Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Apr 3 22:37:35 UTC 2002

>I was quoting from my own experience in Basic Training (1969) plus some
>assorted reading.  What I was illustrating was the in-group jargon/taboos
>of the US Army, and apparently such taboos do not make the official
>glossaries.  I am told that combat soldiers have their own slang and jargon
>(are you surprised?), e.g. "put your juke-box on rock-n-roll" means to fire
>your M-16 on full automatic.

I was just wondering if there were doctrinal definitions underlying the
jargon/taboos, or if they were just unofficial tradition. I can, for
instance, define the difference between a tank and a Bradley infantry
fighting vehicle--both are armored, have turrets that rotate 360 deg, and
have cannon, but a tank has heavier armor and the cannon is much, much
larger. But I can't find any official definitions that make the distinction.

>"Caliber" as used in your quotes means not the diameter of the barrel but
>the ratio of the length of the barrel to its diameter.

Yup, it's one of those words with multiple jargon senses. Another is
"windage," which in common marksmanship parlance means the lateral drift of
a round due to wind and other factors. It also has a highly technical sense
of the difference in diameter between the barrel and the round (the smaller
the windage the more accurate the weapon)--with modern machining, this
second type of windage is a negligible factor in accuracy, but it used to be

>Your definition 2. of a howitzer has jargon I have never before met.

It's not my definition; it's the DoD's. But yes, it's jargon that only a
field artilleryman could make sense of. (I spent 3 years in an artillery
battalion, 1986-89.)

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