Jargon Buster

What is a bogus map? What does BIGOT mean?

What was SHAEF? What does BARV stand for? What were hedgehogs doing on the Normandy beaches?

D-Day produced thousands of code names, acronyms, abbreviations and many other strange and unusual terms and names!

We have compiled a list of some of the most common terms related to D-Day. If you think something is missing, please let us know.

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

21st Army Group

The main British headquarters in the North West Europe campaign in 1944 and 1945. 21st Army Group was commanded by General (later Field Marshal) Sir Bernard Montgomery.

Abwehr

The military intelligence service of the Wehrmacht, the German Armed Forces during the Second World War.

aerial reconnaissance

Aerial reconnaissance is the observation of enemy activity in a specific place to gather intelligence to aid planning.

airborne

Units who land from the air, usually in enemy-occupied territory, either by glider or by parachute. The Allies used airborne forces early on D-Day.

Albany, Mission

The codename for the landings by the US 101st Airborne Division on the western flank of the landing beaches in the early hours of D-Day.

Allies

A group of people or countries working together with a common aim. In the context of D-Day the term ‘Allies’ usually refers to the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Czechoslovakia, Greece and Poland.

amphibious assault training

Training troops in preparation to land in an assault from the water or sea.

ARP

Air Raid Precautions. A British civil defence organisation set up to protect civilians against air-raids.

Atlantic Wall

The Atlantic Wall was the name for the system of coastal defences built by the Germans stretching from the north of Norway to the French-Spanish border. By June 1944 the Atlantic Wall was incomplete – in places it was very strong whereas in other places it did not exist.

Atlantic, Operation

The codename for a Canadian offensive between 18 and 21 July 1944 to capture the city of Caen.

AVRE

Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers. A tank modified to be used by British Royal Engineers. AVREs were armed with a Petard Mortar which fired a large projectile designed to destroy bunkers and other fortifications.

 

Band

The codename for the planned landing beach east of the River Orne. In the event Band Beach was not used on D-Day as the area inland from the beach was flooded.

BARV

Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle. A modification of the Sherman tank that was designed to recover broken down vehicles that became immobile on beaches during assault landings.

Battle of Normandy, The

D-Day was the first phase of the Allied campaign to defeat the German armed forces in Normandy. The aim of D-Day was to gain a foothold in France from which the Allies could then advance and defeat the Germans before advancing towards Germany.

Baytown, Operation

The Allied landings on mainland Italy in 1943. The Allies landed in Sicily as they were not yet prepared to land in Northern France.

Beetle

The codename for the floats that the Whale roadways floated on.

Belgian gate

A type of beach defence used by the German armed forces in Normandy. The Belgian gate was a large metal barrier designed to prevent landing craft and vehicles from approaching the beach. Also known as Element C.

BIGOT

The highest level of security clearance, introduced by the Allies before D-Day to help keep their plans secret.

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park was the central site for British (and subsequently, Allied) codebreakers during World War II. It housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. This enabled the Allies to know what the Germans were planning and to adjust their own plans accordingly.

blitzkrieg

The description of the German tactics of ‘lightning war’. Particularly used to describe the German invasion of much of Western Europe in 1940.

Bluecoat, Operation

The codename for a British offensive between 30 July and 7 August 1944. The objective of the operation was to exploit the success of Operation Cobra, breakout to the south-east and to capture the strategic point at Mont Pincon.

bocage

A type of thick hedgerow found in Normandy in 1944 and often impossible for tanks to move through. Often the bank of the hedgerow could be six feet high. Bocage can refer to either a single hedge or larger areas of Normandy that had this kind of terrain.

Modern farming methods mean that much of the bocage has been removed since the end of the Second World War.

Bodyguard, Operation

The codename for a deception plan developed by the Allies before D-Day. Bodyguard was the overall codename for a number of other deception plans, including Fortitude.

bogus map

A type of map produced by the Allies before D-Day. The names of French towns and cities were changed for other places in the world to make it harder for anyone to work out which area the map covered.