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"Incendiary Capsules" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on incendiary capsules was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 16, Jan. 14, 1943.

[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.]


An incendiary capsule was found in a ship which was set on fire on April 23, 1942. The accompanying sketch is a full-scale drawing of the object.

[Incendiary Capsule]

A is a flexible, gelatine capsule, yellow and translucent, containing a highly volatile fluid B. The outer surface C is covered with a sticky, black, carbon or graphite compound. D is a hard, brown casing, covering one-half of the capsule. This appears to be a magnesium compound and burns fiercely when ignited.

The capsule is ignited by heat, a test showing that it became active when placed in the sun, even when covered by a sheet of corrugated iron. It would seem, therefore, that no very high temperature is required to cause the device to function.

There is obvious danger that these capsules may be slipped into aircraft, motor vehicles, supplies, buildings, or any vital place where the sun's rays or artificial heat may ignite them.


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