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Smoke grenade

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Smoke grenades used at demonstrations in Paris, 2008
Smoke grenades used at demonstrations in Paris, 2008
British L83A1 Smoke Grenade manufactured in May 2008. This grenade has already been used.
British L83A1 Smoke Grenade manufactured in May 2008. This grenade has already been used.

A smoke grenade is a canister-type grenade used as a signaling device, target or landing zone marking device, or as a screening device for unit movements.[1][2]

Smoke grenades generally emit a far larger amount of smoke than smoke bombs, which are a type of fireworks typically started with an external fuse rather than a pin and are more complex. Smoke grenades often cost around US$40 compared to smoke bombs, which can often cost just a few cents. The phrase "to smoke", meaning to fake, bluff, or beat around the bush, comes from the military usage of smoke grenades to obscure and conceal movement; similarly, "pop smoke", derived from a common way of ordering the use of smoke grenades, is used as a slang term for quickly leaving a place.[3]

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Grenade

Grenade

A grenade is an explosive weapon typically thrown by hand, but can also refer to a shell shot from the muzzle of a rifle or a grenade launcher. A modern hand grenade generally consists of an explosive charge ("filler"), a detonator mechanism, an internal striker to trigger the detonator, and a safety lever secured by a cotter pin. The user removes the safety pin before throwing, and once the grenade leaves the hand the safety lever gets released, allowing the striker to trigger a primer that ignites a fuze, which burns down to the detonator and explodes the main charge.

Landing zone

Landing zone

In military terminology a landing zone (LZ) is an area where aircraft can land.

Smoke screen

Smoke screen

A smoke screen is smoke released to mask the movement or location of military units such as infantry, tanks, aircraft, or ships.

Smoke bomb

Smoke bomb

A smoke bomb is a firework designed to produce smoke upon ignition. Smoke bombs are useful to airsoft games, paintball games, self-defence and practical jokes. They are also used in smoke tests.

Fireworks

Fireworks

Fireworks are a class of low explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. They are most commonly used in fireworks displays, combining a large number of devices in an outdoor setting. Such displays are the focal point of many cultural and religious celebrations.

Fuse (explosives)

Fuse (explosives)

In an explosive, pyrotechnic device, or military munition, a fuse is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately. However, when being specific, the term fuse describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker whereas the term fuze is used when referring to a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components, such as a proximity fuze for an M107 artillery shell, magnetic or acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze, pencil detonator, or anti-handling device.

Design

Diagram and cross section of an AN M18 smoke grenade
Diagram and cross section of an AN M18 smoke grenade

A typical design consists of a sheet steel cylinder with four emission holes on top and one on the bottom to allow smoke release when the grenade is ignited. The filler consists of 250 to 350 grams of colored smoke composition (mostly potassium chlorate, lactose, and a dye) in virtually any color. White smoke grenades typically use hexachloroethane-zinc and granular aluminum. The reaction is exothermic and though they remain intact, smoke grenade casings will often remain scalding hot for some time even after the grenade is no longer emitting smoke. Although modern smoke grenades are designed not to directly emit fire or sparks, they remain a fire hazard and are capable of igniting dry vegetation or flammable substances if used injudiciously.

Another type of smoke grenade is the bursting variation. These are filled with white phosphorus (WP), a pyrophoric agent that is spread quickly into a cloud by an internal bursting charge. White phosphorus burns with a brilliant yellow flame while producing copious amounts of white smoke (phosphorus pentoxide). This type of smoke grenade is favored for its ability to produce a very dense and nearly instantaneous cloud of white concealment smoke as compared to the more common solid-filler grenades which expel a slower stream of smoke over a period of roughly 1 minute. For this reason, they are favored for use in onboard grenade launching attachments on armored vehicles, which require extremely fast concealment in the event they are targeted by laser guided anti-tank missiles and need to rapidly retreat.

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Steel

Steel

Steel is an alloy made up of iron with added carbon to improve its strength and fracture resistance compared to other forms of iron. Many other elements may be present or added. Stainless steels that are corrosion- and oxidation-resistant typically need an additional 11% chromium. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, steel is used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, trains, cars, machines, electrical appliances, weapons, and rockets. Iron is the base metal of steel. Depending on the temperature, it can take two crystalline forms : body-centred cubic and face-centred cubic. The interaction of the allotropes of iron with the alloying elements, primarily carbon, gives steel and cast iron their range of unique properties.

Colored smoke

Colored smoke

Colored smoke is a kind of smoke created by an aerosol of small particles of a suitable pigment or dye.

Smoke composition

Smoke composition

A smoke composition is a pyrotechnic composition designed primarily to generate smoke. Smoke compositions are used as obscurants or for generation of signaling smokes. Some are used as a payload of smoke bombs and smoke grenades.

Potassium chlorate

Potassium chlorate

Potassium chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen, with the molecular formula KClO3. In its pure form, it is a white crystalline substance. After sodium chlorate, it is the second most common chlorate in industrial use. It is a strong oxidizing agent and its most important application is in safety matches. In other applications it is mostly obsolete and has been replaced by safer alternatives in recent decades. It has been usedin fireworks, propellants and explosives, to prepare oxygen, both in the lab and in chemical oxygen generators, as a disinfectant, for example in medical mouthwashes, in agriculture as an herbicide.

Lactose

Lactose

Lactose is a disaccharide sugar synthesized by galactose and glucose subunits and has the molecular formula C12H22O11. Lactose makes up around 2–8% of milk (by mass). The name comes from lac (gen. lactis), the Latin word for milk, plus the suffix -ose used to name sugars. The compound is a white, water-soluble, non-hygroscopic solid with a mildly sweet taste. It is used in the food industry.

Dye

Dye

A dye is a colored substance that chemically bonds to the substrate to which it is being applied. This distinguishes dyes from pigments which do not chemically bind to the material they color. Dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution and may require a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber.

Hexachloroethane

Hexachloroethane

Hexachloroethane, also known as perchloroethane is the organochlorine compound with the chemical formula (CCl3)2. It is white solid at room temperature with a camphor-like odor. It has been used by the military in smoke compositions, such as base-eject smoke munitions.

Phosphorus pentoxide

Phosphorus pentoxide

Phosphorus pentoxide is a chemical compound with molecular formula P4O10 (with its common name derived from its empirical formula, P2O5). This white crystalline solid is the anhydride of phosphoric acid. It is a powerful desiccant and dehydrating agent.

Laser guidance

Laser guidance

Laser guidance directs a robotics system to a target position by means of a laser beam. The laser guidance of a robot is accomplished by projecting a laser light, image processing and communication to improve the accuracy of guidance. The key idea is to show goal positions to the robot by laser light projection instead of communicating them numerically. This intuitive interface simplifies directing the robot while the visual feedback improves the positioning accuracy and allows for implicit localization. The guidance system may serve also as a mediator for cooperative multiple robots. Examples of proof-of-concept experiments of directing a robot by a laser pointer are shown on video. Laser guidance spans areas of robotics, computer vision, user interface, video games, communication and smart home technologies.

Use

A violet signaling smoke grenade being used during a military training exercise
A violet signaling smoke grenade being used during a military training exercise

Smoke grenades are used for several purposes. The primary use is the creation of smoke screens for concealment and the signaling of aircraft.

If movement (such as flanking maneuvers or retreat) is necessary, smoke grenades can be thrown prior to movement in order to provide a wall of visual distraction that reduces the accuracy of enemy fire and temporarily deceives them as to the force's location. The most common color for concealment smoke is white or grey. With the advent of thermal imaging, which can spot troop movements through smoke screens, the newest smoke compositions now include a "multi-spectrum" component to make them IR impermeable.[4]

Smoke grenades can also be used to signal aircraft. Since locating a target from above (especially in thick forest canopy) can be nearly impossible, even with good radio contact, colored smoke grenades are often used to allow aircraft to spot them. Colored signaling smoke grenades [5] are widely used in CASEVAC and close air support situations where quickly locating friendly ground forces is of paramount importance. Common colors are red, yellow, green and purple, and all use very brightly colored dyes to increase the likelihood of being spotted from above.

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Flanking maneuver

Flanking maneuver

In military tactics, a flanking maneuver is a movement of an armed force around an enemy force's side, or flank, to achieve an advantageous position over it. Flanking is useful because a force's fighting strength is typically concentrated in its front, therefore, to circumvent an opposing force's front and attack its flank is to concentrate one's own offense in the area where the enemy is least able to concentrate defense.

Thermography

Thermography

Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal video and/or thermal imaging, is a process where a thermal camera captures and creates an image of an object by using infrared radiation emitted from the object in a process, which are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermographic cameras usually detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero according to the black body radiation law, thermography makes it possible to see one's environment with or without visible illumination. The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature; therefore, thermography allows one to see variations in temperature. When viewed through a thermal imaging camera, warm objects stand out well against cooler backgrounds; humans and other warm-blooded animals become easily visible against the environment, day or night. As a result, thermography is particularly useful to the military and other users of surveillance cameras.

Close air support

Close air support

In military tactics, close air support (CAS) is defined as air action such as air strikes by fixed or rotary-winged aircraft against hostile targets near friendly forces and require detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces and attacks with aerial bombs, glide bombs, missiles, rockets, autocannons, machine guns, and even directed-energy weapons such as lasers.

Other uses

Amphibious Assault Vehicles firing smoke grenades
Amphibious Assault Vehicles firing smoke grenades

Smoke grenades are functionally identical to many forms of chemical grenades (such as CS gas riot control grenades) and incendiary grenades (such as thermite grenades) which use a fuse to ignite a solid filler inside a steel canister, which then slowly propels the combustion products out through holes in the canister as the contents burn. However, the smoke grenade class is restricted to signaling and concealment under the laws of war, and thus they are not considered weapons; since the vast majority are non-explosive, they remain legal for civilian use and ownership in most countries.

Since the basic design of a smoke grenade (a metal canister containing a substance that burns and expels smoke when ignited) is so simple, improvised devices are ubiquitous across the world. Protestors, football spectators, and airsoft enthusiasts often create their own smoke grenades using common materials.

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Smoke grenades by country

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Argentina

Argentina

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country in the southern half of South America. Argentina covers an area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), making it the second-largest country in South America after Brazil, the fourth-largest country in the Americas, and the eighth-largest country in the world. It shares the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, and is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. Argentina is a federal state subdivided into twenty-three provinces, and one autonomous city, which is the federal capital and largest city of the nation, Buenos Aires. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and a part of Antarctica.

Australia

Australia

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi), Australia is the largest country by area in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country. Australia is the oldest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils. It is a megadiverse country, and its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes and climates, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east, and mountain ranges in the south-east.

Austria

Austria

The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, the most populous city and state. A landlocked country, Austria is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The country occupies an area of 83,871 km2 (32,383 sq mi) and has a population of 9 million.

Barbados

Barbados

Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It occupies an area of 432 km2 (167 sq mi) and has a population of about 287,000. Its capital and largest city is Bridgetown.

Belgium

Belgium

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,528 km2 (11,787 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi). The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.

Brazil

Brazil

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3,300,000 sq mi) and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the seventh most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world; and the most populous Roman Catholic-majority country.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the eastern flank of the Balkans, and is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. Bulgaria covers a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), and is the sixteenth-largest country in Europe. Sofia is the nation's capital and largest city; other major cities are Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas.

Arsenal AD

Arsenal AD

JSC Arsenal AD is a Bulgarian joint-stock company based in Kazanlak, engaged primarily in the manufacture of firearms and military equipment. It is Bulgaria's oldest arms supplier.

Canada

Canada

Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest binational land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

Chile

Chile

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America. It is the southernmost country in the world, and the closest to Antarctica, occupying a long and narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of 756,096 square kilometers (291,930 sq mi), with a population of 17.5 million as of 2017. It shares land borders with Peru to the north, Bolivia to the north-east, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chile also controls the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Isla Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. It also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometers (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica under the Chilean Antarctic Territory. The country's capital and largest city is Santiago, and its national language is Spanish.

China

China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, tied with Russia. China also has a narrow maritime boundary with the disputed Taiwan. Covering an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the world's third largest country by total land area. The country consists of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two Special Administrative Regions. The national capital is Beijing, and the most populous city and financial center is Shanghai.

Denmark

Denmark

Denmark is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is the most populous and politically central constituent of the Kingdom of Denmark, a constitutionally unitary state that includes the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the North Atlantic Ocean. European Denmark is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, lying southwest of Sweden, south of Norway, and north of Germany.

Source: "Smoke grenade", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 27th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoke_grenade.

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