FICTION / War & Military
A land ravaged by war without end.
Cities gutted by weapons of mass destruction.
Countries laid waste by biological warfare.
Governments ruined by greed, violence, and corruption.
This is a world in the throes of economic decay and at the mercy of terrorists.
This is Asia. This is Europe. This is America. This is Final Blackout.
Across this devastated, post-apocalyptic landscape marches one extraordinary soldier and his band of brothers. He is the Lieutenant, a hardened military strategist and a charismatic leader of men. The narrow-minded high command may have relieved the Lieutenant of duty, but not of his honor—and his crack unit of warriors remains fiercely loyal to him.
Now, in a time of deception, desperation, and betrayal, they are headed into the ultimate battle against the ultimate enemy—their own treacherous leaders. But for the Lieutenant, a hero at the crossroads of history, it is time to do what is best for his country and for his men—to undertake one last act of courage and sacrifice … the Final Blackout.
"As perfect a piece of science fiction as has ever been written." —Robert A. Heinlein
"Compelling … riveting … Hubbard's best." —Publishers Weekly
Final Blackout Book Glossary
ack-ack: an anti-aircraft gun or its fire.
adjutant: an officer who serves as military assistant to a more senior officer.
Alsatian: a native or inhabitant of Alsace, a region of France, located on the eastern border, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland.
appetite over dixie: topsy-turvy; turned upside down.
Archangel: a northern settlement in Russia named after the archangel Michael. It was established as the major port for the Russian trade by the English in the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth century, despite its remote location on the Arctic coast, it remained Russia’s principal port. During World Wars I and II, it was a major port of entry for Allied aid, and during World War II it became known as the destination for bringing supplies from the UK and the US to assist the Russians who were cut off from their normal supply lines.
Army List: a list of officers in the British army; an official list of all serving commissioned officers and reserve officers in the army.
Balkans: a large peninsula in southeastern Europe between the Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea on the west, the Mediterranean Sea on the south and the Black Sea on the east. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains, which run through the center of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia.
balmy: crazy; foolish; insane.
bark: a tough protective outside covering of trees and other woody plants, used as an ingredient in making bread. The bread, made from a mixture of flours and pine phloem (the living, soft layer of bark), was eaten up to the nineteenth century in very poor times when food was in short supply.
batman: in the British army, a soldier assigned to an officer as a servant.
Battle of Britain: in the summer of 1940, 2,936 pilots, most of whom from civilian duties to become fighter pilots, took part in a historic battle against the Germans, whose objective was to destroy the Royal Air Force Fighter Command in order to cross the Channel and invade Great Britain. It was the only battle to be fought entirely in the air, and after just four months the fight was abandoned because of the dedication, courage and tenacity of the British pilots, who fought only for success.
BCP: British Communist Party.
BEF: British Expeditionary Force; British army forces stationed outside Great Britain. It was created in 1908 to ensure that British forces would be trained and ready to respond quickly. The British army forces were sent to northern France at the start of World Wars I and II to support the French armies.
Belgian alcohol machine gun: a fully automatic machine firearm which fires a continuous stream of bullets fed into it. It has a cooling apparatus using air and is gas operated, or, in this case, alcohol operated.
billeting: lodging for soldiers.
Blinker Tower: a type of lighthouse or station that directed shipping to assigned anchorage and relayed unloading schedules. Radiotelephone handled inter-beach messages. Semaphore posts guided small craft unequipped with radio or blinker. Their radio stations handled messages from shore to high echelons. The army and navy made the fullest use of this network of communication.
blockhouse: (military) a small defensive structure made of masonry or very heavy timbers. A blockhouse is intended to serve as a defensive stronghold.
Bloody Tower: one of the thirteen towers that flank the massive inner wall of the Tower of London. Originally known as the Garden Tower, it gained its present name in the sixteenth century because of how much blood was spilled in it. The most notorious deed was the killing of the sons of King Edward IV. Upon the king’s death, his brother, Richard III, placed the two young Crown princes in the tower and seized the throne for himself. The princes were never seen again and are believed to have been killed in the tower.
Bordeaux: a port city in the southwest of France. The French government withdrew to the city during World War II.
brigand: one who lives by plunder; a bandit.
bubonic plague: a potentially fatal bacterial infection. Small rodents, such as rats, mice and squirrels carry the infection. Fleas that live on these animals become infected too, so people may get the bacteria from flea bites or from direct contact with an infected animal. It is also referred to as the Black Death, the epidemic that killed millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages.
Bulge: Battle of the Bulge (December 16, 1944–January 25, 1945); the largest and bloodiest land battle of World War II in which more than a million men fought (600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans and 55,000 British). The German forces launched their final major counteroffensive against Allied lines with the intention to cut off and annihilate the US and British armies, but this attack resulted only in a large bulge (a military position that projects into the position of the enemy) in the Allied lines. The German advance was halted and cut off by the Allies, and this failure led to the final collapse and defeat of Hitler’s armies.
Byward Tower: part of the Tower of London, it is the tower that gives access to the Outer Ward, and the point where a password was demanded by the sentry at night. The Byward Tower was important as it was the last stand in a series of defenses guarding the land entrance to the fortress.
caisson: a two-wheeled wagon, used for carrying artillery ammunition.
carrack: a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in the Mediterranean in the fifteenth century. Carracks were one of the first proper oceangoing ships in Europe; large enough to be stable in heavy seas, and roomy enough to carry provisions for long voyages. They were the ships in which the Portuguese and the Spanish explored the world in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Cepheus: a northern constellation named after King Cepheus in Greek mythology, and considered to represent a king. Visible to the naked eye, it appears as a man with a crown.
chalk hills: hill formations made of chalk (a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock that forms under relatively deep marine conditions). The chalk forms characteristic rolling hills as it slowly erodes, and when the hills meet the sea they may display white chalk cliffs.
Clayton in Mexico: referring to a military action during the Mexican Revolution, where US Marines, though small in number, were highly validated for their bravery in action.
cockleshell: a small flimsy boat.
confrere: a fellow member of a fraternity or profession; a colleague.
demicannon: a large cannon of the sixteenth century, having a bore of about 6½ inches and firing a shot from 30 to 36 pounds.
dike: an embankment of earth and rock built to prevent floods. Also (chiefly British), a low wall, often of sod, dividing or enclosing land.
dixie: 1. an oval-shaped British army cooking kettle. 2. a mess tin that is used as either a plate or a cup.
dogrobber: an enlisted man who acts as an orderly, valet and all-around facilitator for an officer.
Dunkirk: a port in the northernmost part of France on the North Sea. In World War II, British and Allied forces became separated from the main body of the French defenses by the German advance. From May 26 to June 4, 1940, in the face of enemy fire, the defense and evacuation of more than 330,000 of these troops from the beaches of Dunkirk and surrounding beaches was made possible by a hastily assembled fleet of about 700 small boats, manned by civilian crews who ferried the troops out to 42 destroyers and other large ships waiting offshore. This came to be known as the Battle of Dunkirk.
Duriron: the trademark name of a cast-iron alloy, named for the fact that it is the most durable iron material made. It is used for its resistance to corrosion.
effigy, in: to hang an image or picture of a person in public view as a crude representation of someone disliked, and for purposes of ridicule.
fagged out: very tired; exhausted.
Father Thames: the River Thames – affectionately known as Old Father Thames and frequently portrayed as a bearded man. His name is in recognition that the river is father to the settlements on it banks.
fen: low land covered wholly or partially with water, but producing coarse grasses or other aquatic plants; boggy land; marsh.
field piece: mounted gun; cannon.
flamer: an aircraft shot down in flames.
general order: a published directive originated by a commander, and binding upon all personnel under his command. The purpose of such an order is to enforce a policy or procedure unique to his unit’s situation, and not otherwise addressed in applicable service regulations, military law or public law. A general order has the force of law and it is an offense punishable by court-martial or lesser military court to disobey one.
GHQ: General Headquarters; military headquarters from which a military commander controls and organizes the forces.
gibbet: an upright post with a crosspiece, forming a T-shaped structure from which criminals were formerly hanged for public viewing.
gig: a boat reserved for the use of the captain of a ship.
Gladstone: Gladstone bag; a large traveling case built over a rigid frame and hinged to open into two compartments of equal size. They were made of stiff leather and often belted with lanyards.
Gravesend: a municipal urban area of southeast England on the River Thames east of London. Known as the Gateway to the Port of London, it is an industrial and shipping center.
Greenwich: a town, now part of the southeastern sprawl of London, on the south bank of the River Thames. It is best known for its maritime history and as the location of Greenwich Mean Time.
gunwale: the upper edge of the side of a boat. Originally a gunwale was a platform where guns were mounted, and was designed to accommodate the additional stresses imposed by the artillery being used.
half-tide lock: Richmond Lock. To maintain the level of water at a height which enables navigation on the River Thames during low-tide, a lock and a barrage (an artificial obstruction placed in water to increase the water level) was built with a footbridge crossing over it. There are three vertical steel sluice gates suspended from the footbridge structure, weighing thirty-two tons each, which are lowered to block the river. For about two hours each side of high tide, the sluice gates are raised into the footbridge structure above and river traffic can pass through unimpeded. For the rest of the tidal cycle the sluice gates are closed, and ships and boats must use the lock that runs alongside the barrage.
“Hands Across the Sea”: a military march composed in 1899 by John Philip Sousa (1854–1932), an American composer and conductor known particularly for American military marches. He was inspired to compose the march by English statesman (1770–1827) George Canning’s phrase: “A sudden thought strikes me; let us swear eternal friendship.” Sousa dedicated the march to the US allied countries across the sea.
haversack: a canvas, single-strapped bag worn over one shoulder, in which a soldier carries his rations when on a march.
hobnail: a short nail with a thick head used to increase the durability of the boot sole.
hull: to pierce the hull, the main body of a ship, especially below the water line.
impress: (military) force into military service, especially the navy.
Isle of Dogs: a former island of London that is surrounded on three sides by one of the largest “U” bends of the River Thames. One theory of how it got its name (and shown on a map of 1588) is that Henry VIII (1491–1547) kept his dogs there, sending boats over to fetch them to his palace when he felt like going hunting.
Iwo: Battle of Iwo Jima (February–March 1945); the battle was the first American attack on Iwo Jima, the largest of the Volcano Islands of Japan in the northwest Pacific Ocean east of Tawain. The invasion of US Marines was charged with capturing the Japanese airfields on Iwo Jima, and the battle that ensued was marked by some of the fiercest fighting in the campaign. Ground fighting on the island took place from the landings of February 19 to a final Japanese charge of March 26, whereupon they were defeated and the island secured by the US.
jibe: 1. to change the course of a ship so that the sails shift from one side of a vessel to the other; said of the sail when the vessel is steered off the wind until the sail fills on the opposite side. 2. to be in harmony, agreement or accord.
keep: the strongest and securest part of a castle, often used as a place of residence by the lord of the castle, especially during a siege.
Kiel: a port city of northern Germany located on the Bay of Kiel in the southwestern Baltic Sea and lies at the eastern end of the Kiel Canal. The city was Germany’s chief naval base from 1871 to 1945 and the target of Allied bombing in World War II which destroyed the majority of the city. The Kiel Canal which connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea, was built between 1887 and 1895 to serve German military needs by eliminating the necessity for ships to travel northward around the Danish peninsula. Between 1907 and 1914 the canal was widened and deepened so large naval and oceangoing ships could pass through it.
Kingston: Kingston upon Thames; a town on the banks of the River Thames in southwest London. It was the ancient market town where Saxon kings were crowned.
leadsman: on ships, the man who uses a lead line, a line marked at intervals of fathoms (six feet) and weighted at one end, to determine the depth of water.
Lee, Robert E.: a career US Army officer, and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
leftenant: a British pronunciation of lieutenant.
lighter: a large, open, flat-bottomed vessel, used in loading and unloading ships offshore or in transporting goods for short distances in shallow waters.
Limehouse Pool: Limehouse Port; a region of London on the northern bank of the River Thames and west of the Isle of Dogs. Limehouse is so called after the lime kilns that were prevalent in the area from the fourteenth century. It became more important due to its links with the sea as the commercial aspect of London grew.
Little Bear: Ursa Minor, a constellation in the northern sky, the name of which means Little Bear in Latin. When including less visible stars which are still visible to the naked eye, it vaguely resembles a bear.
London special: London fog.
Maginot line: a vast line of defenses made of concrete and steel that stretched along France’s border with Germany. Built between 1930 and 1940, it was a series of outposts comprised of fifty large forts that housed 1,000 soldiers each, and smaller forts between these housing 200–500 soldiers each. It had antitank emplacements and pillboxes standing in front of the bombproof artillery casements, and an entire underground system of passages where a train, run by electricity generated from their own electric power system, circulated and quickly transported ammunition to the different turrets of the fortification. It was claimed at the time to provide an impregnable defense against the German army, and was designed to give the defenders a good warning of an impending attack. However, in May 1940, the German forces invaded France through the heavily wooded and semimountainous area north of the Maginot line resulting in the French government being forced to abandon Paris.
make: (nautical) to increase in depth or volume; to rise.
mole: sea wall; a massive wall, formed of masonry or large stones, that extends into the sea and encloses or protects a harbor, and ships in a harbor, from the violence of the waves.
mortar: trench mortar; a particular type of cannon used for projecting shells at high angles.
mosquito boat: PT (Patrol Torpedo) boat; a small, fast military gunboat of the US Navy, used during World War II to attack larger surface ships. They were heavily armed, carrying four torpedo tubes, three anti-aircraft guns, and were capable of speeds up to forty knots. They were first developed in the early twentieth century as an inexpensive way to deliver torpedoes which could destroy ships as heavy as battleships without the massive weight necessary for large-caliber guns. The PT boat squadrons were nicknamed the mosquito fleet.
Nagasaki: a harbor city and the capital of Nagasaki Prefecture (a unification of former provinces), located on Kyushu, the third largest island of Japan. During World War II, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Nagasaki the second city in the world to be subjected to nuclear warfare.
Norfolk: a county in southeastern England on the coast of the North Sea.
one-pounder: a gun firing a one-pound shot or shells. It looks somewhat like a miniature cannon.
Outer Ward: part of the Tower of London, it is the area outside of the Inner Curtain (a high wall that surrounds the open area in the center of the castle) and surrounded by a massive wall (Outer Curtain) that is flanked by five towers facing the River Thames.
Pangloss: the name of the tutor and philosopher in the satire Candide written by Voltaire (French author and philosopher, 1694–1778), who was optimistic regardless of the circumstances.
pantomycin: an antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral antibiotic.
parole: word of honor, especially that of a prisoner of war who is granted freedom only after promising not to engage in combat.
PC: Post Command; military installation where the command personnel are located.
pillbox: a low, enclosed gun emplacement made from concrete, with loopholes through which to fire guns. They were often camouflaged in order to conceal their location and to maximize the element of surprise.
pneumatics: guns using compressed air as the propulsive force for the ammunition being used. Their comparatively gentle action proves advantageous when high explosives are contained in the projectiles.
port: (military) to bring (a rifle or other weapon) into a position so that it is being held with both hands, in a slanting direction across the front of the body, with the barrel or like part near the left shoulder.
recall flag: general recall flag; a blue, square flag with a white cross, dividing it into four equal parts. When hoisted by the commander-in-chief, or senior officer present, it is to be considered an unconditional order for all engaged in duty, of whatever nature, to return at once. The general recall is not hauled down until everyone has returned.
regurgitant gas: a gas that induces vomiting and nausea in any unprotected person who breathes it. Some people are allergic to the gas and it causes them to suffer severe respiratory difficulties or even choke to death.
riprap: rock or other material used to armor shorelines against water erosion. It is thrown down in water or on soft ground, making a foundation or sustaining wall.
Roman Wall: London Wall; a defensive wall built by the Romans around London, then a strategically important port town on the River Thames. The wall had a number of gates around the outside that led to important Roman roads, leading to other towns in the country.
Royal Terrace Pier: Gravesend Royal Terrace Pier; built in 1844, it was used by the steamers from London, and in the late nineteenth century it became a base for pilots.
Rugby: a municipal borough (a type of local authority, existing in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, with an elected town council) located in eastern Warwickshire, England.
Saipan: Battle of Saipan (June 15, 1944–July 9, 1944); a battle of World War II fought on Saipan, the largest island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean (now a US Commonwealth, with Saipan as the capital). The invasion of Saipan was a vital strategic step for the US forces to defeat the Emperor of Japan, and once taken it served as an important air base until the end of the war.
Sandhurst: Royal Military College; a college in the United Kingdom built in 1812 to train gentlemen cadets as officers. After World War II, it was used to train regular officers for the whole army.
set: (nautical) the direction toward which the current is flowing.
Shooters Hill: a place in southeast London, centered upon a hill, the highest point in London. It reputedly takes its name from the practice of archery there during the Middle Ages. The name is also commonly linked to its reputation as a haunt for highwaymen (bandits).
six-pounder: a gun that discharges a six-pound artillery shell. From early on, guns became classified by the weight of the shot they could fire. Thus, any gun that fired a six-pound ball or shell became a six-pounder.
skiff: a small flat-bottomed rowboat that is propelled by oars, sail or motor.
slope: depart; disappear suddenly.
Somme: a river in northern France, famous for the Battle of the Somme in 1916, one of the largest battles of World War I that resulted in over one million British, French and German casualties within a five-month period.
subaltern: junior officer rank in the British military; a commissioned military officer below the rank of a captain.
sulfa: sulfa drug; any of a group of synthetic organic compounds capable of inhibiting bacterial growth and activity. Used in the treatment of various wounds, burns and infections.
Teddington pound lock: the longest lock of the River Thames, located in London on the north bank. A pound lock is a man-made chamber with heavy gates at either end. There are sluices within these huge gates, which can be opened and closed, to control the flow of water into and out of the chamber.
Thames: a river of southern England flowing eastward to a wide estuary on the North Sea. Navigable for large ships as far as London, it is the principal commercial waterway of the country.
Thermite: a mixture of metals that, when ignited, produces extremely high temperatures. It is used in welding and in certain bombs.
three-pounder: a gun that discharges a three-pound artillery shell. From early on guns became classified by the weight of the shot they could fire. Thus, any gun that fired a three-pound ball or shell became a three-pounder.
Tilbury: a port town in England located on the north bank of the River Thames, across from Gravesend.
Tommy-come-afters: British equivalent of Johnny-come-latelies; British soldiers who are newcomers or latecomers, especially recent adherents to a cause.
Tower of London: a historic fortress in London on the River Thames. In the Inner Ward (the open area in the center of a castle) stands the Norman White Tower, defended by a massive wall (Inner Curtain) that is flanked by thirteen towers, one of which (Bloody Tower) is the entrance to the Inner Ward. Outside of this is the Outer Ward, defended by a second massive wall (Outer Curtain) that is flanked by six towers facing the river.
town-buster: an eleven-ton bomb, also called the Grand Slam, developed by the British government. Used to pulverize Germany at the end of World War II, some cities were written off as dead cities after the war’s mightiest aerial attacks with the town-busters. They were so big that the bombers carrying them had to be reinforced, their bomb bays cut away and two crewmen left behind to save on weight. The planes were also known to have bounced five hundred feet higher at the moment the massive bombs were released.
trench mortar: a muzzle-loading smoothbore steel tube (cannon) that rests on a separate steel base plate. The barrel is propped up on two legs, making the whole weapon a kind of tripod enabling it to be fired at high angles of elevation to reach concealed enemy targets. The trench mortar makes it possible to lay heavy fire on enemy positions. Its simplicity has made it popular in guerrilla warfare all over the world.
truck: a frame that swivels, with two or more pairs of wheels, for supporting each end of a locomotive or railroad car.
Twickenham: a suburb in southwest London, bordered on the southeastern side by the River Thames.
Union Jack: the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
V2: the world’s first operational liquid fuel rocket, financed and used by Nazi Germany in World War II, with 6,084 built and as many as 3,225 launched in combat. With the war all but lost, the Nazis resorted to the V2s as a last hope to influence the war militarily, and to give hope to their supporters with their miracle weapon. Although they did not change the course of the war and proved to be an enormous waste of resources, the V2 had considerable psychological effect. Unlike the bombing planes or the V1 Flying bomb, which made a characteristic buzzing sound, the V2 traveled faster than the speed of sound, with no warning before impact and no possibility of defense. However, the V2s were ineffective as their guidance systems were too primitive to hit specific targets. Towards the end of the war, the principle designers of the V2 including Wernher von Braun (1912–1977) and Walter Dornberger (1895–1980) made the decision to surrender to the US military to ensure they were not captured by the advancing Russians. Wernher was transferred to the US where he worked on the American Intercontinental ballistic missile program before joining NASA as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the US to the Moon.
Vickers Wellington bomber: a twin-engine medium-class bomber of the British Royal Air Force, used in World War II and capable of flying with heavy battle damage.
Wapping: a place in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, located on the north bank of the River Thames.
warm: British warm; a British army officer’s overcoat, similar to an overcoat of camel’s hair or similar fabric, and made for withstanding the battlefield cold.
warp: to move (a vessel) into a desired place or position by hauling on a rope that has been fastened to something fixed, as a buoy or anchor.
White Russian: a Russian who fought against the Bolsheviks (Russian Communist Party) in the Russian Revolution, and fought against the Red Army during the Russian Civil War from 1918 to 1921.
White Tower: part of the Tower of London, it is a square fortress that is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
Woolwich: a suburb in southeast London on the south side of the River Thames.
yellow fever: a tropical disease that is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes and found only in Africa and South America. The disease can cause a severe, life-threatening illness.
Yellow Sea: an arm of the Pacific Ocean between the Chinese mainland and the Korean Peninsula. It connects with the East China Sea to the south.