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Army slang explained.


Afghan National Army. Very brave. Not as safety conscious as you’d like.

Army 100

Sharp shooting competition to find the top 100 shots in the army.


The vibe


TLA for Ammunition Technical Officer. ‘The bomb guy’ who does the long walk to defuse the bomb (see also Render Safe) Balls of galvanized steel required.

Beep Test

Standard fitness test used through the world in various services.

Blast Pants

Something to protect your crown jewels from the explosion should the unthinkable happen.


Engaging the enemy in more than a casual conversation. Bullets involved.


The room/tent where the EOD Detachment are based.

Drills and Skills

A general encouragement to rely on your training (drills) and your expertise (skills).


Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Ie. The guys that get rid of stuff that goes bang, like IEDs.


The tiresome necessity of Having To Explain Acronyms.


A small hexamine fuel block, like a slow burning fire lighter.


When you’re sitting around in the middle of nowhere, and the only thing to watch is a burning hexiblock.

Hook and line

Kit the ATO uses to pull the IED out of the ground. Like fishing. But for bombs.


Improvised Explosive Device. Or bomb. Handmade by the Taliban and planted by a road or pathway.

Mark One Eyeball

The ultimately searching device that has never been improved. The human eye.

Op Barma

Sweeping an area for IEDs with a Vallon.

Op Minimise

Communications shut down so that relatives can be the first to be informed about an injury or fatality of a soldier.


A Chaplain. Like an army vicar. Always called Padres (which means ‘Father’) even if they're women. S’pose we should call them Madres. But we don’t. Always good for sweets.


Plastic Explosive used to blow stuff up.


Photos. For when you just don’t have time to say the word photos.

Pressure Plate

One of the triggers for an IED. Tread on it and it goes bang.


Steal. Pinch. Reassign for personal use.

Queen’s Regs

Her Majesty’s Big Book of How She’d Like Her Troops to Behave. Optimistic.


Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Render Safe

Defuse Bomb.


Like all military hardware, the standard issue SA80 rifle was designed at immense cost, delivered late and found wanting. Much-maligned but begrudgingly accepted.


Unpalatable powder that the army insists can be turned into a form of drinkable squash. Possibly radioactive.

Spin the Dit

Tell the story. The recycled, apocryphal and obscene story.


Interpreter. You’re not meant to call them this for some reason. But they do.

The Wedge

Royal Engineers. Why they are called this is a matter of debate and mystery.

Thursday Nights

You might just have to ask a soldier to explain that one. Bear in mind Bird’s Boogie Night was always held on a Thursday.


Three Letter Acronym.Like ATO, EOD, RLC, TLA and IED. As you can see, the army likes TLAs. You’d better get used to them PDQ.


Metal detector for sweeping an area.


Describes those time when the politicians says it’s a peaceful operation, but you can’t help notice you’re being shot at.


Not amazing wizard, but a Weapons Intelligence Specialist Warrant Officer. Much easier to call them a WISWO.


Fifty mm calibre machine-gun that will hurt – in the sense that it will cut you in half.