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whizz-bang

English translation: Found one explanation, but I'm not sure I follow the argument

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17:18 Oct 25, 2007
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Military / Defense / WWI/Battle of the Somme
English term or phrase: whizz-bang
The British Field Service postcard was called the "whizz-bang" by the troops.

Of course I will not translate the expression "whizz-bang" but I would like to know why it was so called. The only references I found refer to a German type of shell.
Stéphanie Soudais
France
Local time: 00:41
English translation:Found one explanation, but I'm not sure I follow the argument
Explanation:
Postcards from the Trenches: Negotiating the Space Between ... - Google Books Result
by Allyson Booth - 1996 - Literary Criticism - 200 pages
The postcard thus dictated that for many civilians, one familiar verbal shape of combat would be constituted as a series of matter-of-fact sentences covering… trench, hospital and base. However, while hospital and base are named explicitly… the space for the trenches is designated only by the first sentence: “I am quite well.” This assertion of health and good spirits, in essence, erases the trenches: the front line… was not one of the options a soldier had to draw on in his description of where he found himself. Perhaps the combatants’ slang for the Field Service Post Card – “whizz-bang” – constituted an attempt to mail home a more accurate sense of the front-line experience: “whizz-bang” was also “a light shell fired from one of the smaller field-artillery guns”, so that to send home a bland postcard was also, in a sense, to send home a letter bomb.
books.google.com/books?isbn=0195102118...
Selected response from:

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:41
Grading comment
Thank you Jack. It is indeed precised in my text that the soldiers used to send those cards to their families as proof of their survival
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +1WHIZ + BANGsalavat
3 +1Found one explanation, but I'm not sure I follow the argument
Jack Doughty
2 +1OED says
Jonathan MacKerron
2Not exactly what you wanted ....
jccantrell


  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
OED says


Explanation:
"Expressing a whizzing sound that ends with a thud or explosion, such as may be heard as a bullet or shell strikes a target"

Jonathan MacKerron
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Yang Min
1 min
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11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
WHIZ + BANG


Explanation:
whiz-bang also whizz-bang (hwĭz'băng', wĭz'-) Informal.
n.

One that is conspicuously effective, successful, or skillful: a whiz-bang of a speech.
adj.
Conspicuously effective, successful, or skillful: a whiz-bang ad campaign.
Very rapid and eventful; rushed: whiz-bang pacing; a whiz-bang schedule.

[From whizzbang, a shell used in World War I that was heard only an instant before landing and exploding : WHIZ + BANG1.]
http://www.answers.com/whizz-bang?nafid=3

salavat
Local time: 03:41
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Deborah Workman: I.e., quick and to the point. It seems that the postcards didn't mince words!
7 hrs
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45 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
Not exactly what you wanted ....


Explanation:
This link says:

QUICK FIRER

Field Service Post Card (Army Form A2042). The card consisted of a number of pre-printed sentences which could be deleted as appropriate. Nothing, except the address of the recipient, was to be written on the post card in order to alleviate the problems of censorship.

But then, it also has:

WHIZZ-BANG

High-velocity shell. From the noise of the rapid flight and the explosion. Usually applied to the German 77mm. I don't want to go in the trenches no more, where the whizz-bangs and shrapnel they whistle and roar. From I Don't Want To Die, popular contemporary song.

So, perhaps the terms are related in that the postcards had more whizz (i.e., noise) than information

just a guess, really.


    Reference: http://www.wakefieldfhs.org.uk/War%20Slang.htm
jccantrell
United States
Local time: 15:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Found one explanation, but I'm not sure I follow the argument


Explanation:
Postcards from the Trenches: Negotiating the Space Between ... - Google Books Result
by Allyson Booth - 1996 - Literary Criticism - 200 pages
The postcard thus dictated that for many civilians, one familiar verbal shape of combat would be constituted as a series of matter-of-fact sentences covering… trench, hospital and base. However, while hospital and base are named explicitly… the space for the trenches is designated only by the first sentence: “I am quite well.” This assertion of health and good spirits, in essence, erases the trenches: the front line… was not one of the options a soldier had to draw on in his description of where he found himself. Perhaps the combatants’ slang for the Field Service Post Card – “whizz-bang” – constituted an attempt to mail home a more accurate sense of the front-line experience: “whizz-bang” was also “a light shell fired from one of the smaller field-artillery guns”, so that to send home a bland postcard was also, in a sense, to send home a letter bomb.
books.google.com/books?isbn=0195102118...

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 35
Grading comment
Thank you Jack. It is indeed precised in my text that the soldiers used to send those cards to their families as proof of their survival

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  kmtext
12 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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