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"Italian Parachute Signal Flare" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on the Italian parachute signal flare was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 18, Feb. 11, 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.]


A specimen of an Italian parachute signal flare has been captured by the British in North Africa.

a. Description

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).

[Italian Parachute Signal Flare]

c. Handling

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.


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