Glossary


A    B    C    F    G    H    I    K    L    M    N    O    P    R    S    T    V    W

A


A7V
Allgemeines Kriegsdepartement, 7 Abteilung, Verkehrswesen. "General War Department, 7th Unit, Transportation." (German.)

AA
Anti-Aircraft.

AAMG
Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun.

AAV RAM/RS
Assault Amphibian Vehicle Reliability, Availability, Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard. US program to install components from the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle into the AAVP7A1.

AAVC
Assault Amphibian Vehicle, Command.

AAVP
Assault Amphibian Vehicle, Personnel.

Abrams, General Creighton Williams, Jr.
15 Sep 1914-4 Sep 1974. Tank battalion and combat command commander in World War II; commander of US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, from 1968-72; and Chief of Staff of the US Army from 1972-4.

ACAV
Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle.

ACE
Armored Combat Earthmover. M9.

ACPC
Armored Command Post Carrier. M577.

ACRC
Armored Command and Reconnaissance Carrier. M114.

AFV
Armored Fighting Vehicle.

AIV
Armored Infantry Vehicle. AIV is an obsolete US term for APC.

AMX
Atelier de Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux. ("Construction Workshop of Issy-les-Moulineaux." French.)

AOS
Add-On Stabilization.

APC
Armored Personnel Carrier. APCs, usually armed with machine guns, generally transport infantry to the battle and then the troops dismount to fight on their own.

APDS
Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot. APDS projectiles are smaller than the diameter of the gun's barrel. Sabots (French for "shoe") are placed around the projectile and fill the space between the projectile and barrel walls. Once the projectile clears the gun tube, the sabots fall away. APDS projectiles have a higher muzzle velocity than comparable full-bore projectiles.

APFSDS
Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot. Unlike APDS projectiles, APFSDS penetrators are stabilized by fins, rather than spinning.

AR/AAV
Armored Reconnaissance/Airborne Assault Vehicle. M551 Sheridan.

ASV
Armored Security Vehicle. M1117 Guardian.

ATACMS
Army Tactical Missile System.

AUV
Armored Utility Vehicle.

Ausf.
Ausführung.

Ausführung
"Model." (German.)


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B


BAT
Brilliant Anti-armor Technology. BAT is an artillery-delivered anti-armor submunition that uses acoustic and infrared sensors to detect targets.

BITE
Built-In Test Equipment.

BMP
Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhota. "Infantry combat vehicle." (Russian.)

Bradley, General Omar Nelson
12 Feb 1893-8 Apr 1981. Twelfth Army Group commander in World War II, Chief of Staff of the US Army in 1948-9, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as General of the Army from 1949-53. M2. M3.

BT
Bystrokhodnyy Tankoviy. "Fast tank." (Russian.)


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C


Cal
Caliber. The diameter of a gun, expressed in inches (e.g., a .30 caliber machine gun fires bullets .3" in diameter).

CBSS
Closed Breech Scavenging System. CBSS used compressed air to force any remaining smoldering pieces of combustible ammunition casing out of the 152mm gun-launcher on the M551 Sheridan and M60A2. CBSS was a safer system than the earlier open breech system, which allowed the flaming pieces to fly around the turret.

CEV
Combat Engineer Vehicle. M728.

CFV
Cavalry Fighting Vehicle. M3 Bradley.

CGMC
Combination Gun Motor Carriage. M15A1.

Chaffee, Major General Adna Romanza, Jr.
23 Sep 1884-22 Aug 1941. First commander of the US Armored Force. M24.

Char
"Tank." (French.)

Christie suspension
The suspension designed by J. Walter Christie in the 1920s involved independently springing a vehicle's road wheels on tall vertical helical springs. The wheels were attached to swing arms which then connected to the springs. The springs required a tall double-walled hull, and they were placed in between the two hull layers. Many vehicles with Christie's suspension could drive on or off of their tracks, wheeled motion being powered by chains running from the sprockets or final drives. Among vehicles using variants of Christie's suspension were many British World War II-era cruiser tanks, and the Soviet BT series and T-34.

CITV
Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer.

CTL
Combat Tank, Light. CTL-3.


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F


Fire height
Height to the centerline of a vehicle's main weapon when that weapon is at 0° elevation.

FIST-V
Fire Support Team Vehicle. M981.

FLIR
Forward-Looking Infrared.

FV
Fighting Vehicle.


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G


GMC
Gun Motor Carriage.

Grant, General Ulysses Simpson
27 Apr 1822-23 Jul 1885. Commander-in-chief of the US Army in the US Civil War and eighteenth President of the USA.

Ground contact length
Distance between the centers of a vehicle's first and last road wheels.

G/VLLD
Ground/Vehicle Laser Locator Designator.


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H


HB
As in M2HB. Heavy Barrel. Heavy-barreled air-cooled machine guns did not require a water jacket around the barrel for cooling.

HE
High Explosive. Explosive material that detonates; i.e., the chemical decomposition shock wave travels at supersonic speeds.

HERCULES
Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utiliy Lift and Evacuation System. M88A2.

HMC
Howitzer Motor Carriage.

HRV
Heavy Recovery Vehicle.

HVSS
As in M4A3(76)W HVSS Sherman. Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension. This type of suspension involved springing the pair of dual road wheels on each bogie against each other with a volute spring. Compared to the vertical volute spring suspension which it replaced on the US M4 Sherman, HVSS allowed wider tracks and shock absorbers to be used.


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I


IBAS
Improved Bradley Acquisition System.

IFV
Infantry Fighting Vehicle. IFVs provide heavier fire support to infantry in addition to armored transportation.

IS
As in IS-3. Iosif Stalin.

ITOW
Improved TOW.

ITV
Improved TOW Vehicle. M901.


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I


KPz
Kampfpanzer. "Fighting tank." (German.)


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L


LAV
Light Armored Vehicle.

Leclerc de Hautecloque, Général Jacques-Philippe
22 Nov 1902-28 Nov 1947. French armored division commander in World War II, French Far East Expeditionary Corps commander from 1945-7, posthumous Marshal of France in 1952.

Lee, General Robert Edward
19 Jan 1807-12 Oct 1870. Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia in the US Civil War. M3.

LRF
Low Recoil Force.

LRV
Light Recovery Vehicle.

LVT
Landing Vehicle, Tracked.

LVT(A)
Landing Vehicle, Tracked (Armored).

LVTC
Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Command.

LVTE
Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Engineer.

LVTH
Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Howitzer.

LVTP
Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Personnel.

LVTP(CMD)
Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Personnel (Command).

LVTR
Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Recovery.


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M


Marder
"Marten." (German.)

MBT
Main Battle Tank. MBTs are the primary tank type of modern armies, and combine characteristics of their medium and heavy tank ancestors.

MG
Machine Gun.

MGMC
Multiple Gun Motor Carriage.

MILES
Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System. Combat simulation system using lasers to score hits.

Mk.
Mark.

MLRS
Multiple Launch Rocket System. M270.

MMC
Mortar Motor Carriage.

MOPP
Mission-Oriented Protective Posture.

MOWAG
Motorwagenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft. ("Motorcar Factory, joint stock company." German.)


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N


NBC
Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare.


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O


Ontos
"That which is indeed." (Greek.) M50.

OPTAR
Optical Tracking, Acquisition, and Ranging.

OQF
Ordnance, Quick Firing. A gun that does not use separate loading ammunition, i.e., the propellant case and projectile are a single unit.


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P


Panzerkampfwagen
"Armored fighting vehicle;" i.e., tank. (German.)

Patton, General George Smith, Jr.
11 Nov 1885-21 Dec 1945. US Army general in World War II, he helped create the World War I American Expeditionary Force's Tank Corps and commanded the AEF's 1st Tank Brigade. M46. M47. M48.

Pershing, General John Joseph
13 Sep 1860-15 Jul 1948. Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, he helped create the AEF's Tank Corps. M26.

Pitch
Distance from the centers of the front and rear track pins on a single shoe.

PIVADS
Product Improved Vulcan Air Defense System. M163.

Protectoscope
Periscope viewing device with an armor pocket that traps fragments or bullets that penetrate the vision slot, and thereby protects the viewer.

Pz.Kpfw.
Panzerkampfwagen.


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R


REFORGER
Return of Forces to Germany. REFORGER exercises, lasting from 1969 to 1993, were used to test and train the United States' ability to quickly reinforce troops in Europe with troops stationed in the US.
RISE
Reliability Improvements for Selected Equipment. RISE was a US program to increase the reliability of certain AFV powertrains.


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S


SACLOS
Semi-Active [also Semi-Automatic] Command to Line-Of-Sight. A system of missile guidance where the operator needs to simply keep the crosshairs on target for the missile to hit. The control equipment senses the deviation between where the operator is aiming and where the missile is flying, and automatically adjusts so that the missile's flight coincides with its aiming point.

SADARM
Sense And Destroy Armor. SADARM is an artillery-delivered anti-armor submunition that uses millimetric-wave radar and infrared sensors to detect targets.

SAM
Surface-to-Air Missile.

Sheridan, General Philip Henry
6 Mar 1831-5 Aug 1888. Union cavalry general in the US Civil War. M551.

Sherman, General William Tecumseh
8 Feb 1820-14 Feb 1891. Union general in the US Civil War. M4.

SICPS
Standard Integrated Command Post System. M1068.

SOMUA
Société d'Outillage Mécanique et d'Usinage d'Artillerie. ("Mechanical Tools and Artillery Machining Company." French.)

SP
Self-Propelled.

SPAT
Self-Propelled Anti-Tank. M56.

SPG
Self-Propelled Gun.

SPH
Self-Propelled Howitzer.

SPM
Self-Propelled Mortar.

SPR
Self-Propelled Rifle.

SPz
Schützenpanzer. "Shooter armor;" i.e., armored personnel carrier. (German.)

Stryker, Specialist Fourth Class Robert Francis
9 Nov 1944-7 Nov 1967. US Army grenadier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions performed on 7 November 1967 near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam.

Stryker, Private First Class Stuart S.
30 Oct 1924-24 Mar 1945. US Army platoon runner who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions performed on 24 March 1945 near Wesel, Germany.

Stuart, Major General James Ewell Brown
6 Feb 1833-12 May 1864. Confederate cavalry general in the US Civil War. M3. M5.


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T


T
As in T-34. Tankoviy. "Tank." (Russian.)

TC
Tank Commander.

Torsilastic suspension
This suspension used wheels attached to a suspension arm which was sprung with a rubber spring. Used, for example, on many US LVTs, the rubber springs possessed the obvious advantage of being immune to corrosion, a great benefit on amphibious vehicles.

Torsion bar suspension
This suspension type predominates among modern tracked vehicles. The road wheels are independently sprung, and attached by swing arms to the torsion bars, which are specially-treated steel tubes which run from the road wheel swing arm to an anchor on the other side of the hull. The torsion bars twist in response to wheel movement, and provide a large amount of wheel travel. Vehicles with torsion bar suspension usually have their opposite road wheels slightly offset from each other, since most torsion bars run the width of the hull.

Torsion tube over bar suspension
A torsion tube operates on the same principle as a torsion bar. When placed over a torsion bar, a torsion tube will twist once the bar has reached its limit and therefore allow more wheel travel than a torsion bar alone.

TOW
Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided missile. TOW is an American series of SACLOS antitank missiles able to be mounted on vehicles, helicopters, or ground mounts.

Tread
Distance between the centerlines of a vehicle's tracks or wheels.

TRV
Tank Recovery Vehicle.

TTS
Tank Thermal Sight.


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V


VADS
Vulcan Air Defense System. M163.

Vertical volute spring suspension
This suspension involved mounting the road wheels to a bogie in pairs on arms and pivoting them against a vertically mounted volute spring, which was protected from damage by the bogie frame.


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W


W
As in M4A1(76)W Sherman. Wet ammunition stowage. In tanks with wet ammunition stowage, main gun ammunition was stored in double-walled boxes. In between the walls of the ammunition boxes was a mixture of water, antifreeze, and an anticorrosive agent. When the boxes were penetrated, the water delayed or eliminated the resulting ammunition fire, giving crews valuable time to escape. More importantly, however, the ammunition was moved from the tanks' sponsons to under the turret, a much safer place for ammunition storage.

Walker, Lieutenant General Walton Harris
3 Dec 1889-23 Dec 1950. US Eighth Army commander killed in the Korean War. M41.


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NOTE: It has come to my attention that many of these definitions appear in The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles, general editor Christopher F. Foss, published in 2002 by Thunder Bay Press, © 2002 Amber Books, Ltd., and DeAgostini UK, Ltd. Permission was not granted for that usage, nor was I consulted before or after publication, although I am flattered.

Last updated 31 Mar 2014.

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© Copyright 2000-14 Chris Conners