HELD 27 March 1941


Item 16588



  1. Reference:
  1. 0.0. 471.6/80


  1. Discussion:
  1. Reference a covers correspondence originating with the Infantry Board, Fort Benning, Georgia, relative to an incendiary grenade – liquid filler type for use against tanks.  Desired characteristics were outlined by the Infantry Board and the Chief of Infantry by 2nd Indorsement stated as follows:


CI 471.62/9745  2nd Ind.


War Department, Office Chief of Infantry, Washington D.C. December 19,1940

To: The Chief of Ordnance (Trough Chief of Chemical Warfare Service.).

  1. The Chief of Infantry concurs in the assertion of the Infantry board that a need exists for both a liquid type incendiary grenade, and an igniter for use in improvising liquid incendiary grenades, to be utilized for operations against mechanized vehicles.
  2. It is realized that both the Ordnance Department and Chemical Warfare Service have conducted numerous tests of the above mentioned items, many of which have been witnessed by representatives of the Office of the Chief of Infantry.
  3. It is therefore recommended that a requirement be established for (1) a liquid type incendiary grenade and (2) an igniter to be utilized in improvising liquid grenades; having the following military characteristics.


a.  Liquid type incendiary grenade


(1)     Reliable in action, simple in operation and of such size, shape and weight as to be easily grasped and thrown a reasonable distance by a normal sized man.

(2)     The container must be sufficiently rugged to withstand normal shocks incident to military service, with a non-leaking closure, yet sufficiently fragile to break readily when thrown against a metal surface.

(3)     The filler must be a highly inflammable, easily ignited, hot burning liquid, not easily extinguishable by wind and of sufficient quantity to burn approximately two minutes.

(4)     The igniter should be the identical item used for improvisation of incendiary grenades (characterictics given in b) or should have same characteristics.

(5)     The grenade must be safe to transport and carry without danger of preignition or spontaneous combustion; and be capable of being utilized in daylight or darkness by men with only a small amount of instruction.

(6)     The following additional characteristics are desirable if found to be practicable:

(a)     Produce a dense blinding smoke.

(b)     Construction such as to permit the addition of an irritant gas.

(c)     Filler of type not extinguishable by standard type fire extinguisher.


b.  Igniter for liquid type incendiary grenade (standard or improvised).


(1)     Reliable in action, simple in operation, with firing device integral within itself, and sufficiently rugged to withstand normal shocks incident to military service.

(2)     Capable of igniting gasoline or filling of liquid type incendiary grenade immediately upon rupture of grenade container.

(3)     Must not be extinguishable after once ignited for a reasonable period of time (one half to one minute) by grenade filling, water, wind or standard type fire extinguishing material.

(4)     Must be capable of being used in daylight or darkness by men with only a small amount of instruction.

(5)     The igniter must be safe to carry without danger of preignition or spontaneous combustion.

For the Chief of Inf entry:


1 Incl. (Letter, Test section, Infantry Board w/16 incls.


E.W. Fales

Colonel, Infantry

“Exe cut ive.”


The Chief of Chemical Warfare Service, by 3rd Indorsement, commented as follows:

CWS 471. 6/203         3rd Ind.


War Dept., O-C of CWS, Feb 6 1941. To: The Chief of Ordnance.


1.  The basic letter, enclosures and indorsements, have been studied in this office.  The Chemical Warfare Service concurs in the proposal to develop a liquid incendiary grenade and stands ready to cooperate in any way it can.

2.  This office thinks it advisable to develop an igniter to be utilized in improvising liquid grenades.  The small railroad fuse seems to be easily adaptable for this purpose.  It can have a match head starter which ignites when scratched after a cap is removed.  A long tapered cork should be used instead of tape to fit the fuse to the gasoline filled bottle since gasoline will quickly soften to adhesive in the tape and allow it to fall from the bottle.  The length of the cork should be such that with the normal tapes it will fit the necks of all bottles that are likely to be used.

3.  The container for the liquid type incendiary grenade having the military characteristics stated in 2nd Ind. Par 3a would have to be essentially a glass bottle.  The opinion of this office is that the weight of shipping these forward can be saved by using suitable glass containers which have already been used to ship other liquids to the theater of operations.  The combustable filling would be obtainable from automotive stores.

4.  Since the heat produced by such an incendiary grenade would be rather variable and unpredictable it is thought advisable to introduce the irritant gas effect by throwing a separate irritant gas grenade when such is wanted.


For the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service:

P.X. English

Lt. Col. CWS



  1. At the present time gasoline appears to be the best type of filler considered from the standpoint of both effectiveness and availability.  Unless a filler with considerably greater effectiveness can be developed, the proposal of the Chemical Warfare Service to obtain a filling material from automotive stores at the front would seem to be the best solution.
  2. A glass bottle also appears to be the best type of container and here again the proposal of the Chemical Warfare Service to utilize containers which have been used to ship other liquids to the theater of operations should be utilized, at least in so far as practicable.




  1. The subcommittee recommends-

(1)     That an incendiary grenade with liquid filler in a frangible container be classified as “required type”.

(2)     That development wor be undertaken on the igniter with a long tapered cork such as to make it suitable for use with glass bottles which are liable to be encountered in the combat areas.

(3)     That unless and until a considerably better incendiary agent than gasoline is developed, the filler be obtained from automotive stores in the combat area.

(4)     That ordinarily, glass containers be obtained by utilizing empty bottles available at the front but that a type be developed or selected and standard packing prepared such that in case shipment of empty containers becomes necessary, the type together with the packing will have been determined.

(5)     That if irritant gas effect is desired, it should be obtained by utilizing a separate grenade with such loading.

(6)     That further study be given as to whether the blinding smoke effect can be obtained without undue complication or decrease in the incendiary effect.

(7)     That this project be carried out by cooperation between the Ordnance Department and Chemical Warfare Service in accordance with the provisions of G.O. 54,1920


Action by: Ammunition Division, Technical Staff

           Ammunition Division, Industrial Service