Confused by all the jargon you hear when people 
describe what's happening in a war?

Here's a handy guide to understand 
what reporters are actually talking about.

Tracers :bullets which glow so soldiers know where they 
are firing - not all the bullets do this

Scud : a short range ballistic - or flying - missile launched 
from big mobile launchers

-Anti-aircraft fire 




-Coalition forces

Coalition of the willing 

Collateral damage 



FirefightFog of war 

Friendly fire 






Shock and awe


guns or missiles fired from the ground at aircraft overheard - also known as "flak"


someone who is either wounded or killed in 
fighting or bombing - this can be a soldier or 
an ordinary person

people who are not in the armed forces

armed forces from different countries who 
share the fighting and are fighting for the 
same reasons

American term for the countries involved in the Iraq conflict.

damage to anything you didn't mean to target - this can include humans which is why it's a term which is seen by many as insensitive

a group of ships or vehicles travelling together under armed protection

battles involving gun fire the confusion that often surrounds military action

a term used to describe an accidental attack on someone who's fighting on the same side

military or industrial building - in the Iraq conflict, it's usually used to describe oil fields and military targets

secret information collected about an enemy

bombs, missiles and shells which explode, 
rather than bullets, which do not

this is when the military watches and checks out an area to get information about it, usually for a while - sometimes shortened to "recce," or "recon"

Rocket Propelled Grenade. An explosive which, 
rather than being thrown, is fired by a launcher

the term the Americans are using to describe 
their massive bombing campaign

a small raiding party usually sent out to check 
things out before a proper attack - can be air or ground raids a type of anti-aircraft fire

vocabulary                        main page