443rd AAA Bn in World War II


AAA — Antiaircraft Artillery

Ammunition Trailer — A one ton, two wheeled trailer, used to transport ammunition and other supplies.

Amphibious Net (Landing) — A heavy, rope net of hemp, over which men climb down the side of a transport ship into small, landing craft.

AW — Automatic Weapons.

Beachhead — The area, beyond the shoreline, seized and under control of an invading force, as it brings troops ashore and stockpiles supplies and equipment.

Bivouac — The temporary, field location of a military unit, when not in combat.

CA — Coast Artillery

Central Tracer Control — A rectangular, metal box, connected to AAA gun sights by a flexible steel cable. Each of two men turns a small wheel that adjusts the gun sights, through the flexible cable. One sets in estimated vertical lead and the other sets in estimated horizontal lead. The gunners then fix their sights on the target and begin firing. (See lead).

Cosmoline — A heavy grease, with which manufacturers pack guns prior to shipping. It prevents rust but must be removed before using guns.

Defilade — A tactical position, in which men and equipment are not under direct enemy observation or line of fire, i.e. Below a ridge, etc.

Destroyed — Term used to describe results of AAA firing at a plane. The 443rd claimed destruction only when a signed affadavit was secured from someone, not of the unit making the claim, certifying that he saw the plane hit by AAA fire and crash, saw it depart in flames, or saw the pilot bail out.

Djebel — Arabic term for Mount or Mountain.

Gun Sight — Aiming device to enable AAA gunners to direct their fire at planes, vehicles, fortifications, dug-in positions, or other targets. The 443rd used telescopic sights, initially, but when they were proven inadequate, converted first to open sights (forward area sights) and eventually to ring sights.

Gun-Track — Term describing the 443rd’s T-28-E1 (as well as the subsequent, modified models), half-tracks, with their multiple gun mounts.

Half-Track — A military vehicle with wheels at the front and propelled by tank treads at the rear. This contrasts with a tank, which is a full-tracked vehicle with protective armor.

LCVP — Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel. Small boats designed to carry troops and small vehicles to an amphibious landing. Upon reaching the beach, the front of the LCVP falls forward, creating a ramp to the beach. Not designed for long voyages.

LST — Landing Ship, Tank. Larger, landing craft, designed to carry heavy vehicles and personnel to amphibious landings over long distances. A front ramp functions as described for the LCVP.

LCI — Landing Craft, Infantry. Landing craft designed for long trips and for disembarking foot troops quickly, during an amphibious landing. Two foot ramps, on each side of the ship‘s prow, are dropped to the beach for landing infantry.

LCT — Landing Craft, Tank. Smaller, landing craft than the LST, designed to carry heavy vehicles and troops over medium distance to a landing.

Lead — The distance above or below, and ahead of a plane, an AAA gun should be fired, in order to compensate for the speed and direction of the plane and the speed of the bullet or shell, and ensure that the latter reaches the same point in space at the same time the plane reaches it.

Pozit Fuze — A timer, built into an artillery shell, that can be set to detonate the shell at a pre-determined point.

Probably Destroyed — Term used to describe the results of AAA firing at a plane. The 443rd claimed probable destruction only when a signed affidavit was secured from someone, not of the unit making the claim, certifying that he saw the plane hit, by AAA fire, and disappear emitting heavy black smoke or with the motor missing badly.

Range — The distance, in yards, to a target.

Self-Propelled — Vehicles and equipment that move by their own power source, rather than being towed by another. Designated by (SP).

SM — Semi-mobile. Not completely and quickly mobile (such as a towed gun).

Spider Hole — A shoulder-deep, protective, round hole, in which a man could stand and fire his weapon.

Wadi - Arabic term for a dry stream bed.


Headquarters — The administrative center of a military unit.

Command Post (CP) — The location of the unit commander and his immediate staff, during combat.

Forward Command Post (FCP) — The advanced location of a unit commander and a small operations staff during combat.

Observation Post (OP) — A vantage point of a team of two or more observers, who are reporting enemy movement.

Task Force (T/F) — A grouping of men and equipment, organized to accomplish a specific, military mission.

Combat Command (CC) — A reinforced, armored unit, organized to accomplish a specific, military mission.

Regimental Combat Team (RCT) — A reinforced infantry regiment


Army Group — A tactical and administrative military unit, consisting of a headquarters, two or more armies, and auxilliary units.

Army — A tactical and administrative military unit, consisting of a headquarters, two or more Corps, and auxilliary units.

Corps — A tactical military unit of ground, combat forces, between an army and a division, and composed of two or more divisions and auxilliaries.

Division — A tactical and administrative unit, smaller than a corps, but self-contained and equipped for long combat activity. Usually consists of three regiments, or four combat commands (armored div.), and attached units.

Regiment — The major, tactical unit of a division. Divided into three battalions, each with four companies (or) batteries (in artillery battalions). Commanders are usually colonels.

Battalion — The major tactical unit of an infantry regiment. (See above). It also may be a separate, tactical unit, not organic to the division, which may be attached to a division during combat. i.e., the 443rd. Commanders are usually lieutenant colonels.

Company — One of four, tactical units into which an infantry battalion is divided. Company commanders are usually captains.

Battery — One of four, tactical units into which an artillery battalion is divided. Battery commanders are usually captains.

Platoon — One of the tactical sections (usually four) into which the company (or battery) is divided. Platoon commanders are usually lieutenants.

Squad — The smallest, tactical unit into which a platoon may be divided. Number of men in a squad may vary from eight to twelve. Squad commanders are usually sergeants.

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Copyright 1998 443rd AAA Association. All Rights Reserved
This World War II history is sponsored and maintained by TMFM