Artillery- large guns that shoot over long distances or the crews that operate the guns.
Barrage- heavy and continuous firing of large guns often before troops advance.
Boche- derogatory term for German soldiers especially in WWI. The term comes from the French word caboche meaning cabbage. The term refers to the stereotypical image of Germans consuming sauerkraut, which is made from cabbage.
Concussion- can refer to the medical effects of a blow to the head or shock waves from firing a piece of artillery.
Cooties- slang term for body lice used first by British soldiers and then adopted by Americans.
Hardtack- a type of bread issued to soldiers as field rations. Hardtack is made from flour, water and sometimes salt. It is extremely hard and has little or no taste. Soldiers typically ate hardtack only when nothing else was available.
Hun- derogatory word for German soldiers. The term refers to Attila the Hun the famous military leader who menaced both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires in the mid 400’s. The term brings to mind images of savage barbarians.
Infantry- soldiers who fight on foot
Jerry- derogatory word for German soldiers. The word is likely based on the pronunciation of German as “jer-man.” Another possibility is that is based on the shape of World War I German helmets. Some sources claim that the helmets looked like chamber pots called jeroboam after a biblical king who lost favor with God.
Morale- the confidence and enthusiasm of a group of people for completing the task at hand.
Shell-shock- term created in World War I to identify soldiers who suffered a variety of symptoms including amnesia, headache, tremors and sensitivity to noise. The symptoms were thought to be caused by prolonged exposure to bombardments and other front line conditions. Shell-shock is similar to the modern diagnosis or PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Strategy- the overall plan for achieving victory in warfare. The German strategy at the beginning of WWI was to quickly advance through Belgium then on to Paris. Once France surrendered, the Germans would be free to concentrate their efforts against Russia in the east. The strategy failed for a number of reasons including Belgium resistance and a quicker than expected Russian entry into the war.
Tactics- the actions carried out by groups of soldiers as part of the overall strategy to win a battle or war. In World War I, a common tactic was “going over the top.” This meant that soldiers would leave the relative safety of their trenches and run towards the enemy in a direct frontal assault.