Glossary of terms

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E
expeditionary relating to a journey undertaken for an exploratory or military purpose
extortionist a person who gets something from someone by using force or threats
F
famine a situation when large numbers of people experience extreme hunger due to drought, overpopulation or civil war, and many of them die
feint a mock attack or military movement designed to distract an adversary
flagship the most important ship in a fleet, on which the commander of the fleet sails
Flanders a World War I battle area in Belgium's East and West Flanders, the Netherlands' Zeeland and France's Nord
fleet a group of ships organised to act together, such as fight a battle
fragmentation describes a weapon designed to explode into many small pieces, especially an anti-personnel weapon
front a line where two opposing military forces are facing each other
G
gallantry bravery shown by a person who is facing danger, for example when a soldier is fighting in a war
gangrene the decay in a part of a person's body if the blood stops flowing to it, as a result of illness or injury
garrison a group of soldiers who guard the town or building where they live
genocide the deliberate killing of a national, racial, political or cultural group of people or a policy intended to destroy them  
Great Britain refers to the island of England, Wales and Scotland, and its surrounding isles, but not Northern Ireland - 'Britain' for short
Great War the term used to describe World War I by the generation that lived through it - also 'First World War'
green line a line of demarcation between two enemies in a conflict
gross domestic product (GDP) the total value of goods and services produced by a nation in a year
guerilla person who fights as part of an unofficial army, usually against an official army or police force
H
hardtack a hard, flat, saltless biscuit that formed part of navy or army rations
heave to to stop moving forward, especially a ship or vessel
heliograph an instrument with mirrors and a shutter used for sending messages in Morse code by reflecting the sun's rays
home front the country where civilians live
howitzer a large gun with a short barrel that fires shells high up into the air so that they drop down onto a target
I
illiterate unable to read or write
in perpetuity describes as action or activity that's intended to last forever
incendiary describes a weapon designed to cause a small fire; dropped together from aircraft to cause widespread damage
indemnity an amount of money paid to someone because of some damage or loss they have suffered
infantry soldiers who fight on foot
internee a person put in prison for political reasons, especially an enemy citizen during wartime or a terrorism suspect
internment the practice of putting people, usually civilians, in prison for political reasons, especially enemy foreign nationals during wartime or terrorism suspects
J
jaunty naval slang for the master-at-arms, a senior sailor responsible for good order and discipline
K
kamikaze An attack on an enemy where the actor knows that they will be killed doing it
L
landmine an explosive placed on the ground or just beneath the surface
light case patient with lower-grade wounds or illness
lighter a flat-bottomed barge used for transporting cargo, especially to load or unload a ship
M
mackintosh a waterproof material made by cementing layers of cloth with rubber
mandate the authority to carry out a particular policy or task as a result of winning an election or vote
mateship comradeship of friends, usually male, viewed as an institution
medic a doctor who works with the armed forces, as part of a medical corps
merchant ship a ship that is part of a country's commercial shipping fleet, involved in transporting goods or carrying passengers; also known as a 'merchantman'
militant describes a person with a very strong belief who tries to bring about political or social change, often in extreme ways that others find unacceptable
military junta a government led by a committee of military leaders
military observer a military official deployed as part of a peacekeeping force to provide support to a coordinated mission or peace operation
militia a group that operates like an army but whose members are not professional soldiers
mine a bomb hidden in the ground or in water that explodes when something touches it
minelayer a warship or aircraft designed for the carrying and laying of mines
mobilise to prepare a military forces for a conflict; mobilisation (noun)
Morse code a telegraph code used for sending messages
musketry the technique of using small arms
mustard gas a chemical weapon used during World War I that caused blistering, sore eyes and internal injuries