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Star shell
Topic Rating: +1 (1 votes) 
2012/08/31
5:45am
Raffee
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Are those shells used to illuminate the battlefields called 'star shells'? Or are they still?

2012/08/31
7:28am
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That is the first definition from a WWI history site when I google it. I do not know why they still would not call them that unless it was a rocket or flare gun launched. 'Shell' tends to imply artillery.

2012/08/31
8:01am
Raffee
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I failed to express myself clearly when I asked the question. Actually I meant that 'there are some bullets used to illuminate the battlefield' (There were some in the war between my country and Iraq). Reading 'A Farewell to Arms' I noticed that star shells worked similarly. Now I wanted to know whether the star shells are a kind of those 'illuminating' bullets or they are the bullets themselves.( But as I see here, they are just related to the WWI.) So, I would thank anyone who tells me the name.

2012/08/31
8:17am
Ulan Bator
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"Illuminated bullets" sounds like what i think of as "tracers."

2012/09/01
3:54pm
Bob Bridges
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Yes, but tracers aren't used to illuminate the battlefield, just to help guide your fire.  Star shells, I gather, are essentially flares on a parachute; they're fired into the air and then hang there giving lots of light.

(Actually, I'm just assuming about the parachute; how else would they hang in the air?)

I don't know how bullets would be used to illuminate the battlefield.  If tracers are what's meant, maybe they just "illuminate" the shooter's understanding of where the bullets are going.

2012/09/02
4:45am
Raffee
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Ulan Bator said
"Illuminated bullets" sounds like what i think of as "tracers."

As Bod said, they are just "to help you guide your fire".

So, I think 'star shell' is the equivalent of what we, Iranians, literally know as 'illuminator'.  

2012/09/03
10:28am
jeffO3
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…i know something about this… with in the past 5 years…  the answer depends upon in which branch of the service you are serving in…(shocker there hahaha)… a "star shell" is a common term used in the US Navy…

 

in the Army it is called an "illumination round"… i worked with an E8 (First SGT)  who was an expert mortar-man, if a target was in range, his company could drop a round in the target's back pocket… His unit used 81mm mortars and some larger caliber mortars…   the hot burning gas from the chemical reaction makes 'light' and hot gas fills the parachute (hot gas rises/lighter than air) above the burning round as to keep the round falling slower, hence "a longer lasting light"

2012/09/03
7:25pm
Bob Bridges
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Ah, I always wondered why those things seemed to just hang in the sky like that, in the old war movies.  I never thought about the extra buoyancy provided by the hot air of the burning flare-or-whatever-it-is.

2012/09/05
6:29am
Raffee
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So, that's it. Thanks!

2012/09/08
12:16pm
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My thanks to the First Sergeant. I'll just add a couple of "nuances":

 

Star Shell/Star Cluster is exactly what it sounds like a "star".  Just imagine the big exploding firework at the fair.  Its normally used to give the signal to start an attack: Green for Go and Red for Stop.  It rises in the air and goes off just like the firework.

 

Illumination flares and rounds are used for illumination of a battleflied.  The are on a small parachute and come in a variety of colors. While there are illumination artillery/mortar rounds, these also come in small alluminum cylinders so individuals can fire them.  The duration of the illumination varies but from artillery/mortars its a few minutes for the small ones probably less than a minute or two.

 

Now for a bit of Murphy's laws for Military:

1.  If that flare is illuminating the enemy, its also illuminating YOU.

2.  Tracers (Illuminated bullets) point both ways. 

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