Tag Archive: military trivia

Military Trivia by Carl Kurfess 

Last ditch effort

Last ditch effort 

Final and determined attempt. 

In 16th and 17th century warfare when armies were preparing the ground for a pitched battle, they would dig several lines of trenches in case they needed to retreat and regroup in prepared positions. If the men found themselves in the last ditch they had no option other than to fight where they stood or to die. 

The Balloon went up

The Balloon went up 

Indication of imminent trouble 

Before a World War I infantry attack, artillery would soften up the target area. Before opening fire, observation balloons were sent aloft to observe and correct aim. This obviously alerted the troops in the trenches that it would not be long before they would be sent over the top to attack. So “the balloon went up” came to mean imminent trouble. 

Parting shot 

Parting shot 

Cutting remark issued on departure. 

The army of the Parthian dynasty of Persia (modern Iran) had a number of lightly equipped horse archers. They were extremely skillful and one of their tactics was to fake a retreat and then turn in their saddle and cut down pursuers with an unexpected shot. Over time, the expression has changed from “Parthian shot” to “parting shot”. 

Works cited Donald, G., Wiest, A., & Shepherd, W. (2013). S”cklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of everyday words and phrases. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Military Trivia

by Carl Kurfess 

Military Trivia

The Bell AH-1 Super Cobra is a twin engine attack helicopter based on the U. S. Army’s single engine AH-1-Cobra. 

Cost is $ 10.7 million, speed 190 knots (218 mph) with a range of 365 miles. 

The AH-1 series, the backbone of the U.S. Marine’s attack helicopter fleet since 1971, is being replace by the next generation Bell AH-1Z “Viper” attack helicopter. 

Military Trivia

Military Trivia

by Carl Kurfess

Can you identify this USAF Aircraft?

Military Trivia Can you identify this USAF aircraft?
  • The Sikorsky MH-60G/HH-60C Pave Hawk is a twin-turboshaft engine helicopter in service with the United States Air Force. It is a derivative or the UH·60 Black Hawk and entered service in 1982.
  • The MH-60G Pave Hawk’s primary mission is insertion and recovery operations personnel, while the HH-60G Pave Hawk’s core mission is recovery of personnel under hostile conditions, including combat search and rescue. Both versions conduct day or night operations into hostile environments.
  • Because or its versatility, the HH-60G may also perform peacetime operations such as civil search und rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation (MEDEVAC), disaster relief, international aid and counter-drug activities.
  • Cost is approximately $30 million each.
Military Trivia - Can you identify this USAF aircraft?

Military Trivia

(in this case, Naval) 
by Carl Kurfess 

Military Trivia

Make a pass 

Flirtatious advance. 

When naval ships-of-the-line were sizing each other up they would quite often make a side-on pass, each wishing to size up the opposition. When the expression came ashore, it was used as a tentative approach to a member of the opposite sex to gauge the likely outcome of closer engagement. 

(For you detail sensitive types, the two ships at left would actually appear to be Frigates, smaller than Ships of the line. Your friendly sailor editor) 

Military Trivia

Military Trivia

by Carl Kurfess 

Shavetail 

Inexperienced person. 

Mules have irksome and painful qualities, so those that ran the mule-trains of the mid-19th century American army would shave off the tail of any new mule as a warning to others that its behavior might be unpredictable. It was not long before the troops were using the term for any newcomer. By the time of the Spanish-American war of 1898, “Shavetail” had become specific to describe a newly commissioned lieutenant. 

Works cited: Donald, G., Wiest, A., & Shepherd, W. (2013). Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of everyday words and phrases. Bloomsbury Publishing.