A specimen of an Italian parachute signal flare has been captured by the British in North Africa.
The flare is contained in a cardboard tube (1) (see accompanying sketch) 0.19 inch
thick, which, in the specimen examined, was colored bright red. The tube is
provided with a corrugated cardboard grip (2), 3.9 inches long. Below this
grip the tube is pinched in to fit into the groove in the wooden plug (3), and
is secured by a wire (4). The open ends of the tube are sealed by paper, gummed
over the ends at (5) and (6). The plug (3) has a central hole which contains a
friction igniter (7), consisting of a match composition pellet attached to the
end of a short length of cord and secured by a tack (8). The free end of this
cord string (9) is protected by the seal (5). A part of the cord (10) near the
igniter pellet (7) is impregnated with phosphorus. At (11) is a short length of
safety fuse which forms a 2-second delay and leads to the powder charge (12). Above
this is the candle (13) and its parachute (14), which are secured in place by a felt
washer (15) and a length of waste packing (16).
b. Method of Functioning
When the seal (5) is broken, and the free end of the string (9) pulled, the
part of the cord at (10) is drawn through the hole in the plug (3), where
friction between it and the pellet (7) ignites the latter, which fires the safety
fuse (11). After 2 seconds delay, this ignites the powder charge (12) which
expels the candle (13) and parachute (14).
If the ends of the tube are sealed, the flare has not functioned and is safe
to handle. If the lower seal is broken, the cord should be secured within the end
of the tube so that it cannot be pulled accidentally. The flare should be
destroyed by burning.