Glossary of Terms
Artillery - the Artillery provided fire support. Field artillery is usually allocated to a brigade with there batteries each of 8 guns. Medium artillery of larger calibre is assigned to brigades or division "In support" for specific operations.
A.V.R.E. - the abbreviation for the Assault Vehicle Royal Engineers An armoured vehicle with a very large calibre cannon for destroying concrete defences.
Battalion - An infantry unit. A Regiment would raise a number of TA battalions in addition to its Regular battalions. Comprising an established strength of 972 officers and men a battalion was sub divided into four rifles companies and a Headquarter company. The latter included a number of specialist platoons such as signals (communications), carriers, mortars and intelligence.
Bofors - a British light anti aircraft gun.
Bren - the Bren gun was the British light machine gun.
Brigade - A brigade consisted of three infantry battalions and the supporting arms to provide an all arms capability able to fight with a degree of independence.
Buffalo - an armoured amphibious troop transporter.
C.O. - the abbreviation for Commanding Officer, at battalion or unit level. Usually a lieutenant colonel.
Company - a rifle company, usually commanded by a major, was made up of a Company HQ and four rifle platoons.
C.R.A. - the abbreviation for "Commander Royal Artillery", the senior artillery commander and advisor at divisional level.
C.R.E. - the abbreviation for "Commander Royal Engineers", the senior RE commander and advisor at divisional level.
Crocodiles - a tank armed with a flamethrower.
Division. - The structure of divisions varied between armies and with the British army. Within the British Army there were armoured, infantry and airborne divisions. The 51st Highland Division was an infantry division. It had three infantry brigades each of three battalions of infantry. title="view a graphical rep. of the divisional structure." href="http://www.51hd.co.uk/gloss_div_struct">An outline structure for the 51st Highland Division illustrates this.
title="view a graphical rep. of the divisional structure."
href="http://www.51hd.co.uk/gloss_div_struct">An outline structure for the 51st Highland Division illustrates this.After Dunkirk the divisions underwent a number of structural changes. Infantry divisions gained a regiment (battalion) of the reconnaissance corps, the MG battalion became organic, an LAA regiment was added and the brigade anti-tank companies removed. By 1944 a division had increased to about 18,400 all ranks and 3,350 vehicles, including 595 armoured carriers, almost 1000 radios, 1,262 LMGs, 40 MMGs, 436 PIATs, 110 anti-tank guns, 359 mortars, 72 field guns and 125 LAA guns.
Echelons. Reference is made to F, A and B Echelon. The transport for a battalion is divided into these groups. F Echelon vehicles are the fighting vehicles which go into battle as part of the action; for example command vehicles, armoured troop carries and anti-tank guns. A Echelon vehicles have the immediate needs of the battalion after the battle such as rations, extra ammunition, packs and cooking equipment. B Echelon in further back and has the longer term stores and workshops workshops.
F.O.O. - Forward Observation Officer. Artillery officers attached to battalions and companies to control and coordinate artillery fire.
H Hour. - The time at which the attack will commence.
In support - The distinction between under command and in support in support is a military one and can be quite complex. However, in simple terms those units under command belong to the formation under whose command they have been placed and are effectively intrinsic to it. Thos who are in support are only temporarily assigned to support that formation for a specific part of a task and may particularly in the case of artillery also be in support of others.
I.O. - the abbreviation for Intelligence Officer, usually one at battalion HQ.
Kangaroo - the name given to a tank with gun with the gun, turret etc removed in order to convert it to an armoured troop carrier.
LAA guns - Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery. (see also Bofors)
L.C.I. - Landing Craft Infantry.
L.M.G. - Light Machine Gun.
Main. H.Q. - that part of the H.Q. left further back when a Tac.H.Q. has deployed.
M.M.G. - Medium Machine Gun.
Mortar - an indirect fire infantry weapon.
O.P. - the abbreviation for Observation Post. A small number of soldiers usually between two and four deployed forward to observe the enemy and in the case of artillery O.P.'s to direct fire.
O.R. - Other ranks, a collective term for Warrant Officers, Non Commissioned Officers and Privates.
Platoon - there were four rifle platoons in a company. Each platoon had four sections.
Recce. - An abbreviation for reconnaissance.
R.E. - The abbreviation for the royal engineers also called Sappers.
Piat - the common term and abbreviation for Projector Infantry Anti-Tank, a hand held anti-tank weapon.
Priest - a self propelled gun with the gun, turret etc removed in order to convert it to an armoured troop carrier.
R.T.R. - The abbreviation for the Royal Tank Regiment.
S.L. - the abbreviation for Start Line; a line, frequently marked out on the ground from which an assault commenced.
S.P. - Self Propelled guns. A field or anti tank gun mounted on an armoured tank chassis.
Spandau - German light machine gun.
Stonk - a colloquial expression referring to a concentration of mortar or artillery fire.
Tac.H.Q. - a forward element of an HQ. For example in a battalion the C.O. would go forward with his artillery officer, a staff officer and communications to see and run the battle leaving the majority of his H.Q at Main. H.Q. A brigade or divisional H.Q. would do likewise.
T.C.V. - the abbreviation for a troop carrying vehicle.
Under Comd - The distinction between under command and in support in support is a military one and can be quite complex. However, in simple terms those units under command belong to the formation under whose command they have been placed and are effectively intrinsic to it. Thos who are in support are only temporarily assigned to support that formation for a specific part of a task and may particularly in the case of artillery also be in support of others.
Weasel - A small tracked carrier vehicle.