Glossary of Terms and Fact File from New Zealanders in the Italian Campaign
A guide to terms, phrases and place names used by the kiwi veterans who fought
in Italy that may be heard in our podcasts and elsewhere



ACV - Armoured Command Vehicle

ADS - Advanced Dressing Station, where wounds were dressed near the front line so the wounded could be transported to better care

Alexandria - the largest port in Egypt, and that country's second largest city, it was from here that the New Zealand Division set sail in convoys for Taranto in October 1943. Alexandria is 185km (115 miles) from Cairo, a distance that most of the men in the New Zealand Division marched for most of the way before embarking.

Anzio - a west coast beach, north of Naples and north of the Gustav Line but south of Rome, where allied forces made a major landing, under the command of General mark Clark of the US Fifth Army. Poor leadership and decision making saw the Allies get stuck on the beach for far longer then they should have before an eventual break out to link up with forces who were breaking through from the south

Army Service Corps - the units of the NZ Division who supported the front line troops, with such duties as supplying and carrying ammunition, petrol, food and other goods to the front lines. Also driving trucks and other mechanised vehicles that supported the Division's push forward.

Arno River - The river the flows through Tuscany, and best known as the river that flows through the city of Florence over which all the bridges were blown by the retreating Germans except the very historic Ponte Vechio bridge. The river originates on Mount Falterona in the Apennine mountain range, and flows west to the sea, passing near to Arezzo and through Florence, Empoli and Pisa before reaching the coast. the river is 241 km (150 miles) in length.

ASC - Army Service Corps. This was a branch of the 2nd Division that helped to keep the front lines supplied and mobile by driving trucks loaded with men, machines and ammunition, etc.

AWOL - Absent Without Leave



Bad Going - refers to a rough road or difficult terrain, used for example as "We stumbled into very bad going". it is the opposite of 'good going', this is classic kiwi slang

Bari - The Italian seaport city on the Adriatic coast near to where the NZ Division trained before their first action at the Sangro River. Formerly it had been the site of the Mussolini Government's headquarters for all his ventures in the Mediterranean region. Later it became the site of the New Zealand Field Hospital

Bint - An army slang word for female, the kiwis in North Africa used this word till Italy, when the slang for females became signorinas

Bludgers - the nickname that fighting men gave those soldiers in cushy jobs at base headquarters and well beyond the front lines, or on staff back in New Zealand

Blue - a fight or a disagreement, "we had a bit of a blue", could be very understated and refer to a hard fought battle. In the desert war the front line was known to kiwis as "Up the Blue"

Bully Beef - Tinned Corned Beef, a staple of the New Zealand Army's diet and also eaten in the field by RNZAF members, etc. This was a preserved, salted beef in a small amount of gelatine, in a tin. Soldiers used Bully to make stew, fritters, as sandwich filling if bread was available, or eaten heated or cold straight from the tin.

Burg El Arab - an Egyptian town where the NZ Division rested before embarking on ships for Italy

Burnham - the main permanent Army camp in the South Island, situated 28km south of Christchurch

Butts - mentioned in episode one, the Butts is the name for the area at the target end of a rifle range, consisting of a trench under the targets. People can stand in the butts and be safe from the rounds whizzing overhead. When the shooting stops the targets are assessed and changed or patched for the next shooter. Often the targets will slide up and down on rails, down into the butts.



Cairo - the capital city of Egypt, very close to the NZ Division's Maadi Camp where the Division consolidated and trained before joining the the Italian campaign

Cassino - a town on Route Six with the vital railway and strategic positions desired by both sides. This was the site of four major battles before the Allies finally took the town, The New Zealand Division was involved in both the Second Battle and the Third Battle of Cassino, while elements of the Division also took part in the Fourth Battle

Castel Frentano - a town north of the Sangro River in the provence of Chieti, in the Abruzzo region, which was attacked and captured by the NZ Division on the 2nd of December 1943

Castle Hill - A hill at Cassino that provided strategic positions

Casualty - a military term for someone taken out of the battle by either being wounded or killed

Casualty Clearing Station - a forward medical treatment centre, usually just behind the front lines and outside danger of enemy artillery, where first aid was applied to wounds and patients were stabilised before sending the casualty back to better hospital facilities further down the line

CCS - abbreviation for a Casualty Clearing Station

Claudelands - this refers to the Claudelands Showgrounds and Race Course at Claudelands, Hamilton East, which was taken over by the Army in WWII as a camp for training men and acting as a defensive base for that region

Cobber - kiwi slang for friend or mate

Cocky - an Australian slang term also used in New Zealand for farmer. A cow cocky is a cattle or dairy farmer, for example.

Cornwall Park - a large park in Auckland that was taken over by the Army in WWII as a camp for training men and acting as a defensive base for that region

Crown and Anchor - a gambling game using dice often played by kiwi soldiers, airmen and sailors

CSM - Company Sergeant Major

CQSM - Company Quarter Master Sergeant, the Sergeant in charge of supplies and rations



DCM - The Distinguished Conduct Medal, a medal for valour in the field

The Desert - the area in which the North African campaign in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria was fought against the German Afrika Korps and the Italians was generally known by kiwis as 'the desert' or 'the desert war', although a lot of the areas were in fact very green and lush. Many members of the NZ Division who went to Italy had already fought the Germans and Italians in the desert war

Don-R - Army slang for Despatch Rider

DSO - The Distinguished Service Order, a medal for valour in the field



Egypt - the North African country in which the New Zealand Division consolidated and built up strength and weaponry before striking north across the Mediterranean sea into Italy

Ellerslie - a large race course owned by the Auckland Racing Club (horse races) that was taken over by the Army in WWII as a camp for training men and acting as a defensive base for that region

EME - Electrical Mechanical Engineers

ENSA - Entertainments National Service Association, a British organisation that provided entertainment such as Concert Parties and visits of celebrities to boost the morale of troops



Faenza - a city in the province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, 50km south-east of Bologna. It was one of the cities that the Allies, including the NZ Division, had a major battle to take, between the 26th of November and 16th of December, 1944

Fallshirmjager - The German paratroopers, all crack troops, whose units the New Zealand Division met in many battles through the Italian campaign and were regarded as the Allies' strongest enemy on the Axis side

FDL - Forward Defended Locality, or Forward Defensive Line, the very edge of an army's front line

Firefly - a specially modified variant of the Sherman tank, with a British 17 pounder gun that allowed it to match and often be more than a match for the 88mm gun armed German Panzers. Several Sherman Fireflies were employed by the New Zealand Armoured Corps later in the campaign

Fleet Air Arm - the air arm of the Royal Navy, which flying from both aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Fleet and from land bases supported the Allied war effort in the Italian campaign

Florence - a famous city in Italy which was the major target for the New Zealanders to liberate after Rome was retaken by the Allies

Forli - a city in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy that was taken by the New Zealand Division and became a base for the Division

Furlough - a long leave granted to soldiers who'd spent a long time in the lines and in action



Giving Us The Hickory - under overwhelming fire from the enemy troops - referring to hickory tree shoots that were commonly used as canes in schools back then, and related to the term "giving us a caning"

Good Going - refers to a good solid, smooth road, path or terrain where one could drive or move across with speed and ease. Used for example like "We then came to some good going, and were able to make great progress." This is classic kiwi vernacular, and is the opposite of 'bad going'.

The Gothic Line - a major German defensive line, known to the Germans as Gotenstellung, and to the Italians as Gotica.

Grog - Kiwi slang for alcohol

The Gustav Line - part of a major German defensive line known as the Winter Line, that ran from where the Garigliano River met the Tyrrhenian sea in the west of Italy, right across the Apennine Mountains, to the point of the Sangro River mouth on the Adriatic coast. This was the first of the defensive lines that the New Zealanders were engaged in attempting to breach, when they crossed the Sangro River and fought through to Castel Frentano and Orsogna. The German defences at Cassino, Monte Cassino and Monte Cairo were also part of the Gustav Line



Hande Hoch - surrender, from the German words for 'Hands up', but also used by the kiwis when telling Germans to surrender

Hangman's Hill - a hill at Cassino with the remains of a structure from what had been a funicular cable railway between the town and the monastery up on Monte Cassino. The funicular had been brought down when a German aircraft accidentally flew into the cables and crashed. The remaining upright structure on top of the hill that had supported the cables gave an appearance of hangman's gallows, thus the nickname Hangman's Hill became prevalent. The hill was known in Allied military terms as Point 435

Haywards - a New Zealand Army training camp north of Wellington

Helvetia - a training ground outside of Pukekohe for armoured training

Hun - a derogatory nickname used by the New Zealanders and other Allies for the Germans



Italy - the country in which the Italian campaign took place. Previously run by the Fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, by the time the campaign on Italian soil began he'd been toppled and the new Italian Government had sided with the Allies. However the German presence in Italy was strong, as were the remaining Fascist Italian groups, who together resisted the Allied advance up through Italy every step of the way. Italy is in fact a group of principalities, made up from a large peninsular and many islands off the southern coast of Europe, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Ionian Sea to the south, the Adriatic Sea to the east, and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. To the north Italy is bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria and Yugoslavia

Itie, or Ities - the common kiwi abbreviation for Italians, usually referring to the locals, but also in some cases to the opposing Italian Fascist forces



Jerry - the derogative nickname used by the kiwis and other Allied soldiers for the Germans



Kip - the nickname given by Kiwi troops to General Howard Kippenberger, who was a much loved and admired leader in the Greece, Crete, North African and Italian campaigns

Komate - Maori word for dead or death



LAD - Light Aid Detachment

LOB - Stands for Left Out of Battle. Selected men would be left out of a battle to rest up if they'd already had a tough time of things, but they'd not be too far from the front lines in case they were needed.



M&V - Meat and Veg - one of the common tinned foods supplied to the New Zealand men in the front lines in Italy, containing stewed meat and vegetables.

MC - Military Cross, a medal for valour in the field, awarded to Officer Ranks

MDS - Medical Dressing Station

Mk. 38 - the designation of the lightweight radio kits that the NZ Division's infantry units were issued with when they got to Italy. These short range radio sets proved extremely valuable to the Division, platoons could now keep in contact with each other and with supporting units. Previously the use of radio sets in the desert war was very limited for the new Zealander and they had relied more upon runners, semaphore and Morse code flashes to keep in contact

MM - Military Medal, a medal for valour in the field, awarded to Other Ranks

Moonshine - a New Zealand Army tented training camp north of Wellington

Monte Cassino - the mountain that overlooks the town of Cassino, and the site of the famous Monte Cassino Monastery that sits on top of it

MP - Military Police



NCO - Non-Commissioned Offer. In the New Zealand Army this covered the ranks of Lance Corporal, Lance Bombardier (Artillery), Corporal, Bombardier (Artillery), Lance Sergeant, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Warrant Officer Class 2 (Sergeant-Major) and Warrant Officer Class 1.



OCTU - Officer Cadet Training Unit, special schools where selected men would be sent to retrain to take on the command position as an officer. Many NCO's who'd shown great judgement and leadership kills were commissioned from the ranks in the battlefield and sent to OCTU.

One-Stop-Two Parade ground drill. Thus men marching up and down the drill square, usually with rifles, practicing their drill. One-stop-two was an Army slang for drill training, a task disliked by most

OP - abbreviation for Observation Post, a post where men were positioned to watch the enemy lines or areas where suspected enemy activity may take place. The OP usually had a telephone for rapid reporting of any activity

O-Pip - army nickname for Observation Post, as above

Orsogna - a town in the Winter Line at which in December 1943 he German defence proved to be too stubborn for the New Zealand Division, despite fierce and brave fighting by the kiwis. The Official History Italy Volume 1: The Sangro to Cassino described Orsogna as a "Stalingrad of the Abruzzi"

Out The Monk - unconscious, out cold, can also mean legless drunk in NZ rhyming slang



Panzer - the name for German tanks, In italy the NZ Division came up against an array of German tanks, from Panzer III and Panzer IV to the Marder, Elefant, Brumbar and various Stug self propelled guns, and the most feared of all were the 88mm gun carrying Panther and Tiger tanks

The Paula Line - a major German defensive line

PIAT - this stood for Personnel Infantry Anti Tank, and was a British designed anti tank weapon that could be fired by one man. This weapon was first issued to the New Zealand Division when they entered the Italian campaign and proved most valuable to them, especially over the less successful Boyes Anti Tank Rifle they had previously used. The PIAT fired a projectile, much like the US Army's Bazooka

The P.B.I. - the abbreviation for the 'Poor Bloody Infantry', a term that men in the various Infantry Battalions of the NZ Division used to describe themselves, as they were the ones always in the thick of the action

Piper Cub - a small US-built high-wing light aircraft used by the Allies to spot troop movements and direct the fall of Allied artillery fire. Known to the USAAF as the L-4 Grasshopper, but commonly referred to by its civil name of Cub

Po River - a major river crossed by the NZ Division and Allies in the pursuit of the Nazis

Pommie - kiwi slang for English or British, also abbreviated as Pom

P.O.W. - abbreviation for Prisoner of War, any combatant soldier, airman or sailor who was captured by the other side.





RAF - Royal Air Force, one of the major Allied air powers supporting the Allied campaign in Italy

R.A.P. - army abbreviation for the Regimental Aid Post. This was the closest medical post to the front line, where wounded men would be taken by stretcher bearers or their comrades. First aid was administered here by medics and perhaps a doctor, before they would be moved back by the Field Ambulance units to a Field Hospital for further treatment

Redcaps - Army nickname for Military Police due to the red colour on their caps

Rimini - An Italian city on the Adriatic coastline that formed part of the German 'Gothic Line'. It was captured by Allied troops of the Canadian Corps, which included the 2nd New Zealand Division, on the 21st of September 1944

RMT - Regimental Motor Transport, the Army unit in charge of maintaining and supplying motorised transport such as trucks, jeeps and other vehicles to units

Rome - the capital city of Italy. A major prize in the Allied push, it was declared an open city and the American fifth Army under General Mark Clark captured the city

RSM - Regimental Sergeant Major

RTO - Rail Transport Officer, the man in charge of all movements of goods and men by rail in his allocated region

Rubicon - a river in northern Italy and site of fighting for the New Zealand Division

RV - Army abbreviation for Rendezvous, the place planned and agreed to for parties to meet



Sanger - a slit trench built up on the sides with rocks and other material and often covered over the top

Sangro River - the river in southern Italy that in crossing presented the NZ Division with its first action in the campaign against the enemy

San Michele - a village south of Florence in which a major battle took place between the New Zealanders and German troops, in an attempt to open up the road to Florence

Scrap - a kiwi slang word for a fight or a punch-up

The Senio River - A 92 km long river in the north of Italy - actually a tributary of the Reno River, where in December 1944 the Allies fought up to its south banks and halted. Winter prevented any crossing or further pushes, and a stalemate of nothng more than patrols and shelling continued till April 1945 when the spring offensive began and the Senio was crossed as a start of the major push to take the rest of the top of Italy off German hands. The New Zealand Division was encamped along the stopbanks of the Senio during this winter of 1844-1945.

Sherman - the Sherman tank, or M4, an American designed and built tank that was used by the New Zealand Armoured Corps in Italy and by many other Allied nations

Shufti Kite - A reconnaissance aircraft, spotting positions from above - either Allied or German

Sig or Sigs - Short for Signaller or Signals Platoon

Signorina - An Italian female

Slittie - army nickname for a Slit Trench, which was a defensive position dug into the soil to provide cover and conceal a soldier form the enemy

S.P. Gun - short for Self Propelled gun, basically a large artillery piece, usually an 88mm gun on the German side, mounted on a tank base - fast, mobile and deadly

Stonk - nickname for an artillery barrage

Stoush - a fight, maybe a fire fight or a fist fight, or a disagreement

Strike Me Pink - a term of surprise



Taranto -the southern port where the New Zealand Division landed in Italy

Ted/Teds - The kiwi slang abbreviation for Tedeschi, referring to the Germans in the same manner that they referred to them as Krauts or Heinies

Tedeschi - the Italian name for the Germans, sometimes used by the kiwis as well

Trentham - one of the New Zealand Army's major training bases in New Zealand, situated just north of the capital, Wellington city

Trentham Racecourse - a Wellington race course (horse racing) near to the Trentham Army Camp that was commandeered by the Army to train men and act as a defensive base for that region

Trieste - the northern Italian city that proved to be the last major conquest of the New Zealand Division in the Second World War. On the capture of this city the Germans surrendered not only in Italy but in the whole war. The New Zealanders were then faced with the threat from neighbouring Yugoslavia, who's communist leaders desired taking Trieste as their own. This lead to a stand off that has been recognised by some as the first action in the Cold War.

Tucker - a slang term often used in New Zealand meaning food



Up The Blue - a kiwi nickname for the front lines where the action happened. Also the name used for this website and our podcast series

USAAF - United States Army Air Force, one of the major Allied air powers supporting the Allied campaign in Italy



Van - Short for vanguard, see below

Vanguard - the foremost soldiers and armour in the advancing army. The 2nd New Zealand Division usually had two of its battalions as the vanguard, or van, with the other battalions and units following behind in reserve. The battalions would be rotated so it was not always the same men at the front of each attack



Waiouru - one of the New Zealand Army's major training bases in New Zealand, situated on the Central Plateau of the North island of New Zealand, in remote, desertous alpine terrain

The Winter Line - a major German defensive line made up from the Gustav Line, along with the Hitler Line and the Bernhardt Line, designed to hold back the Allies south of Rome and in southern Italy in the winter months of late 1943 to early 1944 period








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