Useless Infantry Terms

While serving my mandatory Military Service in Austria's Armed Forces, I used a Notepad to make, well, notes. And now, many years later, some of them resurfaced.

Highlight of these were the Comments of my then Tank Commander (which will remain unnamed for obvious reasons) who was a great a Musician as he was a Tactician.

As everyone who served in any Military knows, Infantryman are only that because they lacked the abilities to become anything different, as such, my Tank Commander implied the existence of Infantryman Jargon employed to transport obvious Information. Such eponymous "Useless Infantry Terms" were graciously translated into "our" (Tanker) Language by his superior officer training, usually in a snarky overly scholarly tone.

To point out that these comments were made in jest and are of varying quality (as they are records of a living person saying dumb shit to the merriment of the people around them), is hopefully not necessary. Some terms have been "updated" as parts of them rely on zeitgeist knowledge from many years ago, and even I barely remember what they talked about.


Reconnaissance - Useless Infantry Term - Any unaligned Combatant still found when we roll up, deserves to be shot. Mark down Name and Rank, Trade in at Enemies Watering Hole for Treats, we did them a favor
Ambush - Useless Infantry Term - Method of Compacting Ground by having Infantryman lay on it / Sleeping in Dirt for Fetish Reasons
Watch - Useless Infantry Term - Hiding along Fence in Hope to Escape approaching Enemy
Motorcade - Useless Infantry Term - Enemy Sight Evaluation
Flanking - Useless Infantry Term - Retroactive Description of finding Enemy while getting Lost during Maneuvers
Suppressive Fire - Useless Infantry Term - General said we should let Infantry shoot too
Barrage - Useless Infantry Term - Both Sides hope our Artillery has their Math right
Fall-back - Useless Infantry Term - Enemy-Loader Speed Test


Water bottle - Useless Infantry Term - Filled to the Brim since Bootcamp, as Enemy might otherwise hear a Full Unit of Soldiers marching by due to the Sloshing.
Rucksack - Useless Infantry Term - Device to improperly store Belongings / Device to transport Equipment Logistics disallows to be used
Grenade - Useless Infantry Term - Infantry Reflex Tester
Breathing mask - Useless Infantry Term - Device to extend projected Survival Time1 of Infantry from 6 to 16 Seconds (the Time allowed to put it on)
Tent - Useless Infantry Term - Equipment to punish unruly Tank-Drivers2.
Laser - Useless Infantry Term - Remote Enemy Blinder / Remote Barcode Scanner
tow chain - Useless Infantry Term - Magical Tank Unstucker
Spare Tank-Track Links - Useless Infantry Term - Prerusted for her Pleasure3
Map - Useless Infantry Term - Device to get lost with despite access to military grade navigation tools / Funny Picture of different Country
Secret Glock Feldspaten Plans - Useless Infantry Term - "Military Secret" sold to Russia for exorbitant Sums as answer to getting stupid Orders (in the vein of "I'm getting too old for this shit")
Diesel - Useless Infantry Term - Mythological Liquid protected by Trolls4
logbook - Useless Infantry Term - Fantasy Trainer / Key-Warmer / Key-Holder5
Glockmesser - Useless Infantry Term - A Knife you can use for anything but cutting or slicing.
Jäger-Heater - Useless Infantry Term - Radiator Exhaust releasing somewhat warm air. Draws Jäger to it like Moths to Light.
Jäger-Thermometer - Useless Infantry Term - Normal People instantly turn into Ice-Blocks while Jäger gather for Warmth around the Main Exhaust of the Engine. Should stay inside with Heater set to Toasty.
Vehicle Radio - Useless Infantry Term - Delivered as empty Box in hope that Crew finds cheaper way of communication
Magic Key - Useless Infantry Term - Holy Tool that Opens all Hatches.

There are usually two types of Sockets and two sizes of Wrenches required for everyday operation. For a small tip, your local shop will purchase new ones and weld them into a cross. Losing a Magic Key is a sacrilege and often requires that the Recruit/Infantryman has to skip lunch to go beg for a new one.

Stealing each other's vehicle Magic Key during Maintenance is a common hobby of officers, thinly veiled behind supposed testing of observance.


Driver - Useless Infantry Term - Certified car wash attendant / Self-steered Ditch Finder
(Tank/Turret) Gunner - Useless Infantry Term - Shell-Fondler / Connoisseur of elongated metal shafts
Tank Driver - Useless Infantry Term - People with Left/Right Issues6
Jäger - Useless Infantry Term - Individual hiding beneath parked tank for warmth. Needs to be shooed away by hitting with stick. Do not hit too often or too hard, some like it.
Panzergrenadier - Useless Infantry Term - Self steering Enemy-Location Detector / Ecological Mine Finder / Self dispensing Armament
NBC-Specialist - Useless Infantry Term - Member of Mustard/Fresh cut Grass Smell Fetish Group / Public Shower Fetishist
Fixed Wing Pilot - Useless Infantry Term - Public Annoyer7
JaKo - Useless Infantry Term - Canteen Free Parking Enabler8 / Karma Regulator
Guards - Useless Infantry Term - Enlisted Angry Room Service
Military Police - Useless Infantry Term - Mobile Fake ID Testing Unit


20mm / 66 - Useless Infantry Term - Remote Hardness Tester
Sturmgewehr 77 - Useless Infantry Term - Polymer Extension to Bayonet/ Tank Attention-Getting System / Government Issued Note what Number to state when Weapons are Checked
Maschinengewehr 74 - Useless Infantry Term - Device to fill Tank Interior with expended Shells
Pistole - Useless Infantry Term - Equipment issued to be immediately Lost


tank garage - Useless Infantry Term - Magic Place that Officers can't see for some reason.
main gate - Useless Infantry Term - Vehicle Dimension Recollection Tester
side gate - Useless Infanty Term - Existing only to annoy Tank Drivers / Gate that can't be opened by any means or for any reason


While a Tank Driver learnes to hate the Driver (in the Sense of someone using Wheeled Vehicles) and loathes the Infantrymen, a Special Kind of contempt is reserved for crews of other Types of Tanks. I was driving the Saurer-Schützenpanzer A1 which was old and severely outdated. This meant, our animosity was ordered to be aimed at anyone else. Just think about an Old Man shouting at Clouds, and you get the correct Image.

Despite this somewhat open enmity, all insults always went through the Guise of Infantry Jargon.

Pinzgauer - Useless Infantry Term - Built from Material Cut-Offs in the "Proper Tank Factory" / Sold as Toys to Children in Russia / Enemy Battle Report Booster9
Leopard - Useless Infantry Term - Waterbottle-Holder didn't fit inside proper Tank, had to order from Germany, who did not understand the Requirement. Government too ashamed to correct.

Tanks are uncomfortable for everyone inside (and outside for that matter) to drive in. They just get easier to locations where walking or driving would be even worse. Having even the smallest amenities (such as a watterbottle-holder) was reason enough to find a main-villain (of sorts) in the Leopard's Crew.

I actually had some nice acquaintances in Leopard Drivers specifically. One of Austria's first female Tank Drivers and a Guy we called Romeo because he looked, spoke and moved like you would think a Person called Romeo would do these things. Pretty sure he must be on a Stage somewhere reciting Shakespear nowadays.

On a more personal note, during one Exercise, my Fuel Source Lever failed and my Tank stopped rather abpruptly in the Middle of what was designated as the "Combat Zone". Now, it wasn't particularly dangerous, but we had to call into command to let them know. That meant everyone knew.

So, this lead to me having to ventilate a diesel fuel pump in the middle of the night using combat lights (e.g. a vague suggestion of light) and getting emergency refueld from a Leopard. For anyone not in the know, while a SPzA1 usually uses normal fueling nozzles as you would on a car, a leopard uses a pressurized fueling system as most large machines do.

They do have an emergency fueling mode (apparently) but it is meant for sharing fuel to other leopards. Holding onto that fuel hose wasn't fun. And, even worse, I heard all about that mishap over and over again during my "career".

To be completely honest, the absolute lowest point of that night was me dropping a Number 10 Wrench (needed for everything and you have to hold the motorpool officer hostage to get a new one) into the Motor Compartment after my Commander told me that I would never see it again if I'd dropped it. The Leopard's Crew wouldn't share theirs (understandabily), so I frankensteined the venting lug shut by hooking two different sizes of wrenches into each other. Would've been a cool MacGyver-esque Story without the surrounding Drama.

Ulan - Useless Infantry Term - Spanish-developed Spoon thinking itself to be a Swiss Army Knife

Between Ulan and SPzA1 Crews existed a special antipathy (at the time) as the former was the official replacement for the latter.

There weren't many tasks the newer Ulan or wheeled Transports couldn't do equally good or even better. So, at least from the perspective of a simple Soldier, there wasn't as much a Question about "if" but just about "when".

M109 - Useless Infantry Term - Self-Help Group for People with Aiming-Issues10
KRAD Fahrer - Useless Infantry Team - (Mythological) Motorbike Unit that is said to exist that every single (Tank) Driver wants to join
Bandvagn - Useless Infantry Team - (Mythological) tracked small Vehicle that every single Tank Driver wants to own (has since become a Thing in the Austrian Armed Forces)


Hand Signals - Useless Infantry Term - Game of who can guess who has the more severe Left/Right Coordination Issue
Vehicle Cleaning - Useless Infantry Term - Firefighter Fetish Clubbing11
Staging - Useless Infantry Term - Testing Enemy Surveillance Capabilities
Tank Tread Maintenance - Useless Infantry Term - Command is Angry
Rubber Packing Maintenance - Useless Infantry Term - Command is VERY Angry12
Government Mandated Rest Period - Useless Infantry Term - Mythological Privilege observed in other Units
Chalk Camouflage - Useless Infantry Term - Command is not Angry, it is just very very upset.13
Train Loading - Useless Infantry Term - You slept with the Commanders Daugter/Son again, didn't you?
Vehicle Protection - Useless Infantry Term - Your flatulence has revoked your privilege of staying inside the warm tank.14
Checking on the Aux - Useless Infantry Term - To drain ones Bladder during a Maneuvre behind the Vehicle15


Tank Soup - Useless Infantry Term - Diesel / Dirt / Molten Snow Mix found at the End of a Maneuver inside the Crew Cabin
Tank-flavored Ice Cream - Useless Infantry Term - Tank Soup that was allowed to freeze because someone forgot to clean it up after the Maneuver
Neck-Breaker - Useless Infantry Term - Small Metal Lip holding Wooden Sitting Bench in Place. Primary Cause of Soldiers dying while sleeping laying Down in Crew Compartment
Stealth-Mode - Useless Infantry Term - Using Maneuver Lights to render Tank invisible16
Pressing the C-Button - Useless Infantry Term - Muscle-powered Crew Compartment Hatch Opener17
Empty Tank Selector - Useless Infantry Term - Lever beneath Tank Driver to select between Empty Fuel Tank and Empty Fuel Tank
Gate Privilege - Useless Infantry Term - Being the First of a Vehicle Column / Making everyone wait for oneselve
  1. I drove an APC which would usually take Soldiers into Battle. 6 Seconds was apparently the Statistical Survival Time, and a common Anecdote to that effect was, that this was the Time the common Soldier would need to figure out which side to go around the Tank, as they would exit the Vehicle from the Back.
  2. Tank Drivers need to be the first up and working when a Move Order comes in, when camped for the Night. Often, they have the Privilege of staying inside the (heated) Crew Compartment instead. Mitigating also the need for hastily stowing a tent and other gear.
  3. Reference to a well-known Durex Condom Commercial sporting Ribs on the Outside "for her pleasure". Spare Tank Threads are seldom required outside of Combat, and are frequently only used for Training. As such, they typically have severe Surface Rust, which makes hammering in the pins much more unpleasant.
  4. Military filling stations are usually home to severely disgruntled non-military staff unwilling to part with fuel for any reason/without a fight
  5. logbook for a tank is a pouch of unknown material containing the documentation of the vehicle, and its key. Each movement needs to be recorded precisely with many points of data, but typically, this information is made up before giving it back to the commanding officer, who never checks it anyway.
  6. Tanks steer by braking or reversing one Track, this knowledge somehow disables the ability to move in the ordered direction
  7. Wheeled Transports are trivial to take out as they have no ballistic protection, as such, they were said to be used to give the Enemy "something to write in their Reports" while the real Attack (by Tanks of course) would happen
  8. Due to Supersonic Tests over Austria being rather unpopular
  9. Tanks were not allowed to drive or park on cobblestone roads, in contrast to normal Drivers who could use their Shift Vehicle to save themselves the Walk and be the first at the Chow Hall. When attached to SF for Training, a Driver frequently was allowed to disobey this Rule, which also took up more Parking Space, requiring the Driver to Walk instead.
  10. self-propelled guns require a Team of Soldiers for Loading, Aiming, and Firing, and they fire following phoned in Firing Orders, often needed to be "walked into" target due to the long-range ballistics involved
  11. Tanks are usually cleaned with a pressurized "C-Hose"'s used by Firefighters
  12. Some Tanks use Rubber Packs that are mounted to the Metal Tank Tread for less wear and tear on both the Tank Tread and Public Roads. Maintenance on these means hammering out the old ones and hammering in the new ones, which isn't very much fun.
  13. Whitish Camouflage made by brushing on Chalk Slurry. Neigh Impossible to Remove after it had a Chance to Dry, Stains everything it comes in Contact with (especially Infantryman Knees)
  14. Using one's Personal Weapons (usually a Rifle or Machine gun) to "secure" a Perimeter around the Vehicle.
  15. SPzA1 come with an auxiliary Power Generator at the Back of the Vehicle required to power additional Equipment and most importantly, the Heater. As damage to it would render the Vehicle effectively useless for combat, many "indirect orders" allow to be constructed to check on it. Such as, taking a piss behind the vehicle while looking at the Generator.
  16. Maneuver Lights only illuminate an approximately two meter wide and half a meter high square in front of the vehicle, projected from special lights that also prevent shine towards the front. Supposedly is invisible by aerial observation. Somehow renders modern optical systems impotent and deafens enemy soldiers.
  17. References the "C" Button from Knightrider. SPzA1 does have two Top Hatches meant for easier egress or allowing the Crew to fight from the Crew Compartment. Inexperienced Crews often look for the "Button to Open the Hatch". There is none. You have to unlatch the heavy Steel Panels and use your Shoulder to open it. You get a Flick on the Ear for letting it fall down on the Hull.


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8 Dec, 2021 14:48

Panzergrenadier = Half-human/half-beast - say in german for funny rhyme - self-devised motto of every Panzergrenadier I've ever met

Deity ka_jan
Jan Kaltenecker
8 Dec, 2021 17:28

"Halb Mensch, Halb Tier - Panzergrenardier!" under a giant Symbol of a Hog.

"Thunder rolled. It got a 6." — Guards, Guards by Sir Terry Pratchett
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8 Dec, 2021 15:05

I'm only halfway through this list and I'm already wheezing so hard I can barely read on. All of these are so good, thank you so much for compiling them.   I hereby award this article with the World Anvil Heritage seal  

Check out The Hummelverse, the world of AI tanks!
Deity ka_jan
Jan Kaltenecker
8 Dec, 2021 15:16

hot dang :O THANKS!

"Thunder rolled. It got a 6." — Guards, Guards by Sir Terry Pratchett
Island-Inquest awaits!
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