Military Historical Library
"The War in Korea 1950-1953"
Chief Editor N. L. Volkovskiy
Editor I. V. Petrova
OOO Izdatel'stvo Poligon, Saint Petersburg 2000; 928 pp.
ISBN 5-89173-1 13-4
Chapter 15. Use of Flame-Incendiary Means and Poisonous Agents by
American Armed Forces and Some Measures of Protection Against Them
During the course of combat operations in Korea the UN armed forces made wide use of flame-incendiary means against the troops of the KPA and CPV and in the rear areas of the DPRK.
The primary incendiary means used by the Americans were napalm, pyrogel, white phosphorous, thermite and others, among which the top place went to napalm incendiary mixtures. (1)
The napalm flame-incendiary mixture was used as an incendiary agent in aviation bombs, tanks (special reservoirs), tank and handheld flamethrowers, rocket and artillery munitions, fougasse explosives, antitank and antipersonnel (fougasse) mines.
Pyrogel, white phosphorous, and thermite were likewise used as incendiary shells, mines and aviation bombs, but on a much smaller scale. Along with that white phosphorous was frequently used as an igniter for other flammable mixtures.
The use in Korea of inextinguishable (liquid) flame mixtures came as a result of a mixture of heavy liquid fuel or thickened motor oil with engine fuel. The liquid flame mixture, as is correct, was launched from flamethrowers: they flamed with a broad flame jet that was responsive to aiming, but as such a significant part of the flammable mixture burned in midair on its way to its target.
The range of flame projection of liquid mixtures from flamethrowers was about half the range that could be achieved by firing thinner flame mixtures.
The much more stable peptitization of flame mixtures by the Americans was achieved by means of making thinner flame mixtures by adding a small amount of some agents or water. These mixtures were considered promising as a means of thinning the flame mixture, but they had a great deal of fluidity characterized of inextinguishable mixtures.
Napalm Aviation Bombs. American aviation used incendiary bombs and tanks filled with napalm incendiary mixtures, with napalm bombs being used in the following sizes: small bombs (6-10 pounds) dropped as part of a cassette bomb from aircraft; medium bombs (100 pounds) dropped singly or in salvoes of 2-3 or 6 bombs; and heavy bombs (500 pounds and above) dropped singly from aircraft.
The tactical-technical characteristics of the napalm bombs used are shown in Table 28:
Designator Caliber (lbs)* Weight in kg Weight of fill in kg Coefficient weight/fill in % Length in mm Diameter of body in mm
AN-M69 6 1.7 1.2 70 495 79
AN-M69** 6 2.8 1.0 36 495 79
M69X 6 3.3 0.9 27 495 79
AN-M74** 10 3.8 1.5 40 495 79
M47A1 100 31.5 18.5 58 1143 206
M47A2 100 31.5 18.5 58 1143 206
AN-M47A3 100 31.5 18.5 58 1219 206
AN-M76 500 215 79 37 1500 360
*-Caliber of American bombs is based on weight in English pounds. One pound is about 453.59 grams.
**-The bomb fill, as well as napalm, includes phosphorous.
The 6-lb napalm bomb (AN-M69) used a hexagonal body with a bright red band around it. The fuse was mounted in the head, the incendiary mixture (napalm) in the middle, and the tail consisted of a metallic ribbon that unfolded as the bomb was dropped and stabilized its fall. The bombs were loaded in cassette carriers carrying 14, 38 or 60 of these small bombs. When the bomb hit its target the napalm incendiary mixture sprayed out of the tail assembly and could cover an area of up to 230 square meters with droplets as well as sections of igniter that set off the napalm.
The napalm-phosphorous bomb (AN-M69) differed from the AN-M69 napalm bomb in that (as well as the napalm mixture) it also carried 160 grams of white phosphorous sealed in a plastic container that was scattered from the tail section on impact along with the napalm mixture. When the fuse was activated on upon impact it ignited an ejector charge that shattered the plastic container and sprayed both phosphorous and the napalm from the tail section of the bomb. The napalm mixture would light and burn for a period of 4-5 minutes.
The 6-lb napalm bomb (M69X) differed from the AN-M69 napalm-phosphorous bomb in that its bursting charge (I 10 grams of TNT) detonated from 1-6 minutes after the fuse was activated and would injure personnel within 20 meters of the bomb when it detonated with fragments as well.
The 10-lb napalm-phosphorous bomb (AN-M74) had a hexagonal body. The fuse and shattering charge were located at the head end, and the tail mounted a ring type stabilizer fin. Beside the napalm mixture, the body of the bomb contained 170 grams of white phosphorous in a plastic container. The AN-M74 was carried in a cassette bomb with 14, 38 or 60 of the small bombs inside it. One bomb could send out a sheet of flame from its point of impact to a range of 15-20 meters.
The 6 and 10 pound bombs were used by American aviation in conjunction with 100 and 500 pound cassette carrier bombs.
The primary characteristics of these cassette bombs are shown in Table 29.
Type of Cassette Caliber in pounds Type of bombs carried Caliber of bombs carried Number of bombs carried Weight of loaded cassette in kg
M12 100 AN-M69 6 lb 14 48
M13 500 AN-M69 6 lb 60 189
M19 500 AN-M69 6 lb 38 196
M21 500 M69X 6 lb 38 218
Unknown - AN-M74 10 lb 38 283
The cassettes were loaded with incendiary bombs at the factories and broke open at the moment of release from the aircraft or during their flight trajectory with the use of a distance fuse.
The 100-lb napalm bombs (M47A1 and M47A2) had a hemispheric shaped nose; the bomb was filled with napalm and also had shattering and igniter charges of explosives inside it. The fuse was mounted in the nose and a stabilizer was mounted on the tail. When the bomb exploded the napalm mixture was scattered over a radius of 20-25 meters. The M47A1 and M47A2 normally were dropped in salvoes of 2-3 or 6 bombs from an aircraft.
The 100-lb napalm bomb (AN-M47A3) was an improved version of the M47A1 and M47A2 bombs, as it had a longer stabilizer assembly.
During combat operations in Korea the Americans developed and placed in service a special 100-lb napalm bomb designed to be used against tanks. The bomb had a cigar-shaped body with a solidly attached tail stabilizer assembly with four fins. The nose contained a special impact fuse-igniter. When the bomb struck its target it would shower its target with fragments and napalm, which was ignited on impact by the fuse-igniter.
The 500-lb napalm bomb (AN-M76) had a comparatively deep penetrating ability and was designed for use against special targets. Its thick-walled body with a ogival nose was made of steel and contained, as well as the incendiary napalm mixture, shattering and igniter charges. The bomb had a box-type stabilizer assembly attached and was fitted for single-point or two-point rack mounting.
The well-known incendiary bombs were made in the form of drop tanks as fitted with stabilizers. These bombs had two impact fuses (head and tail) and a shattering charge for blowing it into fragments. The igniter for the mixture was phosphorous. At the end of the war incendiary napalm bombs of around 340 liters capacity were used against tanks and self-propelled weapons.
Napalm aviation drop tanks. Beside the incendiary bombs and incendiary rocket projectiles the US aviation used napalm incendiary mixtures in thick-walled drop tanks (fuel carriers) against settlements, airfields, railway stations, factories and troops.
The napalm tanks were made out of aluminum and were externally indistinguishable from normal gasoline carrying underwing drop tanks. The capacity of these napalm tanks was 270, 395, 595, 624 and 870 liters ((70 gallon, 105 gallon, 160 gallon, 165 gallon, and 230 gallon)). They were fitted to underwing bomb racks and fitted with attached box-type stabilizers which were normally only fitted to the tanks just before flight. When dropping these bombs from low altitude the tanks were used without stabilizers. In order to ignite the mixture when dropping these tanks against surface targets they were fitted with two phosphorous grenades located at the nose and tail end of the tank; on occasion they would make use of thermite igniters and magnesium boosters could also be fitted. When dropping them against naval targets the napalm tanks were fitted with two sodium grenade igniters.
The incendiary mixture was ignited by the thermite fuse when the tanks struck, mounted in the nose section of the tank (or the phosphorous grenade) and the burning mass of napalm was dispersed as a sheet of flame. When the 624 liter capacity tanks would shatter when dropped from low altitude, the burning mixture would cover an area of 1500-2000 square meters (30 x 50 meters or larger).
In some cases the Americans dropped napalm tanks without fuses or igniters. In that case, the napalm mixture was either ignited by incendiary shells (bullets) or the tanks were dropped in order to increase a previously created fire.
Napalm mines and fougasse were first used in Korea in 1951. Napalm fougasse used metal tanks of 200-250 liters-filled with napalm mixtures and buried in the ground. Each tank was fitted with a white phosphorous hand grenade fitted with detonator cord or on occasion an 81 mm white phosphorous mortar bomb. A wire attached to the grenade detonator led from the tank across the ground. These tanks were set offby either pulling on the wire or by electric current sent over the wires by a detonator machine.
Later on aircraft napalm tanks were used as the body of the fougasse as antipersonnel and antitank mines, as well as containers made from fuel cans, metallic thermos jugs, hermitically sealed bins and artillery shell casings. The body of these mines were filled with a napalm mixture, hermetically sealed, and mounted in the ground with an ejector charge, the explosion of which also ignited the mixture; detonation was carried out with the aid of detonator cord and phosphorous grenades.
Ultimately the Americans used specially prepared antipersonnel and antitank mines (fougasse). The napalm antipersonnel mine was normally made as a thick-walled metallic tank of cylindrical shape 275 mm in diameter and 345mm high, filled with 19 liters of napalm. There was an opening in the top of the canister through which an igniter tube was inserted. The tube was made of cardboard with an explosive charge inside it and was sealed and coated with paraffin. The head of the igniter tube was completely flush with the top of the canister when mounted in its receptacle. A blasting cap was mounted inside the cover of the igniter tube, and was fitted with means to use it for either pressure or pulling operation. Beside that, the Americans used electric detonator means when operating napalm antipersonnel mines.
A variation of the napalm mine was the napalm fougasse, also used by the Americans in Korea. Normally these homemade by troops. They were prepared using the metallic charge cases from 203mm howitzers filled with napalm. These fougasse were fitted with an ejector charge, an M15 smoke grenade filled with white phosphorous, and two electric detonators with wires connecting the fougasse to a power source.
When making a fougasse the first item to be fabricated was the ejector charge, consisting of 1 12 grams of plastic explosive and the electric detonator, the wires to which ran outside (through a special opening). Then a wooden plug was inserted and the rest was filled with 19 1iters of napalm mixture. The top of the fougasse was completely covered by a rubber seal. The loaded fougasse was then buried in the ground at an angle (normally 15-20 degrees from the horizontal). The top of the fougasse was covered with pebbles or sand, with only the rubber seal remaining above ground and pointed in the direction of the enemy.
The M15 white phosphorous grenade was used to ignite the mixture, which was used with its fuse replaced by an electric detonator and wires. The grenade was placed about 15 cm ahead of the fougasse and somewhat below the open end of the charge casing, but the electric detonator was wired to an electric detonator switch. The power supply used for the ejector charge and the hand grenade was normally a detonator machine that was concealed under cover (in a bunker) up to 50 meters away from the fougasse. One detonator machine could be hooked to a number of fougasse.
When the switch was closed, the current set off the ejector charge and the igniter grenade. As a result the napalm mixture was ignited and scatted towards the enemy for a distance of up to 50 meters. This sort of fougasse could cover an area of up to 414 square meters.
Flamethrower tanks and handheld flamethrowers. At the beginning of combat operations the Americans were using flamethrowing tanks built during the Second World War, based on their normal light (M24, M3 and M5) and medium (M4 Sherman) tanks. These tanks had been additionally armed with a normal cannon-machine gun armament, but in place of the bow machine gun they mounted a flamethrower. Later on the Americans developed new flamethrower tanks. These tanks had the flamethrower mounted in place of the cannon. Such specialized flamethrower tanks were based upon the M4 Sherman medium tanks. The flamethrower on the tank had a range of 80-140 meters, a capacity of 700 kilograms of flame mixture, and a duration of fire of 2 minutes; flame ignition was electric, and the tank had a crew of four.
The new T66 flamethrower was related to this tank, but was based on the M47 tank and in which the 90mm gun was replaced by a flamethrower with a projection range of around 150-200 meters.
Beside the American flamethrower tanks using napalm mixtures, they also used the British Crocodile flamethrowing tank in Korea that was built during the Second World War as well. The Crocodile was based upon the normal Churchill Mk. VII tank that had its bow machine gun replaced by a flamethrower but retained its turret armament (75mm cannon and 7.92mm machine gun). Its major characteristic was that the flame mixture was not carried inside the tank, but rather in a special armored one-axle trailer fitted with 25mm thick armor and weighing 9 metric tons. In order to ensure that it had the correct pressure for flame projection, the trailer was also equipped with tanks carrying compressed air. The Crocodile flamethrowing tank had 1820 liters of mixture, could fire 60 shots of flame mixture of 27-32 liters each, had a projection range of 135 meters, and used electric ignition of the flame mixture.
For handheld flamethrowers, the Americans used the M2-2 with a capacity of 15 liters of flame mixture and a projection range of up to 45 meters.
The E-4 portable flamethrower also found use, and it was a combination system with several tanks similar to those used by the M2-2. The tanks fed into a collector that ran into a rubber hose 60 meters long and with a flame gun at its end; range of flame projection was 30-35 meters. The hose permitted maneuver of flame projection without having to move the flamethrower to achieve it.
Beside that, and studying the specifics of the terrain and the characteristics of combat operations in Korea, the Americans created a combination flamethrower system using the tanks from the M3-4-3 tank flamethrower, a 30-meter long hose, and the flame gun from the M2-2 and M2AI at the end of the hose. The flamethrower system weighed 250 kilograms with flame mixture and had a projection range of 40-45 meters. To provide for mobility when using the flamethrower in the conduct of defensive battle, as well as the great weight of the tanks, the flamethrower tanks were kept under cover and the flame gun kept in the trenches or a bunker.
In order to support infantry in offensive combat (especially when assaulting fortified heights) the flamethrower system was mounted on an armored personnel carrier or ½ ton truck, which had its engine compartment and sides protected by armor. Beside that, the right side of the vehicle had an additional flame gun installed on it from the tank M3-4-3, connected to the tank group with a separate hose.
In conjunction with the great weight of the standard handheld flamethrower M2-2 or M2A1 (32 kilograms), its use in the mountains was quite difficult. Therefore the M2-2 and M2A1 had one mixture tank removed from them and the compressed air tank replaced by a light tank used for inflating rescue rafts, which was in service with the USAF. Normal weight for the M2AI variant was around 18 kilograms. The amount of mixture carried in its tank group was reduced to only 7.5 liters.
2.Combat Use of Flame-Incendiary Means
The use of napalm aviation bombs and drop tanks. Flame-incendiary weapons were especially widely used by aircraft. From the beginning of combat operations through 1952 American aviation expended more than 70,000 metric tons of napalm flame-incendiary mixtures. One-third of all bombs dropped in Korea were napalm bombs. As they were making 700-1000 daily sorties, American aviation made nearly 25% of all flights in support of ground forces and in order to affect enemy rear areas, and up to 70% to destroy cities and settlements. In light of this it makes it possible to understand why the Americans spent a great deal of attention on the use of incendiary weapons from aircraft, as they were an effective means of destroying rear area objectives.
The use of incendiary means by American forces was conducted in light of the specifics of combat operations in the Korean region. In early spring and at the end of fall, when the vegetation and the earth~are dry, and there is a strong wind blowing over the Korean peninsula, napalm weapons were frequently used and in large numbers.
In the summer and winter, when weather conditions were less favorable, the use of incendiary means and napalm means were encountered less often and in smaller numbers.
Among the napalm means most widely used in combat in Korea were napalm bombs and drop tanks, which in the main were used by tactical aviation. When raiding settlements B-29 heavy bombers would simultaneously drop high explosive bombs and napalm bombs made of 6-lb and 10-lb bombs in cassette containers.
((Caine)), a USMC forward air controller who was captured, said that the aircraft which were moving in to carry out such missions normally were armed, as is correct, with 1/3 of their bomb load being napalm bombs.
When bombing targets with napalm means American aircraft, as is correct, simultaneously dropped both high-explosive and fragmentation bombs with them and strafed the targets with machine gun and rocket fire.
American aviation used napalm means for bombing airfields with a goal of knocking out the aircraft based there, airfield support equipment, as well as stores of fuel and lubricants and armaments. In carrying out a mission against an isolated area of combat operations, tactical aviation aircraft used napalm means against railways, tank columns on the march, truck convoys, carts, as well as against gatherings and concentrations of troops and combat technology. The widest combat use of napalm means was by aircraft supporting offensive operations of American troops. During this American aircraft would use napalm bombs and incendiary napalm drop tanks both against the troops of the KPA and CPV as well as against their defensive works.
Napalm bombing was normally carried out at altitudes of 60-600 meters.
When aviation was making raids against settlements, railway junctions and other analogous objectives, the most frequently used weapons were the 6-lb and 10-lb napalm bombs, with the result that they usually started a large number of fires against the target. In a number of cases larger caliber napalm bombs and drop tanks were used, with the result that they started much larger fires.
When raiding railways and truck convoys American pilots strove to hit the leading and trailing rail cars (or trucks) with napalm bombs, after which they would use their machine gun fire and rocket projectiles on the target. If the railway or convoy was found in a curvilinear section of the route, then the napalm bombs would be dropped if possible along the inside part of the curved route where it would achieve a greater area of destruction.
Napalm bombs were also used to illuminate targets when bombing railways and truck convoys with the B-26 bomber. American aircraft strove to hit troop columns with napalm bombs, use them on cuts in the road, passes, defiles, etc.
Bombing areas of troop concentrations and their combat order with napalm incendiary drop tanks was superior due to the fact that it engaged targets covering a large area. A 624-liter drop tank could destroy an area of 1500-2000 square meters. Napalm bombs and drop tanks were most effectively used against enemy infantry in open trenches, lines of communication and roadways. As a result of dropping napalm drop tanks at low altitude the flaming mixture would cover the surface of the ground and seep into open fortifications (bunkers, trenches, lines of communication) and force the infantry to vacate them.
When bombing troops (under cover or uncovered), field fortifications, artillery firing positions, or combat technology scrapes, American aviation used, as is correct, napalm in conduction with high-explosive fragmentation bombs against the same target. Thus, for example, the normal bomb load for a B-26 bomber for use against troops would frequently include 56 10-pound fragmentation bombs and two napalm bombs.
During the course of offensive operations of American forces, napalm bombs and drop tanks were occasionally used to burn away the cover of defense fortifications with a goal of exposing them for subsequent artillery and air preparatory strikes. On occasion napalm means would be used to burn away vegetation.
When using napalm means against tanks, American aircraft normally conducted bomb drops from minimal altitudes, using 100-lb napalm bombs and drop tanks, during which any tank within 20 meters of the detonation point of one of those bombs would be destroyed.
With a goal of providing aircraft protection from the consequences of bursting napalm drop tanks, it was forbidden for aircraft to land at their airfields with the tanks still carried. If during combat and the execution of a mission it was not possible to locate the target, then the bombs were to be expended on an alternate target, or in the case of no target, dropped at sea.
When operating aviation with napalm means the Americans strove to create a robust fire chain with each fire no more than 40-50 meters from the next one. When observing these conditions, in their opinion, the effectiveness of the bombardment with incendiary means was three times higher than the effectiveness of bombing with high- explosive bombs of the same caliber.
The use of flamethrower tanks and handheld flamethrowers. In Korea, flamethrower assets in the main were used for support of infantry both in the offense as well as the defense, and by 1953 every American infantry division had more than 100 different flamethrower systems.
Ground forces flamethrower assets, as is correct, were used to destroy (suppress) and demoralize enemy troops in the offense and defense, as well as to destroy armaments and combat technology. Flamethrower assets, especially the handheld and tank flamethrowers, were widely used for combating enemy troops in trenches, pillboxes, buildings, under cover, bunkers, basements, etc. In this the handheld flamethrowers, as is correct, were used in hard-to-access places where they would find it impossible to use flamethrower tanks. Both handheld flamethrowers and flamethrower tanks were used in the offense and defense in close cooperating with the infantry.
In the defense, flamethrower assets (flamethrowers) were deployed in bunkers and on the reverse slope of heights in order to cover the most important accesses to defensive positions with flame projection. Handheld flamethrowers were concentrated to cover all of those approaches where they could not provide cover with flamethrower tanks. Turning their attention to impermissible actions, it was felt premature to use flame projection against individual scouts or small groups of advancing enemy, but it was worthwhile and necessary to use all flamethrowing assets to repulse attacks by the main body of advancing enemy forces by means of massing flamethrower assets on the most important sectors of the defense in close cooperation with the infantry flamethrower assets. Handheld flamethrowers were frequently used in counterattacking units (groups).
The Crocodile flamethrowing tanks, due to the difficulty of negotiating the terrain, in their own right were used only in isolated incidents. More frequently, having dropped their carriages (trailers) they were used in the manner of line tanks.
The use of napalm mines and fougasse. Napalm antitank and antipersonnel mines found wide use in reinforcing the defenses of American troops along with normal antitank and antipersonnel obstacles. The Americans strove to create a harmonious barrier zone against attacking infantry in front of their forward edge of the defense by means of the sudden detonation of a significant number of large capacity napalm fougasse.
When KPA and CPV attacking infantry fell into the fougasse tripwires ("snares") they set off the detonation of those explosives and ignition of the incendiary mixture throughout the entire sector of the defense.
When the napalm fougasse was ignited it initially created separate sheets of flame, which after a few seconds combined with each other and created a harmonious wall of flame in front of the defensive positions. This wall of flame forced the advancing forces to turn back from further attacks on the positions. The useful screen of flame, as the Americans calculated, could also be used successfully against advancing enemy tanks.
During the course of combat operations in several sectors of the front several napalm fougasse had small explosive charges under them, which during the detonation and ignition ofthe napalm fougasse (tank) would then throw it 10-30 meters up in the air, and the resulting dissemination of the napalm was in the area of a 45-100 meter radius. For providing reliable cover of the accesses to defensive positions napalm mines were used in conjunction with machine gun fire, mortars, antitank means, as well as normal antipersonnel barriers.
For covering artillery firing positions the Americans used homemade napalm fougasse, which were set up and combined with M48 and M49 illumination signal mines as well.
Napalm also found wide use in illuminating terrain in front of the forward edge of the defense at night, as well as illumination of terrain where they were building and repairing various engineer works in the depths of the defense. With this goal in mind, napalm mixtures were provided in 200-liter drums with serrated bottoms and ignited. The burning time for a drum of napalm this size was around 10 hours, e.g. it would provide illumination over a comparatively large area throughout the night.
Together with the wide use of flamethrower assets the Americans used special mixers for preparing flame mixtures, including the new method of field mixing. This mixer weighed less than previous versions, was simple to use and provided a constant consistency of mixtures. The mixer was equipped with mechanical beaters and had a capacity of 2.5 cubic meters. The mixer was fitted to a cargo truck. During the course of combat operations mixers with operating personnel from chemical units were attached to infantry formations to prepare flame mixtures for filling handheld flamethrowers and flammable fougasse. In part, it is known that detachments from the 21st Decontamination Company were attached to the 25th Infantry Division to prepare flamethrower-incendiary mixtures.
In Korea testing was conducted on new compressor models to fill the compressed air tanks of handheld flamethrowers. The new compressor weighed a comparatively light 27 kilograms. Thanks to this light weight the compressor could be carried by one man and used in the combat order of the troops. The new compressor was able to fill three compressed air tanks in 12 minutes.
3.The Effects of Flamethrower-Incendiary Mixtures
on Personnel and Combat Technology
Actions of napalm on personnel. The damage inflicted by the actions of napalm on people was divided into three different classes of effects: surface burning of the body, the result of the immediate effects of the flames or superheated air; damage to the airway due to the effects of smoke and superheated air; and deprivation of oxygen in the open brought about by the burning of the napalm mixture itself. Napalm primarily damaged the exposed areas of the body.
The combination of burns on the face, neck and palms of the hands were most common; this happened when the victim tried to wipe the burning napalm from his face, neck, or clothing, and as a result suffered burns on the palms of his hands.
The primary danger of destruction posed by napalm included not only the fact that it would burn a significant part of the body, but the main reason was that napalm would also destroy the skin as well as muscles, sweat glands, blood vessels, nerves and tissue.
The tremendous pain which suddenly hit the victim after an attack by napalm - caused just by the flames against the exposed parts of the body - led to a sudden sharp stabbing painful collapse, causing a strong sense of irritation and subsequent jolt to the central nervous system, leading to severe shock and on occasion the loss of consciousness. The characteristic specifics of shock caused by napalm burns could cause this stress even from comparatively small areas of damage to the body.
The specific characteristics of napalm damage came from the surprising rapid development of the ignition process, and first of all went for tissue damage, and that was stressed both by those who were victims of napalm burns as well as the doctors who treated them. Occasionally just prior to the loss of consciousness some people suffered a loss of the ability to see due to the vicious burns to the face, especially both eyelids.
Due to burns to the face, later on some could not open their mouths; they lost the voluntary control of their muscles, and as a result lost the ability to eat normally, which led to progressive starvation.
Scar tissue in the area of the eyelids led to the inversion of the eyelids, and to the complete inability to protect the eyeball; the eyelids eventually closed up but the damage was such as to prevent sleep.
Damage from napalm to the outer ears on the face eventually led to their dying and being sloughed off. Heavy scar tissue in the area of the earholes was used to make an outer ear, but it nearly always closed offthe ear canal and subsequently led to a greatly reduced ability to hear sound.
When the face and neck were covered with heavy scar tissue, they left the victim without the ability to turn his head on his neck.
Due to the severity of the complications, they frequently led to death, such as being cooked to death, nephritis, serous problems, peritonitis, and brain damage. Such damage also caused changes in the makeup of the blood - hemoglobin changes, leucocytes, thickening, and a sharp drop in the ability to retain chloride levels.
The actions of napalm against armaments and combat technology. Napalm caused various types of damage to tanks, self-propelled guns, and various other types of combat technology.
When it struck the road wheels of the T-34 tanks and SU-76 SP guns, napalm burned off the rubber tires. Tanks and SP guns deployed in place and lacking an ability to combat the fire in place were found stuck where their rubber was burned away. During dry weather, when moving a tank that had its rubber tire burned off but had the next wheel remaining intact tended to throw that track. But at the same time, a small number of vehicles suffered no major damage to their road wheels due to the short duration of the burning time of napalm or the fact that its flames soaked into the ground and were run over by the tracks.
When it fell inside the tank, and when no timely counteraction was taken, as is correct the napalm started fires inside the tank, and on occasion caused the ammunition load to detonate. When napalm struck a tank, frequently the engine shut down due to oxygen starvation, but on the other hand once the fire was put out it usually restarted.
Trucks and simpler unarmored transport means struck by napalm simply burned up.
4.Measures of Protection Against Flamethrower-Incendiary Means
General protective measures. The use of napalm means had a tremendous demoralizing effect on personnel and led to great losses among troops and combat technology in those instances when no protective measures against it were organized.
One of the main means of protection against napalm effects was considered to be the correct organization of air defenses, warning, maskirovka, and dispersion of troops and combat technology.
In order to protect the crews of combat vehicles from the actions of burning napalm, the hull of the vehicle had to be hermetically sealed. For unarmored transportation vehicles and trucks, they had to have canvas tarpaulins over their cargo beds to protect their cargoes, and canvas covers over their engine hoods, which could be ripped off and thrown away when struck by burning napalm.
All easily flammable items found near the deployment of forces and defensive works had to be cleared away or covered with fire resistant materials.
Anti-fire channels had to be cut round defensive works, which would limit the spread of the flaming napalm mixture. Trenches and lines of communication had to be covered over with protection to prevent the ingress of the burning napalm mixture.
Covered earthworks were considered to be good protection against the effects of napalm, especially with channels cut around them to limit the spread of the incendiary mixture and widening of the flames; a threshold 10-12 cm in height was to be placed in front of entrances, and entrances, embrasures, and observation slits had to have covers made from fire-resistant materials.
The most effective and easily available material to extinguish napalm fires was sand, earth and clay. Therefore it was necessary to stockpile these materials in advance and store them in the area of troop deployment and in the defensive works. In winter, snow was used as an extinguishing material.
Individual protection for personnel. For protection of personnel from napalm, each individual service member of the KPA and CPV was given a special cover. Beside that, towards this goal they also made use of blankets, towels, canvas jackets, and other protective materials.
The means noted were reasonably effective in protecting clothing from catching fire at the moment it was struck by the napalm mixture. When struck by burning napalm the cover would last from 6-10 seconds before having to be thrown off. The covers could also be used for extinguishing flames on the uniform by those arriving to provide assistance. When there were no covers, it was recommended that personnel put on their outer clothing, which could easily be removed if it caught fire.
The best protection for the head, face and sensory organs was the gas mask, which was known at that time to provide reasonably good protection. When lacking a gas mask, it was recommended to breathe in as much as possible and then get one's face as close as possible to the ground, covering the mouth and nose with any available material. For protecting the hands, it was recommended to use mittens, gloves or even the sleeves of the jacket.
When hit by napalm it was advised to exit the area of the strike as soon as possible, trying to move upwind of the fire, and to jettison or extinguish burning uniforms and equipment.
Protection of combat technology. For protection of tank crews and armored vehicles, it was recommended that they cover all openings in the hull of the combat vehicle with fire-resistant material and exit the area covered by the flames.
The clay soil upon which the burning napalm splattered was a good basis for storing weapons components and reliably isolated the flames from air to feed upon. By covering things with a layer of clay it prevented the napalm from burning them. When napalm struck the road wheels, track run and other parts of the tank, the crew could throw clay (earth) from the rice fields on it with their hands, using it to cover the burning napalm and for that reason snuff out the flames. It was more difficult to extinguish a napalm fire with sand, as the sand dissipated and would not always cover the surface; therefore, it was not a reliable way to isolate the napalm from the surrounding air. Deep snow or water could also be used to put of the flames of a napalm strike.
Extinguishing napalm fires with a small amount of water was not always able to achieve the goal, and could only lead to sweeping the napalm along and actually enlarging the area covered by fire. A great deal of water was needed to extinguish (put out) flames and wash off(separate) the napalm from the object of the strike.
In all cases, napalm strikes required immediate and decisive action by the tank crews, remaining steadfast and skillful in extinguishing the fire, indecision and delay would lead, as is correct, to the death of the vehicle and its crew.
Tankers in KPA and CPV units took the following measures to protect tanks and self-propelled artillery weapons from the effects of aviation delivered enemy incendiary means. When completing a march and when waiting in a concentration area, in the exit and starting areas, tanks and self-propelled weapons were carefully camouflaged. In areas where they would be sitting for a long time, the tanks were dispersed at least 50 meters or more from each other. The distance between subunits was from 1.5 to 3 kilometers. Tank units were deployed in sloped terrain by companies. During long halts in one place each tank was bunkered in to a depth of up to 3 meters. The area above the bunker was covered with wood-and-earth barriers of at least 0.5 meters thickness, which protected them from machine gun fire, napalm incendiary bombs, and fragments from normal aviation bombs. For comfortable access between the tanks and the walls of the bunker, approaches 1.5 meters wide were constructed. When deploying tank units for a short halt or for the day, as well as for loading tanks onto rail cars, the top and the sides of the tanks were covered with a paste made out of earth. Beside these measures, measures were taken so that the tanks would not be carrying any easily flammable items (rags, rubber covers) and on occasion even light seats would be removed from it. Each tank in a combat assignment was fitted with two 5-kilogram buckets of clay for extinguishing fires inside and outside of the vehicle.
In the defense, the tanks were provided with reliable cover that protected them from napalm bombs from above, from the sides and from the rear.
5. Chemical Troops of the US Army in Korea and Their Combat Use
As part of the makeup of American forces in Korea between 1950-1953, units and subunits of the Chemical Corps of the US Army were operational, who were present in the form of chemical mortar battalions, chemical smoke companies, chemical laboratory companies, chemical technical intelligence detachments, chemical decontamination companies, and chemical service companies.
Beside these units and subunits, the Chemical Corps in the Far Eastern zone had a chemical school, which trained the primary cadre for the troops conducting combat operations in Korea.
The primary tasks of the American chemical troops in Korea were these: support to the infantry via chemical mortar fire; the use of flamethrowing-incendiary and smoke assets; the conduct of chemical reconnaissance of the forces of the KPA and CPV; equipping the forces with chemical equipment and military-chemical goods; training the troops in protection from chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons; training personnel in chemical service units and subunits, checking new models of chemical equipment and military chemical items under combat conditions.
During the course of combat operations in Korea the Americans placed a great deal of significance on the combat use of chemical mortars, which were felt to be an effective means of providing immediate fire support to the infantry.
As an insignificant drain on material units, and having fully motorized subunits of chemical mortars, they provided the Americans with the capability to conduct rapid maneuver on the battlefield.
Chemical mortar battalions were primarily used for carrying out missions to provide fire support to the infantry. Along with these primary missions the battalions also were tasked with missions to provide smoke support to troops. The Americans forces in 1950 included 3 battalions of chemical mortars (2nd, 4th, and 88th) and up to 21 companies of chemical mortars with their infantry regiments. Chemical mortar battalions were subordinated to both infantry formation and unit commanders as well as the Chemical Corps.
Chemical mortar battalions were normally attached to infantry divisions. The division commander allocated one chemical mortar company to an infantry regiment. Occasionally the chemical mortar battalions of the American forces were attached to South Korean divisions and the English brigade.
Thus the 2nd Chemical Mortar Battalion was attached to the 1st South Korean Infantry Division, the 2nd and 24th US Infantry Divisions, and the 27th British Infantry Brigade between October 1950 and January 1951.
The primary mission for the chemical mortar companies in infantry regiments was to provide direct fire support to infantry battalions and general support to the infantry regiment. Frequently under the conditions found in Korea the chemical mortar companies were used for general support to the regiment.
During the offensive the chemical mortars took up the following mission tasks: suppression of troops and firing position along the forward edge of the defense of the KPA and CPV forces during the artillery preparation period; direct support to the advancing infantry by means of conducting fire on the defending enemy troops and fire support means; repulsing counterattacks against the infantry; establishing smokescreens and creating fires.
In the defense the chemical mortars took on these missions: suppression of troops and fire support means of the KPA and CPV forces deployed either under cover or on the reverse slopes of heights; suppression of observation posts; covering the approaches to defensive positions; support for the infantry counterattack; establishing smokescreens and firing incendiary mortar bombs.
During the period of the withdrawal of American troops chemical mortars were used for the main purpose of supporting units and subunits, covering the withdrawal of the main body.
When carrying out fire missions in both the offense and the defense, chemical mortar companies and chemical mortar battalions cooperated with the direct support artillery battalions. The mortars reinforced the fires of 105mm howitzers when suppressing troops and fire support means deployed along the forward edge of the defense, especially on the reverse slopes of the heights or under cover.
The firing positions for chemical mortars were mainly selected to be on the reverse slopes of heights, at a distance of 1-2 kilometers from the forward edge of own troops. Chemical mortar battalions and chemical mortar companies of infantry regiments took up firing positions, as is correct, by platoon (up to 4 tubes).
Mortars in these positions were set up at intervals of 30-35 meters apart. The platoon firing position occupied a total front of up to 100 meters.
In the majority of instances the firing positions for chemical mortars were not specially selected. For stability of the mortar when firing it was normal to place the base plate and forward support legs on sandbags. Ammunition was located at the firing position around the mortars in special limbers.
The dual subordination of the battalions - to the Chemical Corps and the commanders of the infantry formations and units - created significant difficulties in providing support to the battalions in the way of ammunition and other types of material support.
At the end of 1952 the chemical mortar battalions were taken away from the Chemical Corps and redesignated as heavy infantry mortar battalions. This reorganization, conducted based on the combat utilization experience of chemical mortars in Korea, had a goal of simplifying command and control of the combat activities and material support of the independent mortar battalions. Beside that, the reformation of the chemical mortar battalions into heavy infantry mortar battalions was oriented upon providing a single system for combat training of independent mortar battalions and heavy infantry mortar companies in the regiments. Together with the reformation described above the officers of the chemical mortar battalions were transferred to other Chemical Corps units, but the sergeants and enlisted men remained in the battalions.
Simultaneously with these changes the armament of the heavy infantry mortar battalions was changed from the M2 mortar to the new 106.7mm M30 heavy mortar, as the former was a leftover from the Second World War and had served in the postwar chemical mortar battalions.
The design differences between the M2 and the M30 were made by the Americans to increase its accuracy of fire and increase its range to 5.5 kilometers (the range of the M2 had only been 4 kilometers). The design of the base plate and mount provided for traversing the barrel on its carriage up to 360 degrees, which was a significant change from the M2 that could only be moved by changing the position of its base plate.
The technical and tactical data of the M30 were based on, first and foremost, its use as a means of direct fire support for the infantry. Together with that the M30 could successfully carry out special missions for firing toxic, incendiary and smoke producing ammunition.
For that reason, and on the basis of the experience of combat use of heavy infantry mortar companies and battalions in Korea, the Americans came to the conclusion that it was necessary to have not just special chemical mortar units in their army, for which providing infantry fire support with high-explosive fragmentation as an additional task, but mortar units who had the primary mission of providing constant fire support to the infantry and additional tasks of firing chemical, incendiary, and smoke bombs.
Chemical smoke companies, having smoke generating machines (2), were used in Korea to provide cover for maneuver of forces, smoke generation to protect bridges, crossings, and rear area objectives from precision bombardment and smokescreens to cover lines of communication. Chemical smoke companies were used significantly less to cover rear area objectives than in carrying out other assigned combat missions.
The 68th and 388th Independent Chemical Smoke Companies and 40th Chemical Smoke Battalion participated in the Korean war.
Beside chemical smoke companies, smoke was also delivered during combat operations by aircraft and artillery.
The chemical laboratory company, as part of the American forces in Korea, carried out laboratory research in the interests of detachments of chemical technical intelligence. Their mission included research on captured enemy equipment related to military-chemical items and equipment. Along with the execution of these missions, the laboratory company also carried out various jobs for other branches and arms of service.
The chemical technical intelligence detachments, as part of the American forces in Korea, were established during the Second World War. Their mission in Korea included the study and evaluation of military-chemical items and equipment of the KPA and CPV. Along with the execution of this basic task, chemical technical intelligence detachments trained personnel for operations in Korea and answered questions on chemical, bacteriological, and radiological reconnaissance and protection.
The 401st Chemical Technical Intelligence Detachment was part of the American forces in Korea, which gathered materials on chemical defense protection, chemical protective means, and chemical equipment of the KPA and CPV forces.
The chemical decontamination company, since the KPA and CPV did not use agent warfare, was not utilized, therefore its personnel were allocated out to other units and provided infantry forces assistance in preparing flamethrower mixtures and in carrying out other work. Even so, the chemical decontamination companies remained in constant readiness to carry out decontamination work.
The 92nd Chemical Service Company was active in Korea. The tasks of this company were to store, repair and provide military-chemical items and equipment, in part flamethrowers, incendiary fougasse, decontamination vehicles, smoke grenades, and napalm. The allocation of chemical items and equipment was conducted via stores held at the chemical service company and ammunition supply points. The company included a chemical laboratory and truck mounted repair shops. The chemical laboratory of the company consisted of one offcer and two short service soldiers or sergeants who had a higher degree of chemical education.
The American forces also contained some improved field impregnation systems. These systems resulted from further modernization by the US Army of the M2 impregnation system. The new impregnation system was used by the 92nd Chemical Service Company.
The chemical school trained personnel in chemical service units and subunits in the forces of the Far Eastern zone. It began operation around the middle of 1951. According to data from the American press, the offcers, sergeants and enlisted men who graduated from this school were consultants to unit and subunit commanders on questions of chemical, biological and radiological protection of troops.
Chemical service personnel. During the war in the Far East, the US sent a large number of Chemical Corps officers to Korea. Just based on the items published in periodical magazines, up to 329 officers were sent to the Far Eastern zone from various units and establishments of the Chemical Corps. There is nothing to change the opinion that most of these officers sent to the Far East wound up serving in Korea. It is important to point out that a significant part of the officers in the Chemical Corps were sent to the Far East from the main Army Chemical Center. Thus the number of officers sent to the Far Eastern zone included 72 of them sent from the Chemical Center. This was not just by accident. It is known that chemical and radiological laboratories were concentrated at the Army Chemical Center, where they were working on various types of chemical equipment and items. Testing of chemical equipment and military-chemical items under combat conditions was carried out by Chemical Corps officers who had taken part in the development of those means.
The leadership of the military-chemical service of the American forces in the Far East corresponded to the chemical section of the supreme command of US Armed Forces in the Far Eastern zone. The chemical section was headed by the chief of chemical services of US Armed Forces in the Far Eastern zone. The leadership of American chemical units and subunits and chemical services of the American ground forces operating in Korea corresponded to the chemical section of the 8th US Army staff.
6. Use of Poisonous Agents by US Forces in Korea
During combat operations in Korea against the positions and troops of the KPA and CPV, as well as the peaceful population of the DPRK and prisoners-of-war, on more than one occasion the American interventionists used chemical mortar bombs, artillery projectiles, aviation bombs and hand grenades.
According to incomplete data, from 27 February 1952 to the end of June 1953 more than 100 instances were recorded of the use of chemical projectiles and mortar bombs by American and South Korea forces against CPV troops, with the result that 1,095 men were poisoned, of which 145 eventually died. More than 40 instances of the use of chemical weapons were reported against prisoners-of-war.
In most of these cases, positions were fired on with single rounds (mortar bombs) or bombed with a small number of chemical bombs. But on the other hand, on 4 October 1951 the Americans struck CPV positions along the 38th Parallel with more than 20 chemical projectiles and dropped 39 aviation bombs, most of which were chemical types. The largest number of chemical rounds (57) fired against the KPA was carried out on 1 May 1952.
The symptoms accompanying both the use of chemical aviation bombs as well as chemical artillery projectiles in many cases were hard to isolate, but included: choking, watering and swelling of the eyes, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
The given symptoms listed above say that the most probable agents used by the Americans in their chemical munitions was nitric oxide, which could be mixed with a small number of other agents (prussic acid, diphenylcyanarcin, or diphenylchorarsine) to complicate the picture of destruction.
Against prisoners-of-war the Americans used various toxic agents, and tearing agents was used on more than one occasion. There were observations that the Americans also used blister agents against the prisoners-of-war.
In their use of chemical weapons, the Americans vowed that they were using what they termed a "nontoxic irritant" that was considered to be completely legal.
On 10 June 1952, at Camp No. 76 on Koje-do Island, the Americans used blister agents against the prisoners-of-war; these were sticky, toxic liquids that burned the body. American soldiers used this liquid on the prisoners-of-war three times.
On 18 May 1952, tearing agents were used against the prisoners-of-war in three separate sectors of Koje-do Island. As a result, 24 men were killed and 46 lost their sight.
On 12 August 1953, 150 American soldiers and 200 Singman Rhee soldiers threw chemical grenades at the prisoners-of-war (in Sector No. 1, Camp No. 17) of Koje-do Island. A large number of prisoners lost consciousness.
Even after the conclusion of the ceasefire, during the 33 days work by the Red Cross commission the Americans used chemical grenades on the prisoners-of-war 32 times.
Brief conclusions. The US Armed Forces, mainly their air forces, made wide use of flammable-incendiary means during the war in Korea.
The US ground forces gained experience in the use of tank and handheld flamethrowers, incendiary fougasse, and antitank and antipersonnel napalm mines both in the defense as well as in offensive combat. The flamethrower-incendiary mixtures of napalm were universally used (aviation bombs, drop tanks, flamethrowers, fougasse, mines, and shells), were simple to learn and easy to prepare, easily ignited, difficult to extinguish, and turned out to be powerful force to use against both troops as well as weapons and combat technology.
Simultaneously, the KPA and CPV gained experience in protection from flamethrower-incendiary means that showed them that under conditions of the wide use of incendiary assets there was a growing role for measures oriented on the protection of personnel, combat technology and armaments from fire, and it showed the necessity of using a massive number of simple fire-resistant means by all arms of service and the conduct of special anti-fire measures.
In order to quickly quench a fire it required the rapid determination of which direction the fire was heading (most of the time based upon the direction of the wind) and its speed of movement; establishing from what side and at what distance from the place of the fire to place the objects most vulnerable to fire, which would also threaten to spread the fire; determining the forces and means required under conditions of a spreading fire; and, designating the people responsible for directing the extinguishing the fire in separate sectors. Work on eliminating the fire was to be conducted at a sufficient distance from the fire so that it could be put out before the fire reached the work place and interfered with its termination.
Chemical strike means and combat toxic agents did not receive a significantly broad combat evaluation in Korea.
1.1 The characteristics of the incendiary means used during the war in Korea are given in Appendix 55.
2. 2 Beginning in 1952 testing was conducted under combat conditions of the new M3 smoke machine, which was subsequently accepted for service with the American Army and replaced the M2. The new M3 smoke machine had a pulse-type injection smoke mechanism. The complete M3 smoke machine weighed 68 kilograms and the M2 120.1 kilograrns; unloaded. the M3 weighed 56.6 kilograms and the M2 81 kilograms.
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