Glossary of Royal Artillery Terms and Abbreviations (Historical and Modern) Philip Jobson

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Glossary of

Royal Artillery

Terms and Abbreviations

(Historical and Modern)
Philip Jobson

I have produced this book as a consequence of my personal interest in the language of the Royal Regiment. I have taken the terms and abbreviations from documents, books and training manuals in my possession and also from discussions with serving and retired gunners of all ranks. I initially started out to list just the abbreviations, but it soon became apparent to me that there were many historical terms that meant little or nothing to me. I therefore embarked on the production of this vade mecum of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, little knowing what a major drain on my time and patience it would become.
I must particularly thank the staff at Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum, in particular the Library staff and especially Mr Les Smith, the Keeper of Collections for his assistance and patience in answering my many and often, I am sure., to him obvious questions. I must also thank Peter Head, who has supplied a number of abbreviations and terms for inclusion in the book.
Thanks are also due to Nigel Evans, whose website on the Royal Artillery In World War 2 is one of the inspirations for this book. Anyone with even the remotest interest in the role of the Artillery in the Second World War would be well advised to visit the site at
Obviously, this is very much a work in progress, and I would welcome comments, suggestions, amendments and additions from readers. Please send these to me care of The Gunner.

Section Headings

The section headings are derived from the various phonetic alphabets used by the British Army since their first introduction in 1904. This first phonetic alphabet only covered the 6 commonly transposed letters. In 1914, DON was added for the letter ‘D’. A full phonetic alphabet was not introduced into the British Army until 1927. A full phonetic alphabet was introduced in June 1943 being standardised across the Allied Forces, this was changed to the current NATO phonetic alphabet in March 1956. Each heading therefore consists of the phonetic pronunciations together with the date(s) of the alphabets they appeared in.

Philip Jobson

This book is dedicated to all gunners past, present and future
And also to
My wife, Carol, for her patience over the last twenty years.

1098 See G1098

A – Ack – 1904/1927

Able - 1943

Alpha - 1956

AA (1) Anti-Aircraft

(2) Air Assault - used as part of a Battery Title, for example 21 (Gibraltar 1779-83) AA Battery.

AAAD All Arms Air Defence

AACC (i) All Arms Commando Course

(ii) Army Air Control Centre

AAD Area Air Defence

AADC Anti-Aircraft Defence Commander (WW2)

AAdjt Assistant Adjutant

AAOR Anti-Aircraft Operations Room (WW2)

AASL Anti-Aircraft Searchlight (WW2)

AAT Annual Alert Test

Abbott 105-mm self-propelled gun introduced in 1964, based on the standard FV 430 chassis with the turret having a 360o Traverse and gun having an elevation of 70o. Powered by a Rolls-Royce multi-fuel engine giving a road speed of almost 50 Km/Hr. The 105-mm gun fired a 16 Kg shell to a maximum range of 17 Km. An eight-zone propelling charge system was used. Ammunition consisted of standard HE, together with Smoke, Coloured (Signalling) Smoke, HESH and Illuminating rounds. A total of 40 rounds could be carried, with 6 normally being anti-tank rounds. Maximum rate of fire was 12 rpm for short periods.

ABCA American, British Canadian and Australian Standardisation Program. Its purpose is to achieve interoperability between coalition forces, whilst accepting that it is unrealistic to expect member nations to standardise equipment, ABCA seeks to develop procedures to enable a multi-national coalition force to operate effectively.

ABEX Airborne Exercise

ABR Air Burst Ranging

Abu’s Nickname given to members of 176 (Abu Klea) Bty

ACE Army Certificate of Education

Achilles WW2 self-propelled Anti-Tank gun, in service 1944 – 1950. Based on an American M10 self-propelled mounting, but with the original 76mm gun replaced with the more powerful British 17 Pdr mounted in a turret giving 360o traverse.

Ack Assistant (as in OP Ack) derived from the original phonetic alphabet for A

Ack-Ack Anti-Aircraft

ACMO Assistant Counter Mortar Officer (WW2)

ACP Ammunition Control Point

ACPO Assistant Command Post Officer

ACS Artillery Command Systems

ACSAS Army Command Support Application Suite

AD Air Defence

ADAD Air Defence Alerting Device.

ADCIS Air Defence Command and Information System..

ADDER Artillery Detection Device for Rapid Effect Forces

ADEX Air Defence Exercise

Aden Tp One of 3 Tps in 74 Bty (The Battle Axe Company)

ADGB Air Defence of Great Britain

Adjt Adjutant

Adjust Adjusting Fire is the process by which artillery rounds are corrected onto the target by observing the Fall of Shot. The initial round will be fired either from map data or from an estimation made by the OP. Once the initial Fall of Shot is observed, subsequent rounds are ‘adjusted’ until they are hitting the target, when Fire For Effect will be given.

ADLT Air Defence Liaison Team

ADT3 Air Defence Tactical Training Theatre

Adv Advanced; Used in relation to courses, as in OPA (Adv) – Observation Post Assistant (Advanced).

AEC Army Education Centre

AES Armoured Escort Services - A Northern Ireland procedure

AFDC Artillery Fire Data Computer

AGAA Artillery Group Administration Area (Op Granby)

AGAI Army General Administrative Instruction

AGRA Army Group Royal Artillery. This was in essence an artillery brigade, usually assigned to a corps. The number and type of regiments in an AGRA was not fixed, usually however it consisted of 5 or 6 regiments most of which were mostly medium regiments. AGRAs were commanded by the CAGRA who was a brigadier.

AH Attack Helicopter

AIG Assistant Instructor Gunnery (colloquially known as an Ack IG, pronounced Ack Eye-Gee)

AI Sigs Assistant Instructor Signals. A Senior NCO responsible for radio and telephonic communications in a Battery.

Air Air Force aircraft as opposed to Army Air Corps Helicopters.

Airburst (i) Shells are fuzed, with either time or proximty fuzes, to explode above the target, thus causing shell fragments to be driven downwards to penetrate vertical cover, which would otherwise offer protection from ground bursts.

(ii) Airburst can also be used to verify the accuracy of the gun or to determine any corrections which may be required due to meteorological conditions. By using survey equipment the exact point of burst can be determined and comparison with the expected point of burst will allow suitable corrections to be made to the gun data.

Air Defence Alerting Device An Infra-Red system used with HVM and Javelin detachments for target detection. The SP HVM has ADAD mounted on the Stormer vehicle, whereas the Javelin/HVM LML detachments operate with the free standing version.

Air Defence Command A computer system that permits AD CP’s to carry out their procedures

Information System faster. When combined with the Clansman radio network, it is possible to have secure text communications between CP’s and detachments.

Air OP Air Observation Post (see also AOP)

ALES Autonomous Link Eleven System – A tactical data link system unique to 20 Cdo Bty, which allows the Bty to receive the recognised air picture from ship, AWACS and ground radar out to 500 kms

ALG Advanced Landing Ground (WW2 AOP)

Alkmaar Troop With Ross Tp one of the two troops forming A Battery (The Chestnut Troop) RHA

ALO Army (possibly Air) Liaison Officer - title originally given to officers fulfilling the role of BLO on RN Warships. (WW2)

ALS (i) Automatic Laying System (Part of the MLRS system)

(ii) Apparatus Loud Speaking. The successor to the WW2 tannoy used between CPs and guns with lights in the CP to represent acknowledgements.

AMA Artillery Manoeuvre Area

AMC At My Command

AMETS Artillery Meteorological System

AMF(L) Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force (Land component)

Angle of Departure The angle between the horizontal plane and the gun bore when fired. Quadrant Elevation and Jump are incorporated within the Angle of Departure.

Angle of Descent This is the angle formed between the horizontal plane and the line of arrival of the shell as it impacts the ground.

Angle of Elevation The angle which the line of sight makes with the axis of the gun.

Angle of Incidence This is the angle between the line of arrival of a projectile and the surface of a target. In British practice the angle is considered to be “Normal” (Oo) when the target is struck at a perfect right-angle, the angle increases as the line of arrival becomes more oblique. Current NATO practice considers a shot striking at a perfect right-angle to strike at 90o, The angle being measured from the face of the target.

Angle of Projection The angle formed between the line of sight and the axis of the bore when the gun is fired. The angle consists of Tangent Elevation plus Jump.

Angle of Sight The angle between a sight line connecting the gun to the target and the horizontal plane. This may be an angle of elevation or depression.

AO (1) Amphibious Observation

(2) Area of Operations

AoD Angle of Departure

AoE Area of Effect

AoP Angle of projeciton, a ballistic angle

AOP Air Observation Post

AOPA Amphibious Observation Post Assistant

AOR Area Of Responsibility

AOT Annual Operational Test, annual tactical test of nuclear capable units with inspectors from NATO nations, replaced ATT.

AOV Armoured Observation Vehicle

AP (1) Armour Piercing (Projectile)

(2) Advanced Post (NCO and 6 men, part of the Sound Ranging organisation, WW2)

APBC Armour Piercing Ballistic Cap (Projectile)

APC Armour Piercing Capped (Projectile)

APCBC Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic Cap (Projectile)

APDS Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot.

APES Azimuth, Position and Elevation System, used in Warrior OPV.

APFSDS Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot.

APPU Air Position Plotting Unit (Based at Kidlington; now defunct)

APS Automatic Positioning System (on Light Gun replaces Dial Sights)

APSO Artillery on Peace Support Operations

APWT Alternative Personal Weapons Test

ARA Artillery Reserved Area, real estate reserved for artillery use

ARF Aviation Reconnaissance Force. Part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

ARG Amphibious Ready Group - A Task Group of ships with a RM Commando embarked together with their affiliated RA Battery, a troop of Commando engineers, a support and light helicopter force operated by the RN and RAF, plus all the small boats and landing craft required to put the commandos ashore.

ARI Assistant Regimental Instructor

ARLO Assistant Range Liaison Officer

Armament Bty The Armament Party was formed in 1940 to mount coast guns all around the coasts of UK. It later became 245 Armament Bty. There was another one in the Middle East for the same purposes. On the demise of Coast Artillery, the Armament Btys were responsible for the dismantling of Coast Artillery Ordnance. (Note: During the Late 1940’s early 1950’s 245 Armament Bty wore a RED lanyard in place of the usual White RA Lanyard).

Armament Major A field officer of the RGA who was accountable for the armaments in the area allotted to him. This position was instigated as part of a Special Regimental Order dated 28 July 1891. The position was however, short-lived, as it was abolished by a Regimental Order of 1891, except for a few officers who were located in places where no RGA Company was stationed.

Armament Party See Armament Bty

Armament Pay Payment proposed by a select committee in the 1880's to be made to officers of the RGA, in order to render service in that Branch of the Royal Artillery more attractive. These payments were implemented in the 1891.

Army Planks Skis

ARO Assistant Reconnaissance Officer

ARP Aviation Reconnaissance Patrol. A helicopter borne AOP patrol from the Aviation Tactical Group of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

Arracan Day 29 March – Bty day of 88 (Arracan) Bty RA

ARTAT(FD) Artillery Training and Advisory Team (Field) Formerly known as RAGTE.

ARTHUR Artillery Hunting Radar (Manufacturer’s name for the precursor to MAMBA (qv) ARTHUR was deployed to both Iraq on Op Telic and Afghanistan)

Artillery Board First used in 1917, an Artillery Board was up to 30 inches square covered with gridded paper (either 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 scale). A brass pivot represented the pivot gun with a steel range arm rotating about it along a steel bearing arc. It enabled map data (range and switch) to be measured accurately. It could be placed on a flat(ish) surface or mounted on Stands, Instrument No 27.

Artillery Code 2 or 3 letter groups which were used for all fire order terms and also for other instructions, transmitted in Morse Code. (WW2)

Arty Artillery

Arty Int Artillery Intelligence

Arty/R Artillery Reconnaissance. Artillery observation and ranging conducted by RAF aircraft by means of special procedures.

AS90 Artillery System for the 90’s (155mm Self-Propelled Gun)

ASP Advanced Sound Ranging Programme

ASSU Air Support Signals Unit.

A&T Assembly and Test, a troop in HJ and Lance batteries

AT Anti-Tank

ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System

ATD Army Training Directive

ATGW Anti-Tank Guided Weapon

ATI Artillery Target Indication

ATk Anti-Tank

At Priority Call An artillery control authority introduced after WW2 lasting until 1990s

ATT Annual Test of Training

AU Aiming Unit (Part of the Javelin/HVM shoulder launched system)

Auto-frettage This is a method of increasing the strength of a gun barrel by creating additional radial tension to counteract the internal pressures created when the gun fires.

Autosight Telescopic system for range finding (Coast Artillery)

AV Air Vehicle (Phoenix UAV)

Aviation Army Air Corps Helicopters

AWDATS Automatic Weapon Data Transmission System; connected to FACE in the BCP with a data display at each gun connected by line or radio link.

AWO2 Acting Warrant Officer Class 2

AWT (1) Arctic Warfare Training

(2) Alternative Weapons Test

Axis of the bore A line which passes through the centre of the barrel along its longitudinal axis from breech to muzzle.

AYT Army Youth Team

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