Molotov Cocktail are typically improvised weapons which is a hand-thrown incendiary weapon consisting of a frangible container filled with flammable substances and equipped with a fuse. This grenade are not always improvised in the field. It is not uncommon for them to be mass-produced to a certain standard as part of preparation for combat.
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The Rise of the “Poor Man’s Grenade”
During the 1939–1940 Winter War between the USSR and Finland, the Molotov cocktail was named. However, bottle bombs appeared almost a decade before that battle. Weapons of this kind were first used in 1922. Later, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) utilised petrol and paraffin bottles as weapons.
The weapon known as the Molotov cocktail has many names globally. These weapons have descriptive names in their native languages, some more formal than others. It is also known by other names which are written as below,
- Bottle bomb
- Bottle grenade
- Burn bottle
- Fire bottle
- Burning bottle
- Gasoline bomb or Gas bomb
- Incendiary bottle
- Flame bottle
- Petrol bomb
- Poor man’s grenade
- Fire bomb
- Flame bomb
The History of Molotov Cocktails
After the Finns perfected the Molotov cocktail, the British planned for using it. As Britain prepared for a Nazi invasion in 1940, Tom Wintringham, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War international brigades, published a Molotov cocktail tutorial in Picture Post.
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According to National Geographic, British men too old to fight were trained to employ “cocktails à la Molotov” and produced 6 million “model 76 grenades.” These weapons have been codified to aid citizens fight intruders.
World War II American troops tried Molotov cocktails. According to the Washington Post, “Crack That Tank” a 1943 Army training film featured an example. “Light the rag, heave the bottle so it busts on top of the tank and this is what you get,” the film’s narrator said. “The tank cracks let burning gas out. Oil, grease or petrol are inside 90% of the time.”
Molotov cocktails are now used by revolutionaries, freedom fighters, militants, rioters, and invasion resisters worldwide. French protestors in 1968 and Hungarians in 1956 utilised guns against the Soviets. These bottle bombs were employed during the 1992 L.A. riots and by Ukrainian resistance fighters in 2022.
Making Molotov cocktails is simple. Their power is startling. They give beleaguered Irish, Finns, and Ukrainians a fighting chance against a powerful opponent.
Molotov Cocktail is symbol of revolution
The Molotov cocktail’s popularity as a symbol of civil uprising and revolution stems from its simplicity in production and use by civilian forces.
Its extensive use by both civilians and partisan forces has made it a powerful symbol of civil unrest. This contrast between the Molotov cocktail and organized forces has also made it a popular symbol in popular culture often used as a weapon in video games.