Topic: AIF & MEF & EEF
AIF & MEF & EEF
The following Glossary is extracted from the First World War Official Histories, a specific volume written by CEW Bean called, Volume I - The Story of Anzac: the first phase, (11th edition, 1941), at pp. 609 - 618:
The strength and composition of formations and units varied considerably during the War. Those given below are based mainly on the establishments of 1914-16.
Comprise belts, pouches, bandoliers, slings, mess tins, haversacks, water-bottles and similar articles (other than arm) carried by a soldier outside his clothing.
The assistant to the commander of certain units - practically his staff officer, who issues orders, keeps records, etc.
The branch dealing mainly with personnel.
The staff dealing with personnel, supplies, transport. etc.
A mechanical transport unit on the Lines of Communication; also the space occupied by the motor-lorries, ammunition, ordnance stores, etc., under the control of, or for distribution by, that unit.
A field gun or light cannon placed in a forward position in order to fire direct upon tanks.
(1) Originally, code name for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps;
(2) Name given to the beach where the A. & N Z. Army Corps landed on Gallipoli;
(3) Official name of the two A. & N.Z. Army Corps in France (1st Anzac Corps,
2nd Anzac Corps);
(4) Term universally applied by British troops in France to the Australians and New Zealanders of the two Anzac Corps (the Anzacs);
(5) In Palestine, often used to denote men of the Anzac Mounted Division as distinguished from those of the Australian Mounted Division;
(6) In Australia (and eventually in the A.I.F.), used to denote Australians and New Zealanders who served on Gallipoli. The generally accepted uses of the term are (1), (2). (3), and (6).
The march of troops to the positions from which they are to attack. In France this generally took place during the night before the attack.
The officer responsible for training and administration within any one of the “areas” into which the Australian districts were subdivided under the Kitchener Defence Scheme.
A formation containing two or more Army Corps, usually commanded by a general.
A formation containing two or more divisions, usually commanded by a lieutenant-general.
ARMY SERVICE CORPS:
The corps whose duty is to supply and transport the army.
A formation of infantry (or mounted troops) used when passing through a zone subject to shell-fire. The troops advance in small groups, extended in line and depth (i.e., with wide spaces between the groups).
ASSISTANT PROVOST MARSHAL:
See PROVOST MARSHAL.
Slope or spur.
A place where the main stores for an army in the field are situated, organised, and controlled, and from which lines of communication lead.
A wall of shell-fire, thrown either to assist or to prevent the advance of troops; loosely applied to any bombardment thrown against troops. See CREEPING BARRAGE.
The chief unit of infantry (full strength with transport. etc, 1,017; full fighting strength, 895; normal fighting strength probably about 550) ; Australian battalions from Jan. 1915, consisted of four companies and a headquarters; usually commanded by a lieutenant-colonel.
BATTERY OF FIELD ARTILLERY:
The unit of combat of field artillery; during the war generally consisted of four or six guns: usually commanded by a major. Full strength, 4 gun battery, 18 men, fighting strength, 138.
A large cruiser of great speed, lightly armoured and usually armed with eight or more heavy guns, all of the same calibre.
The most powerful type of warship, intended to lie in the line of battle.
A section between two traverses of a fire trench; length usually about eight yards.
Usually a belt by which ammunition is fed to a machine-gun
An encampment without tents or huts.
BLUE CROSS SHELL:
A gas shell used by the Germans, filled with a chemical compound which caused sneezing, and often known as a “sneezing gas shell.” Less harmful than other gas shells.
Strictly speaking, explosive missiles thrown from a trench mortar or an aeroplane; loosely used for explosive missiles thrown by hand. See GRENADE
A barrier (usually of earth or sandbags) built across a trench.
BRIGADE OF FIELD ARTILLERY:
(British, Australian, etc.), four (or three) batteries of field guns and field howitzers, usually commanded by a lieutenant-colonel.
BRIGADE OF INFANTRY:
(British, Australian, etc.), until 1918, a formation of four infantry battalions (full strength with transport, etc.. 4,080: full fighting strength, 3,584: normal fighting strength, probably about 2,500). usually under a brigadier-general. In 1918 British brigades, and some Australian brigades, were reduced to three battalions. In the field a British brigade corresponds roughly to a foreign “regiment”.
BRIGADE OF LIGHT HORSE (OR CAVALRY):
Comprises three regiments; full strength, with brigade headquarters and signallers, about 1,700 men.
In infantry, the chief staff-officer of a brigade.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL, GENERAL STAFF:
Usually the chief general staff officer of an army corps.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL ROYAL ARTILLERY:
Usually the commander of the artillery of an army corps. In the earlier years of the war this officer was merely a staff -officer who advised the corps-commander in regard to the artillery.
Cape or point
A litter in which sick or wounded are carried upon mules or camels.
The diameter of the bore of a firearm.
Screening or painting objects to render them invisible, or to deceive as to their nature.
A small mine, intended not to break the surface of the ground, but to blow in the enemy’s underground galleries.
CASUALTY CLEARING STATION:
The hospital (generally at railhead) charged with clearing the wounded to the base.
A country residence in France.
A straight line which forms the base of a salient; a trench or other line affording a further position of defence in the event of the salient being lost.
Gas emitted from cylinders and carried by the wind (as opposed to gas fired in shells).
A trench leading from the rear to the fire- trenches (or fighting trenches).
A body of men about 200-250 strong, usually commanded by a captain, who is responsible for the training and discipline of his officers and men. 111 the infantry a company is a portion of a battalion (full strength, 127; normal fighting strength, from 100-150; four companies in each battalion; four platoons in each company); in the engineers, signal service, army service corps, etc., it is a separate unit usually commanded by a major.
CONVOY (of ships):
A number of ships sailing together under escort for protection.
Fire delivered by troops from the rear or flanks in order to keep the enemy suppressed while other troops advance or retire.
A barrage which gradually advances, usually to cover the advance of troops who follow immediately behind it. See BARRAGE.
Ground which, though within range, cannot be seen or reached by direct fire.
A light railway in ready-made lengths of rails and sleepers
DESTROYER (Short for Torpedo-boat Destroyer):
Long, light, swift craft, usually of from 500 to 1,000 tons displacement and 25 to 30 knots speed.
The slang term for an Australian or New Zealand private soldier. This word (said to have been used originally among gum- diggers, especially in New Zealand) became common among New Zealand and Australian soldiers in 1917 It displaced “cobber” (comrade) and “mate” as a form of address. During the third battle of Ypres it came to denote an Australian private, much as “Tommy” denoted a British soldier
Aiming a gun by looking over or through the sights, when the target is actually within view from the gun position.
The smallest formation of army organisation which contains all the essential branches of the military service. Infantry Division - British, three infantry brigades (till 1918 twelve battalions) with two, three, or four brigades of artillery (about 70 guns), etc, under a major-general; until the last of the war 18,000 men ; French, three infantry regiments (nine battalions), about 40 guns, 16,000 men; American, two brigades, each of two regiments, 72 guns, 260 machine-guns, 28,000 men; German, three infantry regiments (nine battalions), artillery (about 70 guns), etc., 15,000 men; Turkish, three infantry regiments (usually nine battalions), 40 guns, about 11,000 men. Division of Cavalry or Light Horse-three brigades; full strength, with divisional headquarters, two brigades of horse artillery, engineers, ambulances, etc., about 80,000 men.
The horse-drawn supply organisation of a division.
A metal pot in which food is cooked.
A centre behind the lines to which the wounded are sent from the regimental aid posts to have their wounds dressed before being carried to the casualty clearing station.
DRUM (of Lewis gun):
The disc on which ammunition was fed to the gun.
A section of wooden pathway (built ladder like) for use in muddy areas.
A cave or roofed shelter dug under the soil for protection from fire; its ceiling may be anything from a few inches to 20 feet underground; even raised bomb-proof shelters are often known as dugouts.
Generally a formation in which troops are disposed to the left or right rear of the leading troops, but facing in the same direction.
A small German grenade which could be thrown by hand farther than most grenades.
The ordinary British field gun of 3.3-inch bore, throwing an 18½lb. shell.
A position in a trench or fortification prepared for a gun.
Fire bearing upon a line from its flank, so as to play along its length.
A side-work (e.g., mound of earth) to afford cover, usually to a gun position, from flanking fire.
Bullets containing an explosive. These were never used by or against Australian infantry; expanding bullets (i.e., those so manufactured or tampered with as to expand upon impact) were sometimes loosely spoken of as "explosive."
Usually a formation in which men (and often successive lines of men) are separated by wide intervals.
A flat tank used for the carriage of water on camel-back.
The first medical unit behind the regimental medical detachments - in the case of infantry, about 250 strong, under a lieutenant-colonel; provided with stretcher-bearers, horse ambulances, and tents
FIELD COMPANY OF ENGINEERS:
The main unit of engineers with an infantry division, for ordinary military work (bridge-building, trench-siting, etc.), as opposed to railway companies, signal companies, tunnelling companies, etc. Usually about 220 strong, under a major. The corresponding unit with a cavalry division is a FIELD SQUADRON (subdivided into four FIELD TROOPS) of Engineers.
The ordinary mobile gun used on the battlefield (for low-trajectory, high-velocity fire).
The step in a fire-trench on which men stand in order to fire over the parapet.
A trench from which men fire (as opposed to communication trenches); if properly made, consists of a series of short fire-bays with traverses between them.
FIRST FIELD DRESSING:
The small packet containing bandage, dressing, etc, which each soldier carries inside his tunic.
Usually the 5.9-inch (15 cm.) howitzer, considered by many the most effective German weapon.
Flame-thrower, a German weapon consisting of a cylinder carried on the back, containing inflammable oil, which is projected by compressed gas and ignites in the air.
FLANKS “IN THE AIR”:
A force is in the air when its flanks are ex- posed and unsupported by any friendly force.
A light generally used for illuminating the ground in front of the firing-line; usually a firework; sometimes tow dipped in petroleum. Very Lights throwing one white star, like that from a ’’Roman candle,” were chiefly used by the British. Coloured flares were largely used by German artillery observers and infantry, as signals to their artillery.
FORWARD OBSERVING OFFICER:
An artillery officer sent forward (with telephone and other signals) to a position from which he can observe and direct the fire of his battery.
A closed and insulated can in which food is carried hot to front-line troops
FOUR POINT FIVE:
The ordinary British 4.5in. field howitzer, which throws a 35-lb. projectile.
FOUR POINT TWO:
The ordinary German 4.2in. (10.5 cm.) field howitzer.
A camp rumour.
The device for detonating a shell. A “percussion fuse” detonates the shell when it strikes a target; a “time fuse” detonates it (generally in the air) a certain time after leaving the gun: an “instantaneous fuse” or “sensitive fuse” (first used in 1917) is a percussion fuse which detonates a shell more swiftly than previous percussion fuses, so that it bursts before penetrating the ground (or other target): a “delayed-action” fuse allows time for the shell to penetrate deeply before detonation.
A primitive trench mortar by which a “jam-tin” bomb was fired from a short piece of piping.
GAS GONG, GAS HORN:
The means employed to warn troops of a gas attack.
An impregnated woollen hood with eye and mouth pieces to protect the wearer against poison gas. The first protection invented was a gas-respirator to be tied over the mouth; improvements were the gas-helmet, and later the gas-mask attached by a tube to a box-respirator slung on the chest.
Shell containing substances producing poison-gases or other injurious chemicals, which are released when the shell explodes.
The main headquarters of an expeditionary force; usually referred to by the initial letters - G.H.Q.
The main hospital to which sick and wounded are brought for final treatment.
The branch of the Staff dealing chiefly with operations (also with information about the enemy and with training)
GREEN CROSS SHELL:
A type of German gas-shell mainly containing phosgene.
A hand-thrown bomb. See also RIFLE GRENADE.
See HIGH VELOCITY CANNON.
The pit usually dug as an emplacement for a gun.
Nitro-glycerine compounds with powerful explosive properties.
Shell filled with a high explosive.
A gun as distinguished from a howitzer; it throws its projectile swiftly with a comparatively low trajectory.
Depression in desert containing palm trees and water
A light air-cooled machine-gun used by cavalry and tanks, fed by strips containing 30, 14 or 9 rounds. Not to be confused with the light Hotchkiss field gun, e.g, those temporarily captured on April 25 at Anzac.
A short-barrelled cannon which ‘‘lobs’’ its projectile slowly with a high trajectory.
Fire at a target which cannot be seen from the gun position.
The emergency ration; normally issued in small bags to troops going into battle, to be opened only if other rations fail to reach them.
Bombs made by filling jam-tins with explosive and fragments of iron, etc
JAPANESE BOMB MORTAR:
A small well-designed trench mortar throwing a large high-explosive bomb.
JUMPING-OFF TRENCH (or Jumping-off Tapes):
A trench or line of tapes, usually sited in advance of the front line, to serve as a starting-point in an attack.
The army raised by Great Britain on Lord Kitchener’s appeal in 1914-15 for special service in the War, as distinguished from the Regular and Territorial armies.
Term often loosely used of any horn sounded to warn troops of a gas attack.
See “TEAR-GAS” SHELL.
A magazine gun fed with cartridges in discs or drums containing 47 rounds - the light machine-gun of the British infantry, carried by one man. The “team” of each Lewis Gun is normally from three to five men.
Communication between units or arms; liaison officer, an officer sent to another unit to keep touch with it.
Usually the light German machine-gun, a water- cooled, belt-fed weapon, heavier than a Lewis Gun, but also carried by one man.
LINES OF COMMUNICATION:
The systems of communication by rail, road, and navigable waterways between an army and its base or bases inclusive, together with the district through which they pass. Usually referred to as L. of C.
L. OF C. UNITS:
Administrative units of the L. of C. (dealing with records and transport of men and supplies; hospitals, repairs, butcheries, bakeries, railways, reinforcements, remounts, postal services etc.).
A signaller sent out to repair field-telegraph lines.
A gun constructed to discharge continuously, by action of the recoil, ammunition fed to it on a belt or by other mechanism. See VICKERS GUN, LEWIS GUN, LIGHT MACHINE-GUN, and HOTCHKISS MACHINE-GUN.
A small two-wheeled cart, part of the medical equipment of a battalion.
Motor-driven vehicles of transport ; also the branch of the service connected with them.
A small metal pan carried by each soldier, in which food can be cooked; consists of two parts serving for both plate and dish.
MILLS GRENADE, or MILLS BOMB:
An oval cast-iron grenade serrated so as to split into numerous small fragments on bursting; the lever that holds back the striking-pin is itself secured by a safety pin, which is removed immediately before throwing.
German for “trench mortar".
The process by which an armed force passes from a peace to a war footing.
A warship of shallow draft and low freeboard, intended for use in coastal defence or attack.
A small cannon constructed for transport, along with its carriage, in several pieces upon pack animals.
Largely used in camps instead of tents, or for offices, etc.; constructed of semicircular sheets of galvanised iron, which thus form both walls and roof.
The space between the two opposing front trenches or front lines.
An early type of machine-gun firing a 1-inch projectile.
A gully or dried up stream-bed.
A position commanding some desired view of the enemy’s positions; occupied by observers for artillery, etc.
One sent out to observe the enemy’s line or movements, the fire of guns upon targets, etc.
ORDER OF BATTLE:
A statement or list of the composition and organisation of the parts and units of an army; sometimes including their position in the fighting line.
The department which supplies great and small arms, equipment, clothing, etc..
A knapsack (carried on the back).
The earth thrown up at the back of a trench.
The earth (loose or in bags) thrown up along the front of a trench.
A body of men sent out to reconnoitre, or to guard against surprise.
A poisonous gas, affecting the heart, used by the Germans, especially in Green Cross shells.
A small covered shelter of concrete, mainly used by the Germans in Flanders, where deep dugouts were impossible.
A serrated bomb, not unlike a pineapple, thrown from a small German bomb-thrower.
The quarter of a company of infantry (full strength, 60; normal fighting strength, from 25-40), under a lieutenant; itself subdivided into four sections, each under a sergeant.
The officer commanding the corps of military police attached to British armies abroad. An assistant provost marshal commands the police of each division.
QUARTER MASTER GENERAL’S DEPARTMENT:
The branch of the staff responsible for supplies and the transport of troops and material.
A locality on the railway (usually at the nearest point to the force which is to be served) where ammunition and supplies are transferred to ammunition parks and supply columns.
A work entirely enclosed by a defensible parapet, which gives rifle-fire all round.
Usually a concave curve in the line of battle; the reverse of a salient. Also, a valley or Indentation receding into higher ground.
REGIMENT OF CAVALRY (British):
The unit of cavalry (or light horse) corresponding to a battalion of infantry; full strength of a light horse regiment, 546; full fighting strength, 510; normal strength about 340; normal rifle strength, dismounted, excluding horse- holders, 250.
REGIMENT OF INFANTRY:
A corps of men usually raised in the same locality or by the same organisation. An infantry regiment generally consists of several battalions. Under the British system the battalions as a rule fight separately in diverse brigades; under the system of the French, Americans, Germans, Turks, etc. three battalions compose a regiment and these fight together under a colonel, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalions of a regiment thus corresponding roughly to the four (in 1918 three) battalions of a British brigade under its brigadier-general.
REGIMENTAL AID POST:
The post in or close behind the line where the regimental surgeon and details give first treatment.
A buttress of wood, sandbags, or other material to hold up the steep side of trenches or open works.
A grenade or bomb fired from a rifle by special contrivances-sometimes by the insertion of a rod into the rifle- barrel ; sometimes operated by the firing of an ordinary cartridge.
Shallow pits dug by soldiers, usually under fire in battle, from which they can fire their rifles; the first stage of a trench.
A curve in the line of battle, projecting towards or into the enemy’s line.
A single discharge of the guns of a battery in succession.
A wall of loose stones piled so as to form a small breastwork.
A work similar to a trench, but dug forward from an existing trench or cavity by men working below the level of the surface.
SECTION (of infantry):
Full strength, 16 men; normal strength, 8 to 12, under a sergeant.
SECTION (of a battery of artillery):
The 75-millimetre field gun of the French army.
The 77-millimetre field gun of the German army - in soldier’s slang the “whizz-bang.”
A shell containing a number of pellets, which are usually set free from the shell case by a slight timed-burst in the air, and thrown forward upon the ground by the speed of the shell.
The “heavy” field gun of the British army, a long-barrelled gun of 5 inch bore.
Ammunition for rifles, machine-guns, and revolvers.
One who shoots at individual enemies, usually from cover and as a rule at long range.
A sally by body of besieged troops upon their besiegers.
SQUADRON OF CAVALRY, etc.:
The third part of a regiment; full strength, 158; normal rifle strength, dismounted, excluding horse-holders, 80; it consists of four troops.
STAFF-CAPTAIN (of an infantry brigade):
The junior of the two chief staff-officers of a brigade. In battle he deals largely with the provision of supplies to the troops of the brigade in the firing line.
An order given in the trenches to man the fire-step at the hour when an attack may usually be expected.
A shell which bursts into brilliant stars, and is sometimes used to illumine an enemy’s position at night.
A hospital originally intended to be intermediate between the casualty clearing-station and the general hospital.
A grenade used by the Germans, consisting of a small canister filled with high explosive and fitted with a wooden handle to facilitate throwing.
A British trench mortar, consisting of a tube into the muzzle of which a high-explosive bomb is inserted. The cartridge which projects the bomb forms part of the bomb itself, and is detonated by the impact resulting from the fall of the bomb to the bottom of the tube.
STORMTROOPS (German, Stürmtruppen):
Troops specially trained and maintained by the Germans to lead attacks.
Troops maintained immediately behind the firing-line for the purpose of immediate reinforcement in attack or defence.
A trench immediately behind the front fire-trench.
Armoured motor-cars propelled by a caterpillar tractor system.
Usually the tapes laid down to give alignment or direction to troops moving to or forming for an attack.
A shell filled with a sweet-smelling compound, causing the eyes to water profusely; largely used by Germans in 1916 for shelling observation posts, etc.
The curve described by a projectile while in the air.
The buttresses interposed between successive bays of a trench as a harrier against enfilading fire.
A defensive work dug into the ground by troops working from the surface.
A light form of artillery of short range, usually moved on the field by manpower; firing a light, medium or heavy thin-walled bomb which contains explosive in high proportion to its weight.
TROOP OF CAVALRY, etc.;
The fourth part of a squadron. Normal mounted strength, 27, dismounted, excluding horse-holders, 20.
A bright white firework fired from a pistol, generally used at night to illumine the ground in front of the line.
VICKERS MACHINE-GUN (commonly known as Vickers Gun):
The British “heavy” water-cooled machine-gun, which superseded the “Maxim” used early in the war; its belt contains 250 rounds. The “team” of a Vickers Gun is normally six men.
A watercourse only temporarily containing water.
A light form of “tank.”
Usually barbed-wire entanglement of which one or more belts are, where possible, constructed in front of the fire-trenches.
YELLOW CROSS SHELL:
A German “gas” shell containing an oil of which the usual effect is to blister the eyes, mouth, armpits, crutch, and other delicate surfaces. The most effective of Ger- man “gas” shells: first used in 1917. Often known as “mustard gas” shell.
YILDIRIM (Group, Headquarters, Troops, etc.):
Name given by the Turks to the striking force, formed on 15th July 1917 commanded by General von Falkenhayn and intended for the recapture of Baghdad. Its headquarters, however, and some of its troops were almost immediately diverted to Palestine where, on 1st March, 1918, Marshal Liman von Sanders took over command in succession to von Falkenhayn. Yildirim was the name applied to the Sultan Bayazid in the 14th century, and means “lightning.”
The hour fixed for the launching of troops in an attack. Time, in battle, is sometimes calculated by reference to this moment; e g., if “zero” is 3.20 a.m., 3.05 a m. may be known as “zero minus 15.” or 5 a.m. as “zero plus 100 often shortened to “plus 100”.
Citation: AIF & MEF & EEF, Glossary of Australian Military Terms