Why do militaries put words in an odd order?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Russell Phillips, Feb 22, 2021 at 1:40 PM.

  1. My wife pointed out recently that lots of military equipment designations have the words in an odd order. For example:

    Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT). Surely Infantry anti-tank projector would be the usual order?
    Amoured Vehicle, Royal Engineers (AVRE). Why not Royal Engineers Armoured Vehicle?
    Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI). Why not Infantry Landing Craft?

    I'd got so used to it that I didn't even notice the oddity until my wife pointed it out. Do any of you know why they're written this way?
    CL1 likes this.
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    All to do with how they are stored and catalogued. Scissors come in different types and sizes so the lead word is scissors with all other descriptions coming after it - 'Scissors, cutting large' and then 'Scissors, cutting small'.

    It allowed storemen to look up equipment very quickly.


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  3. Listy

    Listy Active Member

    Well the Australians initially called the PIAT a PITA if it makes you any happier? Projector, Infantry, Tank-Attack.
  4. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    No idea why, I have.
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  5. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    A clue not I have.


    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 11:16 AM
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Same general principle as naming plants and animals! First is the Genus then the Species.
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Also applied to filing systems and inventories... makes referencing easier for procurement and requisition. In addition there would probably be a stores number....basic stores management found in all engineering industry.

    For instance, the SOE had their own catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies.
    Flares,Ground,15 min.
    Gun, Sten, Silenced, MK 11.

    Then to the sundry items:
    Pliers, Insulated
    Pliers, Plain
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  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    It's also how Library cataloging systems and traditional bookshops are organised so all books relating to the same topic are together.
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  10. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    From the Ordering System of the German Bundeswehr....
    Trap, snap, mechanical, for small animal grey, movable:

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  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Thats your answer well done Frank
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    'Pain In The Arse' seems more likely...
  13. That makes sense! Thanks everyone :)
  14. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Why? Because they CAN.
  15. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    My favorite is one item which saw extensive use on troopships and on landing craft: Bags, Vomit, Soldiers for the Use Of.
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  16. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Thank you, Sergeant Yoda.
  17. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Ah, but was it a Mk1 or Mk2 ?
    Extract is from None Had Lances (the Story of the 24th Lancers, and who were part of 8th Armoured Brigade on the Normandy D Day).

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  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    To run any organisation, the means of it have to be readily available and stocked so that there is no delay in issuing.

    Knives, thumb. (for all that cloak and dagger stuff...looks a handy miniature weapon to get an individual out of trouble in close quarters.)

    Money Belt,Calico....Stores Note ...... this is not a standard store but can be made up to meet special demand. (Long money packets worn at the back of the individual)

    Money Belt, Suede, Type 1 6 inches deep
    Money Belt, Suede. Type 2 4.5 inches deep
    Stores Note......this is not a special store but belts are made up according to personnel waist measurements.

    Flasks,Spirit.8 ounce
    Flasks,Spirit,4 ounce
    Stores Note...No Markings

    Travel Sickness
    Tablets. Air Sick, (RAF Formula)
    Tablets, Sea Sick
    Stores Note. No standard pack.

    May have been the first time when sea sick tablets were issued en masse for the Normandy landings.

    Then there is the standard inventory of personal kit which was officially inspected at regular intervals.

    (I have a friend who served with me was instructed to buy a working blue a few months before his demob date. A schoolboy friend of mine who was stationed at Ballykelly (C.C) on Neptunes borrowed an item of my personal kit so that he would not be be lumbered with an inroad into to his uniform credit allowance...proved to be no problem although we were of a different stature)

    Common in the French language...the noun before the adjective.
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  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Its all Latin to me :wacko:

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  20. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The Royal Artillery took this convention the furthest. The Ministry of Supply went to the effort of giving their self-propelled guns names like Achilles, Archer, Bishop etc., but the RA totally ignored these and referred to them in the field as "17 pdr SP M10" and "25 pdr SP Valentine" etc.

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