|Country of Origin||United States|
|Explosive Charge||425g white phosphorous|
Contributor: C. Peter Chenww2dbaseThe M15 grenades were initially used during WW2. They each contain 425 grams of white phosphorous with the burn time of about 60 seconds at the very high temperature of over 2,600 degrees Celsius. The typical soldier could throw the grenade at the range of about 30 meters, and the grenade's damage radius was about 9 meters. The delay time for the typical M6 or M206 fuses was about 4.5 seconds. They were intended to be screening weapons, hiding infantry movements with the dense smoke generated by the white phosphorous content, but they were also often used as an extremely effective weapon against enemy infantrymen. In this anti-infantry role, they were notably used in great numbers against Japanese bunkers and caves in the Pacific theater of war, either to burn or to drive out the defenders. About 5,800,000 M15 grenades were produced by Dec 1945.
After WW2, the M16 variant was developed. One distinguishing feature of the M16 grenades was the multitude of colors of smoke available: green, orange, red, violet, yellow, black, and blue; it was later reduced to only green, red, violet, and yellow. Later, M34 grenades were introduced, making the weapon compatible with M2 grenade launchers, along with other improvements.
This weapon was at times casually referred to as "Willy Pete", which was derived from white phosphorous.
Sources: FAS.org, Wikipedia ww2dbase
Last Major Revision: Aug 2017
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945