What is Military Time: The Ultimate Guide with Explanation

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What is Military Time? The Ultimate Guide

What is military time or 24-hours Time Format or Army Time? Easy Explanation

What is Military Time? Military Time is a time format that uses a 24-Hours Time Format which eliminates the need for designations AM and PM. Military Time is sometimes referred to as “24-Hour Time”. The Army Time is indicated by counting from 0 to 24 (from midnight to midnight).

Have you ever wondered how Military Time works and why does it sound so complicated? It is actually quite simple, and I will explain it to you.

The most common time format used mainly in the United States and Anglo-Saxon countries is the 12 hours time format also known as Normal or Standard Time. On the other hand, the Army Time is a bit different from this format. In Army Time, the day begins with the  hour 0 and ends with the hour 24.

Military Time is simply a different way of denoting the twenty-four hours available in a day. In Military Time, the time of the day is simply indicated by continuing from midnight to midnight as you would count from 0 to 24. Where in general, people use AM and PM to denote if the time they are giving is in the morning or afternoon/evening.

What is 24-hours Time format or Army Time?

The Military Time is used to avoid any confusion with the AM and PM system. For example, have you ever set your clock to 7 PM instead of 7 AM when you had to wake up for work? If you’ve ever experienced this, I’m sure you have been frustrated when this or something similar has happened.

With Military Time, there is no confusion because the time does not repeat itself twice a day (2 PM or 2 AM), but continues counting after midday with numbers from 13 to 24. An example of this would be that 0700 means 7:00 in the morning (AM) and 1900 means 7:00 in the evening (PM).

Military Time is a time format using a 24 Hour Time system that eliminates the need for the designations AM and PM

You can download this infographic in printable version: What is Military Time – useful infographic with general informations.

Military Time History – from Egyptian era to Present Days

Not many people know it, but Military Time goes back thousands of years before it was named “Military Time”. In order to understand Military Time properly, it is good to know about the History of Military Time.

It has been noticed the 24 hours’ time was originated in the Egyptian era. Its evidence has been found in the Astronomical system of decans. The system has been used for many years by the astronomers, scientists, and navigators. There are many examples of Military Time that have survived throughout history.

The first mechanical clock, which showed Military Time, was introduced in Italy. This clock had sings for all 24 hours, and there were hour and minute needles. The clock used to stroke 84 times (maximum) in order to tell the time. This system was easy to read, and it has since been used for many years to assure the people understand the time accurately.

Then, in 1884, Lewis M. Rutherfurd publicly proposed that people should use Military Time in their daily lives. It helped us to understand how the Earth rotates around its own axis, and it would easily communicate that the new day starts at 0 hours and ends at 24 hours. It is understandable that this time (24 hours) is equal to the time that the earth takes to rotate around its own axis.

Between the years 1889 to 1915, many resolutions passed and proved if countries should use Military Time as the Standard Time or not.
Army time history - from Egyptian Era to World War 1 and Present Days

World War 1

All world armies were using Military Time during World War 1 to avoid any kind of confusion on the battlefield. Because of this the civilian population started to be exposed to Military Time; especially in Europe. That is the reason why all European countries started to use 24-hour time format after WW1 in their everyday life.

However, the people in countries where WW1 did not actually take place were still accustomed to using the 12-hour time format with AM and PM. It is understandable because old habits die hard 🙂

That is the main reason why people in some countries still use a 12-hours time format instead of a 24-hours time format.

TIP: To learn more about the History of Army Time visit this full article: Military Time History: Easy Explanation From Beginnings to Present.

Military Time Conversion

For most people, the most important part to understanding Military Time is to be able to convert Military Time to Standard Time or vice versa. So, let’s start with a useful explanation of how to easily make this conversion.

As stated before, there is no AM or PM in Military Time. Converting hours is quite easy. However, when the minutes are included the things can get a bit confusing. But do not worry, the conversion of Army Time into the 12-hour format (Standard or Normal Time) is not a difficult task using the following formula.

Useful Formula for Converting Military Time to Normal

Here is a simple formula for how you can convert Military Time into Standard Time. For example, let’s try to convert 1800 Military Time to Standard Time first:

  • 1. Step: Is 1800 greater than 1200? – YES
  • 2. Step: Then 1800 – 1200 = 600
  • 3. Step: Add the colon between hours and minutes and it would be 6:00
  • 4. Step: As 1800 is greater than 1200 you insert PM behind 6:00
  • Result: The conversion of 1800 Military Time is 6:00 PM Standard Time

And let’s try to convert 0900 Military Time now:

  • 1. Step: Is 0900 greater than 1200? – NO
  • 2. Step: Then you don’t need to subtract 12
  • 3. Step: Just add the colon between hours and minutes and it would be 9:00
  • 4. Step: As 0900 is not greater than 1200 insert AM behind 9:00
  • Result: The conversion of 0900 Military Time is 9:00 AM Standard Time

These to examples should show you what is important to focus on when you are trying to convert time.

So, can you tell 2 most important rules for converting Military Time now?

If so, you have now mastered converting Military Time to Standard Time.

If not, don’t worry, here are the 2 most important rules:

Two Main Rules for Converting Military Time

The main rules for converting the Military Time you should know about are:

  • For the time from 0000 to 1159 Military Time, we use AM in Standard Time and for the time from 1200 to 2359 Military Time, we use PM in Standard Time.
  • For the time from 0000 to 1259 Military Time, we don’t subtract any numbers but for the time from 1300 to 2359, we always have to subtract 12.

Following these 2 rules, you will be able to convert any time you want. And not only will this help you convert from Military Time to Standard Time, but also vice versa.

And what happens when we add there some minutes, let’s say 1538 Military Time? To be honest, nothing happens 🙂 

Converting minutes is the same in Army Time as in Standard Time. When you see 38 minutes it will be still 38 minutes no matter what time format you use.

Army Time Conversion Tools – Amazing Tools for Converting 24-hours Time Format to 12-hours Time Format and Vice Versa

Conversion from Army time to Standard time and vice versa

I understand you can be still confused when you have to convert Army Time to Normal Time or vice versa. It can be hard to understand how this time format works.

That’s why I developed unique and useful tools, which help you to convert any time you want.

And do you know what is also great?

These tools are totally FREE TO USE! And, you don’t have to install an app on your computer or mobile device. You also don’t have to pay anything for using these tools!

You can use these tools online from this website anytime you want.

(By the way, share these tools with your friends – it would be really helpful for me :))

So here are these 3 tools I’m talking about:

This high-tech and unique tools will allow you to convert any Army Time to Standard Time within a few seconds. You can also find out what the Military and Standard Time are based on your current location.

All you have to do is to enter the time into the converter and click on the button “Convert now”. The tool will automatically convert your entered time into the Civilian or Army Time. The AM and PM will be mentioned with the Civilian Time.

TIP: In case you want to understand how to make the conversion from Standard Time to Army Time for specific times check out these posts with an explanation for the Specific Military Time Conversions.

Military Time Format – Do I Need to use AM and PM in 24-Hour Time Format?

The format of the Military Time is very simple to understand. It starts at the midnight with the 0000 time.  The day begins at this time and we call it 12:00 AM in Civilian Time.

Then this time continues until it reaches 1200 time which is midday, and it is called 12:00 PM in Civilian Time.

After 1200 time the counting in the Army Time format will still continue from 1300 to 2400. Midnight is when the time reaches 2400 time, and it is called 12:00 AM in Civilian Time.

Then counting will begin once again from 0000.

As I already explained, Military Time is also known as 24-hours time format, but there are some differences between these two time formats. I have explained these differences in this summary infographic:

Difference between Army Time and 24-hours Time Format

Printable version of this useful infographic is here: Military time – major differences between typical 24 hour time usage and military usage.

Military Time Clock – 24 Hour Time Format

So, as you can see Military Time cannot be confused.

Once you understand the format of Military Time, it will get easier for you to follow, and you will not have to deal with the issues that you may have with AM and PM.

TIP: To learn more about the difference between 24-hour time format vs. 12-hour time format visit this article: What is 24 Difference between Military Time and 24-hours Time FormatClock (Military Time): Easy Explanation of Difference from 12 Hour Clock.

TIP 2: You can also check the full article about Military Clock: Standard Time from 24 Hours Perspective – Easy Explanation where I described how army clocks work for hours, minutes and seconds.

Military Time Chart – Simple Helper for your Army Time Conversions

Military Time Chart is a special comparison chart that helps you find the Army Time with the Civilian Time.

Utilizing this chart is one of the easiest way to find the right pair for Army and Standard Time. All you have to do is to find the hour you are looking for and take a look to the other column in the same row of the chart.

You can use this chart when you want to convert Army Time to Normal and vice versa.

Here is an example of the chart with few hours:

TIP: To find a complete Military Time Chart with an explanation of how to use it, visit the full article: Military Time Chart: Easy and Quick Way to Convert Military Time.

Military Alphabet – Special Codes known as NATO Phonetic Alphabet

The NATO has developed the special set of codes known as the NATO phonetic alphabet. The codes are also known as Military Alphabet.

This NATO phonetic alphabet is used for communication in all armies around the world (not only in NATO armies), for example when the soldiers want to tell military time in a specific time zone.

NATO Codes from Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta to Zulu

Are you familiar with these codes? I bet you are 🙂

If you have seen military movies, you have definitely heard these codes. These codes (Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Zulu) are the most famous Military Alphabet Codes.

Soldiers use them to avoid confusion while telling Army Time to their colleagues. These codes are important especially when armies operate or communicate in different time zones.

Here you find an example of the Army Alphabet:

TIP: To learn and understand Military Phonetic Alphabet visit the full article: Military Alphabet: A Code You Need to Know with NATO Phonetic Alphabet Chart.

Military Time Zones – Simple Table with Time Offsets and Major Cities

I mentioned Army Time Zones in the previous section, so I will describe these zones a bit more in this section.

As you probably know, the Earth is divided into 24 time zones. Each zone has its own time, name, and major city. 

Do you know why is the Earth divided into these time zones? It’s because of the way the Earth rotates around the Sun. Therefore, the Earth is divided into 24 meridians and each has its own time zone.

Using simple math, the Earth is 360 degrees and we have 24 time zones, so each time zone is 15 degrees.

The names of time zones are invented to make it easier to communicate time in these zones. It’s really important that all armies understand which one is being spoken about.

Here you find an example of the Military Time Zones Chart:

Military Time Zones (example)
Zone Time Offset Major City
Alpha UTC+1 Paris, France
Bravo UTC+2 Munich, Germany
Charlie UTC+3 Moscow, Russia

Zulu Time Zone – Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

The main world time zone is Zulu, which is also known as GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). GMT time starts at the noon but UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) was introduced to denote GMT as counted from midnight to avoid confusion.

Military Time is based on UTC.

I know this is quite complicated so here is a short example:

If someone tells you for example “plane departure is at 1200 Zulu time” and you are in Munich, Germany. You can find in the attached table above, the time zone for Germany is UTC+2 so it means you have to add 2 hours to 1200. Then the answer will be the departure is at 1400 Bravo time. Or speaking in standard time: 2:00 PM Bravo time.

TIP: For reading more about Army Time Zones read the full article: Military Time Zones: A Complete and Helpful Guide with Military Time Zones Chart.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Military Time

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Military Time based on Google Searches with short and quick answers.

Question 1: What is Military time?

Answer: It is otherwise knows as the 24-hour time format. All militaries around the world use this time format. Military Time format is also used by emergency services, scientists and lot of countries.

Question 2: Why is Military Time called Military Time?

Answer: 24-hours time format started to be widely used during World War 1 when all armies started using this format. That’s why the nickname for 24-hours format is Military or Army Time.

Question 3: What is the difference between Military and 24-Hour Time?

Answer: There are 2 differences between Military time and 24-hour time. Military Time uses a leading zero and doesn’t use a colon. On the other hand 24-hour time doesn’t use leading zero and uses a colon. For example:

  • 6 o’clock AM is shown as 0600 in Military Time and 6:00 in 24 hour time format
  • 6 o’clock PM is shown as 1800 in Military Time and 18:00 in 24 hour format

Question 4: How do I convert Military Time?

Answer: The easiest way is to think about AM and PM in Standard Time:

  • for AM just remove AM, for example 5:00 AM is 5:00 in Military Time
  • for PM you need to add 12 to hours, for example 5:00 PM is 17:00 in Military Time (5+12=17)

Question 5: Why does military use 24 hour time?

Answer: Because no army can risk the confusion of AM and PM. There is no space to make mistakes in military. Mistakes may cause the death of innocent people or our soldiers.

Question 6: Where do people use Military Time?

Answer: Military Time is used in almost all countries of the world people on a daily basis. On the other hand 12-hours time format is used in Anglo-Saxon countries like United States or Great Britain.

Question 7: Do Americans use Military Time?

Answer: No, Americans don’t normally use Military Time. But American military or emergency services use Army Time format every day in their jobs.

Question 8: What is 12 AM in 24 hour time?

Answer: 12 AM can be written as 0000 or 2400 in 24 hour time format, and it means midnight.

24-hours Time Format or Army Time – Conclusion

Military Time is an important part of our daily activities, especially when we are related to someone who is in the army.

Learning how to convert to or from Army Time and understand its importance can help you in different aspects of life.

I hope this article helped you understand what Military Time is and how you can convert it. If you are looking for the Army Time Converter just scroll to the top of this page, and you can find there two converters.

If you are still interested in Military Time and want to learn more, visit the articles in these main categories:

Military Time Tools

About Military Time

Military Time Conversions

Spacedoxie.com – What is Military Time? (FAQ) Share with your friends!