GLOSSARY OF COMMON MILITARY TERMS
ADDRESSEE- The activity or individual to whom a message is to be delivered.
ADJUST- A command to the spotter or observer to initiate an adjustment on a designated target.
ADJUSTMENT- Process used to obtain correct line, range, and connect height of burst (if time fuzes are used) in engaging a target by observed fire.
ADMINISTRATIVE PLAN OR ORDER- A combat plan or order relating to the operation plan or order for a tactical operation, that is issued as its paragraph 4. It sets forth information and instructions governing the logistical and administrative support of the operation.
ADVANCE- The forward movement of a unit toward the enemy.
ADVANCE BY BOUNDS- An advance controlled by the assignment of successive objectives, usually from one terrain feature to the next.
ADVANCE GUARDS- A security element that precedes and protects the main body of a force, whatever its formation, and covers its deployment for action if enemy contact is made.
ADVANCE PARTY- A security element organic to the advance guard that precedes and protects the support.
ALIGNMENT- The formation in a straight line of several elements.
ALTERNATE POSITION- The position designated to serve as the primary position under certain conditions.
AMPLIFIER- A device that increases signal power.
ANGLE OF ELEVATION- The vertical angle between the line from the muzzle of a weapon to the target and the axis of the bore when the weapon is laid for range.
ANNEX- A document appended to and forming a part of a complete plan, order, or other document.
ANTIGUERRILLA OPERATIONS- Operations conducted by conventional forces against guerrilla forces in rear areas at the same time the conventional force is engaged in conventional combat operations in the forward areas.
APERTURE SIGHT- A lensless sight by which the target is viewed through a hole, or aperture (as contrasted with an open sight having only a V-cut notch).
APPROACH MARCH- The advance toward the enemy from the point where the zone of hostile artillery or other distant fire is entered.
AREA DEFENSE- A form of defense oriented toward the retention of specific terrain; area defense relies mainly on deployed forces that fire to stop and repulse the attacker.
AREA OF CONCENTRATION- A limited area on which a volume of fire is placed within a limited time.
ASSAULT- The final step of the attack phase; the rush to close combat with the enemy and to drive him out in hand-to-hand combat with the extensive use of bayonets and hand grenades.
ASSAULT POSITION- A position located between the line of departure and the object.
ASSEMBLY- Two or more parts fastened together and not usually disassembled except for replacement.
ASSEMBLY AREA- The area where a command assembles preparatory to making a move.
ATTACHED- A unit is attached to another when command, operational, and administrative control of the attached unit passes from its parent unit to the commander of the unit to which attachment is made.
ATTACK- A phase of offensive combat; offensive action directed against the enemy with the intent to kill, capture, or drive him from his position.
ATTACK POSITION- The most forward covered and concealed position in rear of the line of departure occupied by assault units for the minimum amount of time necessary to coordinate final details and preparations for the attack.
AUTOMATIC- The self-powered action of a weapon, using recoil, gas, or blowback operation, that produces a rapid and continuous burst of shots while the trigger is depressed.
AXIS OF THE BORE- An imaginary centerline of the bore of a gun.
AZIMUTH- A direction in a horizontal plane.
BARRAGE- Final protective fires of indirect fire weapons.
BARREL- A metal tube used to direct the bulletin its line of flight.
BASE (BASE UNIT)- The element or unit in a tactical operation around which a movement or maneuver is planned and performed.
BASE OF FIRE- One or more units that give sup-porting fire to an attacking unit and serve as the base around which attack operations are carried out.
BATTALION FORWARD DEFENSE AREA- Portion of a battle area defended by front-line companies; it extends to the limit of the rearward extension of lateral boundaries of the front-line companies.
BATTERY- The position of a weapon when cocked and its recoiling parts are forwarded.
BATTLE AREA- The area in which the forward forces and their reserves are located; it is described by coordinating points, flank boundaries, and sometimes a rear boundary.
BATTLE POSITION- The position on which the main effort of defense is, or is to be made.
BEACHHEAD- A designated area on a hostile shore or territory which, when seized and held, ensures the continuous landing of troops and material, and provides maneuvering space for subsequent projected operations into enemy territory; the physical objective of an amphibious or airborne operation.
BEATEN ZONE- The area on the ground or target on which the shots forming the cone of dispersion strike.
BLADE- The front sight; usually a small piece of metal used in conjunction with the rear sight for sighting the target.
BLOWBACK- The energy produced in a weapon by expanding gases and powder; it forces the cartridge case rearward out of the chamber.
BOLT- A mechanical device for blocking the breech and holding the cartridge in the chamber during firing to prevent rearward escape of gases.
BORESIGHTING- A process by which the axis of a gun bore and the line of a gunsight are made parallel or are made to converge on a point.
BOUNDARIES- The battalion and company defense areas that are limited because of terrain features and avenues of approach.
Company boundaries immediately forward of the FEBA assign responsibility for an avenue of approach to a company, preferably the company most threatened by the avenue. Boundaries between companies extend forward of the FEBA, but stop short of the combat outpost line (COPL). They extend to the rear far enough to provide sufficient area for the companies to organize their defense in depth.
Establishing rear boundaries may become necessary during fluid operations when infilltration and guerrilla activities are possible. Rear boundaries help the company coordinate and control its maneuvers and fires.
BREECH- The rear end of the barrel.
BREECHBLOCK or BREECH MECHANISM- The metal block used to seal the rear end of the bore against the force of the charge; in small arms, the breech mechanism is the bolt.
BRIDGEHEAD- An area of ground taken and held in enemy territory.
BULLET- The projectile of a small-arms cartridge that is discharged from a weapon toward a target.
BURST OF FIRE- A number of shots fired automatically with a single squeeze of the trigger.
BURSTING CHARGE- The force of an explosive that breaks the casing of a projectile to produce a demolition, fragmentation, or chemical action.
CADENCE- A rhythmic rate of march at uniform step.
CALIBER- The diameter of the bore measured from land to land; usually expressed in decimal fractions of an inch.
CAM- An inclined surface that imparts a desired motion to a sliding piece. (This is a generalized small-arms definition.)
CANNIBALIZATION- The act of taking apart or parts from an unserviceable piece of equipment to make another piece of equipment serviceable.
CARTRIDGE- A small-arms round ready for firing; its components are the cartridge case, primer, propellant, and bullet.
CARTRIDGE CASE- A metal case that houses the primer and propellant and holds the bullet.
CHAMBER- The enlarged part of the bore at the breech that holds the cartridge.
CHAMBERING- The process of placing a round into the chamber of a weapon after it has been fed into the weapon.
CHANNEL- An electrical path over which trans-missions can be made from one station (unit) to another.
CHARGE- A part of the fire command that established the amount of propellant to be used with a shell.
CHECKPOINT- An easily identifiable point on the terrain that is used in controlling movement or reporting locations of friendly units.
CIRCUIT- A communications link between two or more points.
CIVIC ACTION- The use of military forces on projects that contribute to the economic development of the local population. The projects concern education, training, public works, agriculture, transportation, communications, health, sanitation, and others.
CLANDESTINE (SECRET) OPERATION- Intelligence, counterintelligence, and other similar activities sponsored or conducted by governmental departments or agencies using secretor illicit means against another nation.
CLIP- A device that holds cartridges so they can be loaded into a weapon.
CLOSE AIR SUPPORT- Air operations against the enemy executed at very close range to friendly front lines.
CLOSE COMBAT- Hand-to-hand fighting with weapons, such as bayonets, hand grenades, service rifles, or pistols.
COCKING- The phase of operation that pertains to the locking of the hammer or firing assembly, slide assembly, or bolt group in a fixed (or held) position under spring tension and with all parts in position. Depressing the trigger allows the firing pin to strike the primer.
COLUMN- A formation in which the elements are placed one behind the other; a section or platoon is in column when its squads are in column and abreast.
COMBAT ORDER- An order issued by a commander for a combat operation specifying time and date of execution.
COMBAT PATROL- A patrol whose primary mission is to engage actively in combat with the enemy and whose secondary mission is to gain information about the enemy and the terrain.
COMBAT PLAN- A plan issued for a combat operation that may be effective immediately for planning purposes or for specified preparatory action. It is not put into execution until directed by the commander in a separate order of execution or until certain specified conditions are determined to exist. When its execution is directed, a combat plan becomes, in effect, a combat order.
COMMAND POST (CP)- The location of a unit's headquarters from which the commander and the staff operate.
COMMUNICATIONS CENTER- An agency that is responsible for the receipt, transmission, and delivery of messages.
COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK- A system consisting of a number of designated stations connected with one another by any means of communications.
COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY- The protection by all measures to deny unauthorized persons information of value that might be derived from a study or receipt of communications.
COMPANY FORWARD DEFENSE AREA- Portion of a battle area defended by front-line platoons; it extends laterally to the company boundaries, forward to the FEBA, and rearward to the supplementary positions required by the front-line platoons.
CONCEALMENT- The protection from observation Only.
CONNECTING ELEMENT- A file or group of personnel whose mission is to maintain contact between elements of a command.
CONSOLIDATION- A phase of offensive combat consisting of the hasty assumption of the defense and reorganization on the seized objective.
COOK OFF- A cook off is a functioning of any or all of the explosive components of a cartridge or shell caused by a weapon that has become very hot from continuous firing.
CORRIDOR- A strip of land forming a passageway between two opposing forces; in battle, no man's land.
COUNTERATTACK- An attack by a part or all of a defending force against an enemy attacking force. The specific purpose of the attack is to regain ground lost or to cut off or destroy enemy advance units. The general objective of the attack is to deny friendly territory to the enemy.
COUNTERRECOIL- The return of a breech mechanism to battery position after it has reached recoil limit. In small-arms weapons, it is usually accomplished by the release of compressed springs.
COUNTERSLOPE- Aposition located on the forward slope of the next elevation to the rear of the main line of resistance.
COVER- Any object that gives protection from enemy fire.
COVERT OPERATIONS- Operations that are so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of the sponsor.
CRITICAL TERRAIN- Terrain-the possession of which is vital to the accomplishment of the mission.
CRYSTAL- A natural substance, such as quartz or tourmaline, that is used to control the frequency of radio transmitters.
CYCLIC RATE OF FIRE- The theoretical number of rounds a weapon can fire in 1 minute, disregarding the limits of overheating and the capacity of the magazine.
CYLINDER- The chamber in which the piston moves in gas-operated weapons.
DANGER SPACE- The area between the muzzle of a direct fire weapon and the point of impact of its projectile (not to exceed the height of an average standing man).
DATE-TIME GROUP (DTG)- The date and time that identifies when a message is prepared for transmission. The DTG is expressed in six digits followed by a zone suffix-the first pair of digits denotes the date, the second pair the hours, and the third pair the minutes.
D-DAY- The day on which an operation commences or is to commence.
DEAD SPACE- The area within the maximum range of a weapon that cannot be covered by fire from a particular position because of intervening obstacles or because of the nature of the ground.
DEBARKATION- The unloading of troops, equip-ment, or supplies from a ship or aircraft.
DEFENSIVE POSITION- A portion of a defense area physically occupied by troops and weapons.
DEFILADE- A position protected from hostile ground observation and fire by a mask.
DEFILE- A narrow place or space, such as a mountain pass, a ford, or a bridge, that restricts the advance of a force on a wide front or its movement to the sides.
DEFLECTIONS- The setting on the scale of a gunsight to place the line of fire in the direction desired; the horizontal clockwise angle between the axis of the bore and the line of sighting.
DELAYING ACTION- A form of defensive action used to slow up the enemy's advance (without becoming decisively engaged) to gain time.
DEPLOYMENT- An extension of width or depth of a unit or both; how a unit is organized for combat.
DEPTH- The distance from front to rear of an element, formation, or position.
DIRECT FIRE- Fire delivered by a weapon sighted directly at the target.
DIRECT SUPPORT- The support given directly to a specific force in response to its request for assistance.
DISPERSION- The spreading of troops and material over a wide area to avoid offering the enemy a concentrated target; a scattered pattern of hits of bombs dropped under identical conditions or of shots fired from the same gun with the same firing data.
DISPLACEMENT- The movement of supporting weapons or elements from one position to another.
DISTANCE- Space between elements in the direction of depth. Between individuals, it is the space between your chest and the person to your front.
DOUBLE ACTION- An action of depressing the trigger, as in revolvers, that cocks the hammer and then releases it to fire the weapon. Both occur on one pull of the hammer.
DOUBLE TIME- Cadence at 180 steps (36 inches in length) per minute.
DUMP- An area used for the temporary storage and disbursing of military supplies.
ECHELON- A subdivision of a headquarters, such as forward echelon or rear echelon; a separate level of command; a fraction of a command in the direction of depth to which a principal combat mission is assigned, such as attack echelon, support echelon, or reserve echelon; a formation in which the elements are placed one behind another, extending beyond and unmasking one another wholly or in part.
EJECTION- The process of expelling the empty cartridge case from a weapon through the use of an ejector.
EJECTOR- The part that expels the empty cartridge case from the receiver of a weapon; it maybe fixed, spring-loaded, or movable.
ELEMENT- An individual squad, section, platoon, company, or another unit that is part of a larger unit.
EMBARKATION- The loading of troops, equipment, or supplies into a ship or aircraft.
EMPLACEMENT- A prepared position from which a weapon executes its fire mission.
ENFILADE FIRE- Fire delivered so the long axis of the beaten zone coincides with the long axis of the target.
ENVELOPMENT- An attack made on one or both of the enemy's flanks or rear; usually accompanied by an attack on his front.
EROSION- The wearing away of the inner surface of a gun barrel as a result of mechanical wear and the chemical action of powder gases.
EVACUATION- The process of moving casualties from a battlefield and subsequently of moving them along the chain of evacuation, as necessary; the clearance of personnel or material or both from a given locality.
EVASION AND ESCAPE (E&E)- The procedures and operations whereby military personnel and other selected individuals are enabled to emerge from an enemy-held or hostile area to areas under friendly control.
EXPLOITATION- The last phase of offensive combat that follows the reorganization of the attacking unit on the objective. In this phase of combat, the attacking unit may be directed to continue the attack, to pursue the enemy, or to mop up.
EXTRACTION- The phase of operation that deals with the removal of the empty cartridge case from the chamber of an extracting device before ejection.
EXTRACTOR- The part that withdraws the empty cartridge case from the chamber of a weapon.