Means of Delivery
Smoke can be delivered to the target in numerous ways, from artillery and aircraft to grenades and generators. Your choice of delivery means will be determined by the amount of smoke needed, the distance to the target, and the availability of resources.
The field artillery provides effective systems for rapidly placing smoke on distant targets. They use HC, WP, and RP projectiles.
Use artillery-delivered smokes to--
- Obscure enemy observers and target acquisition and guidance systems (for example, CLOS ATGMs).
- Isolate or segregate enemy formations.
In projecting smoke onto the battlefield, the field artillery uses three types of missions: quick smoke, immediate smoke, and special smoke.
The objective of a quick smoke mission is to obscure the enemy's vision or to conceal maneuver elements. The quick smoke mission equates to the normal HE adjust fire mission. Obscuring the enemy is required, but the urgency of the situation does not require immediate smoke procedures. Use a quick smoke mission to screen a small area of 150 to 600 meters for a period of 4 to 15 minutes.
The objective of an immediate smoke mission is to obscure the enemy's vision immediately. Use an immediate smoke mission to obscure a point of 150 meters or less within 30 seconds for 1½ to 5 minutes.
The objective of a special smoke mission is to conceal a large area to protect or conceal maneuver forces for an extended period of time. Consider a special smoke mission when the size of the cloud makes a quick smoke mission impractical. This type of screen can vary from 400 to 2,400 meters in length. Table 11 lists characteristics of artillery smoke munitions.
Mortars can provide good initial smoke coverage because of their high rate of fire, but their small basic load limits the size and duration of the cloud they can provide. They are the most rapid and effective indirect smoke delivery means available to the maneuver commander.
Use mortar-delivered smokes to obscure enemy observers and target acquisition and guidance systems, such as CLOS ATGMs, and to isolate or segregate enemy formations.
Table 12, below, lists characteristics of mortar-delivered smoke munitions.
AH/1S and AH-60 helicopters can deliver smoke munitions using the Hydra 70 rocket launcher system. The Hydra 70 fires a 2.75-inch rocket, which has a WP warhead (M156).
Use helicopter-delivered rockets to--
- Identify/mark targets for CAS aircraft and artillery.
- Obscure enemy observers and ATGM and air defense (AD) systems.
Table 13 lists characteristics of attack helicopter-delivered smoke rockets.
The M52 helicopter smoke generating system is still in the US Army inventory, but in January 1982 the Army Materiel Command (AMC) type classified it as Standard B. However, it is a very effective smoke delivery method against a low-technology enemy or one with limited air defense assets. The system contains a fog oil tank, an electrical pump to transfer fog oil to the spray apparatus, and jets on a spray ring to direct the fog oil into a hot exhaust. There, the oil is vaporized into a thick, dense, white smoke.
The UH1 helicopter is the airframe for this system. It is effective when the UH1 flies at speeds less than 90 knots and at heights not to exceed 50 feet; this makes the helicopter extremely vulnerable to air defense systems. This system has application for uses in various low-intensity conflict operations (for example, counternarcotics operations, peacetime contingency operations, and counterinsurgency operations) when the enemy has relatively few air defense systems.
Table 14 lists the characteristics of aircraft-delivered smoke.
Rifle grenades can deliver to point and area targets up to 350 meters away from individual soldiers. The M203 and M79 grenade launchers and the MK19 automatic grenade launcher all can fire smoke grenades. The smoke cartridges include the M713 red smoke, M715 smoke green smoke, and M716 yellow smoke cartridges.
Use rifle grenades to--
- Obscure snipers, enemy fighting positions, and heavy weapon emplacements.
- Provide immediate suppressive smoke to degrade enemy weapon guidance links or tracking.
- Conceal the movement of small tactical units (squad or smaller).
Table 15, lists the characteristics of the 40-millimeter grenade launcher.
Smoke Pots and Smoke Hand Grenades
Smoke pots produce large volumes of white or grayish-white smoke for extended periods. They are the small-unit commander's primary means of producing small-area screening smoke. Pots are necessary for employing smoke on water, as the M4A2 floating HC smoke pot is the only smoke-producing system that floats.
Emplace smoke pots by hand, drop them from vehicles or helicopters, use them as a field expedient, or fasten them to the outside of armored vehicles. Ignite smoke pots either manually (M4A2 and ABC-M5) at the emplacement site or electrically from remote positions (ABC- M5 only). The pots can be fired individually, simultaneously, or in a long-burning chain. Smoke pots are used by all services.
Table 16 lists the characteristics of US Standard A smoke pots.
The M4A2 smoke pot must be vented for five minutes within 24 hours prior to ignition. Vent each M4A2 pot by folding back the tape from at least two of the emission holes.
Smoke Hand Grenades
Smoke hand grenades produce either white smoke or colored smoke for short periods of time. Because they only produce small amounts of smoke, smoke hand grenades are not effective for screening smokes for units larger than one or two squads. Emplace smoke hand grenades by hand or manually ignite them with a trip wire. This technique is effective to deceive the enemy with a diversion. The average soldier can throw a grenade 30 to 35 meters. White smoke grenades are most often used to conceal individual vehicles; colored smoke grenades are used to mark or spot positions. All services have and use smoke grenades
Table 17, below, lists current smoke hand grenades and their characteristics.
The mechanical smoke generator is a device that vaporizes smoke generator fog oil number 2 (SGF2). The vapor released condenses in the air as a white smoke. Currently, mechanical smoke generators are the only large-area smoke devices type classified Standard A. Table 18 lists generator systems and their characteristics.
Armored Vehicle Grenade Launchers
Three types of launchers for tanks and armored reconnaissance vehicles are designed to rapidly generate small amounts of smoke to conceal or screen individual vehicles. The vehicle commander launches the grenades as soon as he is fired upon, so the driver can take evasive action behind the smoke. The launchers fire either AN-M8 HC and M34 WP grenades (M176 launchers) or L8A1 RP and M76 IR grenades (M239 launchers).
Table 19 gives the characteristics of these self-defense grenades.
Vehicle Engine Exhaust System
The VEESS is a vehicle-mounted smoke system that produces smoke by vaporizing fuel with the exhaust system. Vehicles that currently have the VEESS include the AVLB, CEV, M88A1, M60, Ml, M2, and M3 families of combat vehicles.
In a heavy brigade-size combined arms force scenario, the VEESS provides a significant reduction (up to 20 percent) in the vulnerability of M1s, M2/3s, and Improved Tow vehicles. When our forces use the VEESS, the lethality of BMPs from the 1- to 2- kilometer range decreases as much as 80 percent. In summary, the lethality of enemy tanks decreases about 20 percent at close range. Self-defense smoke provides significant protection in the close battle.
Safety with smoke and smoke delivery systems depends primarily on two things: characteristics of the smoke and safety for the weapon or delivery systems. Tables 20 and 21 identify safety constraints and measures for US smoke and delivery systems.
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