

    Royal Flying Corps. (WWI)

    RFP

    (Br.) Radio Finger Printing.

    RFS

    Return Ferry Service. Returned ferry crews from England back to North America. Est. in May 1940.

    RG

    Rear Gunner.

    RGA

    Royal Garrison Artillery.

    RHQ

    Regimental Headquarters.

    RHR

    Royal Highland Regiment of Canada (Black Watch).

    RNFAA

    Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (later shortened to FAA).

    RNR

    Royal Navy Reserve.

    RNVR

    Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

    RNZAF

    Royal New Zealand Air Force.

    "Roadstead"

    Air force term for a squadron strength attack on enemy shipping at sea or in harbour.

    ROD

    Railway Operating Div. (WWI)

    "Rodeo"

    Air force term for a sweep without bomber to draw the enemy into action.

    "Ronson"

    Infantry slang referring to the Sherman tank that was prone to ‘Brewing’ – catching fire.

    ROP

    Report of Proceedings; the official report of operations at sea.

    "Ropey"

    Slang (RAF) for a particularly bad landing.

    Rover Mission

    (RCAF) In the Italian campaign 1944 fighter/bombers with no specific target until called up by a forward control post.

    RRC

    Royal Regiment of Canada.

    R/T

    Radio telephone (Navy). Radio transmitter (RCAF).

    RTO

    Railway Transport Officer.

    RTR

    (Br.) Royal Tank Regt.

    RTU

    Returned To Unit aka. ‘washed out’ not up to Royal Marine criteria for an enlistment, “the ultimate disgrace.”

    "Rum jar'

    (Br.) Slang for the German trench mortar projectile in WWI.

    RV

    Rendevous.

    RWR

    Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

    TermDefinition
    SA

    Small Arms.

    SAAF

    South African Air Force.

    SBA

    (RCAF) Standard Bean Approach used during instrument approach landings during obstructed view approaches (fog, heavy rain etc) accurate to 100 -200 ft. of a runway.

    "Sally Ann"

    Slang for the Salvation Army who served soldiers during both Great Wars.

    "Salmons"

    RCN code for an all-out hunt “search & destroy U-Boat” – “hunt to exhaustion.

    "Sangers"

    (Urdu) or breastworks of loose stone where the ground is too hard to dig.

    "Sap"

    (WWI) a trench leading into ‘No-man’s land’.

    SAS

    (Br.) Special Air Service. Formed in July of 1941 by Brigadier Dudley Clark.

    SATC

    Small Arms Training Centre. (WWII)

    SBO

    Senior British Officer – A POW camp designation.

    SBR

    Small Box Respirator aka ‘gas mask'.

    SBS

    (Br.) Special Boat Service. Formed in early 1943 by Lord Jellico for amphibious raiding of enemy coastlines.

    SBT

    (Gr.) Submarine bubble-target an anti-Asdic decoy. (WWII)

    SC

    Slow Eastbound Convoy departing Sydney Nova Scotia.

    "Schemes"

    (Br.) Also known as maneuvers.

    “Schlactstaffen”

    (Gr.) WWI Battle flights that targeted ground troops with machine guns and bombs, introduced in 1917.

    “Schuhmines”

    Small German anti-personnel mines. Made from a small wood box making them hard to detect with 7 oz. of explosive, intended to maim not kill.

    “Schrage Musik”

    (Gr.) ‘Slanting Music’, upward firing canons mounded in a Junkers 88 aircraft.

    “Schrecklichmusik”

    Horrible music or Jazz music. Four upward firing machine guns on a Junkers 88 or ME110 for attacking bombers from below.

    “Schrapnellmien”

    German Mine aka. ‘Daisy cutters’ and ‘Bouncing Betsy’. When stepped on the mine sprang several feet in the air, explode with ball-bearing or scrap metal covering a 200 yard area.

    Schutzenmines

    (aka S-Mines) Anti personnel mines with 350 ball-bearings attached to a spring which ignited the fuse and sprang the canister about 3’ into the air before exploding.

    "Scrubbed"

    A cancelled operation mission.

    SD

    Sicherheitsdienst. – The intelligence arm of the Nazi Party.

    SE

    “Special Equipment” – The term RAF Coastal Command used to refer to radar equipment.

    SEAC

    South East Asia Command, established in August 1942.

    "Seelowe"

    (Gr.) Code name for “Operation Sea Lion, the German invasion of Great Britain 1940.

    “Second Dickey"

    The final flight with an experienced pilot before flying Ops (RCAF).

    SEMT

    Self – Evident Military Target.

    SGB

    Steam Gun Boat.

    Sgt.

    Sergeant.

    S/Sgt.

    (Am.) Staff Sergeant.

    "Shaky do"

    (RCAF) Rough go, a hazardous event.

    "Sharpen the old eye"

    One of Chad’s toasts at the bar.

    SHEAF

    Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.

    Sherman "Crab"

    One of Hobart’s ‘funnies’ a flail tank.

    "SHINGLE"

    Code name for the invasion at Anzio, Italy.

    Shit

    Inter-cloud flying with zero visiability.

    "Shit on the toast"

    A Freddy Green expression with many uses.

    "Shooting the shit"

    Reminiscing together with some fabrication.

    "Shot his bolt"

    An expression meaning all resources had been used up.

    SIB

    (Br.) Special Investigation Branch.

    “Sichelschnitt”

    (Gr.) A scything cut maneuver to cut off and liquidate a trapped force.

    "SIGINT"

    (Br.) Signals Intelligence.

    "Signals"

    (Br.) Communications.

    SIS

    (Br.) Special Intelligence Service.

    "Sit reps"

    Situation Reports.

    SIW

    Self-inflicted wound.

    SKL

    Seekriegsletung, ie. German Naval Staff WWII.

    S/L

    Squadron Leader.

    SLI

    Saskatoon Light Infantry, actually a mortar and machine gun unit.

    "Slim Emma"

    (Gr.) Schlanke Emma. A SKODA manufactured 305mm. howitzer only slight less powerful than the Krupp 380mm. naval gun.

    "Sling their hook"

    (RN.) Navy slang for a hammock.

    SLU

    Signal Liaison Unit. A select group of officers with ULTRA clearance of the most secret communications.

    "Shelrep"

    Shell report (artillery).

    S-Mine

    A German anti personnel weapon consisting of a canister filled with 350 ball-bearings an explosive charge, a stibby neck inged with little prongs showing. Brushing by one with boot it would spring up 3 feet in the air exploding the charge and ball-bearings.

    SNAFU

    Military slang for “Situation Normal All Fucked Up”.

    "Snappers"

    (RAF) slang for the German Bf109 fighter aircraft.

    "Snotty"

    Naval slang for a midshipman.

    "Snowdrops"

    RAF service police. Also known as S/P’s.

    SO

    (RCN) Senior Officer.

    S/O

    Section Officer, RCAF / Women’s Division.

    SOE

    Special Operations Executive. British spy organization in WWII. Aka. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

    SOE

    (Navy) Senior Officer of the Escort or Special Operations Executive – ‘secret agents’ (Military).

    Soft cap

    (WWI) A knit hat/toque, balaclava preferred head gear for night raids or patrols.

    "Somme Patches"

    (WWI – slang) Reference to the coloured patches sown on the shoulders of the CEF to provide Divisional identification: RED – 1st Div., BLUE – 2nd,
    GREY – 3rd and GREEN – 4th .

    “Sonderkommando”

    (Gr.) A suicide act of the German Air Force that tried to ram American bombers of the 8th USAAF in the last months of WWII.

    Sorties

    (RAF/RCAF) in the USAAF it would be a ‘mission’ also a ‘raid’ on the enemy. “Sortie in French would mean ‘Exit’.

    SOS

    Struck Off Strength, to indicate when an officer or had left the established strength of a unit.

    SOS Line

    Is the line beyond which it is required to bring down fire, avoiding friendly positions. (WWI)

    SP

    Self Propelled (often in reference to artillery).

    SP

    Service Police (Air Force).

    S/P

    Sergeant Pilot.

    Spam

    Tinned pork product.

    "Spandau"

    German machinegun MG. 38 had a fire rate of 1000 rpm. Aka “Burpgun” by US army.

    “Spahis”

    (Fr.) Originally light cavalry in WWII were armoured reconnaissance units.

    “Spare / Odd bods”

    British Airmen without a crew.

    S. P. Arty

    Self-propelled Artillery.

    "Sparks" / "Sparker"

    Naval slang for a radio operator.

    "Speed marching"

    Commando style of covering 9 miles in 90 minutes a combination of walking and running.

    “Sperrgruppe”

    (Gr.) A group only intended to dig in and fight a defensive battle.

    "Spider Web Patrols"

    (WWI) A pattern of flight paths by a number of flying boats on anti-sub- marine duty that resembled a spiders web to cover the largest area of sea.

    “Split-arse pilot”

    (RAF) An approach to land or flying that bordered on recklessness.

    “Spoofing Gear”

    (Br.) RAF – Introduced in May 1942, an electronic device carried in British bombers to make one bomber look like seven or eight to enemy radar.

    "Spout"

    Code name for the area between the Isle of Wight and the Normandy assault area.

    "Sprog"

    Air force term for a new fledgling aircrew or new pilot.

    "Spy"

    RCAF slang for the Intelligence Officer.

    Squadron

    The basic Allied air force flying unit of 24 planes.

    SRD

    Special Ration Dept. Stamp on rum ration jars (WWI) aka “Seldom Reaches Destination”.

    SRS

    Special Raiding Squadron (Br.) employed in Sicily and Italy for raiding behind German lines. The name used by 1st SAS to confuse the Germans.

    S. S.

    Steam Ship. Could also mean Submarine Scout – a non-ridged airship being developed by the RNAS (WWI)

    SS

    (Gr.) “Schutzstaffel”, Hitler’s Nazi Military Guards units.

    SSB

    Special Service Battalion. Formed after operations in Norway in WWII.

    SSO

    Station Standing Orders (RCAF).

    SSQ

    RAF Station Sick Quarters, a stations medical buildings.

    SSR

    South Saskatchewan Regt.

    SSRF

    Small Scale Raiding Force, small Commando 62 or less.

    SST

    Special Service Troops, aka. Commando’s.

    "Staffel"

    (Gr.) A fighter formation of six aircraft (equal to a RAF ‘Flight) introduced during the Battle of Verdun. (WWI)

    Stalag Luft

    (Gr.) Stammlager Luftwaffe; a POW camp for airmen.

    "Starlight"

    A RAF Ground Control Centre also “Harlequin”.

    "Stew Pots"

    (Br.) See “Marmites”. (WWI)

    "Stickes"

    Paratrooper slang for the number of troopers dropped from an aircraft.

    “Stellungen”

    (Gr.) Positions.

    "Stone Frigate"

    (RN.) ie: HMCS Hunter was in fact a shore establishment (building).

    'Stonk'

    Heavy German artillery/mortar/Nebelwarfer salvoes. In the Canadian artillery it involved artillery guns being laid in such a way to ensure their shells fell in a straight line, along a selected map grid-bearing. The 24 guns of one field regiment could effectively ‘stonk’ a target 840 yards long. Combined with “Cones” created a form of siege warfare.

    "Stooge"

    To fly aimlessly.

    "Stooges"

    POW slang for prisoners who tracked the movements of German guards.

    "Strafe"

    Attack on ground targets. Comes from the German verb ‘bestrafen’ – to punish. It was carried into WWII mostly connected to air forces.

    "Straglers"

    (Am.) The term used to describe men who deliberately leave the ranks to escape the battlefield. The British term would be “deserter “. A straggler to the British was a man separated involuntarily from his unit. Ex. in a night attack or while being bombed when in a column.

    Stand to

    Every morning troops manned the trenches for one or two hours before sunrise and sunset which were the usual times for enemy attacks.

    'Stunt'

    Going into action / attack; a flight of British aircraft. (WWI)

    "Subedar"

    Captain in the Indian army. (WWII)

    "Summer Time"

    Also known as Daylight Savings Time.

    "Sweeps"

    Air force term for offensive patrols over occupied territory.

    SWIC

    Surface Warning; the first Canadian radar.

    "Switch line"

    A trench system that joined to mainlines – like a communication trench but more elaborate and better prepared as a strong point.

    "Swinging the lead"

    Slang for getting out of hard work by feigning an illness.

    SW1C

    Service Warning – One Canadian. The 1941 radar to detect a surfaced U-Boat Approaching.

    SWO

    (RAF) Station Warrant Officer.

    SYMBOL

    Code name for the Casablanca Conference 14-24 Jan. 1943 where the agreement by the Allies that only “Unconditional Surrender” by the Axis countries would bring peace.

    3-Tonner

    Three ton truck used mostly to transport ammunition and supplies.

    "Tacair"

    Tactical Air Support.

    "Tac HQ"

    Tactical Head Quarters close to the front line.

    TD

    (Am.) Tank Destroyer.

    TAF

    Tactical Air Force. Was based on the success of the ‘Desert Air Force DAF’ of 1943.

    "Taffy"

    Slang for German acoustic torpedoes introduced in 1943, slower that a GNAT and required contact to detonate.

    Tallyhoo

    Signal given to attack (RCAF).

    "Tank"

    An armoured fighting vehicle. Introduced first by the British in Feb. 1916, built by William Foster & Co., Lincoln, England. There were two models the ‘Male’ had two 6 pound cannons (57mm) and 4 machineguns; the ‘Female’ had 6 machineguns, both weighed approximately 30 Tons. 49 of the first Tanks arrived in the BEF in September, 1916 for the Battle of the Somme.

    "Tannoy"

    Loud speaker system at the air base.

    Tarp.

    Tarpaulin.

    TAS

    True Air Speed.

    TBS

    Talk Between Ships.

    TBSM

    Troop Battery Sergeant Major.

    TCV

    Troop Carrying Vehicle.

    "Teller mine"

    Teller is German for ‘dish’ or ‘plat’ which describes the shape of this 11.29 dia., anti-tank mine. It came in four types #29, 35, 42 and 43. weighing between 18 and 21 pounds with an Amatol charge. Also used as a costal defense weapon attached to wooden post near beaches to detonate when hit by landing craft.

    "Territorials"

    British militia units.

    “Terrorfieger”

    (Gr.) ‘Terror Flyers’ in reference to Allied bomber crews.

    Theatre Grid

    A survey grid applicable to all units in a particular theatre of war.

    "Thrash bash"

    (RCAF) A party high in beer consumption.

    TFF

    Target Finding Force, aka PFF

    "Thunder Flashes"

    # 69 grenades made of Bakelite (early plastic) used in training to simulate blast effects with little or no fragmentation, set off electrically.

    TI

    Target Indicators, Arial flares dropped from Pathfinder aircraft (aka TI’s) to ‘mark’ targets for the main bomber stream.

    "Tiffie"

    Slang for the Hawker Typhoon (fighter/bomber) equipped with 60 lb. rockets became a famous tank destroyer during the Normandy invasion.

    "Tin-Lizzy"

    Slang for the Commonwealth helmet. (WWI)

    “Tirailleurs”

    (Fr.) latterly ‘skirmishers’ or regular infantry.

    TM

    Trench Mortar.

    "Toggle ropes"

    Every man in a Commando carries one length of rope with a wooden handle at one end and a loop at the other – used to overcome obstacles such as rivers or walls.

    “Tommy Atkins”

    Slang for when a British soldier came from.

    "Tommy Guns"

    Slang for the 45 Caliber Thompson submachine gun (could fire 650 rounds/min.) aka – ‘Chicago Piano’ aka TMG.

    "Torscots"

    Toronto Scottish Regt.

    “Topfminen”

    German land mines with plastic casings, very hard to locate.

    "Tough titty"

    Too bad!

    Tp.

    Troop, two to each of the three batteries in a field artillery regiment. Four guns to a troop.

    Trench Fever

    Carried by lice (cooties) which carried Rickettsia quintana, aka Peraxin once in the human blood stream presented symptoms of influenza and typhus. Could be debilitating and could require hospitalization.

    Trench Mats

    aka. Duck boards.

    Trench Raids

    Localized attacks at night involving a handful of men to as many as a company 100 depending on the objective.

    Trench rumour

    If you don’t know the facts, make them up. (WWI)

    TRIDENT

    Code name for Washington Conference held in May 1943.

    Troddel

    German for ‘tassel’, an attractive cloth strap that looped around a German bayonet frog. This helped to distinguish the owners unit and rank.

    TUNIS

    10 cm. radar detector, used by U-Boats. (WWII)

    "Turfed"

    (RCAF) Kicked out.

    Turnip Winter

    The winter of 1916-17 brought privation to nearly all segments of the German population and there was little to eat other than turnips.

    "Twitch, twitchy"

    Nervous or plain scared.

    UGF

    USA to Gibraltar fast convoy.

    UGS

    USA to Gibraltar slow convoy.

    U/I

    Unidentified.

    ULO

    Unit Landing Officer, worked in conjunction with the Beachmaster during amphibious landings.

    "ULTRA"

    (Br.) Code name for British Intelligence provided at Bletchey Park, England.

    "Uncle Targets"

    Artillery fire from all 72 guns of the Divisional artillery.

    U/S

    (RAF) Unstable / unserviceable aircraft.

    "Unserviceable"

    Spitfire, or pilot after a thrash.

    Unteroffizier

    (Gr.) Corporal.

    UP

    Unrotated Projectile. A device used early in 1940 to protect RAF stations from low flying German aircraft. A projectile was fired into the air pulling a cable the a parachute to slow the descent of the cable to catch German planes wings.

    USAS

    United States Air Service. (WWI)

    USAAF

    United States Army Air Force. (WWII)

    USN

    United States Navy.

    USNR

    United States Navy Reserve.

    UXB

    (Br.) Unexploded Bomb.

    V1

    (Gr.) Vergeltungswaffe – Nr.1 literally “Revenge Weapon No. 1”, aka – ‘Doodlebug’ the flying bomb originally for retaliation against London, England.

    V2

    A German radio controlled rocket with a 2,200 lb. warhead (aka A-4A to the Germans) that became operational against England in the fall of 1944. With a range of only 200 miles, they launched from pads in Holland, traveled up to 60 miles at 3,600 MPH. There was no way to intercept them.

    "Van Doos"

    Royal 22nd Regt. from Montreal.

    VC

    Victoria Cross; the highest British military medal for valor.

    "Vector"

    To direct an aircraft on to a target using a geometric degree the pilot should steer.

    VE Day

    Victory in Europe Day 8 May, 1945.

    "Vegetables"

    RCAF slang for sea-mines. See "Planting and Gardening".

    Very Lights

    Hand-held, pistol-operated, rocket-propelled coloured flares used in signaling.

    VHF-DF

    Very High Frequency – Direction Finding.

    "Vic"

    The formation of aircraft flying in a ‘V’.

    "Victor Targets"

    Artillery fire from 216 guns of a Corps guns.

    “Visual Reconnaissance”

    Scouting from the air to obtain information for Field Commanders. (WWI)

    VJ Day

    Victory over Japan. 15 August, 1945.

    VLR

    Very Long Range. (Modified bombers often the B-24 Liberator used in anti-submarine work). After the war in Europe a special force of Lancaster bombers
    were being organized as “Tiger Force” for operations in the Far East working with the USAAF.

    VM

    Virtuti Militari (Polish).

    V.M.K.

    Cdn. Slang – “Vote McKenzie King”. In reference to the Volunteer Service Medal which was issued to everyone in 1944 just prior to the Federal election in Canada.

    VPK

    Vest Pocket Kodak. Manufactured between 1912 and 1926 marketed by Kodak as the “Soldiers Camera”. It used roll film that produced a 4.5 x 6 cm. negative. Often used in the early years of the Great War for field photos.

    TermDefinition
    W10

    Short range destroyers operating in the area east of NFLD., as “Hunters” of U-Boats.

    WA

    Western Approaches (Navy).

    WAAF

    (RAF) Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force, many were radar operators and plotters.

    WAC

    Western Air Command. Established 1/03/38 for the defence of Canada.

    WAC

    (RN) Western Approaches Command – Under command of Admiral over ships and 15 group RAF responsible for area between west coast of England and CHOP line.

    Wadi

    An area of considerable size which is well below the surrounding ground.

    WAG

    Wireless Air Gunner.

    "Wagon Line"

    Parking area for artillery transports and ammunition wagons are kept.

    “Wanganui flares”

    PPF slang for target markers.

    “Warcos”

    Slang for a War Correspondent.

    "Wastage"

    The number of casualties a unit could expect to lose from all causes in a month, i.e: 10% of Infantry, 5% cavalry, 3.5% artillery, 2% forestry per month. Approximately 100 men per week would become a fatality.

    W/C

    Wing Commander.

    W.C.

    Water closet aka. Toilet.

    W-Boat

    Experimental German submarine 250 tons, driven by hydrogen-Peroxide at 40-50 knots, not dependent on surface maneuverability. It never got past ‘Prototype’.

    WDF

    (Br.) Western Desert Force.

    WE

    Warrant Engineer (Navy).

    "Weaver"

    (RAF) A fighter aircraft designated to act as ‘look-out’ for his flight. aka. ‘Arse – End – Charlie.

    WEF

    Western Escort Force (RCN).

    "We'll go thata way"

    A Freddy Green briefing, pointing vaguely.

    “We’ll just about make it”

    (RCAF) Chad when in a dicey situation.

    "Went for a Burton"

    (RAF) Slang for being shot down likely killed.

    Wespe

    (Gr.) “Wasp” 10.5 cm. self-propelled gun.

    "West Novas"

    West Nova Scotia Regiment.

    "Westies"

    New Westminster Regt. from British Columbia.

    WESTOMP

    Western Ocean Meeting Point. This was 81 nautical miles S. W. of St. John’s generally a days steaming from St. John’s. (46.54N / 051:14W). For east bound
    convoys.

    WETP

    War Emergency Training Program. A.k.a. ‘Wet-Pee, where training took place, not Barracks.

    “What’s the form?”

    What’s the plan.

    WIA

    Wonded in Action

    “Wimpy"

    (Br.) Slang for the Wellington bomber.

    "Wingco"

    Wing Commander.

    "Window"

    Strips of coarse black paper with aluminum foil dropped from aircraft to disrupt 27 cm. x 2 cm. to ‘blind’ the German radar.

    Wing

    Number of flying squadrons, usually 2 – 4.

    Wing Shows

    Operations involving all squadrons all squadrons of a wing.

    "Wizard"

    RAF/RCAF slang for “Good”.

    W.L.A.

    Women’s Land Army.

    WLEF

    Western Local Escort Force.

    W/Ops.

    Wireless Operators position (RCAF).

    WRCNS

    Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, also known as “Wrens”.

    WREN

    (Br.) Women’s Royal Navy Service. 7,000 women were enlisted in WWII.

    WS.

    Wireless School (part of the BCATP).

    W/T

    Wireless Telegraphy.

    “Wurzburg”

    (Gr.) Ground based paraboloid radar that controlled night-fighter interceptions and Flak guns.

    WVS

    Woman’s Volunteer Service. Served service men and woman with food and drink.

    XO

    Executive Officer (Navy).

    “Yeomanry”

    (Br.) An ancient title for volunteer cavalry, incorporated into the Territorial Army (militia). In 1930 were converted to Royal Artillery and armoured units.

    “Zerstorer”

    (Gr.) Nickname for the ME-110 twin-engine fighter ‘Destroyer’. (WWII)

    “Zahme Sau”

    (Gr.) ‘Tame Boar’ – a counter measure for the allied ‘Window’ anti-radar.

    "Zombies"

    WWII term for men who refused voluntary service.

    ZZland

    RAF Radio-controlled landing.

    2IC

    Second in Command.

    8NBH

    8th New Brunswick Hussars were in the 5th Armoured Division in WWII.

    9mm. Browning

    Officers pistol that replaced the 28 Caliber revolver.

    9.2 Gun

    A British heavy howitzer which fired a 9.2” shell.

    18 – Pdr.

    WWI British gun, (canon) shell weighing eighteen pounds.

    88’s

    German high velocity anti-aircraft gun (canon) also used against tanks and was the main gun on the German ‘Tiger’ tank.

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