Terminology

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Battalion - a large body of troops ready for battle, especially an infantry unit forming part of a brigade.


Bayonet - a sword-like stabbing blade which may be fixed to the muzzle of a rifle for use in hand-to-hand fighting.


Brigade - 2,500 to 5,000 in strength. During World War One a Brigade was 4 battalions.


Camouflet - small underground charge


Chevrons - are V stripes that refer to active service overseas and are worn on the lower right arm with the point up. The red chevron represents 1914, and the blue a subsequent year.


Clay Kicker - Typically tunnels were dug by hand in clay using a technique called ‘clay kicking’. The tunnellers lay on a plank at 45 degrees, angled away from the working face, and inserted the digging tool, which had a cuplike rounded end, between their legs with their feet. Turning the tool manually, a section of soil was silently removed, which was then shovelled into sandbags and passed out of the tunnel through a chain of men.[1] The method was quick and silent, unlike the German use of the mattock which required the clay face to be struck.


Crump - A loud thudding sound, especially one made by an exploding bomb or shell

A captured Flammenwerfer, c1916. Federation University Historical Collection

Flame-thrower - A German device, a flammenwerfer, used during World War One by the Germans to clear trenches and bunkers. It used pressurized air and carbon dioxide or nitrogen to create a stream of burning oiling with a range of 18 meters. A larger device had a range up to 40 Metres but requires six operators.[2]

Dugouts

A safe refuge for troops, and often used as headquarters, first -aid rooms and places of accomodation. Dugouts were illuminated by 500 volt DC dynamo generator sets.[3]

Grenade - a small bomb thrown by hand or launched mechanically.


Mining During World War One Western Front mining was considered to be the act of placing an explosive device or mine below ground with the intention of destroying the enemy or enemy infrastructure. Tunnelling was required to place the 'mine' below the enemy position. [4]


Sapper - A soldier responsible for tasks such as building and repairing roads and bridges, laying and clearing mines, etc.[5]

Saps

Sometimes called Russian Saps, there were shallow communication trenches or tunnells driven to the enemy lines and approximately a foot below the surface allowing easy breakout for the infantry for assault purposes.[6]


Salient - A piece of land or section of fortification that juts out to form an angle. In military terms, a salient is a battlefield feature that projects into enemy territory.[7]

Subways

Galleries normally larger than the standard which linked to teh general mining system, and used basically for accomodation of infantry, headquarters, stores, water tanks, kitchen, latrines, first aid and operating room.[8]


Trench - A defense mechanism of various shapes and sizes dug into the ground, and often reinforced with sandbags.


Trench Art

Items made by soldiers during the first World War from material found at the front.


Western Front - A trench network from the English Channel to Switzerland.


Wombat Borer - A small portable drilling unit designed by Stanley Hunter of the Australian Mining Corps. It was a rotary drill fitted with auger blades capable of drilling 15 centimetres in diameter through soil or chalk.[9]


Wound Stripe - a vertical bar worn on the forearm.


References

  1. http://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/portal/news/australian-mining-corps-david-lees
  2. Lee, Roger, The Battle of Fromelles 1916. Army History Unit, Canberra, 2010.
  3. Thomas, Ross, Underground: A Tribute to the Tunnellers of the Great War 1914-1918, SP, 08 July 1994.
  4. Finlayson, Damien, Crumps and Camophlets, Big Sky Publishing, N.S.W., p. 7.
  5. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/sapper, accessed 25April 2014.
  6. Thomas, Ross, Underground: A Tribute to the Tunnellers of the Great War 1914-1918, SP, 08 July 1994.
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ypres_Salient, accessed 10/10/2014.
  8. Thomas, Ross, Underground: A Tribute to the Tunnellers of the Great War 1914-1918, SP, 08 July 1994.
  9. Finlayson, Damien, Crumps and Camophlets, Big Sky Publishing, N.S.W., p. 42.