Glossary of terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W
View all
M
muzzle velocity the speed of a projectile as it leaves a gun's muzzle
N
neutral describes a country that does not support any belligerent in a war or conflict
no-man's-land an area of land that is not controlled by any side during a battle
O
obelisk a tall stone pillar built to commemorate a person or an important event
objective a place or position towards which forces are directed
occupation the control of a territory by a foreign military power
offensive a carefully planned attack made by a large formation or group of soldiers
Order of Battle the units, formation and equipment of a military force; might include its identification, strength and command structure, and the disposition of the personnel
Ottoman Empire the former Turkish empire in Europe, Asia and Africa, from the late 13th century until the end of World War I
outflank to go around the flank of an opposing army by moving past it so it can be attacked from the side
outpost a small group of buildings used for military purposes in a distant part of the country or in a foreign country
P
palliasse a straw-filled mattress
parapet a low wall along the edge of a tall structure, such as a bridge or roof
peacekeeper a member of a peacekeeping force deployed to maintain or restore peace, often defence force or police personnel
peacekeeping force a special force formed to maintain or restore peace
peacemaker a person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries
periscope a vertical tube inside a submarine that lets a person see above the surface of the water
pillbox a small building made of concrete used to defend a place in a battle
pinnace a small boat carried on a large ship, used to carry goods and people from the ship to the shore
plateau a large area of high and fairly flat land
plebiscite a direct vote by the people of a country or region in which they say whether they agree or disagree with a particular policy
prisoners of war a person who is held captive by a belligerent power, such as their enemy, during or after an armed conflict
promontory a cliff or high point of land that points out into the sea
Protection Acts state-based laws of the 1800s and 1900s that forced First Australians to live under the control of a legal protector who managed many aspects of their lives, such as employment and marriage
Protestant a Christian who belongs to the branch of the Christian church that separated from the Catholic Church in the 16th century
protocol a system of rules about the correct way to act in formal situations
Q
quarantine method of keeping some people or animals separate from others for a set period of time, usually to prevent spread of disease in a population
R
rating a junior enlisted member of a navy who is not a warrant officer or commissioned officer
recolonise to colonise a foreign place again, by living there and taking control of it
reconnaissance an activity to obtain military information about a place by sending soldiers or planes there or by using satellite data
referendum a national vote for people to decide whether or not they agree with a policy
refugee a person forced to leave their country or homeland because of war or their political or religious beliefs
reinforcements extra people in a military force who are sent to help or to replace those who have been killed or wounded
reparation a sum of money paid after a war by the defeated country for the damage and injuries it caused in other countries
repatriation returning a veteran home after they have been injured, become sick or been killed in another country; also refers to returning a military force when conflict has ceased
S
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
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
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