Glossary of terms

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sabotage to deliberately damage or destroy an object during a war
salvage to save useful or valuable items from a damaged ship or building
salvo the firing of several guns or missiles at the same time in a battle
sanctions measures taken by countries to restrict trade and official contact with a country that has broken international law
sapper a soldier whose job is to do building, digging and similar construction work
scapegoat a person who is publicly blamed for something bad that has happened, even though it was not their fault
screening a military tactic that uses either a body of cavalry to screen the advance of an attacking infantry force or a naval force to protect the main body of ships
scuttle to sink a ship deliberately
separatist a person who wants their own separate government or is involved in separatist activities
serge a strong woollen cloth used to make clothes, such as nurses' uniform dresses
shell a metal container full of an explosive substance and fired from a large gun; (verb) to fire shells at something from a large gun - shelled, shelling, shellfire
shell shock a confused or nervous mental condition of people who have been under fire in a war
shrapnel consists of small pieces of metal that are scattered from exploding bombs or shells
siege a military tactic where soldiers surround a place in an attempt to force its people to come out or give up control of the place
signaller a radio or telephone operator in the armed forces who relays messages from the battle field to headquarters, governments or non-government organisations
skirmish a small short-lived military battle
smoke shell a shell filled with white phosphorus fired by artillery to screen advancing troops
sniper a person who shoots at people from a hidden position
Somme a river in northern France where battles took place during World War I
sovereignty the power a country has to govern itself or another country or state
squalor very dirty, unpleasant conditions
stalemate a military situation where two opposing forces find that further action is either impossible or pointless
stall a compartment in a stable or shed for confining or feeding an animal
Stolen Generations describes the children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were forcibly removed from their families from the mid-1800s to the 1970s under various federal and state laws
strafe to attack a place from an aircraft by flying low and firing a lot of bullets - also 'ground strafing'
stretcher case someone who has to be taken away on a stretcher because they are too injured or sick to walk
strong-point a crucial point in a defensive position, usually strongly fortified and heavily armed, and protected by other positions nearby
surrender to give up to an enemy or to relinquish control or power over something
theatre of area or region where a war or conflict is happening, on land, on the sea or in the sky
torpedo a bomb that is shaped like a tube and travels under water
tourniquet a strip of cloth tied tightly around an injured arm or leg to stop bleeding
tow a towboat or tug used for pushing a barge or group of barges
transport a military vehicle, especially a ship or plane, that's used to carry soldiers or equipment
traverse a protective bank or other barrier across a trench
treaty a written agreement between countries to show they agree a particular action or to help each other
triage the practice of sorting battle casualties (sick and wounded people) into categories of priority for treatment
troopship a ship that carries a large number of soldiers from one place to another
truce an agreement between 2 parties to stop fighting for a short time
trusteeship administration or government of a territory by a foreign country under the supervision of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations
Turk a person from the principal ethnic group of Türkiye or, formerly, the Ottoman Empire; a Turkic-speaking person
Türkiye the centre of the Ottoman Empire; became a republic in 1923
U-boat a German submarine
ultimatum a final offer issued in negotiations, the rejection of which can lead to a break in relations and some action
undercarriage the part of a plane, including the wheels, that provides support when it is on the ground and when it is landing or taking off
unexploded ordnance any sort of military ammunition or explosive ordnance that has failed to function as intended
United Kingdom (UK) refers to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 January 1801 to 5 December 1922, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 5 December 1922
upper class describes a group of people in a society who have the highest economic or social status
vanguard the part of a military force that goes into battle first; 'van' for short
veteran a person who served in the armed forces of their country during a war or peacekeeping mission
Victoria Cross (VC) the highest decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces