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-   -   Vehicle Smoke launchers. (http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.php?t=6150)

ChalkLine 08-18-2020 07:09 PM

Vehicle Smoke launchers.
The standard NATO vehicle smoke launcher is a 66mm grenade. I can't find out what the Soviet standard was on a cursory search. Generally it produces a thick IR-defeating smoke and may or may not be based on white phosphorus. WP smoke grenades are simply WP grenades, there's no difference except they have about three to four times or more the payload of a 40mm WP grenade. As they have a very simple fuzing system they have a larger payload percentage.

However vehicles can also launch CS gas, but that's a niche munition.

Early on and its up to you if you want to reintroduce this but vehicles also had the option of fragmentation munitions for these installations. These were often used in urban fighting or other places where the vehicle might be overrun by hostile infantry. Note that the US M34 WP grenade had a fragmentation jacket.

As a rough guide the standard load for smoke grenades was 32 rounds with four to eight being on each side of the vehicle. Some vehicles expected to fight in urban terrain even had them facing in a 360 arc. These munitions are stored internally.

I'm not quite sure of the firing procedure. I know many installations allowed for single and barrage fire. I hope someone can enlighten us on this.

These little fellas go a long way. Here's a diagram from the M551 showing its arc. As is obvious these things present a very real risk to friendly personnel.


StainlessSteelCynic 08-18-2020 07:40 PM

Some modern smoke grenade launchers for vehicles also have an anti-radar ability, the rounds contain metal flakes to mess up the radar signal.
I don't know when these were introduced into widespread service but it's a safe bet that they become available shortly after the widespread use of ground based radar systems to track foot & vehicle traffic.

There's some examples of the different types available to the US on the following site: -

swaghauler 08-19-2020 10:39 PM

I have played a bit with the older 6-round electrically-fired smoke dischargers they were considering as a retrofit for the M109 and FASV. The system was a self-contained box at the commander's station and for a turret or hull installation contained 6 dischargers on the left side and another 6 on the right side as well. When fired, they would project from 50m to 100m away from the vehicle (I'd roll [1D6+4] X 10m). I know there are also 8 and 12 round Dischargers as well.

The Controller:

The box had a "Master Arm" switch on the right bottom of the box. This switch put electrical power to the system to prevent an "accidental discharge" of the system.

Next to the Master Arm switch was a Discharger Selector switch with "Left" "Right" and a center setting named "All." This switch selected the left-side discharger (turn to the left), the right-side discharger (turn right), or BOTH dischargers at once when on the center "All" setting.

Over the Master Arm, and Selector switches were SIX Toggle switches numbered 1 thru 6. These would allow the individual firing of each of the 6 dischargers on either one side or both sides based on the setting that the Selector Switch was set to. A SEVENTH Toggle switch was offset slightly to the right of the other 6. This set off ALL of the Dischargers at once.

All of the Toggle switches and the Master arm switch had lift-up protective coverings to prevent accidental firing.

The Munitions:

HC Smoke: The basic munition was HC Smoke. US personnel could see through this thick white smoke with thermal imagers.

Dual Spectrum Smoke: This munition contains an aerosol that blocks IR radiation in addition to HC smoke. Lasers, thermal imagers, and IR sights CANNOT SEE THROUGH THIS SMOKE.

Frag Grenades: These were developed to clear sappers off of tanks but they run into the same trap as "Active Protective Systems," they are very dangerous to friendly troops. They usually deploy from 5m to 30m (1D6 X 5m) from the tank and AIRBURST above it.

Emergency Signal Flares: These come in both visible and IR versions and are just like the signal flares fired from flare guns. These are typically issued to Marine vehicles swimming to shore as a visual signal device in case of emergency.

Illuminating Flares: These are just like ILLUM rounds but 66mm and electrically fired.

Chaff Rounds: These are normally issued to AA guns with radar and are designed to perform just like Chaff from an aircraft. They are used to counter HARM missiles.

The Russian SHORTA system: While the IR Dazzlers on the T90 were too fragile and used too much power to port over to other tanks, the smoke dischargers of the SHORTA system were equipped with an aerosol that would block/absorb laser, IR, and thermal emissions. The aerosol was CLEAR and a tank's day sight could still track and fire at targets. The SHORTA system would, however, block laser-guided munitions and laser rangfinders completely. It was fitted to just about every tank the Soviets built in the '80s.

Matsimus also has a video on a newer type of Discharger shown here...


ChalkLine 08-25-2020 12:26 AM

I often see smoke launchers with caps on them attached by chains to the body of the launcher.
Do these have to be removed before combat?

StainlessSteelCynic 08-25-2020 12:56 AM

As I understand it, the chains are there if the launcher is fired before the cap is removed - it stops the cap from flying off and being lost.
Removing the cap before combat would be desirable but not a drama if you can't do it in time.

ChalkLine 08-25-2020 03:34 AM


Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic (Post 84863)
As I understand it, the chains are there if the launcher is fired before the cap is removed - it stops the cap from flying off and being lost.
Removing the cap before combat would be desirable but not a drama if you can't do it in time.

Cool, to be honest this was only for the 1/35 "T2K" models I make. I might just make new tubes and have the caps hanging.

Also it seems the Soviets used an 81mm smoke launcher.

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