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Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Tommy's Dictionary Of The Trenches"

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Eighteen-Pounder. One of our guns which fires an eighteen pound shell, used for destroying German barbed wire previous to an attack. If it does its duty you bet Tommy is grateful to the eighteen-pounders.

Elephant Dugout. A large, safe, and roomy dugout, braced by heavy steel ribs or girders.

Emplacement. A position made of earth or sandbags from which a machine gun is fired. It is supposed to be invisible to the enemy. They generally blow it up in the course of a couple of days, just by luck, of course.

Entrenching Tool. A spade-like tool for digging hasty entrenchments. It takes about a week to dig a decent hole with it, so "hasty" must have another meaning.

"Equipment on." Put on equipment for drill or parade.

Escort. A guard of soldiers who conduct prisoners to different points. Tommy is just as liable to be a prisoner as an escort.

"Estaminet." A French public house, or saloon, where muddy water is sold for beer.


Fag. Cigarette. Something Tommy is always touching you for, "Fag issue." Army issue of cigarettes, generally on Sunday.

Fatigue. Various kinds of work done by Tommy while he is "resting."

"Fed up." Disgusted; got enough of it--as the rich Mr. Hoggenheimer used to say, "Sufficiency."

Field Dressing. Bandages issued to soldiers for first aid when wounded. They use them for handkerchiefs and to clean their rifles.

Field Post Card. A card on which Tommy is allowed to tell his family and friends that he is alive; if he is dead the War Office sends a card, sometimes.

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Field Punishment No. I. Official name for spread-eagling a man on a limber wheel, two hours a day for twenty-one days. His rations consist of bully beef, water, and biscuits. Tommy calls this punishment "Crucifixion," especially if he has undergone it.

"Fifteen-pounder." Still another of ours; shell weighs fifteen pounds. Used for killing rats on the German parapets.

"Finding the range." Ascertaining by instrument or by trial shots the distance from an enemy objective.

"Fireworks." A night bombardment.

Fire Sector. A certain space of ground which a machine gun is supposed to sweep with its fire. If the gun refuses to work, all of the enemy who cross this space are technically dead, according to the General's plans.

Firing Squad. Twelve men picked to shoot a soldier who has been sentenced to death by court-martial. Tommy has no comment to make on this.

Firing Step. A ledge in the front trench which enables Tommy to fire "over the top." In rainy weather you have to be an acrobat to even stand on it on account of the slippery mud.

Fire Trench. The front-line trench. Another name is for Hell.

"Five rounds rapid." Generally, just before daylight in the trenches, the order "Five rounds rapid" is given. Each man puts his rifle and head over the parapet and fires five shots as rapidly as possible in the direction of the German trenches and then ducks. A sort of "Good morning, have you used Fears Soap?"

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Over The Top
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