Talk:Molotov cocktail

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Article cleanup[edit]

I just did a major reworking of this article and removed the {{cleanup}} tag. I tried to use as much as of the original text as possible, but I did change a few things that appeared to be somewhat inaccurate. I added some details about the origin of the term as well. I also omitted mention of using crushed styrofoam cups as an additive because I could not discern their purpose and therefore which of the categories of weapon enhancement this would be placed under. I believe I left out some words in what is now the Handling section because I couldn't easily fit them into prose-worthy sentences, and didn't feel they were critical (unless the goal of this article was to ensure that people making Molotov cocktails do it correctly, which troubles me a bit, I admit).

I'm still not especially happy about the flow of the resulting sections. I felt that the two main purposes of the article were to explain what a Molotov cocktail was and how it came to be called that, and that the legality and safe-handling topics should follow these, even though the handling portion is in some ways closely connected to the Composition section. But I thought this was the best arrangement for the current text. I leave subsequent edits to others. ☺ — Jeff Q 03:03, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ever put gasoline on styrofoam?? They react very quickly, depending on the purity of the gas. The styrofoam thickens the gas at a very high (10-1, styro/gas) ratio.

I have heard tell that the Cypriot military (in the South), recommends the use of styrofoam "peanuts" for Molotov cocktails. Can anyone substantiate this? eddiuny 04:09, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

I re-added the info on stryofoam and some more safe-handling information. The information I provided is accurate, but not particularly safe in the hands of morons (you know who you are). Please use this for informational purposes only, or at least for a really good cause (read: one that I agree with). If you just want to see stuff blow up and catch fire, rent a Schwarzenegger movie and save yourself or a friend a trip to the burn ward. Understand that a minor additive can have a MASSIVE impact on the reaction and a little understanding of chemistry/oxidation is very helpful. -Legomancer

My apologies for making somewhat of a mess while trying to revert vandalism - if someone knowledgeable could double-check, it would be great. FreplySpang (talk) 4 July 2005 00:40 (UTC)

The last known-good version seems to be "Revision as of 23:09, 26 June 2005, by Mtz206". After that it is a series of petty vandalisms and partial reverts. --Shaddack 4 July 2005 00:58 (UTC)
Oh good. Thanks! FreplySpang (talk) 5 July 2005 15:17 (UTC)


What happened to all of the information on this article? Before it had some information on basic ingredients and safety and now it just has the history of and legality. I know there was some discussion on the appropriateness of having what some called "bomb recipes" on a freely accessible webiste - but that doesn't mean the content should just be removed! Information should be available, even when it's unpopular. People should be educated enough to know when said information is just interesting and when it should be applied. Censoring and hoping nobody finds out leads to ignorance. Getting partial or inaccurate information is much more likely to get somebody injured. Legomancer (talk) 25 July 2005 11:23 (UTC)

There is some confusion about the origin of the name. One edition of the Oxford Dictionary even says Molotov ovesaw production of the device in WW2! On balance the connection with the Winter War seems well-established, but should there be acknowledgement of the controversy...? Jack Upland


I understand that Wikipedia aspires to being the greatest volume of complete knowledge yet created, but that Godly role should come with a bit of Godly parenting as well. This article needs to be rewritten responsibly. How about adding horror stories, casualty stats, insurance stats, burn pictures to make a better balance. And how can you argue against more information for Wikipedia!?! I agree ignorance is bad, but this article is also ignorant of not telling the whole story. Failing this we should remove the entire recipe to balance it out. If some one is smart enough to study chemistry properly themselves so they can make bombs, and THEN suddenly dumb enough that they want to make one... then more power to them!

Anonymous 28 Oct 2005 00:58 (AWST)

Image request[edit]

I think we should get a freely lisensed ilustration of a molotov coctail for this article. Either a drawing of some kind or a photo of one (it should be easy enough to make a "mock up" of one). Once we have that we can loose the "fair use" image. --Sherool 22:57, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Lol doesent look like the guy in the pic has shoved a cork in the top!

There are tons of images in the web that are free to use. Here for example one picture of using it now on protests.

My opinion (on the inclusion of safe handling/construction instructions)[edit]

I re-added the information on safe-handling, it's as relevant to the article as history and basic construction. Shaddack and Gfad1 had previously mentioned doubts about flour and whether this was an arson's manual respectively.

To Shaddack: flour is nothing more than carbohydrates, it is a WONDERFUL oxidizer. If you have access to an *outside* fire (like a campfire) and a scoop of unbleached flour, you'll see what a delightful accelerant simple flour can be. Off topic but interesting, a calorie is the amount of energy something releases when burned. Asbestos has a very low caloric rating, gasoline has a very high caloric rating. Things with high caloric ratings release large amounts of energy and contribute to the overall efficiency/heat of a fire. Seriously, throw a cup of flour on an open fire, and be amazed at the awesome flammability - which leads me to my next point.

Flour is fundamentally a mixture of polysaccharides and proteins. There's nothing oxidizing in it, save perhaps few PPMs of residues of flour bleaching agents. From strictly chemical sense, flour is NOT an oxidizer (if we omit the border laboratory cases of making it react with powerful reducing agents, but we talk about normal oxygen-grade burning here). However, it still may be a pretty effective "performance enhancer". (Re open fire, you can pour some gasoline on it and see a nice visual effect as well, but this does not make the gasoline an oxidizer as well. On the other hand, pouring some LOX in a fire is pretty magnificent.) --Shaddack 13:11, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Shaddack, you're right. Flour by itself is not an oxidizer. There are some impurities/additives in flour that are oxidizers (potassium bromate and chlorine cause oxidative changes in carotenoid pigments) though I can't find anything that asserts it would work to oxidize a fire. I should have been more careful in my phrasing and said something to the effect of "Flour is extremely combustible, and can increase the burning temperatures of fires when used as a fuel additive. Care should be taken because small amounts of airborn flour can create suitable conditions for a flash fire." Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. --Legomancer 16:23, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

To Gfad1: Removing information simply because it could be used for less than honorable purposes is crap. Plain and simple. If somebody has it in their sick heads to do damage to person or property, I very seriously doubt an article on Wiki is going to be the final push they need. On the other hand, if Wikipedia is trying to be a grand consortium of information, it's going to have to contain information some people consider "unsavory." I am a firm believer in complete freedom of information. I'd rather have unihibited access to all information than censored access to some - even information I disagree with or information that could harm myself and others. The thought that information corrupts people and drives them to savage acts is completely baseless. Wikipedia is here to inform, without passing judgement. I'm tempted to go into a much longer rant about how I parent my children from reading things they don't need to see and how adults should be free to read anything, even if someone disagrees with it, but I think I've made my point.--Legomancer 08:44, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree that people should have access to this information if they want it, but I'm not sure we're trying to accumulate all human knowledge here - we're just trying to make an encyclopedia - and by extension I'm not sure this is the place for that information. Personally, I was a but suprised when the article went from saying "overfilling the bottle is a common mistake" to saying "for optimal damage the bottle should be a half to two thirds full". My personal opinion is that the second part of that isn't what I'd expect to find in an encyclopedia. 10:07, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
You are right ! And more, I think it's a non-sense to indicate so many details, the childs reading WP may do "to see" so dangerous weapons for themselves. Personnally, I have stopped definitly my participation at WP (French and English) on that point. It's crucial for a large recommandation by responsible teachers and parents. It's very borring some contributors don't understand that. Sorry, WP was a beautiful project, but without limits it's "science sans conscience n'est que ruine de l'âme" -- 16:41, 18 January 2007 (UTC)


I have a question that might seem obvious to most people but has always confused me. Ok, so a cocktail weapon is made with a bottle of gasoline and then a gas soaked rag stuffed into the opening of the bottle or wrapped around the neck right? Since gas ignites so quickly wouldn't this design mean that the rag would always burn up before hitting the target? rvinall 08:15, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

I fixed a spelling. Even if the gas burns quickly, the rag would not necessarily be consumed (think candle wick).

That's why you have to throw it quickly. 23:46, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


First off, you light the wick right before throwing. Even if you're a major league pitcher, it's only going to be in the air a second or two - nowhere near long enough to consume a rag's worth of gasoline.

Secondly, most useable cocktails have sealed bottles with a burning somethingorother attached to the outside (rubber banding a kerosene soaked tampon works really well, and you don't douse yourself in flaming gas when you wind up and pitch the device).

Thirdly, liquid gasoline is not even flammable. Take a glass container full to the brim with gasoline outside on a windy day. You can extinguish as many matches as you like into it. Gasoline evaporates very readily in air, though. It's those vapors that are more than flammable: they're explosive. In a simple gasoline bomb, after the device is thrown, the fuel spills on the ground creating a large surface area for evaporation. The wick (burning rag, flaming tampon rubber-banded to outside of sealed bottle, etc) then ignites the evaporated gasoline that has mixed with the air in the right proportion. The heat from the burning gaseous gasoline/air mixture continues to evaporate more of the liquid gasoline feeding the fire. Hope that helps.--Legomancer 07:46, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

I find the advice to use a rubber-band to secure a tampon to the bottle to be exceedingly foolish. I would suggest that a piece of stiff wire be used instead. A rubber-band will break almost instantly when exposed to flame, especially if it is under tension at the time, and may also fail when exposed to a solvent such as gasoline or kerosene. I have seen these directions given several times in various publications, and it seems to me either to be propagated by ignorant people who have neither experimented for themselves nor thought through the implications of the instructions they parrot, or worse, propagated by those interested in seeing anyone attempting to follow the directions fail, or fail spectacularly. Like it or not, improvised weapons are important tools in fighting and deterring tyranny, and it is our duty (as encyclopaedists) to make available trustworthy instructions for creating them. We should leave it to the consciences of those who would USE the instructions or the weapons to see that they're used appropriately. Wolfrick 22:23, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Done correctly, the rubber band is not exposed to the solvent prior to the glass breaking. Take a tampon, push the cotton halfway through the penetrator (outer plasticy thing). Dip the exposed cotton into the flammable material. Only a small amount of liquid is necessary, it should not seep or drip. Place the tampon cotton side up along the side of the glass bottle. Affix the rubber band over the bottle and plastic penetrator. Alternately you can band it together and then put a few drops of flammable liquid onto the cotton immediately before use.
I've never had a problem with the rubber band breaking prematurely, but using a stiff wire is not a bad idea.--Legomancer 08:35, 21 October 2007 (UTC)


Does it not seem farfetched that gasoline would ignite on contact with a Soviet tank? Since when has the climate of an arid desert been enough to ignite gasoline? If this was the case, would Soviet tanks not simply combust regardless of Japanese resistance; I believe Soviet tanks ran on gasoline? --Daniel 19:21, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

I tend to agree, it does certainly seem like a farfetched claim that the gasoline would spontaneously combust just because of the hot conditions. I mean surely it takes a few hundred degrees at-least to cause petrol to burn, right?
So was this what actually happened our just the stories of some of the soldiers?
--Hibernian 18:45, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Is it possible that due to the hot, dry conditions, the gasoline rapidly evaporated into a combustible mixture, and was ignited by the engine exhaust of the tanks? The exhaust systems of a tank will certainly be hot enough to ignite gasoline vapors. --Syonyk 13:16CST 19 Oct 2006

Tanks can be destroyed by Molotov Cocktails?[edit]

There's allot in the article about Molotov Cocktails being used to destroy tanks, but I think this needs to be clarified much more. Firstly, can a Molotov really "destroy" a tank, i.e. cause it to explode or be immobilized. Or does the cocktail just affect the crew of the vehicle? (By burning them or causing them to get out, etc.)?

Secondly, surely modern tanks would be immune to this, as they have sealed environments? (NBC protection systems etc.) So I don't see how the burning liquid could get inside a modern Armoured vehicle. If this is so, then I think it should be made clear that only old-fashioned tanks can be taken out by Molotov’s. --Hibernian 19:01, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

It could get in through open hatches, happend so in Iraq to the british not so long ago. And the burning gasoline blocks the thermal imaging systems. I don´t know, but I think the NBC protection systems could be blocked or even disabled by burning gasoline, too. I don´t think they are capable of handling the heat and the smoke. -- 23:37, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes I remember the British Vehicle that was set alight in Iraq (I think it Was an IFV), but like I said, the vehicle wasn't destroyed was it? It was just that the Crew had to evacuate. So does that really qualify as Destroying the Tank/Vehicle?
The point I was trying to make is that there is a difference between Destroying or Disabling a Tank, and Attacking the crew. I doubt that Molotov Cocktails can do the former, but they may well be able to do the latter (at-least for Modern Tanks). In the same sense that Chemical or Biological weapons cannot Destroy Tanks but they can kill the crews. --Hibernian 19:20, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes you are right, a molotov cocktail can not cause damage beyond repair. It can cause serious damage when you manage to detonate the ammunition inside. And at least a disabled crew is a mission kill and burning gasoline or oil should do vital damage to the controls and other systems. Hitting the air supply for the engines would cause a mobility kill. -- 20:10, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

The NBC protection systems on most modern tanks are so airtight that not one particle of radioactive dust can get in, let alone flaming liquid. Trust me molotovs CANNOT take out tanks. Destroying the optics is possible if the tank has an externally moutning viewing apeture and sight but requires careful aiming, and no you CAN'T detonate ammunition stores from the outside, the ammunition is stored internally so a molotov is not capable of doing that. The Air Filtration systems on tanks such as the M-1, T-60 and above, draw air through many filtered vents which can be shut off if necessary so it's highly unlikely a molotov cocktail could spread fire internally through these vents, as they could simply be closed.

Gamer112 (talk) 17:01, 17 November 2007 (UTC)Amar

Recent additions to the article may very well be quite correct, but what is lacking is verifiable references. Gaius Cornelius (talk) 18:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Armored vehicles can be destroyed by Molotov Cocktails. The content of the bottle must burn long enough to seep into engine compartment and hot enough to ignite the oil/fuel there, hence the various additives to gasoline. Resulting engine fire will immobilize the vehicle, force the crew to evacuate and possibly ignite the ammuntion stored inside. This is enough to classify it destroyed by most standards. Modern main battle tanks have their air intake protected against such occurrence, but e.g. APC's are more vulnerable.Creidiki (talk) 09:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I have understood (but have no sources whatsoever) that the method that these were used against tanks in the Winter War was to hit the ENGINE air intake. I don't know how that would work but it could at least consume the oxygen from the air that goes to the engine, thus stoppin the tank. Maybe it could also ignite something in the inside, considering that as long as the engine runs it is sucking the flames in. (talk) 12:41, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

This is an article about Molotov Cocktails, not about various kinds of modern armor. I see the relevance of a footnote about the Molotov Cocktail's historical use against a particular model of tank, but is it really necessary to have an entire paragraph dedicated to the defenses of modern tanks against incendiary weapons? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Shows how Finnish soldiers destroy Russian tanks in winter war 1939-1940. : —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Saving Private Ryan connection[edit]

If this refers to the destruction of the tread on the German tank in the final battle scene, it is incorrect. They used sticky bombs made from demo charges. -- 21:16, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

NO it IS correct, see the movie again. Two unnamed US soldiers take out an open-topped self-propelled gun with two molotovs. I'm putting it back in. Gamer112 (talk) 16:56, 17 November 2007 (UTC)Amar

Well to be super nit-picky, I don't know of the self-propelled gun was destroyed, just the driver/gunner set on fire (which does the job of taking it out). Lightnin Boltz (talk) 07:05, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


So a few years ago, I offer some good natured advise on how to safely build a Molly, and you'd think I was advocating child porn. Now, it's 2007 and there's pictures and everybody is all "this is wonderful." Did I miss a meeting or something? Thumbs up to whoever wrote it. --Legomancer 19:56, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


"Molotov cocktail is also a name for a drink for kindergarteners, composed of Gasoline, pepper and Juicy Juice."

I'm pretty sure this isn't exactly accurate. Is the Molotov Cocktail the name for any other drink, though? Sounds badass enough to possibly be. 23:11, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Although obscure, there are several drinks called "Molotov cocktail." Bear in mind it has absolutely nothing in common with the flammable substance. Drinking anything with petroleum distillates will prove very bad or fatal (blindness is a common side-effect). I stress this is unrelated to the kerosene/gasoline mixture, but here's a recipe from

2 part(s) Champagne 1 part(s) Cherry Brandy 1 part(s) Curacao 1 part(s) Vodka 1 part(s) Gin

Serve in chilled glass, or shake with ice and strain, or keep the ingredients refrigerated.

And another with much less work:

1 1/2 oz Vodka Float 1 splash 151 proof rum

Pour a shot of vodka, float the 151, light, blow out, and take the shot down. Note: a lot of bars in the US do not allow flaming beverages for liability reasons.

And lastly one that sounds suspiciously like a frozen mudslide:

Ingredients: 1 Quart Ice Cream 2 cup Black Coffee 1 Quart Vodka 0.5 oz. Rum Mix ingredients in blender (must to in at least two batches to fit all ingredients). Sprinkle top of each portion with a little ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

KaBOOM----Legomancer 01:59, 8 May 2007 (UTC)


Since the austin person was arrrested for publishing instuctions, why are there instruction right on this page that teaches you on how to make a molotov cocktail? just by reading the article, i think i can probably make an efficient molotov cocktail.....not that i want to

I'll take this one, in the form of several augmentative fallacies. First off: Slippery slope -:if you begin censoring anything you eventually end up in a nerf(tm) world where nothing at all controversial
is allowed to be distributed. Imagine all of the censorship quotes I could
put in here - all saying it's bad.
Straw man: People who are for censorship do so out of a misguided belief that it's the rest of
the world's job to parent their kids. IE, "I can't teach my kids right from wrong, so I need
everyone else to refrain from putting anything into their impressionable little minds."
Spurious relationship: Posting information leads to acts of violence. Or, by correlation,
access equals cause. Spoons cause obesity, fires cause arson, guns cause murder - you get the
Basically what it comes down to is personal responsibility. You cannot prevent all
information/tools that *could* be used for nefarious purposes. If Wikipedia hopes to assemble
a compendium of human information, there's going to be some violence related stuff - we're a
violent people. If somebody has it in their sick heads to do no-good, this is not going to be
the tipping point for them. This goes to the above, but it's not like somebody is going to
wake up thinking "You know, I think I'll tool around online, then maybe go shopping." Once
they see this page they start ranting about fire-bombing leftist organizations and dating Jody
Lastly, and this is a big one, our system of law *DOES NOT* attempt to prevent crime. Really.
Our whole adversarial legal process is to punish people after the fact. There's almost nothing
preventing you from punching a stranger (or stealing a car, etc), but you should expect to do
some jail time after the fact. We punish criminals, we can't act until they do. The obvious
Orwellian comparison of punishing people for considering/researching a crime comes to mind.
Hope that helps, or at least encourages discussion.--Legomancer 21:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

"our system of law *DOES NOT* attempt to prevent crime." Who's system of law? Seems to me that this comes under Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias. What about "conspiracy to commit a crime? The crime that was conspired about does not have to be committed for the parties to be guilty of conspiracy. In many counties gathering and colating information that can aid an enemy of the state, or aid in terrorism, is considered to be an offense, even if this information is not passed on to anyone else. Further there are many laws passed not because the act in itself is probibited because it is considered harmful but because it contributes to a harmful act. For example drinking and driving, and the prohabitions on the ownership of certain classes of weapons. --Philip Baird Shearer 18:28, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

You gave a lot of examples and none of them support your claim. I realize this is a fine line, but there is absolutely *nothing* stopping me from stealing a car - except a penalty after the fact. I'm not advocating crimes; I'm saying the system of law employed by the United States punishes people after the fact. After a crime has been committed, then intent can be argued, and the perpetrator can be punished. Everything you listed involved somebody doing something against the law (drinking and driving, conspiring to kill a bald eagle, etc).
You bring up a good point about what constitutes collusion or material support - and here's the sticking point for most people. Those who post the information have no intent to harm or commit a crime. Treating people like criminals for the free exchange of information is contrary to our first amendment. Is it airtight? No. Should it be? Yes. For the most part, people are held to a "reasonable man" standard. Would a reasonable person assume an encyclopedic entry on Molotov Cocktails is intended to encourage him to build/test one? Unfortunately censorship and knee-jerk reactions to things like this tend to side-step intelligent discussion and get a "Think about the children!!!" pseudo-trump argument
Last one (I promise). If somebody reads this, then murders somebody with a fire-bomb - is it the poster's fault? Okay, same example, now the person kills somebody with a blowtorch - is it the makers of Hostel's fault? Why or why not? It seems an odd comparison, but the aptness lies in knowing that crazy people will continue to do crazy stuff, regardless of inspiration. I submit to you inspiration and motivation are wildly different things. If some whack-job does off somebody with something learned on Wiki, he'll (hopefully) be punished after the fact. Then, we'll all sleep a little easier knowing there's one less crazy on the street.
Not trying to fight, just disagreeing with you :),--Legomancer 19:06, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

In the US, "information" is not restricted, but "material" can be. For an example of the distinction between "information" and "material", imagine a written story that describes child pornography, or which concerns children in a pornographic context. This would probably be "information" and protected under the US Constitution's First Ammendment protection of the freedom of speech and of the press. However, a photograph of an actual child in a pornographic context would constitute "material" and thus not be protected. Likewise, "information" on building a uranium fission bomb is not restricted, but "material" constituting instructions on actually building one could be considered a restricted item or a "munition". Knowing how to build a petrol bomb isn't illegal. Telling someone else how to build a petrol bomb is not illegal. But posessing the components AND the instructions can be construed as "material" or "intent to manufacture a destructive device" or similar, just as posessing a complete petrol-bomb would be. Wolfrick 22:46, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

"gasoline" or "petrol"[edit]

Wikipedia uses the word gasoline.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:51, 8 June 2007 (UTC).

No, it uses the style appropriate to the article it's in. Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom uses petrol; Strategic Petroleum Reserve uses gasoline Pseudomonas(talk) 08:05, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
This subject is dealt with in Fossil fuel for reciprocating piston engines equipped with spark plugs in WIKIPEDIA:LAMEST EDIT WARS. Petecarney 11:50, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
This article started out using petrol and was changed to gasoline with Revision as of 09:43, 20 May 2003, so according to the MOS section WP:MOS#National varieties of English the use of petrol should be retained. --Philip Baird Shearer 17:53, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
In many parts of the world, "petrol" is applied to petroleum products in general while "gasoline" is a specific product. UK uses "parafin" to name what is known in the US as "kerosene"; in the US "parafin" is a solid wax used for candles. The Haynes automotive manuals contain a glossary to disambiguate terms: the instructions to clean and degrease car parts with parafin can be puzzling if you skip reading the glossary. "Petrol bombs" are often made with used motor oil with a kerosene or fuel oil igniter to stick to armored vehicles and burn generating lingering smoke, not always with gasoline which can be in short supply in wartime. Where German war records indicate corpses were cremated with "petrol", the "petrol" used was waste oil retained when vehicle motor oil was changed. This is an English language encyclopedia not a UK/British specific encyclopedia and we do have visitors who read English who are not British. Or should we do like the Haynes manual and include a glossary. Naaman Brown (talk) 13:04, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Liquid Incense?[edit]

Was it used in the Castro riots?

Seriously, I'm planning to work on the 'Mechanism' paragraph to tighten up the language a bit and I thought I'd better find out what the liquid incense referred to in the current version is. So I googled it and was surprised. Petecarney 14:55, 29 June 2007 (UTC)


Here are the results of some Google searches, done with "-wikipedia" in the search line to remove references back to this article.

519,000 for "molotov cocktail"
131,000 for "petrol bomb"
12,800 for "gasoline bomb"
7,960 for "molotoff cocktail" (Maybe French transliteration of Russian "ъ", consider Смирновъ = Smirnov = Smirnoff)
1,790 for "molotov bomb"
488 for "molotov's cocktail"
290 for "malotov cocktail"
214 for "melotov cocktail"
9 for "moloto cocktail"
7 for "poor man's hand grenade", of which only 2 are independant references to molotov cocktails
--Petecarney 10:18, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Use in the Spanish Civil War?[edit]

Might be useful to tag this on to the history section, but according to the book "The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-39" by Antony Beevor, the first Molotov Cocktails were used by the Spanish Foreign Legion (who were fighting on the nationalist side) in a battle against russian supplied tanks outside Madrid in the fall of 1936. Worth adding? I only have the Danish translation, so I can't give a precise page number, but it's in the chapter 7. KDLarsen 01:10, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Tom Wintringham's works might be more accessible. I think there is a bit about this in "New Ways of War". Of course, the petrol bomb was not known as a Molotov cocktail until the Winter War. Gaius Cornelius 08:13, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Picture caption[edit]

Are we sure the guy in the top picture is hooded like the caption says? Seems to me I can see his hair... Sheep81 (talk) 04:53, 6 December 2007 (UTC)


"they [Molotov Cocktails] are frequently used by the likes of yobbos and rioters." I have removed "the likes of yobbos and", because it hardly seems to set an encyclopedic tone for the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by JoefromRML (talkcontribs) 12:35, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

an alternative name history[edit]

There is another possible name source mentioned in the Russian variant of this page.

Molotov has signed the order to the Soviet food industry to start production of these weapons at 10 June, 1941. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:OldhamRioter1.jpg[edit]

The image Image:OldhamRioter1.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --23:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Petrol over gasoline[edit]

Again an editor has changed the original petrol to gasoline. The article was started using petrol and a previous discussion concluded that petrol was correct. It should stay the international petrol, and I have reverted the edit. And before anyone tries to accuse me of favoring international english, I am only using WP:MOS to make this revert, and I am from the United States, so I am not being bias, since I say gasoline.--Jojhutton (talk) 19:57, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Just FYI: gasoline is also used in Canada. Michael Z. 2008-12-05 03:49 z

CIA image, looking for a consensus[edit]

One user is adamant that this [1] image should not be used in this article, apparently in the mistaken belief that to include it contravenes WWIN#Wikipedia_is_not_a_manual.2C_guidebook_or_textbook. To me it seems absurd to suggest that including this image makes the article read like a manual, or that the Spanish language text within the image constitutes a how-to, tutorial, walk-through, or instruction manual in an English language article. The fact that the image originates in a manual is the reason why it is there, to document the molotov cocktail's history in subversive literature. Please make your view known, for or against. If there is a consensus against it I'm happy remove the image from the article myself. --Petecarney (talk) 15:33, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing mistaken about my edit. It is a scan of a page from a manual on "how to" make the item. Therefore, it is against the cited policy. You should not have reverted my last edit until a consensus was reached because it was the most stable version of the page. The picture has not been on the page for several months. I intend to alert an admin or two so they can weigh on on the discussion based on their knowledge of policy. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 16:15, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm no expert, but I think I'd side with Ghostexorcist here. Yes, it's in spanish, and yes any moron can make a molotov cocktail if they think about it, but I don't think it contributes anything to the article, especially since the picture hasn't been in it for quite a while. Skinny87 (talk) 10:02, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
My opinion is that whether it violates that policy or not is irrelevant, as it adds very little value to the article, and shouldn't be in under that particular clause. However, should consensus prove that the image is worth keeping, I'd say that the image isn't really in violation of the policy because its not there as instuction (i.e. simple prose), but as a representation of history (how the CIA promoted Nicaraguans to insurrect). If anyone wanted to use Wikipedia as a how-to-manual, using an image of text is an ass-backwards way of doing it. bahamut0013 19:25, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it contravenes the policy. I think that's there to stop people creating articles like How to bake a lemon cake or What to do if your dog gets fleas. I think the picture is reasonable, especially since the Freedom Fighter's Manual is mentioned in the text; whether or not we include it is pretty much an aesthetic judgement, not a policy one. Pseudomonas(talk) 19:55, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
There is always, of course, the option of cropping the text off, leaving just the lower image, though I think that's less interesting in terms of political background, and the artwork itself is pretty substandard. Pseudomonas(talk) 20:05, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd be happy to crop it as suggested. I think the childish artwork gives it a certain ironic humour. However I'm now starting to think we should chop out that whole section for being too trivial. --Petecarney (talk) 00:39, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
The cropped version looks much better. Thank you. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 23:25, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

Use by Civilians[edit]

Molotov Cocktail is so widely used, iguess it should be a point that is a partial list, it would be impossible to count how many times it's been used. (talk) 21:23, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

In Northern Ireland Molotov cocktails were used NOT by paramilitaries but by civilians, in riots against the British Police and British Army by both Catholics and Protestants, and in inter-community rioting, such as that which generally follows the annual sectarian Orange Order marches. Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland use actual military issue weapons and explosives in their attacks on innocent civilians and police. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:03, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


perhaps strange question, but is it known why the Fins decided to name it after the minister and not, say, Stalin? Mallerd (talk) 18:39, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm told that it was Molotov who claimed that Soviet bombers are in fact dropping food for the Finns. This sounds like the kind of rumor that's made up in wartime, but also like the kind of thing Finns would turn into a running gag. --Kizor 14:27, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
From the article: When Soviet People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov claimed in radio broadcasts that the Soviet Union was not dropping bombs but rather delivering food to the starving Finns, the Finns started to call the air bombs Molotov bread baskets.[2] Geoff B (talk) 14:51, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
BTW Molotov was also head of government in Soviet Union then (and not Stalin)... -- Ahsoous (talk) 01:42, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Stalin was still very much the head of government; there was no doubt among anyone anywhere that Stalin was running the show. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was largely Molotov's brainchild, but nobody in the Politburo did anything without Stalin's explicit approval. Stalin was smart enough to pass the buck off on his subordinates with an absolute bare minimum of paperwork to destroy later, a skill Hitler never learned. Court Appointed Shrub (talk) 07:22, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Legality Section?[edit]

Do we really need that legality section? I mean other weapons of war don't seem to have them. It would be weird to see a legality section on flamethrowers: "Flamethrowers can kill people and killing people is illegal in most countries." -Keith (Hypergeek14)Talk 22:17, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Military issued incendiary bottle bombs[edit]

Soviets have used them extensively. They were mass-produced different variants, some self-igniting. Why had't they been included in the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Reference (Russian special forces magazine):

There were 3 pre-war incendiary compositions (Mk 1, 2 and 3), and wartime BGS composition and KS self-igniting composition. They used OP-2 emulsifier (aluminium salt of naphtenate acids) or a mix of cheap materials (turpentine, tree sap, second-rate gasoline) and nitric+sulphuric acid igniter, or a mixture of second-grade gasoline, saponified diesel oil and an igniter composed of potassium chlorate, chloride chromyl and sulphuric acid. The reference above needs to be checked, translated and added to the article.

Use during protests etc.[edit]

I'm surprised that there is no mention of the use of these weapons during protests. At least on of the photos looks like it it has police in the background, which suggets that the Molotov was thrown during a protest. These are used quite often in, for example, Greece, during anti-state, anti-police and anti-capitalism protests. **** you, you ******* ****. (talk) 14:49, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Lion of the Desert[edit]

I was watching Lion of the Desert that shows Libyan rebels against Italian conquerors dropping earthen jars filled with flammable liquid and topped with a rag, sometime before 1931. Is this artistic licence or was that a real predecessor of Molotov cocktails? --Error (talk) 18:19, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact[edit]

did not deal with "partitioning" Finnland, but setting "spheres of interest" in Eastern Europe. -- (talk) 14:35, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Quite right. I have made a change. Gaius Cornelius (talk) 09:34, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

a comment[edit]

"....non-professionally equipped fighters...." "professionalism" is not always "perfect" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:587:7C05:8000:D9FA:4A42:1635:6A2F (talk) 21:23, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Country of origin, and by extension, languages used in the lede.[edit]

There's been a bit of back and forth editing, with the addition and removal of their Finnish name, and a "Finnish inventions" tag at the end. I don't think either of these are appropriate. The MC was not invented in Finland, and even the Spanish claim has some contenders, some going back much further. Incinedary weapons are mentioned in ancient history, particularly Greek fire. But even in modern times it's hard to imagine that it took decades after the origin of refined fuel for someone to think of putting in to a bottle.--Dmol (talk) 10:45, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

For one thing, this should be restored under WP:DENY as we shouldn't support the biased edits of this prolific sock.
The article here is rightly named 'Molotov cocktail', a Finnish coining. The concept of "easily available hydrocarbons in a smashable bottle" probably dates from the development of oil lamps or motor cars, if not from greek fire itself. Certainly they were used in Spain before Finland. However Finland coined the name by which they are now best known. For that reason it deserves to be included in the Finnish inventions category as much as any other entry in these troublesome nationalistic invention categories. Similarly the names in local languages. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:23, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

Photo captions[edit]

The captions of the first two photos are clearly wrong. The first photo depicts the torso of a person with a glass bottle strapped to their belt and is captioned "A Finnish soldier with **two** Molotov cocktails in the 1939-40 Winter War"; the second depicts a soldier with two bottles hanging from his belt and is captioned "A German soldier with **a** Molotov cocktail on the Eastern Front" (emphasis mine in both cases). So, did the captions get switched in their entirety or just the numbers? (I'd guess the latter, with the person in white wearing snow camouflage but it would be nice if somebody recognized the uniforms, for example.) Dricherby (talk) 21:41, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

The first is Finnish, the second is German. Only the numbers themselves got switched. I'd take a look at revision history, as it's likely a very old prank. (talk) 04:16, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
After further inspection, it seems User:Chiswick_Chap hid it in an 8 June 2016 revision: (talk) 04:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Fixed. The captions are right, except the numbers where wrong. --A D Monroe III (talk) 01:04, 19 July 2016 (UTC)


Kinda making a bold edit here, but I think it may be suitable. Recently as shortages of gasoline have occurred in Venezuela preventing some from making Molotovs as well as finding "creative" ways for protesters to counter Venezuelan authorities, the "puputov" has been created. Various news organizations have covered this and since it was directly inspired by the Molotov, it should be suitable. I also placed the section "Variants", to cover it, since I'm sure there may be other variants out there somewhere.--ZiaLater (talk) 09:18, 21 May 2017 (UTC)--ZiaLater (talk) 09:18, 21 May 2017 (UTC)