Fougasse (weapon)

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For other uses, see Fougasse (disambiguation). Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_0

A fougasse /fuːˈɡɑːs/ is an improvised mortar constructed by making a hollow in the ground or rock and filling it with explosives (originally, black powder) and projectiles. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_1

The fougasse was used by Samuel Zimmermann at Augsburg in the sixteenth century, referred to by Vauban in the seventeenth century, and well known to military engineers by the mid-eighteenth century. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_2

This technique was used in several European wars, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_3

The term is still used to describe such devices. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_4

Firing Fougasse (weapon)_section_0

The normal method of firing was to use a burning torch or slow match to ignite a saucisson (French for "sausage", a cloth or leather tube waterproofed with pitch and filled with black powder) leading to the main charge. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_5

This had numerous disadvantages; the firer was obvious to the attacking enemy, and had to run to get clear after lighting the fuse. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_6

The black powder was also very susceptible to moisture, and might not work at all. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_7

In 1573 Samuel Zimmermann devised an improved method which incorporated a snaphance (or later, flintlock mechanism) into the charge and connected its trigger to the surface with a wire. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_8

This was more resistant to moisture, better concealed and enabled the firer to be further away. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_9

It also enabled the fougasse to be tripwire activated, turning it into an anti-personnel fragmentation mine. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_10

In a letter to his sister, Colonel Hugh Robert Hibbert described such a weapon employed during the Crimean War: Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_11

Types Fougasse (weapon)_section_1

There are several variants according to the material projected by the explosion. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_12

Stone Fougasse (weapon)_section_2

The most common type in early use was the stone fougasse, which was a hole simply filled with large rocks and bricks. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_13

When fired, it would scatter a hail of fast-moving stones across the area to its front. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_14

Large stone fougasses might hold several tons of rubble and as much as a hundredweight of powder. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_15

Shell Fougasse (weapon)_section_3

The shell fougasse was loaded with early black powder mortar shells (essentially a large version of an early black powder hand grenade) or incendiary "carcasses". Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_16

When fired, the powder charge would throw out the shells and ignite their fuses, so the projectiles would be scattered across the target area and then begin exploding, filling the area with fragmentation or flame from all directions in an effect similar to a cluster bomb. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_17

Flame Fougasse (weapon)_section_4

Main article: Flame fougasse Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_18

A flame fougasse was a similar weapon in which the projectile was a flammable liquid, typically a mixture of petrol (gasoline) and oil. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_19

The flame fougasse was developed by the British Petroleum Warfare Department in response to the threat of German invasion during World War II. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_20

In Britain, during WWII, the flame fougasse was usually constructed from a 40-gallon drum dug into the roadside and camouflaged. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_21

It would be placed at a location such as a corner, steep incline or roadblock where vehicles would be obliged to slow down. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_22

Ammonal provided the propellant charge which, when triggered, caused the weapon to shoot a flame 10 feet (3.0 m) wide and 30 yards (27 m) long. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_23

Initially a mixture of 40% petrol and 60% gas oil was used; this was later replaced by an adhesive gel of tar, lime and petrol known as 5B. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_24

The November 1944 issue of the US War Department Intelligence Bulletin refers to 'Fougasse flame throwers' used in the Russian defence at Stalingrad being the basis of a German version found in Italy that were buried with a fixed direction discharge tube and integrated with conventional landmines and barbed wire in defense works. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_25

The German weapon, the Abwehrflammenwerfer 42 had an 8-gallon fuel tank and the seven in the installation were wired back to a control point and could be fired individually or together. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_26

The flame fougasse has remained in army field manuals as a battlefield expedient. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_27

Such expedients are constructed from available fuel containers combined with standard explosive charges or hand grenades triggered electrically or by lengths of detonating cord. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_28

Some designs use lengths of detonating cord or blasting caps to rupture the fuel container as well as detonate the main charge. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_29

Weapons of this sort were widely used in the Korean and Vietnam wars as well as other conflicts. Fougasse (weapon)_sentence_30

See also Fougasse (weapon)_section_5

Fougasse (weapon)_unordered_list_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: (weapon).