Seeking info on WWII flare useage

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JustinR
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Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby JustinR » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:30 pm

Today at the antique store in Ft. Wayne, IN, I picked up a 37mm MK IV signal cartridge (expended) with an August 1943 manufacture date. As far as I can figure out, it's a yellow tracer with red and yellow starburst round according to the red and yellow rings on the tube.

My google-fu is failing. Does anyone know or have a US manual that details WWII flare useage for communication? I know that the M8 flare gun had lugs to lock into a port in the aircraft hull (sextant port maybe?) for communicating things like wounded crew to airfield personnel before landing. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby randy » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:38 am

I know that in some cases, the colors of a flare cluster were used as recognition codes, particularly with ships. You had a specific color combination to put up, sometimes changing daily, other times for a one time use.

Some discussion on flare usage by the 8th AF here

Flares were also sometimes used to signal take off (such as when all aircraft of a bomber wing were rev'ed up and waiting for the go signal), or to signal a scramble at forward deployed fighter bases. Kept radio traffic to a minimum and denied German SIGINT troops as much of a warning as to what was coming as possible.

Also used by land forces as a prearranged signal for attack, begin artillery barrage, or cease artillery fire as the troops were ready to make their final assault. Could also be a signal that a particular objective had been achieved.
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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby JustinR » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:18 am

Thanks Randy. I did see another reference to the flare codes/meaning changing daily, so that would make more sense as to why I didn't find anything concrete in my search. The Gun Counter comes through again. :)
"The armory was even better. Above the door was a sign: You dream, we build." -Mark Owen, No Easy Day

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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby Steamforger » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:23 am

I haven't done it yet but see if you can google up a WWII-ish "GMG3&2."

I can check my WW II editions of the Bluejacket's Manual at work tomorrow.

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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby JustinR » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:52 pm

Steamforger wrote:I haven't done it yet but see if you can google up a WWII-ish "GMG3&2."

I can check my WW II editions of the Bluejacket's Manual at work tomorrow.


That was interesting reading! I tried to find some of the other manuals referenced, and was only partially successful. Still haven't found a chart or guide "if X happens, you shoot Y colored flare."
"The armory was even better. Above the door was a sign: You dream, we build." -Mark Owen, No Easy Day

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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby Steamforger » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:16 pm

I also have an AO 3&2 here somewhere. I'll take a look when I have a moment.

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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby JustinR » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:52 am

Picture...
image.jpg
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"The armory was even better. Above the door was a sign: You dream, we build." -Mark Owen, No Easy Day

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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby Steamforger » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:12 am

The best I can come up with is it is a 2 star (Red, Amber) flare with a amber tracer.

I did find a list of color combinations buried in a forum somewhere, but can't seem to reproduce those exact results. Attached is a pic of similar.
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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby toad » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:11 am

Flares from aircraft were also used for dead recogining . The navigator would fire a flare and watch it as it fell to get wind drift estimates. Also some would float for a while and he could get a differential between the Aircraft and the water. These were usually single color flares though. Battle field illumination with parachute flares continued.
During the Viet war the Air Force tried to develop a "Frisbee flare" as a cheaper alternative to the parachute flare.

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Re: Seeking info on WWII flare useage

Postby 308Mike » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:30 pm

The next time I run across my NATOPS manual for the CH-46, I'll try to remember to take a look inside to see if it has anything on the use of flares.
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