Monday, 23 April 2018

American Projectiles and Explosives - Shipboard Pyrotechnics

American Projectiles and Explosives

Shipboard Pyrotechnics

Surface Vessel Items

Distress Smoke Hand Signal AN-Mk 1 Mods 0 and 1

Length: 3.875 inches
Diameter: 1.625 inches
Weight: 0.37 pounds

Description: The signal is encased in a metal cylindrical body, one end of which is closed by a soldered cap and pull ring.  The case can be held comfortably and safely in the bare hand during the burning period.  The signal contains a pyrotechnic smoke mixture and is watertight.

Operation: The sealing tape around the end of the cylinder is torn off and the paper cap is removed.  The pull ring is brought down over the rim of the can and pressed down, using the ring as a lever to break the seal.  The cylinder is pointed away from the face; and a quick pull is exerted on the pull ring, which comes out of the can, thereby igniting the smoke mixture.  The signal should be held at arm's length at an angle of about 30 degrees, so that drippings will not fall on the hand.

Remarks: This signal is to replace the White Smoke Grenade, H.C., AN-M8, for emergency kits in life rafts and aircraft.

Signal, Distress - Day and Night - Mk 13 Mod 0

Length: 5.12 inches
Diameter: 1.62 inches
Weight: 6.4 ounces

General: Adapted for both day and night use, Hand Signal Mk 13 contains both the orange smoke canister for daylight and a flare pellet, for darkness.  Like the Smoke Signal AN-Mk 1 in appearance and operation, the Signal Mk 13 is small and is easily stowed in life-vest pockets, flight suits, or life rafts.

Description: The metal outer case is closed at both ends by a soldered cap to which is attached a pull ring.  Removing the soldered cap pulls a brass wire attached to its bottom through a cup coated with a friction igniting compound.  Depending on whether the "day" or "night" ring is pulled, the two ends of the case being distinctly so marked, the smoke mixture or the flare is ignited.  Smoke emission time is 18 to 20 seconds.  The average candlepower of the flare is 3,000 candles.  Paper cups cover the pull rings on each end of the signal.

Operation: After the paper cup is removed from desired end, a quick pull is given on the ring.  If the soldered cap fails to come off, bring the pull ring down over the side of the can, and use the ring as a lever to break the seal.  Hold the signal at arm's length and 30 degrees elevation while burning.  After one end is used, the signal should be doused in water to cool the metal parts.  It should then be retained for possible use of the other end.  Each end is insulated and waterproofed from the other.

Remarks: Both ends of the Signal Mk 13 should never be ignited at the same time.

Navy Red Light Mk 1 and Navy Blue Light Mk 1 Mod 1

Length: 12 inches
Diameter: 1.25 inches

Burning time (Blue): 1 to 1.5 minutes
Burning Time (Red): 2.5 to 3 minutes

Description: The flare consists of a paper tube filled with a pyrotechnic composition and attached to a wooden handle.  The top of each flare contains a button of ignition material.  A friction striker is provided with each signal.

Operation: The flare is ignited by scraping the top of the inside cap against the forward end of the pyrotechnic mixture.  Hold the flare in an inclined position while burning, to prevent drippings from burning the hand.

Ship's Emergency Identification Signals Mks 1-4

General: The body of each of these signals varies in length according to its design.  Each signal consists of a pressure-retaining disc and disc-locking nut, a primer, a four-gram smokeless-powder propelling charge, a copper obturating cup, a delay train, an ejection charge of approximately 1.1 grams of black powder, and a signal of pyrotechnic composition.  All signal cups except the shower signals have a parachute for mid-air suspension.

Operation: The signal is fired from Signal Projector Mk 1 or Mk 1 Mod 1.  The signal is placed in the projector primer-first, where it rests against the retaining pin.  A pull on the lanyard removes the firing pin and allows the signal to descend against the firing pin with sufficient force to close the valve and fire the primer.  The primer ignites the delay train and propelling charge simultaneously.  The gases from the propelling charge expand the obturating cup until it is secured tightly in the bore of the projector.  Increased pressure ruptures the pressure-retaining disc, and the gases then escape through the openings in the retaining-disc locking nut into the projector bore.  The gases propel the signal approximately 600 feet.  The ignited delay train burns until the signal reaches approximately the zenith of its trajectory, and then ignites the ejection charge.  The ejection charge ejects and ignites the signal pyrotechnics through a quick match and first fire composition

Mk 1 (Star)

Length: 5.124 inches
Diameter: 2.49 inches
Color: Red, white, green, or yellow
Burning time: 25 ±5 seconds

The closing cup is embossed for night identification.  The star is parachute suspended.

Mk 2 (Shower)

Length: 6.374 inches
Diameter: 2.5 inches
Color: Red, white, or green
Burning time: 5 seconds

This signal is designed to give two distinct bursts, one with a short delay and one with a long delay.  The closing cup is embossed for night identification.

Mk 3 (Smoke)

Length: 9.124 inches
Diameter: 2.49 inches
Color: Red, black, green, or yellow
Burning time: 25 ±5 seconds

The closing cup is embossed for night identification.  The star is parachute suspended.

Mk 4 (Chameleon)

Length: 5.124 inches
Diameter: 2.49 inches

Color Combinations:

Burning time for each color: 9 seconds
Delay between colors: 1 second

The signal is parachute suspended and designed to change color while burning.  Otherwise, the signal is similar to the Signal Mk 1.

Float Flare Mk 15 Mods 0 and 1

Length: 37.2 inches
Diameter: 6.5 inches
Weight: 26 pounds
Burning time: 5 minutes
Intensity: 100,000 candlepower
Delay before ignition: 5 minutes

Use: Float Flare Mk 15 Type is used by PT boats in illuminating enemy ships.

Description: The flare consists of a wooden body housing a pyrotechnic column and having a metallic base to provide flotation stability.  The top of the flare is closed by a cone-shaped adapter which contains a bouchon grenade-firing mechanism attached to a celluloid disc.  Enclosed is a 3.5-foot length of time fuse.  The starter composition is attached tot he flash end of the time fuse.  The illuminant composition is next to the starter composition.

Operation: The flare is held horizontally, with the right hand firmly grasping the bouchon lever and the left hand supporting the nose cap.  The safety key is pulled and the flare is tossed overboard.  When the bouchon lever is released, the firing pin is forced by the firing-pin spring to impinge upon the primer.  the primer ignites the time fuse.  The time fuse flashes into a booster bag of starter composition, which, in turn, ignites the flare.

Remarks: It is recommended that one man hold the flare while a second man pulls the safety ring.

 Mod 1 is like the Mod 0, except that it has a mechanical clockwork timing device, for settings from one to 30 minutes, instead of the time-fuse device.

Rocket, White, Marine Type, Mk 1 Mod 0

Length: 12 inches
Diameter: 1.5 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Burning time: 5 seconds

Use: This is a merchant marine rocket issued by the Navy

Description: This rocket signal consists of the rocket body, star pellets, propelling charge, clay heading, and closing cap.

Operation: The rocket is fired by the Pyrotechnic Pistol AN-M8 and reaches a height of 250 feet.  At the height of its trajectory, the rocket bursts.  The falling particles burn for five seconds.

Remarks: This signal will be replaced by the Rocket Pistol Signal Mk 3 Mod 0 (Shower).

Next Time: Submarine Pyrotechnics

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