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"New Types of German Incendiaries" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. report on German incendiary bombs in WWII is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 6, August 27, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


During the last week of July 1942 the Germans used three new types of incendiary bombs.

1. The first type is basically the usual 1-kilo (2.2 lbs.) German incendiary, but is designed for greater effect against personnel. It also has greater penetrating power against buildings. Whereas the earlier-type bomb had an explosive charge in the tail, the new type has a fuse and a more powerful charge contained in an extension fitted to the nose. The total length, exclusive of the tail, is 17 inches; total weight, 5 pounds. The time interval between the igniting of the incendiary and the detonation of the explosive charge depends upon the fuse setting, and may be up to 5 minutes, or even more. The explosive charge sometimes breaks off and detonates separately. At a distance of 20 yards from the point of detonation one is reasonably safe if lying down. Thin wires, with a 2-inch disk attached at one end, and about 18 inches long, found at some distance from the point of impact, are an indication of this type of bomb. These wires are released by the bombs as they fall from their container.

2. The second type is a combination incendiary and H.E. bomb with 12 pounds of T.N.T. in the nose. This bomb has a casing like that of a 50-kilogram H.E. bomb, and the usual type of fuse to split open the casing on impact. As the bomb hits it throws out about 60 metal containers with a thermite-type filling and 6 preignited fire pots of the magnesium electron type. Immediately thereafter the T.N.T. detonates. The thermite containers are about 2.25 inches in length, and triangular in section with about 1-inch sides. The fire pots are shaped like a large tumbler; they are 5.75 inches in length, 3.75 inches in diameter at the top, and 2.25 inches at the base.

3. The third type of incendiary has the same casing and fuse as the second. This bomb contains oil, rubber, and phosphorous in a sticky liquid form which is scattered 20 to 30 yards and ignites spontaneously.

Method of Handling.

It is reported that these bombs should be handled as indicated below. The methods described, however, are tentative only.

1. In combating the bomb first described it must be remembered that the explosive and incendiary parts may be at some distance from each other. If the bomb hits where it may start a fire, sand mats may be used (1) after the explosive has detonated, or (2) when application immediately after impact is possible and cover can be taken at once. Application of sand mats should not be attempted under any other circumstances; otherwise, a jet of water should be used from behind cover which would give protection against a 4-pound antipersonnel bomb--as for example, a brick wall. If the bomb strikes where it will not start a fire one should wait 5 minutes before attempting to dispose of it. As indicated above, one is reasonably safe if in a prone position at a distance of 20 yards from the bomb. Duds should be handled with care and, if stored, placed in a horizontal position.

2. After the detonation of the TNT, the incendiary elements of the second type of bomb should be handled like the usual 1-kilogram incendiary.

3. In the case of the third type the initial safety precautions are the same as for the first type. The bomb having burst, the scattered contents should be attacked with sand, stirrup hand-pump, buckets of water, etc. Since phosphorous may reignite, equipment and clothing splashed with it must be kept thoroughly wetted until removed. If phosphorous gets on the skin the affected area should immediately be placed in water, or a wet pad applied.


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