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0100_005E Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Tommy's Dictionary Of The Trenches"

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A.O.C. Army Ordnance Corps. A department which deals out supplies to the troops. Its chief asset is the returning of requisitions because a comma is misplaced.

A.P.M. Assistant Provost Marshal. An officer at the head of the Military Police. His headquarters are generally out of reach of the enemy's guns. His chief duties are to ride around in a motor car and wear a red band around his cap.

"Apres la Guerre." "After the war." Tommy's definition of Heaven.

A.S.C. Army Service Corps, or Army Safety Corps as Tommy calls it. The members of which bring up supplies to the rear of the line.


"Back 'o the line." Any place behind the firing line out of range of enemy guns.

Baler. A scoop affair for baling out water from the trenches and dugouts. As the trenches generally drain the surrounding landscape, the sun has to be appealed to before the job is completed.

Bantams. Men under the standard army height of 5 ft. 3 in. They are in a separate organization called "The Bantam Battalion," and although undersized have the opinion that they can lick the whole German Army.

Barbed Wire. A lot of prickly wire entwined around stakes driven in front of the trenches. This obstruction is supposed to prevent the Germans from taking lodgings in your dugouts. It also affords the enemy artillery rare sport trying to blow it up.

"Barndook." Tommy's nickname for his rifle. He uses it because it is harder to say and spell than "rifle."

Barrage. Concentrated shell-fire on a sector of the German line. In the early days of the war, when ammunition was defective, it often landed on Tommy himself.

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Barricade. An obstruction of sandbags to impede the enemy's traffic into your trench. You build it up and he promptly knocks it down, so what's the use.

"Bashed in." Smashed by a shell. Generally applied to a trench or dugout.

Batman. A man who volunteers to clean a non-commissioned officer's buttons but who never volunteers for a trench raid. He ranks nest to a worm.

Bayonet. A sort of knife-like contrivance which fits on the end of your rifle. The Government issues it to stab Germans with. Tommy uses it to toast bread.

"Big Boys." Large guns, generally eight inch or above.

"Big Push." "The Battle of the Somme." He often calls it "The First of July," the date on which it started.

"Big Stuff." Large shells, eight inch or over.

"Big Willie." Tommy's term for his personal friend, the Kaiser.

Billet. Sometimes a regular house but generally a stable where Tommy sleeps while behind the lines. It is generally located near a large manure pile. Most billets have numerous entrances-one for Tommy and the rest for rain, rats, wind, and shells.

Billet Guard. Three men and a corporal who are posted to guard the billets of soldiers. They do this until the orderly officer has made his rounds at night, then they go to sleep.

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Over The Top
Arthur Guy Empey

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