Watch your six refers to a widely known military expression, similar to Clusterfuck, although more informative.
The phrase is used especially in aerial and naval combat to warn pilots and submarine crew members to look behind their backs.
“Watch your six” is based on the concept of naming directions as if one was standing in the middle of the clock face.
Thus, 12 o’clock is directly in front of the subject, while 6 o’clock is directly behind.
While the exact origin for “Watch your six” is not known, it started emerging in the United States army in the 1960’s, warning soldiers to always watch their backs.
While it is used in ground warfare as well, it is especially emphasized in aerial combat, warning pilots to watch their backs, as it is the most vulnerable part of a plane.
“Watch your six” appeared in countless diverse situations since its inception, including combat scenarios, as well as films like Top Gun (which is also famous for lines like Negative Ghost Rider and Talk to Me Goose) as well as video games, like Call of Duty as well as its parodies, Call of Gruty and Call of Doodoo: Advanced Poopoo.
- Linguaholic.com – “Watch your six”: Meaning, Interpretation & Examples
- Quora.com – Where did the phrase “watch your six” originate?