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Author Topic: Military jargon question stuff  (Read 1983 times)

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Offline greenknight

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2014, 03:31:18 AM »
800 would mean range to target, not direction.

Online Chaeronea

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2014, 01:02:04 PM »
I was thinking military field slang would be rough and bawdy.

And sometimes military slang is deliberately made to be bawdy nd rude, as a way of letting off steam or for getting crap past the radar of political correctness. Check out the Falcon codes used by US Naval aviators during the Vietnam War and later.

Offline Merah

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2014, 01:40:57 PM »
The thing is, I actually have to moderate the amount of jargon I let into my military stories, as I try to keep them so that non-military readers can still understand and enjoy them. And military people use a LOT of acronyms... :P

But every now and then I let some terms be included without explanation, because the reader doesn't actually need to understand every word to get the gist of a sentence. What's more important is that it conveys the proper tone/mood/urgency/precision or whatever you're going for with it.

For example, you might never have heard the term 'exfiltrate', but if one of my characters shouts, "Enemy air incoming; we need to exfil this valley YESTERDAY!"... you'll figure out what he means pretty quickly. ;)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2014, 02:18:42 PM »
Exfiltrate would be the opposite of infiltrate.  That is, to get out of an area, preferably without being spotted.

And some of those acronyms have made it into common parlance - Snafu and fubar come to mind.

Offline AiyannaTopic starter

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2014, 09:32:54 PM »
Wow this exploded way more than I thought it would. Glad I started something! lol :)

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2014, 09:31:10 AM »
Exfiltrate would be the opposite of infiltrate.  That is, to get out of an area, preferably without being spotted.

And some of those acronyms have made it into common parlance - Snafu and fubar come to mind.
The Navy has become favorable to BOHICA in resent years.

meaning
Bend Over Here It Comes Again

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2014, 10:16:14 AM »
The Navy has become favorable to BOHICA in resent years.

meaning
Bend Over Here It Comes Again

Astronomers and astrophysicists have been using the mnemomic "Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me Right Now Sweetheart!" (or (Smack) as the last bit) for a couple of decades, to remember the main types of stars (the sun being an ordinary humble G(irl) star). But there are even more memory ditties for this.

I like the one about "official bureaucrats".  :D

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2014, 02:37:36 PM »
Oh, Oh, Oh, To Touch A Female’s Vagina Gives Vinny A Hard-on

Don't get much dirtier than the mnemonic for cranial nerves.

Offline Question Mark

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2014, 11:39:31 AM »

Oh boy, I love military jargon.  A tense exchange over a radio in the thick of things is probably one of my favorite things to write.  Here's a couple of tidbits I've gleaned over the years that I didn't see mentioned earlier in the thread.

Edit: in retrospect, this has a lot more general military info than jargon in it.  I started writing but then I really didn't want to grade these papers so I kept writing and then this happened.

Caveat: I have no actual military experience, just knowledge I've picked up over the past decade from reading and writing.

Infantry
-- Knowing the hierarchy and chain of command is very important when writing infantry scenes.  For example, a fireteam (because you should always have a soldier at your back) is two-four soldiers, and act as a single unit.  Squads have multiple fire teams, and farther up there's platoons, battalions, and so on.  Each level has it's own CO (commanding officer), which may be an experienced enlisted (no officer training) or a graduate from an officer academy.  The dynamics between a hardened NCO sergeant and his fresh out of OCS lieutenant are a great source of tension.  Addendum: know what pay grades are and how they're different from ranks.  Different military branches will have different ranks in a different order.
-- In a firefight, chatter will be minimal.  Rather, it should be: someone who just won't shut up could be a good source of drama.  As was mentioned earlier, military communication is designed to be as brief and clear as possible.  The fireteam or squad leader (a corporal or other enlisted) will organize the team.  Expect to see terms like advance, flank, suppressing fire, assist, fall back, hold position, etc.  Individuals will call out enemy movements or their status.  If everyone speaks the same language, expect each side to use more code or euphemisms. 
-- Infantry love their acronyms.  Bases and rally points may have brief unmistakable code names (e.g. Pharaoh, Zeus, Ozone  .... bonus points for hidden sentimental/comedic value) or practical abbreviations (Forward Aerial Depot = FAD base).  Depending on military branch, soldiers in a fireteam may have nicknames, official designations (Charlie-Niner), or may just be referred to by their role or weapon.  Weapons and equipment will usually be referred to by a nickname or official abbreviation, e.g. M20, APC, Mk. II, etc.  Depending on the scenario, this requires a bit if research on the writers part.  If you're in an original or sci-fi setting, you can be pretty creative here, but try and stick to a uniform and predictable system to maintain suspension of disbelief.  Remember: brotherhood is a major theme in militaries, so there's a intentionally lot of vernacular that someone outside of the group would not immediately get to create a sense of inclusivity.
-- Military time: use it.
-- Positioning.  The X O'Clock method is solid, but also use the cardinal directions.  All distances are in meters.  Expect soldiers to be able to tell the time of day from the sun's position and to know which way is north most of the time.

Aerial, Naval, and Vehicular
-- Soldiers who pilot/command ships, planes, vehicles, tanks, etc. can get very attached to their equipment.  They may name them, come up with personalities for them, develop histories, and so on.  This is a great way to build someone's character development.
-- In the air, there are three directions.  Know yaw (left-right), pitch (up-down), and roll (clockwise-counterclockwise).  In addition, directions are usually given using a coordinate system based on the cardinal directions, with North being 0, East being 90, etc.  There are usually two airmen: a pilot and a navigator.  Larger planes, such as bombers, will have additional crew manning weapons and other systems.  Communication here is essential: the crew are constantly in contact with their COs or controllers, and require authorization for many actions, such as opening fire, retreating, etc.  Targets often have code names or impartial designations.  Talk is brief and tight and professional.  Phonetic alphabet is used often, as well a lot of jargon.  Paint: to lock on to a target.  No joy: unsuccessful attack.  Weapons free: cleared to engage.  Weapons hot: opening fire.  Hit the deck: descend quickly.  Do a barrel roll: hey, wait a second...
-- At sea, battles are often fought at ranges where the enemy is no more than a speck on the horizon. Individual seamen will have specific jobs to carry out during combat.  Don't expect someone to be running all over the ship.  More likely, they'll just be sitting there waiting for orders from the bridge.  I don't know a lot about naval terminology, but I do know the cook is sacrosanct.  There's that.

Space
-- Obviously this is in the domain of sci-fi, but modern day space battles can occur.  Regardless, there's very little to no real life precedent for this, so it's pretty much fair game.
-- General space: space is not an ocean.  In general, space combat is much more closely related to aerial combat than to naval combat.  Military vessels are not spaceships, they are spacecraft.  Reusable surface to orbit (STO) craft are shuttles.  Stages are sequentially used parts of a shuttle that carry fuel and systems needed at different points in the mission.  The space shuttle has three stages, for example: the two solid rocket boosters, the large red booster, and the shuttle itself.  Stations are artificial satellites in a stable orbit about a celestial body.  You don't use 2D coordinates.  Distances are measured in kilometers or AU's and speed in (kilo)meters/second, not knots.  Vessels can have classes (e.g. Destroyer) akin to modern naval ships, but they're more likely to have some original designation.  Try to use aerial terms (e.g. Bomber, fighter, etc.) when possible.  Pitch, yaw, and roll return.  In addition, the idea of reference points becomes immensely important.  Up/down/left/right/forward/backward are all arbitrary in freefall, and when earth is a curved sphere that takes up a third of the sky, it can be too nonspecific to use.  Without a reference point to use, giving directions is impossible.  Expect to hear a lot of, "The station airlock is our down RP.  Advance upward, and flank forward and backward."  Ender's Game is a great novel to read concerning this.
-- Modern space: You probably won't have firefights in raw vacuum, but you probably won't have ship-to-ship battles either.  Military operations will be confined to boarding ships/stations, both of which have plenty of reference points to use, or evading surface based attacks, such as missiles.  Use the same vernacular as you would in infantry engagements, with the addition of RPs and other "spacey" terms, like vacuum, trajectory, pressure, radiation, reciprocal force (never fire a gun in space without first bracing yourself), horizon, terminus (the line between shadow cast by earth and sunlight), orbit, etc.  Cat and mouse fights between two spacecraft orbiting earth would also use terms like Hoffman maneuver (changing orbits), burn (acceleration), G's, delta-V (total acceleration needed to adjust to new trajectory in m/s/s), angular momentum, radial velocity, and other things you learned in physics class.
-- Sci-Fi Space: When you have fleets of spacecraft engaging, things get messy fast.  The easiest way is to just say fuck it and use naval terminology.  This is where you get things like two walls of spacecraft shooting at each other like regiments in the revolutionary war, which is completely ridiculous.  If you're anywhere in space, you're moving, FAST.  Actual fleet engagements would take place over thousands or hundreds of thousands of kilometers as they passed each other on intersecting trajectories.  You'd spend days or weeks waiting, then push a button, then wait a couple of minutes to see if either of you die. More than likely, battles will take place in an orbit over a planet or moon.  The disadvantage goes to the party in the lower orbit.  This is called being in the planets gravity well: since they're so close to it, they need to expend a lot of energy (a high delta-V) to escape and disengage, which is difficult to do in a battle.  This is the space equivalent of having your back against a wall.  Also, quick rule of thumb: the lower your orbit, the faster you need to move, so a fleet could use this to outrun the enemy.  As for people, it's much the same as modern day naval battles.  You'll have a CO of some kind who issues orders that are relayed by the officers and carried out by the crew.  The difference is spacecraft will likely be very small, no bigger than our retired shuttles.  Expect the crew to be skilled mathematicians, or have a computer that can calculate all of the trajectories and firing solutions for them.  Use terms like kinetic bomb (basically a giant bullet fired very fast), magnetic acceleration (rail guns), relativistic bomb (something small accelerated to near light speed; can destroy entire planets), directional scanners (essentially radar that you point at someone, which they can then detect), passive scanners (much weaker than directional, but also undetectable by others), ion drives (very efficient, and very conspicuous, propulsion), as well as the host of spacey terms mentioned above like delta-V.  Everything will be very precise, and there will generally be a lot of waiting.  There will be no room for error, so everything will be very tightly regimented and protocol.

Offline Question Mark

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2014, 10:06:30 PM »
Was reading some SCP logs and found this fantastic example of professional (SpecOps) military jargon done right.  Great reference.

Offline Wayfarer

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2014, 04:33:59 PM »
WOW! just reading this thread made my sides aches from laughing. My advice? Do not even attempt use military jargon in your writing unless 1) It is a fictional military. 2 ) Or you have done extensive homework on the period, place, and branch of service involved. Anything other than that will drive a purist to tears. I have lost count of the firefights that I have been involved in over the years since my first one in 1991 during operation desert storm. I also have experience in the Jargons of branches of service other than my own as well as those of other nations. I have even had the distinct joy of listening to Al Qaida and Taliban tactical communications while in the midst of firefights ( this is hilarious when it happens ). If you have specific questions about specific situations/scenarios please feel free to contact me and I will offer what assistance that I am qualified to provide.

Offline Wayfarer

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2014, 04:57:14 PM »
I am sorry if my previous posting came off wrong. I forget that you folks don't get to hear the tone of my voice or always understand the precise context of a posting. I just find it a funny topic. I am often accused of speaking jargon instead of English when talking to civilian types. I guess I just find the subject funny because I no longer even think about it. It is something that just happens. It is kind of like breathing in the way that you don't need to think about it to do it.

Offline Saidi

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2014, 05:25:18 AM »
While not strictly military jargon, the most amusing thing I ever heard over radio was "unfuck yourself and call me back."


I know this thread is older, but this... I have so much love for this. I've heard a few amusing ones over the radio I wouldn't recommed, but that quote brought back memories. Lol

I remember things like "hurry up and wait"  as part of the conversational lingo.  I think anyone in any military branch likely knows what that means. 

Offline Fenrisulfr

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2014, 08:38:13 AM »
I remember things like "hurry up and wait"  as part of the conversational lingo.  I think anyone in any military branch likely knows what that means.
That one is probably universal enough to probably exist in any branch, in any county. A Swedish version of it was used in the army back in the early 90's. "Skynda på och vänta."

Any English version of "Gör om, gör rätt" ("do it again, do it correct"), if someone has messed something up,  or "fippla snabbare" ("fiddle faster") if someone is to slow with what they are doing (as in putting something together, or packing their gears)?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2014, 02:22:40 PM »
That one is probably universal enough to probably exist in any branch, in any county. A Swedish version of it was used in the army back in the early 90's. "Skynda på och vänta."

Any English version of "Gör om, gör rätt" ("do it again, do it correct"), if someone has messed something up,  or "fippla snabbare" ("fiddle faster") if someone is to slow with what they are doing (as in putting something together, or packing their gears)?

I recall hearing this in some U.S. TV cop show: "Get your dick together and hang on with me!"  ;D That was fictional police talk, but I'm confident it could have been said in any branch of the military - though most likely only eye to eye in a dangerous situation.

Offline Saidi

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2014, 02:30:36 PM »
After basic training,  I detested anyone saying "high speed" when addressing a lower ranking soldier, because more often than not, they were being sarcastic and condescending. 

Offline Mikem

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2014, 05:16:04 PM »
I have NO experience will real life Military terms and sayings. Please take note that my "vast" (lol) experience concerning this stems from many years of Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Battlefield, and other media including TV shows and film. Now if ANY of the media has actually portrayed the military in an accurate light, this is what I remember;

Squads, Fireteams, and individual soldiers have callsigns. ie, Alpha Squad > Alpha 1 (Fireteam > Alpha 1-1 (Fireteam 1 leader)

Moving forward is 'Advancing'. Moving backward is 'Egress'. Completely leaving an 'AO', or Area of Operation is 'Exfil', short for Exfiltration as someone else mentioned. Usually Exfil is made by Helicopter, which lands at an 'LZ' or Landing Zone. A Landing Zone in a combat zone would either be 'Clear' of hostiles, or 'Hot', meaning there are hostiles nearby. Helicopters are usually nicknamed 'Bird(s)' and anything faster like Jet Aircraft are 'Fast Movers'. Hostile Infantry are usually nicknamed 'Tangos', as in 'Tango Down' when one is killed, or 'Neutralized'. In every combat action there are 'Rules of Engagement' to be determined and followed. These rules include Soldiers not opening fire unless having been fired upon, or determining whether certain individuals are 'Expendable', or allowed to be neutralized lethally on sight. Concerning making a building or structure safe from occupying hostiles, you either go big and have 'CAS' or Close Air Support make a bombing run on the building, or you 'Breach and Clear'. In the latter a Squad breaches from either one or multiple entry points, usually by blowing the doors with a form of Breaching Explosive. The type of explosive can disorient any hostiles inside, or after the door is blown, Flashbangs will be thrown in to paralyze nearby hostiles, and you'll yell 'Breaching, Breaching'. Each room is designated safe by saying room or direction 'Clear', and once the entire structure is made safe it's 'All Clear'.

I feel like there's so much to cover and I could just keep going on and on. A better way of explaining this to people would be just to pop Call of Duty 4 in and give them a few hours. Also if what I've said above is laughable bullshit please don't hate me.  :-[

Offline Oniya

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Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2014, 05:50:00 PM »
Hostiles will have different names depending on the era/combat theater.  In WWI, the Germans were often called 'Huns'.  In WWII, it was frequently 'Jerry'.  In the Vietnam war, the enemy was 'Charlie' (from 'Victor Charlie' for V.C. or Viet Cong).

Offline Rick345

Re: Military jargon question stuff
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2014, 06:21:49 PM »
The only one I can remember is RPG's

"Regulation Prescription Glasses" were often refereed to as Rut Prevention Glasses or Birth Control Glasses...

That was back when the Geek look was totally uncool..

Attach was used when you were temporarily assigned to a unit. Rick your attached to as of 0700 you're attached to McKenny's squad..
AO Area of Operation
Battle Rattle = full battle gear: including a flak vest, Kevlar helmet, gasmask, ammunition, weapons, and other basic military equipment.
MRE's Meals Ready to Eat.
Grunt: Infantryman
IED
Kevlar: helmet
NCO: Non-commissioned officer. A fancy way of saying sergeant
PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
RPG: Rocket Propelled grenade
Sandbox or Sandpit: Iraq
Terp: interpreter
XO: ExecutiveOfficer. One step Below Commanding officer.