Military Time History: Learn From Beginnings to Present

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Have you ever wondered how and when the Military Time was invented? I bet you will be surprised when you find out how old actually the 24 Hour Time Format is. Learn more about Military Time History in this article. If you are looking for a short answer to the question about Military Time History, here is the answer:

Military Time was invented by Egyptians in the age of 11th Egyptian Dynasty, est. 2100 BC. It means Military Time is already more than 4000 years old and it was known as 24-Hour Time format in the past. The name Military Time was first used in the early 20th century.

To know more about the interesting history of Military Time continue reading.

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Military Time History

Understanding Military Time History can help you with the understanding of Military Time itself. When you try to guess when the Military Time was invented you maybe guess wrong.

The name Military Time has its origins in World War 1 because armies found very important to speak about the time with no mistakes.

But as you already know, Military Time is based on a 24-hour time format which was used much earlier than during WW1.

Military time history - Egyptian Era to World War 1 and Present Days

Egyptian Origin

Military Time History goes back to the Egyptian era. It was not known as Military Time but as a 24-hour time format.

On the tombs of the 11th Dynasty of the Egyptians in 2100 BC traces for a military time (24-hours time format) were found. The proof for the 24-hours time format was found on the coffin lid, which was named as the Diagonal Star Table.

The Egyptian 24-hour format used temporal hours. Temporal hours were defined by the different amounts of light intensity when day and night took the same number of hours (each part 12 hours).

The fun or interesting fact is that the light intensity is not constant over the periods of the year so the hour in this time format could have been different during a year. Can you imagine that? 🙂

Hours Improvement by Hipparchus

Hipparchus was an astronomer. In 147 to 127 BC, he gave the idea to fix the length of time according to the seasons. According to him, the time wasn’t dependent on the seasons anymore. It means: seasons may change but the time will remain the same.

After this important change, the hours in 24-hour time format became the equinoctial hours. Equinox is used as a basis for the determination of the hours.

According to this method, 1 hour consists of 60 minutes and the time of the day and night is equal. In this way, the 60 minutes time frame became famous in the world.

The Egyptian era shows have that a 24-hour time format is not a new concept. This time format is already used for more than 4000 years. Are you surprised? I have to say I was, it is really amazing.

Use in World War 1

With the passage of time, the 12-hour format was available. It was convenient and easy to remember. There was not much research done and so people were not aware of the 24-hour clock format. The military of different nations had to adopt. There were wars going on around the world because everyone wanted to dominate. In this situation, the army was not able to afford any confusion. Wrong information was the cause of wrong moves.

World War 1 was the time of great destruction. There were any armies against each other. To avoid all types of confusion, the military adopted the 24-hour clock. This is the reason why we call it the military time now. So here are some of the reasons why the military uses 24-hour time format.

  • There is no confusion between 12 noon and 12 midnight
  • No need to deal with AM and PM
  • No confusion regarding different of time
  • There was no need for military time to a regular time conversion

In the time of world war 1, the 24 hours time format became the necessity. It seems like using military time is a decent decision that the armies made.

TIP: In case you want to understand how to make the conversion from standard time to military time for specific times check out our posts with an explanation for the specific military time conversions.

Specific military time conversions with explanation

Use in World War 2

Armies around the world realized how important is to use 24-hour clock during WW1, but not all of them adopted it as an army standard.

For example, the United States Army was officially adopted 24-hour time format as the standard on July 1, 1942.

Do you know why this time format became standard after this date? It is because the US Army was involved in military operations on the European continent in 1942 where all allied armies already used this time format.

TIP: You can learn more about US Army history with this amazing comprehensive book.

The Present Day Use

With the advancement in technology, many new things evolved. So to understand the military time properly, the military alphabet was designed. The clockmakers give the army the gift of the 24-hour military clock. It becomes their go-to clock because there was no need to convert the standard time to military time.

All the armies around the world are using military time. They understand the importance of this time format. This is the reason armies have been able to manage their tasks easily.

But not only armies around the world, but also other professions use this time format in daily use. List of professions using this time format:

  • doctors and nurses
  • scientists
  • astronauts
  • firefighters and cops
  • pilots

However, there are still many civilians that do not understand military time properly and its conversion to standard time.

Difference between 12-Hour and 24-Hour Time Format

In the civilian world, a lot of people use the 12-hour time format. It is the time format in which the clock repeats the counting from 1 to 12. In order to differentiate between day and night, AM and PM are used.

However, things in Military Time are a little different. Military Time uses the 24-hour time format. In this time the counting is from 0 to 24:

  • From 0 to 12 means AM
  • From 13 to 24 is PM

It means you don’t need to use AM or PM to tell the time you want. You continue counting after 12 hours in midday.

TIP: You can learn more about the difference between 12-Hours and 24-Hours Time Format from this article:

What is 24 Hour Clock (Military time): Simple Explanation


The 24-hour time format is already more than 4000 years old and was used in the Egyptian era for first time. The armies around the world found it important to use this time format during the First World War.

So after understanding Military Time History, it will become easier for you to learn how does military time works. It might be surprising for you in the beginning.

However, with practice, you will quickly understand military time conversions. Remember that there is only a difference of hours. In reality, the minutes of the military time are similar to those in standard time.

There are many things about military time that you need to know. In conclusion, if you want more information visit this 24-hour clock article. There are also many other articles as well that will help you become the master of military time.

TIP: You can convert the time you need right now:

Converter from Military Time to Standard Time

Convert Military Time to Standard Time
Standard Time:

Converter from Standard Time to Military Time

Convert Standard time to Military Time
Military Time:

If you are still interested in topics related to Military Time feel free to visit other articles in the categories below:

Military Time Tools

About Military Time

Military Time Conversions

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