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Glossary

Select a letter to browse an alphabetical listing of terms and definitions.

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Depot

Headquarters of regiment or departmental corps, where servicemen are trained and kitted out before joining units. Also a storage site for supplies, ammunition or fuel.

Destroyer

Fast warship designed to protect the main battle fleet from submarines and torpedo boats. In the First World War, also took on the protection of convoys, shore bombardment and patrols.

DEW Line

Distant Early Warning line of radar stations built along the 70th parallel, across Canada between Alaska and Greenland, in the late 1950s to give early warning against nuclear attacks by Soviet bombers. Of more concern to the United States than Canada, it was built and manned by the American armed forces only after outstanding territorial claims were settled and Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic recognized.

See also: Pine Tree Line, NORAD, Mid-Canada Line

Discipline

Order maintained among soldiers. Without discipline and obedience, an army cannot exist as an orderly military body and becomes ineffective. Since the Middle Ages, armies have evolved their own codes of conduct applicable to officers and enlisted men. Failure to conform could result in flogging or lashes, but both these punishments were banned by the 19th century. Guilt and punishment are decided by court martial, the military judicial court.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)

British decoration awarded to men of non-officer ranks for bravery in the field. Established in 1845 for sergeants, it was extended to all enlisted men in 1854.