White phosphorous

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Steve Leach, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Chris Lock

    Chris Lock Junior Member

    Dodgy days indeed! I remember my tank advancing and engaging infantry pop up targets with co-ax but then watching horrified as an arty barrage crept back over us. First my gun sight went blank and then my commander crawled down into my tank suit as his optics imploded likewise. We lost our bin work, several bazooka plates, antennas and main armament thermal jacket. I remember on vacating the tank seeing impact craters all around us and tbits of our tank strewn about. WTF!

    The accompanying infantry were not so lucky. I believe they suffered several dead or badly wounded when a 432 received the same treatment. It is the only time I have ever experienced an arty strike on my own position and I never wish to relive it again!!! Still, could have been worse; we could have drawn a 120mm APDS down our throats and that would have been that without doubt!
     
  2. Chris Lock

    Chris Lock Junior Member

    Napalm never used it but I guess unprotected infanteers or civvies would find it far more difficult to escape a napalm strike than WP scatter.....
     
  3. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    One of the funniest things in my career happened at BATUS. My 432 was next to the CSMs vehicle, earth spike in for refuelling - by jerrycans,he had an old hand in his crew, one of those guys that was none too bright he could pick up equipment and reduce it to factory components without a toolkit - keep him away from ...........whatever kit you needed or valued. Seagull (CSM Callsign) said put the Scoff on K, K put the tins in the back boilers which were fitted on the inside of the crew compartment door at the rear and clamped the lids down. Seagull was in the cupola on the radio - No 5 mic. I heard it a deep boom and as I looked around, the CSMs vehicle shrouded in what looked like smoke, it was steam! Seagull flew out of the cupola and jumped off the radiator deck, his lightweights covered in steaming chicken supreme. That nice CSM he made us blush with his language, threatening to end my time one earth as I pissed myself laughing. Two back boilers lids buckled and much piss taking from REME. Even the CO joined in as he passed with the Sergeant Major - over to yours for supper company sergeant major?' A future Tory leader was not far off, one Lt Iain Duncan Smith.

    I witnessed the track and the rear idler blown off the Platoon Sergeant's 432, someone had obviously got fed up with carrying three 66mm fire and chuck on a previous battle run, or in this case just chuck. He had run over them - heaved another crew out of their pride and joy made them a gift of his modidfied version and carried on with the battle run leaving a crew to await recovery. They did not look that unhappy as we left them!
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nowadays only if used as a smoke screen.

    The Geneva Treaty of 1980 stipulates that white phosphorus should not be used as a weapon of war in civilian areas, but there is no blanket ban under international law on its use as a smokescreen or for illumination

    Quote from here.
    Times Online article

    IIRC the British used it in the Falklands in the grenade form as the frag grenades had little effect against the Argentinians dug in behind boulders.
     
  5. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Both sides in Burma used phosphorous grenades extensively to clear bunkers and trenches. Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung from 3/2nd Gurkha Rifles was awarded with VC for action during which he used No.77 grenades to clear Japanese bunker.
     
  6. Steve Leach

    Steve Leach Strategy junkie

    Aha! Found the story I was talking about. This is from Jim Gifford, chapter 13 of "Tanks for the Memories"...

    As we drove down the street, the shell fire was real heavy. They were dropping everything at us, and the whole street was boiling with dust and explosions. The shell fire was blinding the driver, and he went up on the sidewalk and started grinding the side of a building.

    So the next thing, I’m looking up ahead, and there was a fork in the road, and there’s a hotel, and in the lobby of the hotel, it had windows, there was a gun firing at us. So I hollered to the gunner to put white phosphorous in, and he put the white phosphorous in, and then I took control. You can take control away from the gunner if you see something that you can’t take the time to tell the gunner, so I took control away and I aimed it for the lobby and fired, and it blew up in the lobby. Later, after we took the town, I went in that lobby, and Jesus, the gun was there, and there had been a guy behind it and there was nothing left but his boots, that white phosphorous wiped him right off the face of the earth.
     
  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Aha! Found the story I was talking about. This is from Jim Gifford, chapter 13 of "Tanks for the Memories"...


    Extremely powerful reading.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  8. Steve Leach

    Steve Leach Strategy junkie

  9. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I am currently reading the book D DAY Through German Eyes (Holger Eckhertz - 2016) and in the first chapter there is a very detailed account from Gefreiter Stefan Heinevez (919th Grenadier Regiment) of action on June 6th in the Cotentin Peninsula.

    He describes successive waves of U.S. Thunderbolts attacking a complex of concrete reinforced bunkers with phosphorous rockets. The effect was devastating in that all 3 bunkers were completely destroyed, with high casualties. In much the same way as flamethrowers he described the tremendous psychological effect of the attack where the survivors were left fearful and incapacitated. At that time he did not know what the weapon was and only learned afterwards about phosphorous. The effect of seeing bodies reduced to black, charred skeletons, with all the flesh burned away, left him stunned.
    This is the first I have ever read on the existence of phosphorous rockets.
     
    17thDYRCH likes this.

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