Surface Pyrotechnics and Projectors, Ordnance Pamphlet 1177, 1945, describes modified fireworks used by surface ships, submarines and merchant ships.
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This publication is RESTRICTED and will be handled in accordance with
Article 16, United States Navy Regulations 1920.
BUREAU OF ORDNANCE
WASHINGTON 25. D. C.
19 January 1945
RESTRICTED ORDNANCE PAMPHLET 1177 SURFACE PYROTECHNICS AND PROJECTORS
1. Ordnance Pamphlet 1177 describes all Bureau of Ordnance pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic projectors issued to surface ships, submarines, and merchant ships. It also includes a section on ground pyrotechnics issued to the Marine Corps by the Navy and by Army Ordnance.
2. This pamphlet supersedes the following publications, which should be destroyed: Ordnance Pamphlets 725 and 725A; Ordnance Circular Letters A33-42, A28-43, A45-43, A56-43, A63-43, and D-253; and Ordnance Technical Instructions A4-44. Chemical smoke munitions previously described in Ordnance Pamphlet 725 are not included in this pamphlet, but are described in Ordnance Pamphlet 1042. Aircraft pyrotechnics are covered in Ordnance Pamphlet 998.
3. This publication is RESTRICTED and shall be safeguarded in accordance with the security provisions of U. S. Navy Regulations, 1920, Articles 75 1/2 and 76.
G. F. HUSSEY, JR. Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance
1. Pyrotechnics used by the United States Navy are modifications of fireworks displays used for signaling, marking, or illuminating objects in tactical operation.
Each display has an operational function indicated by its color, pattern, or effect.
Pyrotechnic equipment consists of various types of ammunition and the proper firing device for each.
Some types of surface pyrotechnics are fired from pistols, from mortar-type projectors, or are ejected from submerged submarines by means of compressed air. Other types can be launched by hand, while still others, when mounted on the bridge of a ship, are ignited by lanyard.
2. The effectiveness of pyrotechnics is generally dependent on three major factors: design, position, and the atmospheric conditions prevailing at the time of use. Variations of design govern the candlepower of the flare or signal, the color produced by the charge, and the continuity of the burning pyrotechnic candle. The color and reflective characteristics of the objective often affect the visibility of pyrotechnics. Open ground, such as an airfield, will reflect three to four times as much light as will woods or deep water. Position, distance, relative position, background, or the angle of observation also alter visibility; while the degree of light or darkness, fog, haze, or other atmospheric conditions have self-evident effects.
Relation of Design to Visibility
3. Candlepower, length and continuity of burning, and color are given careful consideration in the design of pyrotechnics, as all three affect visibility. Each item of ammunition contains a pyrotechnic candle, the design and chemical formula of which governs the candlepower
(amount of light given off by a unit weight of candle) and the length and continuity of burning. A short, thick candle gives greater illumination for a shorter time than a long, thin candle of equal weight. The latter burns for a longer time but with less brilliance. Color plays an important part in the design of pyrotechnics, as the eye is most sensitive to colors in the middle spectrum. For example, reds and yellows have greater visibility through haze and fog than do other colors.
Relation of Position to Visibility
4. Another factor determining visibility is the position of the pyrotechnic flare in relation to the objective and the observer. Light value varies in inverse proportion to the square of its distance from the objective. For example, a light placed one foot from an object illuminates that object four times as much as a light placed two feet from the same object. Except when the observer is temporarily blinded by the glare of a signal, the Closer a flare is to the objective the greater will be the illumination.
A flare above and behind the observer will illuminate nearby objects only and will be useless for long-range observation. A flare midway between the observer and the objective will lose effectiveness because of the distance the light must travel from it to the objective and back to the observer. A flare placed behind the objective and almost in the line of vision will be useful in silhouetting the objective, especially under conditions of slight haze. Backgrounds which offer contrast in color or brightness increase visibility, while non-contrasting backgrounds reduce it materially. The angle of observation is governed by the same principle as that which governs the use of mirrors; i.e. although light is diffused equally in all directions from an unpolished surface, the angle at which it leaves a polished surface equals the angle at which it strikes. The following table will serve to show relative visibility and may be used as a guide.
CANDLEPOWER OF LIGHT NECESSARY FOR VISIBILITY AT 5,000 YARDS
Night, light rain
Night, overcast and haze
Night, heavy rain
Night, light snow
Day, overcast and haze
The above table is based on a fixed distance; any variations due to distance may be calculated by using the inverse square formula above.
Effect of Atmospheric Conditions on Visibility
5. Dust, humidity, moisture, or smoke will affect pyrotechnic visibility. The reds and yellows will be affected to a lesser degree than the greens and blues. Heavy fog, snow, or rain may totally obscure pyrotechnic lights, even at short range; and sky background may materially alter both color and distinctness. For example, when a signal is placed between the observer and the sun, a different effect will be obtained than when the observer is between the sun and the signal. Greater reflection is also apparent when low-hanging clouds prevail.
6. Pyrotechnic ammunition includes flares, markers, identification signals, and illuminating or smoke-producing grenades. Colored smoke signals will also be included in this pamphlet as pyrotechnic ammunition. These items are mixtures of chemicals in powdered or solid form, packed in suitable cartridges or containers, and designed to produce certain visual effects in day or night operations. Standard ammunition contains one or more of the following ingredients:
(a) A fuel, or burning agent, usually one of the compounds of aluminum or magnesium
(b) An oxygen supplier, one or more of the chlorates, nitrates, etc.
(c) Coloring agents, such as the salts of barium, copper, or strontium
(d) A binding agent, such as asphalt, paraffin, or other compound
In some instances barium chlorate may act as both a coloring agent and an oxygen supplier. When using any item of ammunition, the proper firing mechanism or method of launching must be employed.
7. Pyrotechnic firing devices are of three types: projectors, ejectors, and pistols. Projectors are usually of the mortar type, muzzle-loaded and set off by contacting a firing pin with the primer on the propelling charge in the ammunition. Ejectors, used in submarines, are operated by compressed air in a manner similar to the operation of torpedo tubes. Several types of pistols are used in pyrotechnics. Some ammunition is self-igniting and needs no firing mechanism other than a lanyard or trip wire to release a self-contained firing pin against the primer. Grenades and hand-launched flares are ignited by releasing the safety lever when throwing or casting overboard.
Care of Firing Devices
8. The general rules of ordnance maintenance apply to pyrotechnic firing devices. Climatic conditions may affect them, however, and in arctic zones it is recommended that very little lubrication be used, as the oil may thicken and cause sluggish action. All firing devices must be cleaned after each use, and must be kept in serviceable condition at all times.
Chapter 2 STOWAGE AND HANDLING
9. The Bureau of Ordnance Manual, Chapter XIV, Article 14C14, covering the stowage of explosives and applying specifically to pyrotechnic items, gives the following instructions:
(a) Pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic ammunition (except illuminating projectiles) shall be stowed in cool, dry magazines below decks, preferably above the water line; or in special pyrotechnic lockers located on the weather decks of surface vessels. Submarines shall stow pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic ammunition in approved designated places.
(b) If the quantity of any type of pyrotechnic ammunition be large, it shall be stowed separately from other types of pyrotechnics.
(c) That part of signaling pyrotechnics for boats shall be packed in watertight boxes, and may be stowed in boats as required by existing instructions.
(d) Certain materials classed as pyrotechnics, such as illuminating elements of illuminating projectiles and tracer (flame or smoke) for projectiles, and fuses which are assembled to go with such ammunition, do not require separate storage as pyrotechnics, but are stored with the ammunition with which assembled.
(e) . . . smoke signals shall be stored in cool, dry locations above decks, owing to difficulty of combating objectionable smoke in case of fire.
Pyrotechnic stowage on board ship, at depots, and at stations, shall be so selected that the stowage temperature shall not exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Pyrotechnics should be stowed in the boxes or watertight containers in which they are supplied, wherever possible. When necessary to remove pyrotechnic ammunition from boxes for ready service, the individual items should be placed so as to be
protected from direct sunlight or any excessive heat, and from spray or moisture.
Hazards and Safety Precautions
10. The following information is from the Bureau of Ordnance Manual.
(a) Pyrotechnic ammunition is more subject to deterioration than some other types of ammunition, and some types are liable to spontaneous ignition if exposed to moisture, high temperatures, or rough handling.
(b) Pyrotechnic ammunition is in general a fire hazard and forms a very hot fire, difficult to extinguish. Almost all types furnish their own oxygen upon combustion; but large volumes of water and copious dousing may serve to cool the materials, or at least adjacent materials, below the ignition temperature.
(c) Because of the different types of pyrotechnic ammunition, and the kind of pyrotechnic effects required, numerous substances of various stabilities and sensitivities enter into the compositions. Nitrate mixes are fairly insensitive. Mixes containing chlorate or mixes containing red phosphorous are very sensitive. Mixes containing chlorate and sulphur are subject to spontaneous ignition. Mixtures containing powdered aluminum or magnesium are subject to explosion in fire.
The best protection against accident is cool, dry stowage, careful handling, and protection against shock or continual movement caused by the roll of the ship.
11. Smoking or carrying lighted cigars, pipes, or cigarettes is not permitted in or near magazines in which pyrotechnics are stowed. Similarly, carrying open lights, matches, or spark-producing articles is prohibited. When pyrotechnic items are removed from the
magazine for use, the above rules must be enforced, not only in areas through which they are carried, but in areas where they are placed on deck preparatory to firing. Pyrotechnic ammunition must be kept clean of dirt and dust. Any foreign substances must be removed carefully before the items are stowed or fired.
12. The foregoing instructions from the Bureau of Ordnance Manual refer to ship stowage, but apply with equal weight to storage of pyrotechnics ashore. In shore placement of magazines, or temporary dumps ashore, the following tables should be used as a guide:
MINIMUM DISTANCE FROM
MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF MATERIAL IN ONE MAGAZINE OR STOW
SMOKELESS POWDER OR MAGAZINE
143,000 lbs. of contained explosive
Wherever possible, the following distances should be kept:
DISTANCE FROM NEAREST
MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF MATERIAL IN ONE MAGAZINE OR STOW
SMOKELESS POWDER OR MAGAZINE
500,000 lbs. gross weight of items*
* This figure includes the weight of pyrotechnics and their containers.
Pyrotechnic ammunition, with its combustible ingredients, demands careful dispersal in several stows, either aboard ship or ashore. Items should be separated according to type, color, and lot number, wherever practicable.
Issue, Custody and Reports
13. The issue of pyrotechnics for fleet activities is covered in the Bureau of Ordnance Manual under sections 2B and 2C. These sections state that Naval Ammunition Depots and Magazines shall supply, on request, materials to fill allowances as established or approved by the Bureau of Ordnance. In requesting pyrotechnic ammunition, it is essential that the correct nomenclature be used. In cases where several colors are available in items bearing the same Mark, the desired colors must also be specified. Written requests should be made to the Bureau of Ordnance for pyrotechnics in excess of allowances, and for items not on the allowance lists. Requests from overseas activities should be screened through the appropriate Area or
Force Commander. Issue to ships will be made in accordance with allowance lists; but issue for overseas shipment and shore activities will be made in full container, quantities only. In issuing pyrotechnic items every effort should be made to:
(a) Issue the oldest lot on hand first.
(b) Issue and ship in full lot quantities wherever possible.
Semi-annual reports of all pyrotechnic ammunition on hand are to be submitted to the Bureau of Ordnance on NAVORD FORM 41b by all ships and all shore activities not on the Ammunition Stock-Recording System. For instructions for filling out these forms, see NAVORD OCL X12-44 and NAVORD FORM 41. It is necessary that not only the lot number but the contract number and the manufacturer's initials be given in these reports.
Allowances and Expenditures
14. Allowance lists for pyrotechnic items have been established for all classes of ships. These
allowances may be varied by Force or Type Commanders to meet requirements of actual operations. In such variances, however, care must be taken not to exceed the weight, stability, and immersion limits established by the Bureau of Ships. Ordnance Equipment Lists have been prepared for a majority of ships, establishing the limit weight of pyrotechnics normally carried. These weights must not be exceeded. No training allowances have been established, and all pyrotechnics may be considered available for routine use in tactical and gunnery exercises and in navigational problems.
Conservation of Ammunition
15. When pyrotechnic ammunition is exposed to moisture, malfunctioning may result. Some items are packed in moisture proof containers, the seals of which must not be broken until the time of actual use. Should the item remain unused, it should be dried before returning it to its container. Loose rounds must be placed in dry containers before returning them to stowage. Careful handling is essential at all times.
Disposition of Defective Ammunition
16. When so directed by the Bureau of Ordnance, pyrotechnic items may be disposed of in one of two ways: dumping overboard or burning. Dumping must be done at least ten miles off shore and in water at least 100 fathoms deep. This method is preferred to burning. Certain items must always be dumped, while others may be either dumped or burned. This list of such restrictions will be found under the paragraphs covering dumping and burning. Photoflash bombs and other pyrotechnic items not listed herein shall be disposed of in accordance with specific Bureau of Ordnance instructions.
17. As described above, pyrotechnic ammunition must be dumped in at least 100 fathoms of water and not less than ten miles from shore. Before dumping, all material must be removed from wood packing boxes, crates, mailing tubes, or sheet metal containers. Extreme caution must be taken to prevent accidental ignition of the loose ammunition made ready for dumping.
Obsolete or deteriorated pyrotechnic ammunition can be ignited by rough handling. As a further precaution, it is also advisable to shield other ammunition on deck in case of accident. All ammunition items which have a tendency to float must be dumped in weighted sacks or perforated metal containers. The following items must always be dumped, never burned:
(a) Ships Emergency Identification Signals.
(b) Submarine Emergency Identification Signals.
The above items should be punctured at least twice to insure sinking. They may be perforated through the ogive caps, or pierced through the metal bodies within two inches of the caps. In puncturing Submarine Emergency Identification Signals, extreme caution should be observed to prevent accidental firing of the primers or the inner grenades.
(c) All pistol rocket signals, when dumped, must have end caps removed unless placed in weighted sacks or perforated containers.
(d) Submarine Emergency Identification Flares Mks 10, 11, and 12, and Mods.
(e) White Marine Type Rockets Mk 1 must be placed in weighted sacks to be dumped.
(f) Trip Flares M48.
(g) Snowflake Rockets.
(h) Ground Signals (U. S. Army Ordnance).
(i) 60-mm Illuminating Shells.
(j) Hand Illuminating Grenades Mk 1.
(k) High-Altitude Parachute Flares.
18. When burning deteriorated or obsolete pyrotechnic ammunition, similar precautions to those stated in paragraph 15 must be taken. It is also essential that the following safety measures be observed:
(a) A suitable site must be selected at least 1,000 yards from any magazine, inhabited building, public highway, or public railroad.
(b) An incinerator must be used, or a pit dug, which will prevent fragments from flying in case detonation occurs.
(c) The material to be disposed of should be separated and burned in small quantities, and
the incinerator or pit bottom must be allowed to cool before each lot is burned.
(d) It is imperative that material being prepared for burning be kept at least 200 feet away from the incinerator, or pit; and personnel must not be stationed at or near what is awaiting disposal.
(e) A barricade should be erected to protect the personnel conducting the burning operations.
(f) Adequate firebreaks should be erected, and fire-fighting equipment should be on hand to protect nearby property.
(g) Rocket-type pyrotechnic ammunition must never be burned.
19. The following pyrotechnic ammunition items must always be burned and never disposed of by dumping:
(a) Target Rocket Flares Mk 1 and Mods.
(b) Float Flares Mk 15 and Mods.
These flares should be burned singly in an upright position.
(c) Night Drift Signals AN Mk 4 and AN Mk 5 and Mods.
(d) Float Lights Mk 6 and Mods.
Metal parts remaining after burning should be salvaged for scrap, if in sufficient quantities to be practicable.
Material Burned or Dumped
20. Unless on the lists in paragraphs 17 and 19, items of pyrotechnic ammunition may be either burned or dumped. Dumping is usually preferred, because it involves less preparation and
hazard. The following list of items may be either dumped or burned:
(a) Signal Lights, which should be placed in weighted sacks if dumped.
(b) Hand, Smoke, White Grenades HC AN–M8.
(c) Hand, Smoke, or Colored Grenades M-16 and M-18.
(d) Aircraft Parachute Flares Mks 4, 5, 6, 8, and AN–M26, which must be burned singly in an upright position as in paragraph 17 (b), as flares occasionally detonate.
(e) Aircraft Parachute Signals M11.
(f) Slick-Marker Cartridges Mk 1, which must be placed in weighted sacks, if dumped.
(g) Aircraft Signal Cartridges Mk 3 Mod 3, Mk 4, AN–M28 to AN–M33, AN–M37 to AN–M45, and AN–M53 to AN–M58, all must be dumped in weighted sacks.
(h) Tow Target Flares Mk 1.
(i) Trip Wire Flares Mk 1.
(j) Trip Flares M49.
(k) Day Depth Charge Markers Mk 1 Mod 1, which must be placed in weighted sacks, if dumped.
(l) Night Depth Charge Markers Mk 2 must be dumped after both tear strips have been removed.
(m) One-inch Salutes, which must be placed in weighted sacks if dumped.
(n) Ignition Cartridges for Snowflake and Miniature Practice Bomb Signal Mk 4. It is necessary that these be burned in a special pit having tube and baffles, similar to that used for primers and small-arms ammunition.
(o) Aircraft Engine Starter Cartridges.
(p) Distress Smoke Hand Signal.
Chapter 3 SURVEILLANCE
21. This chapter implements the Bureau of Ordnance Manual, which requires periodic data on pyrotechnic performance of all lots in service in order to secure the rate of deterioration and to identify the causes of any failures. The following excerpts are quoted as essential.
From Section 12C12, "Included in the category of explosives . . . are, . . . fireworks and pyrotechnics, . . ."
From Section 12C12, "(a) Surveillance (General) as used in these instructions, means close observation, rigid inspection, careful examination, and thorough testing, ... of (pyrotechnics) by the method and in the manner prescribed for each specific material in order to determine the suitability of the material for the intended purpose or for its safety for further storage.
"Surveillance applies not only to the (pyrotechnic) elements themselves, but also to methods of handling, packing, marking, storing, segregation, and shipping; to condition of containers, and to reports of conditions; and in general all precautions and instructions tending to protect property and personnel against the hazards inherent . . ."
"(b) Officers to familiarize themselves with the practical methods of examination and tests -Officers charged with the care of (pyrotechnics) shall thoroughly familiarize themselves with the practical methods of making such examinations and tests and shall be held responsible for the accuracy thereof and for the correctness of the official reports thereon. In order that the tests may be of value, . . . (in determining the rate of deterioration and the causes of failures), it is essential that the methods in all details shall be uniform throughout the service, and those charged with this duty must follow strictly the prescribed methods."
From 13G5, "Surveillance (Specific) (a) All lots of pyrotechnic ammunition shall be
inspected at least once a year. The inspection shall include an examination of packing boxes and containers and the opening of one or more containers for examination of individual rounds, which, if satisfactory, shall be carefully repacked and sealed.
(Reports of abnormal conditions shall be rendered to the Bureau of Ordnance.)
(b) (This paragraph is implemented by the following text)"
22. Performance Data Cards will be prepared in check-off form and packed in each container with all new production, so that performance can be checked off by the user and the report forwarded direct to the Bureau. This will eliminate the paperwork now necessary for recording, composing, and typing the reports required, and provide more complete data. Fig. 1 shows a typical data card.
(a) These forms schedule a minimum amount of surveillance firing, preferably contemporaneous service firing. This minimum is necessarily set with practical considerations of consumption and economy in mind, and accepts a certain degree of inaccuracy in the estimates of quality. Therefore, the more that service firings are reported by users, the more accurately the Bureau can operate in their behalf. Although it is not required that the performance of every round fired be reported, it is expected that users will recognize that check-offs on every round reasonably possible, forwarded to the Bureau, will lead to better pyrotechnic performance in the future.
(b) For some time to come, the current stocks, packed without forms, will be in use. For these it will be necessary to use the basic form (NAVORD FORM 1187) according to directions given in the "INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE OF PYROTECHNIC AMMUNITION PERFORMANCE DATA CARDS, " (NAVORD
Figure 1.-Typical Data Card (Front and Back)
FORM 1187A). Requests for these forms should be submitted on NAVORD FORM 1 to the nearest Ordnance Publications Distribution Center.
Ship Procedure for Suspect Material
23. When testing, if one or more duds occur, a label giving particulars (see Fig. 2), should be affixed to each remaining round or container of that lot. This suspect material should be turned in for replacement at the first opportunity.
A. For Suspect Material Returned by Ships:
24. Naval Ammunition Depots and Naval Magazines will handle such returns as follows:
(a) Inspect each item for label properly filled out and secured to the round or the container. Verify the lot description marked on the label.
(b) Replace, if required, from an unrestricted lot.
(c) Segregate the returned rounds. Restrict the issue of any other rounds of that lot which may be in stock.
(d) Notify the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, giving full particulars, and requesting disposition.
B. Procedure for Surveillance Firings from Pyrotechnic Lots in Stocks at Naval Ammunition Depots, Magazines, and other Stores Facilities:
Lots in stock more than two years beyond the dates of manufacture marked on each round shall be subjected to performance surveillance and reported according to their Performance Data Cards, except the number tested shall be guided by the Sequential Test Plan shown by charts. See Fig. 3.
These charts utilize the law of probability, to distinguish between "good" and "bad" lots with the minimum of firing.
Figure 2.-Label for Suspect Material
Figure 3-Sequential Test Charts
The two curves in the lower chart show the probability of acceptance and the average sample size respectively for lots of various percentages defective which might be encountered. The test should be guided by plotting on the upper chart as each round is tested, stopping the test as soon as either the rejection or the acceptance line is crossed.
The following expression of the chart in tabular form condenses the idea, and may be used as an alternative.
NUMBER OF FAILURES
NUMBER OF ROUNDS FIRED
INDETERMINATE (CONTINUE TESTING)
5 or less
6 or more
10 or less
11 or more
14 or less
15 or more
6 or less
7 to 18
19 or more
11 or less
12 to 21
22 or more
15 or less
16 to 24
25 or more
25 or less
Authorization for Disposition
25. The Bureau of Ordnance will estimate the actual quality, from all analogous data on the lot, and if data are insufficient, will specify a definitive sequential test to determine final disposition, and will, by Ordnance Circular Letters, promulgate lists of lots found defective by surveillance.
Figure 4.-Ships Emergency Identification Signal Mk 4 (Chameleon Signal) and Star Signal Mk 1