Can anyone tell me the difference between the terms " Training Area " and "Training Box " in a military context ?

Thank you

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    Sep 16, 2015 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


A training box used to be a reference to a sand box or sand pit. The Oxford English Dictionary has a reference which clarifies the point:

1971 J. Wainwright Last Buccaneer II. 243 'What... is a sand table?' 'It's usually a tray filled with sand. The army uses them. It's possible to mould the sand into the contours of geographic locations for demonstrating military tactics.'

A training area (in military terms) refers to a real-world location which may have (but not necessarily) been chosen for its resemblance to an expected deployment zone. Over time the usages have been blurred (see this US Army website: http://v-e-n-u-e.com/In-the-Box-A-Tour-Through-the-Simulated-Battlefields-of-the-U-S-Army).

Colloquially the Middle East has been referred to as the 'Sand Box', which may be an oblique (and ironic) reference to it becoming a training area for US tactics and strategy - and it being full of sand. But essentially, a training box suggests a 'model' wherein the parameters can be changed, whereas a training area is a 'boots on the ground' training facility.


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