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Battlefield Illumination, Rifle-Grenade Parachute Flares

FM 23-30 (html): Grenades and Pyrotechnics

The Weapons we fought with

Materials available to the enemy in 1951

 Parachute star ground signal
Cross-sections of star ground signals fired from rifle grenade launcher

The top picture, the M17A1 white star, contained a parachute-mounted candle case on its upper end, with a 5.5 second time-delay fuze and 15 grain smokeless powder propelling charge in the tube above the stabilizing fins. The signal could rise above 600 feet before igniting, producing a 20,000 candlepower signal for 20 to 30 seconds. This was also useful for battlefield illumination.

The bottom picture, the M18A1 5-star signal, essentially produced 5 star signals, but in free fall. The parachute kept the fall rate to about 7 fps, so the flare would extinguish several hundred feet above ground. The 5-star signal lasted for 4 to 10 seconds, extinguishing finally at about ground level.

Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation

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