Napalm

Napalm

Overview
Napalm is a thickening
Thickening
In cooking, thickening is the process of increasing the viscosity of a liquid either by reduction, or by the addition of a thickening agent, typically containing starch....

/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device
Incendiary device
Incendiary weapons, incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus....

, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon. The portmanteau Napalm was derived from the names of two of the constituents of the gel: naphthenic acid and palmitic acid.

"Napalm B" is the more modern version of napalm and, although distinctly different in its chemical composition, it is often referred to simply as "napalm".

Colloquially, napalm has been used as the generic name of several flammable liquids used in warfare, often forms of jellied gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

, such as to be expelled by flamethrower
Flamethrower
A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire.Some flamethrowers project a stream of ignited flammable liquid; some project a long gas flame. Most military flamethrowers use liquids, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and...

s in infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and armored warfare.

Napalm B is chemically distinct from its predecessor Napalm.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Napalm is a thickening
Thickening
In cooking, thickening is the process of increasing the viscosity of a liquid either by reduction, or by the addition of a thickening agent, typically containing starch....

/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device
Incendiary device
Incendiary weapons, incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus....

, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon. The portmanteau Napalm was derived from the names of two of the constituents of the gel: naphthenic acid and palmitic acid.

"Napalm B" is the more modern version of napalm and, although distinctly different in its chemical composition, it is often referred to simply as "napalm".

Colloquially, napalm has been used as the generic name of several flammable liquids used in warfare, often forms of jellied gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

, such as to be expelled by flamethrower
Flamethrower
A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire.Some flamethrowers project a stream of ignited flammable liquid; some project a long gas flame. Most military flamethrowers use liquids, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and...

s in infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and armored warfare.

Forms of napalm


Napalm B is chemically distinct from its predecessor Napalm. It is usually a mixture of polystyrene
Polystyrene
Polystyrene ) also known as Thermocole, abbreviated following ISO Standard PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry...

 and benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

. This is used as a thickening agent to make jellied gasoline. One of the advantages of this new mixture lies in its increased safety while being handled and stored. Many accidents had been attributed to personnel smoking
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...

 around stockpiles.

Napalm 2 has a commonly quoted composition of 21% benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

, 33% gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 (itself containing between 1% and 4% (estimated) benzene to raise its octane number), and 46% polystyrene
Polystyrene
Polystyrene ) also known as Thermocole, abbreviated following ISO Standard PS, is an aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon that is manufactured from petroleum by the chemical industry...

. This mixture is difficult to ignite. A reliable pyrotechnic initiator
Pyrotechnic initiator
A pyrotechnic initiator is a device containing a pyrotechnic composition used primarily to ignite other, more difficult-to-ignite materials, e.g. thermites, gas generators, and solid-fuel rockets...

, often based on thermite
Thermite
Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition of a metal powder and a metal oxide that produces an exothermic oxidation-reduction reaction known as a thermite reaction. If aluminium is the reducing agent it is called an aluminothermic reaction...

 (for ordinary napalm) or white phosphorus (for newer compositions), has been used. The original napalm usually burned for 15 to 30 seconds while napalm-B can burn for up to 10 minutes.

Napalm 877 has been used in flamethrower
Flamethrower
A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire.Some flamethrowers project a stream of ignited flammable liquid; some project a long gas flame. Most military flamethrowers use liquids, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and...

s and bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

s by American and Allied forces to increase their effectiveness. It is believed by some that Napalm B is formulated to burn at a specified rate and to adhere to surfaces to increase its stopping power. During combustion, Napalm rapidly deoxygenates the available air and generates large amounts of deadly carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

 and carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

. Napalm bombs were notably used during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

.

Napalm was also used during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, such as during the defense of "Outpost Harry
Outpost Harry
Outpost Harry was a remote Korean War station located on a tiny hilltop in what was commonly referred to as the "Iron Triangle" on the Korean Peninsula. This was an area approximately 60 miles north of Seoul and was the most direct route to the South Korean capital.More than 88,000 rounds of...

" in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 during the night of June 10 – 11, 1953.

Alternative compositions exist for different uses, e.g. triethylaluminium
Triethylaluminium
Triethylaluminium is an organoaluminium compound. This volatile, colorless liquid is highly pyrophoric, igniting immediately upon exposure to air. It is normally stored in stainless steel containers either as a pure liquid or as a solution in hydrocarbon solvents such as hexane, heptane, or ...

, a pyrophoric compound that aids ignition.

Development


Use of fire in warfare has a long history; similar to napalm is the earlier Greek fire
Greek fire
Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning while floating on water....

, which was also described as "sticky fire" (πῦρ κολλητικόν) and is believed to have had a petroleum base. Thickened burning compositions proved their advantages. The development of napalm was precipitated by the use of jellied gasoline mixtures by the Allied forces
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 that had been used in these early forms of incendiary device
Incendiary device
Incendiary weapons, incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus....

s became logistically impossible to use during the Pacific Theater of Operations
Pacific Theater of Operations
The Pacific Theater of Operations was the World War II area of military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, a geographic scope that reflected the operational and administrative command structures of the American forces during that period...

, since natural rubber was next to impossible to obtain. (The Japanese Army had overrun all of the rubber plantations in Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

.)

This extreme shortage of natural rubber prompted the chemist
Chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...

s at American companies such as Du Pont and Standard Oil
Standard Oil
Standard Oil was a predominant American integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world and operated as a major company trust and was one of the world's first and largest multinational...

, as well as researchers at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, to strive to develop factory-made alternatives - artificial rubber for all uses, including for vehicle tires, tank tracks, gaskets, hoses, medical supplies and rain clothing. A team of chemists led by Louis Fieser
Louis Fieser
Louis Frederick Fieser was an organic chemist, professor, and in 1968, professor emeritus at Harvard University. He was renowned as the inventor, in 1943, of a militarily effective form of napalm...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

  was the first one to develop synthetic napalm, during 1942 for the U.S. Armed Forces.

From 1965 to 1969, the Dow Chemical Company
Dow Chemical Company
The Dow Chemical Company is a multinational corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States. As of 2007, it is the second largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue and as of February 2009, the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization .Dow...

 manufactured napalm B for the American armed forces. After news reports of napalm B's deadly and disfiguring effects were published, Dow Chemical experienced some boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

s of all its products, and its recruiters for new chemists, chemical engineer
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

s, etc., graduating from college were subject to campus boycotts. The management of the Dow Chemical Company decided that "its first obligation was the government." Meanwhile, napalm B became a symbol for the Vietnam War.

Historical use



Napalm was first used as fuel for flamethrower
Flamethrower
A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire.Some flamethrowers project a stream of ignited flammable liquid; some project a long gas flame. Most military flamethrowers use liquids, but commercial flamethrowers tend to use high-pressure propane and...

s and went on to be used more prevalently in firebombs.

In 1942, researchers at Harvard University found that a jelly gasoline-like substance burnt more slowly and thus was far more effective. They found that mixing an aluminum soap powder of naphthalene and palmitate (hence na-palm), also known as napthenic and palmitic acids, with gasoline produced a brownish sticky syrup that burned more slowly than raw gasoline. This new mixture of chemicals was widely used in the Second World War in flame throwers and fire bombs. Napalm bombs burned out 40% of the area of Japanese target cities in the World War. Useful weapons continued to be improved, and napalm was no exception. With many more chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

s available after World War II, the safer (in storage) and just-as-effective napalm B compound was developed.

On July 17, 1944, napalm incendiary bombs were dropped for the first time by 14 American P-38 Lightning
P-38 Lightning
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament...

 aircraft of the 402d Fighter Squadron
402d Fighter Squadron
The 402d Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 370th Fighter Group, Ninth Air Force, stationed at Camp Shanks, New York...

 / 370th Fighter Group
370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group
The 370th Air Expeditionary Group is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Education and Training Command. It may be activated or inactivated at any time. Currently, the unit is stationed in Southwest Asia...

 on a fuel depot at Coutances
Coutances
Coutances is a commune in the Manche department in Normandy in north-western France.-History:Capital of the Unelli, a Gaulish tribe, the town took the name of Constantia in 298 during the reign of Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus...

, near St. Lô, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Further use of napalm by American forces occurred in the Pacific Theater of Operations, where in 1944 - 45, napalm was used as a tactical weapon against Japanese bunkers, pillboxes, tunnels, and other fortifications, especially on Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

, Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima, officially , is an island of the Japanese Volcano Islands chain, which lie south of the Ogasawara Islands and together with them form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The island is located south of mainland Tokyo and administered as part of Ogasawara, one of eight villages of Tokyo...

, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, and Okinawa, where deeply dug-in Japanese troops refused to surrender. Napalm bombs were dropped by aviator
Aviator
An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

s of the U.S. Navy, the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

, and the U.S. Marine Corps in support of their ground troops.

Then, when the U.S. Army Air Forces on the Marianas Islands ran out of conventional thermite
Thermite
Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition of a metal powder and a metal oxide that produces an exothermic oxidation-reduction reaction known as a thermite reaction. If aluminium is the reducing agent it is called an aluminothermic reaction...

 incendiary bombs for its B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

es to drop on Japanese cities, its top commanders, such as General Curtis E. LeMay turned to napalm bombs to continue its fire raids on the large Japanese cities.

In the European Theater of Operations
European Theater of Operations
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army was a United States Army formation which directed U.S. Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the...

 napalm was used by American forces in the siege of La Rochelle
Allied siege of La Rochelle
The Allied siege of La Rochelle occurred during the Second World War in 1944–45, when Allied troops invaded France. La Rochelle was an important German base on the Atlantic, especially a major submarine base from where U-Boat campaigns were launched...

 in April 1945 against German soldiers (and inadvertently French civilians in Royan
Royan
Royan is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department, along the Atlantic Ocean, in southwestern France.A seaside resort, Royan is in the heart of an urban area estimated at 38,638 inhabitants, which makes it the fourth-largest conurbation in the department, after La Rochelle, Rochefort and Saintes...

) - about two weeks before the end of the war.

Napalm B was also used during the Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

 between the Greek Army and Communist rebels. During the last year of this Civil War, 1949, the United States increased its military aid to the Greek Government by introducing a new weapon to finish off the war - napalm B. The first napalm attack in Greece took place on the mountain of Grammos, which was the stronghold of the Communist rebels.

Napalm B was also widely used by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 military forces during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. These Allied ground forces in Korea were frequently outnumbered, and greatly, by their Chinese and North Korean attackers, but the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy naval aviator
Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

s had control of the air over nearly all of the Korean Peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

. Hence, close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 of the ground troops along the border between North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 was vital, and the American and other U.N. aviators turned to napalm B as an important weapon for defending against communist ground attacks.

Usage in warfare


The US Air Force and US Navy used napalm with great effect against all kinds of targets to include troop
Troop
A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron and headed by the troop leader. In many armies a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry section or platoon...

s, tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s, buildings and even railroad tunnels. The effect was not always purely physical as napalm had tangible psychological effects on the enemy as well. During World War II, the U.S. Marines quickly learned that the Japanese soldiers, when threatened with napalm and other incendiary weapons, would abandon positions in which they would fight to the death against other weapons. During the Korean War, the demoralizing effect napalm had on the enemy became apparent when scores of North Korean and Chinese troops began to surrender to aircraft flying overhead. Pilots noted that they saw surviving enemy troops waving white flag
White flag
White flags have had different meanings throughout history and depending on the locale.-Flag of temporary truce in order to parley :...

s on subsequent passes after dropping napalm. The pilots radioed to ground troops and the enemy combatants were captured. Interviews with enemy prisoners of war determined that napalm was the most feared weapon used against them.

More recent uses include: by France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 during the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

 (1946–1954), the Algerian War
Algerian War of Independence
The Algerian War was a conflict between France and Algerian independence movements from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria's gaining its independence from France...

 (1954–1962), the Portuguese Colonial War
Portuguese Colonial War
The Portuguese Colonial War , also known in Portugal as the Overseas War or in the former colonies as the War of liberation , was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974, when the Portuguese regime was...

 (1961–1974) and the Western Sahara War
Western Sahara War
The Western Sahara War was an armed conflict primarily between the Polisario Front and Morocco, the conflict erupted after the withdrawal of Spain from the Spanish Sahara in accordance with the Madrid Accords by which it gave administrative control of the territory to Morocco and Mauritania...

 (1975–1991), in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 (1969), India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (1965 and 1971), Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 used napalm bombs to depopulate entire towns and villages which were converted to military bases in Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 (1964, 1974), by Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 during the Western Sahara War
Western Sahara War
The Western Sahara War was an armed conflict primarily between the Polisario Front and Morocco, the conflict erupted after the withdrawal of Spain from the Spanish Sahara in accordance with the Madrid Accords by which it gave administrative control of the territory to Morocco and Mauritania...

 (1975–1991), Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (1980–88), Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 (1972), Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 (1973), Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (1980–88, 1991, 2003–present), Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 (1993), and by Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 (1982).

"Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine," said Kim Phúc, a napalm bombing survivor known from a famous Vietnam War photograph. "Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (212°F). Napalm generates temperatures of 800 (1,500°F) to 1,200 degrees Celsius (2,200°F)."


A US army source, talking about napalm, reported
‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot - if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so’s to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.’

Effects on people



When used as a part of an incendiary weapon, napalm can cause severe burn
Burn
A burn is an injury to flesh caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, light, radiation, or friction.Burn may also refer to:*Combustion*Burn , type of watercourses so named in Scotland and north-eastern England...

s (ranging from superficial
Superficial
Superficial may refer to:*Superficial , an album by Heidi Montag*"Superficial" *The Superficial, a website devoted to celebrity gossip...

 to subdermal) to the skin and body, asphyxiation, unconsciousness
Unconsciousness
Unconsciousness is the condition of being not conscious—in a mental state that involves complete or near-complete lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli. Being in a comatose state or coma is a type of unconsciousness. Fainting due to a drop in blood pressure and a...

, and death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

. In this implementation, explosions can create an atmosphere of greater than 20% carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

 and firestorm
Firestorm
A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires...

s with self-perpetuating windstorms of up to 70 miles per hour (112.7 km/h).

One of the main anti-personnel features of napalm is that it sticks to human skin, with no practical method for removal of the burning substance.

Napalm is effective against dug-in enemy personnel. The burning incendiary composition flows into foxholes, trench
Trench
A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground. Trenches are generally defined by being deeper than they are wide , and by being narrow compared to their length ....

es and bunker
Bunker
A military bunker is a hardened shelter, often buried partly or fully underground, designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks...

s, and drainage and irrigation ditches and other improvised troop shelters. Even people in undamaged shelters can be killed by hyperthermia
Hyperthermia
Hyperthermia is an elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation. Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate...

/heat stroke, radiant heat, dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

, suffocation
Suffocation
Suffocation is the process of Asphyxia.Suffocation may also refer to:* Suffocation , an American death metal band* "Suffocation", a song on Morbid Angel's debut album, Altars of Madness...

, smoke exposure, or carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

 poisoning. The firebombing
Firebombing
Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs....

 raids on German cities
Strategic bombing during World War II
Strategic bombing during World War II is a term which refers to all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature between 1939 and 1945 involving any nations engaged in World War II...

, e.g. Dresden
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...

 and Hamburg
Bombing of Hamburg in World War II
The Allied bombing of Hamburg during World War II included numerous strategic bombing missions and diversion/nuisance raids. As a large port and industrial center, Hamburg's shipyards, U-boat pens, and the Hamburg-Harburg area oil refineries were attacked throughout the war...

, frequently caused death by this mechanism.

One firebomb released from a low-flying plane can damage an area of 2500 square yard.

International law


International law does not prohibit the use of napalm or other incendiaries against military targets, but use against civilian populations was banned by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons , concluded at Geneva on October 10, 1980 and entered into force in December 1983, seeks to prohibit or restrict the use of certain conventional weapons which are considered excessively injurious or whose effects are indiscriminate.The...

 (CCW) in 1980. Protocol III of the CCW restricts the use of all incendiary weapons, but a number of states have not acceded to all of the protocols of the CCW. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), states are considered a party to the convention, which entered into force as international law in December 1983, if they ratify at least two of the five protocols. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, for example, is a party to the CCW but did not sign protocol III.

See also


  • Early thermal weapons
  • Flame fougasse
    Flame fougasse
    A flame fougasse is a weapon. It is a type of mine which uses an explosive charge to project burning liquid onto a target. The flame fougasse was developed by the Petroleum Warfare Department in Britain as an anti-tank weapon during the invasion crisis of 1940...

  • German Village (Dugway proving ground)
    German Village (Dugway proving ground)
    German Village was the nickname for a range of residential houses constructed in 1943 by the U.S. Army in the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, roughly a hundred kilometers southwest of Salt Lake City....

  • Greek Fire
    Greek fire
    Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning while floating on water....

  • Japanese village
    Japanese village
    Japanese Village was the nickname for a range of residential houses constructed in 1943 by the U.S. army in the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, roughly a southwest of Salt Lake City....

  • M-69 Incendiary cluster bomb
    M-69 Incendiary cluster bomb
    The M-69 incendiary cluster bomb was used to target Japanese cities during World War II. They were nicknamed 'Tokyo Calling Cards'.The bomb used napalm as an incendiary filler, improving on earlier designs which used thermite or magnesium fillers that burnt more intensely but were less...

  • Mark 77 bomb
    Mark 77 bomb
    The Mark 77 bomb is a US 750-lb air-dropped incendiary bomb carrying of a fuel gel mix which is the direct successor to napalm.The MK-77 is the primary incendiary weapon currently in use by the United States military...

  • Phan Thị Kim Phúc
  • Triethylaluminium
    Triethylaluminium
    Triethylaluminium is an organoaluminium compound. This volatile, colorless liquid is highly pyrophoric, igniting immediately upon exposure to air. It is normally stored in stainless steel containers either as a pure liquid or as a solution in hydrocarbon solvents such as hexane, heptane, or ...

  • White phosphorus


External links