The L132A2 smoke grenade is the current issue British Army smoke grenade and is more compact than previous designs, allowing them to be more easily carried by troops. The grenade itself is used for screening the battlefield and produces copious quantities of thick smoke for this purpose. The grenade is painted a dark green colour and is noticeably shorter and narrower in the body than the previous pattern:
The designation of the grenade is stencilled onto the outside, here indicating that this is an L132A2 model for producing a smoke screen and it was manufactured in April 2013:
To use the grenade, the pin must first be removed from the top of the grenade:
Once this has been removed, the paddle lever on the rear is held down with the hand until the grenade is ready to be thrown, once thrown this lever flies off and starts the ignition process for the grenade itself:
Smoke grenades are pretty safe munitions to use, indeed they are perfectly legal to own and use in the UK by civilians (subject to some restrictions and common sense) however things can go wrong as one squaddie recalls:
I was on MedMan in BATUS as an Opfor dismount. Basically we were running round the prairie like hooligans with more ammunition and pyro than I’d ever seen. Our section walked over a hill and saw a CRARRV trundling along, which we promptly engaged. I threw a smoke grenade, an absolute pearler. It sailed majestically through the air in like a super slow mo effect, I saw the handle ping, the spark of detonation, the slow build up fizz of the propellant, and the sudden gush of thick smoke emitted from the can, just as it sailed underneath its tracks where it engulfed the CRARRV in thick blue smoke.
Then thick grey smoke as the prairie ignited.
Then thick black smoke as the vehicle and attached equipment ignited.
The REME crew bailed out to use the fire extinguishers on the vehicle, while we fecked off sharpish. While they paused the whole battle group exercise to beat out the prairie fire, we hid out of the way smoking and drinking warm cans of Minute Maid, and said nothing.
Whilst unfired pyrotechnics might be safe to store for a decade or more due to good sealing of pure compounds, the spent casings may not be.
Smoke generation materials can have a secondary reaction weeks-years after first firing, perhaps due to residues hydration from atmospheric moisture.
If you must store spent casings, please keep them away from damageable materials and with large drip trays.
Modern smoke canisters are mostly non-toxic however in confined spaces, like a room, they can be quite dangerous or even lethal, it’s generally not a good idea to breathe anything other than fresh air.
Most still get quite hot while generating the smoke and as described, can have some pretty serious effects on flammable material.
As usual, you reminded me of a memorable event..well, memorable to me anyway.
On one EOD range I used, we kept the firing leads in a sonobuoy overpack half buried in the ground, you might remember them as the silver odd-shaped tubes used on Str Trek for ‘cargo’, we’d open thousands in a day and they were used fr everything from storing rifles to fishing rods or supports for decks and floats at the beach.
I went to unscrew the top and take the leads out and just happened to notice a hornet fly away, then another one.
The backside had taken a piece of frag and hornets had built a nest inside through the hole.
Great minds got together and formulated a foolproof plan…
First, we broke out the NBC suits from the truck locker and sealed up, including respirators.
Secondly a large piece of guntape(green duct tape) was applied to the hole to lock the little buggers in.
My partner held a prepped HC smoke canister close to the lid, letting the lever fly as I quickly unscrewed it…
We hadn’t considered just how many hornets can fit into a sonotube, even with some of the space taken up by a hundred yards of firing wire. The lid was hard to turn at first, but when it came loose there was the briefest glimpse of a solid mass of writhing insects before the smoke can went in and the lid went back on all as planned. What we hadn’t planned was the pressure generated by the smoke inside a very substantial tough plastic container, the guntape eventually popped off and a solid stream of smoke and hornets spewed out like a firehose from hell, just as well too since there may well have been a mechanical explosion if it had been wrapped all the way around the tube instead of just partway. Luckily, most of the hornets were either dead or stunned by the smoke and we were safe in our suits to clean up the rest and restring a new firing wire after throughly wrapping the hole in the tube once the smoke ceased, or so we thought…on the drive back to Base, a couple of hornets started buzzing around inside the truck necessitating a high speed braking maneouvre followed by what must have been the fastest vehicle egress in NATO and probably still holds the record today.
Love reading this page, almost every day it reminds me of something I thought had been lost to the ages, maybe working the memory can stave off Alzheimer’s a little while longer 🙂