Monday, 6 June 2016

Imperial Japanese Explosives - Land Mines and Grenades (Part 5)

Imperial Japanese Explosives


Incendiary Stick Grenade

Overall length: 13.2 inches
Maximum diameter: 1 and 5/8 inches
Length of handle: 5.3 inches
Filling: Phosphorus, rubber pellets, and carbon disulphide
Description: This grenade body is long and cylindrical with hemispherical ends.  The handle is solid and has a transverse hole drilled through one end.  The body is filled with 41 phosphorus-impregnated rubber pellets in carbon disulphide.  These pellets are scattered by means of a small central bursting charge.  It is possible that the grenade is sometimes filled with a phosphorus smoke filling.  The handle protrudes from one end of the body, the fuze from the body.

The fuze consists of a brass inertia pellet with a steel firing pin separated from the primer by a creep spring.  The inertia weight is held into the fuze by a light brass cap which is crimped into a cannelure in the fuze body so as to prevent the firing pin from reaching the primer.  The firing pin is threaded into the inertia weight, and, before arming, it is not screwed in far enough and its point does not protrude below the base of the inertia weight.

Therefore, before using the grenade it is necessary to screw the firing pin into the inertia weight so that it will protrude.  In addition, a double brass safety pin fits through holes in the brass cap and fuze body into holes in the inertia weight thus preventing the firing pin from reaching the percussion cap.

The delay pellet screws into the base of the fuze and contains a small quantity of granular black powder in the top and a highly pressed pellet of black powder in the lower section.  A hole drilled in the side of the fuze contains a fusible plug which melts when the black powder burns, allowing the escape of the gases formed on combustion of the delay train.  The escape of these gases will enable the thrower to know if the delay pellet has ignited.

Operation: The firing pin must first be threaded down into the inertia weight.  The safety pin is then withdrawn.  Just before throwing, it is necessary to strike the inertia weight on a hard object, driving the striker down into the primer and igniting the delay.  The detonation of the burster tube will scatter the incendiary pellets which will ignite spontaneously.


Molotov Cocktail

Overall length: 11 and 1/4 inches
Maximum diameter: 2 and 1/3 inches
Filling: Any inflammable benzene-type liquid
Capacity: 12 ounces
Description: The body of this grenade consists of a Japanese beer bottle into the top of which is fitted an "all-way" action fuze.  There is a rubber washer under the fuze to render it liquid tight, and the fuze fits into the neck of the bottle in the manner of a crown stopper.

The fuze consists of a firing pin contained in a housing and separated from the detonator contained in a carrier by a safety pin and a creep spring.  The firing pin housing has a hemispherical weight on the top of it and bears against the underside of the nose cap which is of a similar shape.  The bottom of the detonator carrier is also rounded and bears against a cam surface so that it too is free to move.

The safety pin runs through the firing pin housing and rests against the top of the detonator carrier so that neither part is free to move.  Beneath the detonator there is an incendiary mixture consisting of barium nitrate and magnesium.

Operation: The safety pin is pulled out and the grenade is thrown.  On impact the "all-way" fuze will function and set off the detonator thus igniting the incendiary booster and inflammable filler.

Phosphorus-Ignited Molotov Cocktail

Length: 13 and 1/2 inches
Diameter: 3 and 1/2 inches

Length: 9 and 3/4 inches
Diameter: 2 and 1/8 inches

Igniter Capsule
Length: 3/8 inch
Diameter: 2 and 1/8 inches

Grenade (complete): 2 pounds, 12 ounces
Bottle (filled): 1 pound, 10.5 ounces
Inflammable liquid: 9.5 ounces
Igniter capsule (complete): 2 ounces
Igniter compound (black phosphorus): 1 ounce

Filling: 15 percent solution of polymethylmethacrylate in benzene
Description: The grenade consists of a 300 cc green or clear glass bottle filled with an inflammable liquid and sealed with an ordinary crown type cap.  The bottle is fitted with an adjustable rubber harness which is used to hold a flat circular glass igniter capsule to the base.

The grenade is packed in a tubular varnished cardboard carton.  The igniter capsule is well protected in the container by several layers of cardboard and sawdust.

Operation: A rip cord is pulled to open the carton.  The igniter capsule is secured to the base of the bottle by the rubber harness.  When the grenade is thrown forcible against a hard target it shatters and the friction between the pieces of phosphorus causes instant ignition of the inflammable material.  The viscous nature of the filling prevents undue splashing and insures adherence to the target.

Frangible HCN Grenades

Maximum diameter: 3.9 inches

Total Weight: 1.2 pounds
Filling: Hydrocyanic acid
Weight of filling: 12.2 fluid ounces
Capacity: 14.5 fluid ounces

Description: These grenades are recognizable mainly as round glass bowls filled with HCN.

They differ in minor details:
1. The copper stabilized type is round bottom whereas the 172 B-K and 172 C-K have flat bottoms.

2. The copper gives one a yellow tint while the other two appear to be light green.

3. The copper stabilized type has one moulded ring around the outside instead of two.

4. The copper stabilized type is closed by a crown cap over a cork stopper and the other two are closed by a crown cap over a rubber washer.

5. The copper stabilized type is carried in a sheet metal container and the 172 B-K and 172 C-K are carried in cardboard containers.

The grenades contain 12.2 oz. of liquid which is about 80% Hydrocyanic acid.   This is a very strong systemic poison.

Operation: The grenade is thrown and on impact the glass will break releasing the HCN.  This gas is swift and deadly if inhaled.  In such quantities the gas is exceptionally nonpersistent so these grenades are designed for use in small closed spaces such as pillboxes and tanks.

Frangible Smoke Grenade

Overall length: 3.3 inches
Maximum diameter: 2.6 inches
Circumference: 9.3 inches
Color: Light Yellow
Total weight: 9.7 ounces
Filling: Titanium and silicon tetrachloride
Weight of filling: 4.1 ounces
Description:  This grenade is a flat bottom spherical container made of clear glass.  It has a short neck closed by a red rubber stopper held under a red rubber washer within an inner iron crown cap, this being enclosed by a heavier iron outer crown cap.

The filling is a mixture of titanium and silicon tetrachloride which will be hydrolyzed by the moisture of the air, with the formation of hydroxides and hydrochloric acid.
Operation: The grenade is thrown and on impact the glass bottle breaks releasing the fluid and producing smoke.  It is intended for use in screening operations.  Though the filler is irritating to the skin as a liquid, in ordinary field concentrations the smoke is hardly irritating enough to cause coughing.

Explosive Toothpaste Tube

Length: 6.87 inches
Width: 2 inches (approximately)

Explosive: RDX (80.2%); mineral oil and wax (19.8%)
Weight of explosive: 4.23 ounces

Description: The "Tube of Toothpaste" is an unpainted, tin tube which contains an explosive filling and takes a separately packed ignition device.  The tube is closed by a screwed cap.

The ignition device consists primarily of a brass plug which contains a match composition, a brass tube housing the black powder delay train, and a brass detonator tube filled with mercury fulminate over tetryl.

The brass plug is threaded externally to receive a safety cap, and internally at the opposite end to take the delay tube.  The detonator is crimped into the delay tube.

Operation: Remove the screw cap from the tube, insert the igniting device, remove the safety cap, and strike the match composition against a rough surface.

Explosive Coal

Length: 3 inches (approximately)
Width: 2 inches (approximately)

Explosive: RDX
Color: Black

Description:  These devices consist of thin earthenware containers of irregular sizes and shapes coated with a bitumen type of paint to give them the appearance of anthracite coal.  Each container if filled with explosive and contains an igniter.  The igniter is a copper tube with a detonator at one end and a small black powder charge at the other end placed next to the container wall.

Close examination of a single piece of explosive will identification, but it is virtually impossible to detect when mixed with real coal.

Operation: When exposed to fire, the heat eventually ignites the black powder which in turn sets off the detonator and main charge.

Next Time: More Imperial Japanese Sabotage Devices, and Rifle Grenades

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