1941 Quartermaster Corps lingo
Barry A. Popik
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri May 14 08:26:53 UTC 1999
This is from ARMY TIMES, 30 August 1941, pg. 11, cols. 1-2:
_They Say the Redball Was_
_A Killer--and Him a Cowboy!
The Greeks may have a word for it, but Army drivers in the motor
transport section of the Quartermaster Corps can go tham one better--they
have many words.
While driving the "jeep" cars, light trucks, wreckers, passenger cars and
other types of motor vehicles, the Army drivers have developed a language
just as mysterious as Hindustani--and sounds just like it.
Amid the roar of motors and the babble of voices that signal the making
up of a truck convoy, the following words and phrases are invariably heard
above the clatter. Definitions are provided to translate this unique
language into the king's English:
ARMSTRONG STARTER--Crank handle.
BAREBACK--Tractor without handle.
BEACH HER--Coast to parking space.
BOBTAIL--Tractor without trailer.
BOOM WAGON--Ammunition truck.
BROKE TO LEAD--Needs to be towed in.
BELL O' THE WOODS--Convoy commander.
BUTTONING 'ER UP--Tie down a load on a truck or trailer.
CACKLE CRATE--Radio reconnaissance car.
COP CALLER--Truck with noisy brakes.
DIG-OUT--To speed up the engine.
DOPE--Slow thinking and acting driver.
FREE HOLE--Coast in neutral.
GEAR FIGHTER--Driver who makes a noise shifting gears.
HOT FOOT--One who rides his clutch.
JESSE JAMES--Military police.
JOHNSON BAR--Gear shift lever.
KILLER--Truck with no brakes.
LAZY BACK--Tired driver.
NUT BUSTER--Auto mechanic.
PERSUADER--16-pound sledge hammer.
PIN 'ER EARS BACK--Glide the truck.
PNEUMONIA WAGON--Command car.
PUNCTURED LUNG--Leaky radiator.
RED BALL--Fast truck.
RIDE A FIREBUG--Drive with one flat rear tire on dual wheels causing fire
SHAKE DOWN THE ASHES--Crank a truck.
STEM WINDER--Hand-crank starter.
THROTTLE SNAPPED--Motorcycle rider.
TIMING GEAR--A watch.
THUMB BUSTER--Spinning steering wheel.
TOSS OUT THE ANCHOR--Apply brakes.
WIND 'ER UP--Crank the engine.
YODELER--Gears that make high, singing noises.
What the motor is called after it goes dead miles from the nearest repair
shop is unprintable.
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