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Styrofoam vs. aluminum soap[edit]

Home-Made Napalm can be made by mixing Styrofoam with Gasoline until the gasoline will not absorb any more.
  1. Is this statement accurate? (Is the resulting substance really napalm? Or is it simply a napalm-like flammable jelly of some sort?)
  2. Had we resolved the "bomb-making instructions" school of ethics to everyone's satisfaction? - Montréalais

According to all sources I have found, the jelly substance is not technically napalm (doesn't contain naphthene or palmitate), but the military still calls it napalm. - ElusiveByte

In 1942 Harvard University scientists and the U.S. army chemical warfare service found a way to jelly gasoline that worked quite well.

They found that mixing an aluminum soap powder of NAphthene and PALMitate (hence na-palm), also known as napthenic and palmitic acids, with gasoline produced a brownish sticky syrup that burned more slowly than raw gasoline, and hence was much more effective at igniting one's target. The napalm was mixed in varying concentrations of 6% (for flame throwers) and 12-15% for bombs mixed on site (for use in perimeter defense).

This mixture was a big hit with the allied forces, who used it extensively in World War II in flame throwers and fire bombs in the latter part of the war. [1]

During the Vietnam war, a new napalm was developed called 'Napalm-B' which used polystyrene, gasoline (petrol) and benzene (All ready in gasoline). The new napalm was a lot more effective than the old type and the polystyrene used to thicken the gasoline made the substance even more sticky and harder to put out.

Why is this information here and not in the article? - ElusiveByte

I thought it would be a good idea to include a quote of a colonel admitting the use of napalm. I also made some minor edits including removing the specific reference to the brand name Styrofoam and replacing it with polystyrene.


Careful there. Since we've already differentiated between 'real' napalm and 'napalm-like' substances, it should be clarified here as well. MK77s are incendiary bombs but not napalm. - Ur Wurst Enema

I thought that napalm originally meant "sodium palmitate", i.e. the soap made by the saponification of palm oil by caustic soda? David.Monniaux 10:33, 28 Apr 2004 (UTC)

IIRC it's actually Napthenic acid Palmitate - and it was invented during WW II by ICI and was one of the technologies transferred to the US by the Tizard Mission. Subsequently the UK didn't use any in Europe as it was regarded as a particularly unpleasant weapon. There's a video of WW II napalm drop testing here: Hawker Tempest WW II testing including Napalm dropping. It was originally intended for use against bunkers and other fortified positions.
BTW, the UK origin of napalm is mentioned in Robert Mason's book Chickenhawk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:03, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

How to make Napalm[edit]

Shouldn't this go to WikiCookBooks or something? Should we have a guide on how to make anything, let alone a chemical weapon? Mark Richards 00:06, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The fact that recipes for it are widely circulated is noteworthy. The household-ingredients paragraph in its current form doesn't give enough detail to reliably make it. --Christopher Thomas 22:44, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Mix the blown up whtie polystyrene with petrol (gasoline) in a bowl, put more and more polystyrene in till a thick gel is formed. Do not light it clsoe to it as it is highly flammable

You forgot benzene. Incendiaries with benzene, polystyrene, and gasoline burns much hotter than napalm and is just as sticky. These were used in Vietnam. The incendiaries used today are kerosine instead of gasoline based. For the proper ratios of benzene, polystyrene, and gasoline in Napalm B (Super Napalm), see --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on 22:40, 6 April 2006.

Do not pour the thickened gasoline back into the lawnmower gasoline can when you're done playing with it. 17:10, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Burns under water?[edit]

Is it true that napalm burns even under water?

I think that depends on the concentration of naphthene and palmitate in the mixture. EisenKnoechel

I would not think that Napalm would burn under water, unless you mix a oxidizer with it. gasoline does not burn under water, and I don't think that Napthene and Palmitate are oxidizers, although I could be wrong

Naphthalene is purely a hydrocarbon, and palmitic acid is a carboxylic acid. Neither will act as an oxidizing agent. Napalm will _float_ on water while burning, however, and if a burning person or object is only immersed briefly, it could easily be reignited by an external source (including floating napalm or part of the burning object that wasn't fully immersed).--Christopher Thomas 22:24, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

--- when mixed with polythene I believe it can burn under water

What's "polythene"? If it's "polyethene" or "polyethylene", that's just another hydrocarbon. You need an oxidizer if it's going to burn underwater. --Christopher Thomas 23:27, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

---:it floats on water so you don't really need to worry about it burning under water.

Attempt at subtle POV?[edit]

Did anon user hope to accomplish anything by changing this sentence:

"The United States officially destroyed its last container of napalm in a public ceremony in 1991."


"The United States officially destroyed its "last" container of napalm in a public ceremony in 1991." (Note quotations around 'last')

besides attempting to add a subtle factual dispute without giving any evidence to support his claim?

TaintedMustard 08:03, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Duh. OK. I see the dispute. However, there is obviously an attempt to draw specific attention to it. In this sentence:

"In August 2003, the Pentagon admitted the use of "Mark 77 firebombs"."

"admitted the use" is bolded. These changes seem wholly unnecessary to me and nothing more than an attempt at adding a subtle POV, but I'll give the contributor a chance. If can't give a valid reason for making these changes, I'll revert the page. I don't really want to stick a NPOV tag on the page for this.

TaintedMustard 08:09, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Alright. I'm reverting it.

TaintedMustard 09:53, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

if you visit this site has info about napalm at a naval weapons station, that was there until 2001.

Napalm hurts?[edit]

Under "Usage in Warfare"-

“Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine,” said Kim Phuc, known from a famous Vietnam War photograph. “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius.” [1] In August 1964, a chemical attack took place in the Kokkina Mansoura area. Fighting broke out on 3 August and continued until 6 August, during which the Turkish air force bombed Greek villages indiscriminately with napalm. Napalm tops the list of chemical weapons used by the Turkish state. Napalm can generate temperatures of up to 800 degrees when used on its own, but this temperature may rise to 1,500 to 2,000 degrees when it is fortified with certain chemicals Like many Vietnamese children before and after her, Phuc sustained third-degree burns to half her body and was not expected to live.

Wait a minute. If napalm burns at 800 degress Celsius, and induces third degree burns, how exactly does it hurt now?

Third-degree burns can themselves cause pain if they are also surrounded by areas of second-degree burns. It seems reasonable to assume that in the process of being burned from napalm there are always going to be tissues not quite to the level of complete nerve damage. --Fastfission 22:48, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
so, burns are the most terrible pain. It doesn't matter what caused the burn. I think the photo is fine, as is the caption, but the extra comment seems pov.--Kvuo 00:12, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree, but the pain referred to are probably not the burns induced by anything BUT the second-degree burns caused by napalm. Any thoughts? --The1exile 13:42, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
The extra comment is POV? Fastfission, unless you're talking about the 'point of view' of someone who has been burned by it, made comment on the experience immediately thereafter, and lived, then I doubt you know a lot of people who have been burned by napalm.
However, technically, according to the rules on POV, the statement that Kim Phuc said the quote--which she documentedly did--stating that she did, in fact, describe it this way, is totally NPOV. No judgement is made as to the veracity of her description, except to note that all records indicate that she was, in fact, lit up by the stuff.
As much as it might entertain me to suggest that you supply a balancing, more neutral description of the sensation of being burned by napalm, unfortunately Wikipedia prohibits original research.

The quote that begins "Napalm, contrary to popular belief, is not necessarily a painful or inhumane weapon..." has a link to the Napalm page at, but the quote is no longer there. I checked at the Internet Archive ( but couldn't find an earlier version of the page. -- Bookish 14:20, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I would assume that any burn would hurt in some instance, it is definately disfiguring and wouldnt wish it on my enemies (no pun intended). for it to be painless, there would have to be 3rd degree burns then instantly afterwards, no burns which i think may be impossible and if its possible id hate to meet the people experimenting with this theory —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 22:01, November 12, 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't Napalm cause chemical burns as well? I believe a chemical burn would inflict just as much damage on someone as an incendiary burn (in general). 19:15, 23 December 2006 (UTC)Darkstaruav

  • Napalm doesn't cause any sort of chemical burn, and I agree with the assertion that the quote is being used for POV purposes and causes the article to contradict itself. It's also a great example of an uneducated and uninformed layperson expressing a medical opinion. The reader, unless they know better, is left with the idea that napalm is some sort of nuclear chemical warfare goo that causes instant agony, lit or not, dry or wet. Oh, and it's apparently a "chemical warfare agent" too. Bullzeye (Ring for Service) 09:59, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

the best sort of description in layman's terms would be: burning yourself with frying oil times 10, oil bonds to the skin and thus it keeps burning while your skin is melting (just imagine that!) it doesn't kill, it only gives agony. (the most inhumane weapon on earth) Markthemac (talk) 01:34, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

A United Nations convention?[edit]

Do you mean the Convention On Prohibitions Or Restrictions On The Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Excessively Injurious Or To Have Indiscriminate Effects, a.k.a. CCCW or CCWC?

Here is the text of it:

It was finished in 1981, not 1980 from what I can tell, and I believe the US signed it in 1995, according to this document (which isn't loading very nicely, but is in google's cache):

Signed is not equivalent to ratified. Under the US Constitution, only treaties ratified by the Senate (and not successfully vetoed by the president) have the force of law in America. --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on 22:40, 6 April 2006.
Well, the US signed the Convention in 1982 and ratified it (under international law) in 1995, making the Convention binding on the US. There is a reservation filed by the US on accession, however. Source (Red Cross website) (talk) 11:08, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

It does indeed ban the use of incendiaries (including Napalm and Napalm-like substances - but not those used primarily for smoke or illumination like WP) on or near civilians.

Perhaps someone should stick the convention up somewhere and reference it? I imagine it's public domain but I'm not so sure about such things so I won't do it myself.

Why is Agent Orange listed in the See Also section?

Other countries use/development of napalm related weaponry[edit]

Should references be made to this? For example I have heard from friends and unreliable sources that China has developed napalm missiles for its MiG's.Can anyone confirm this or mention references to other countries? --The1exile 18:58, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Germany was the first user of napalm. This was during World War 2. The French and British quickly followed suite. Americans then also used it when they began to fight in Europe in WW1. --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on 22:40, 6 April 2006.

Very little value as a weapon.[edit]

Napalm is mostly a terror weapon. It will not hurt the military's tracked APC and battle tank vehicles, all tanks of the WARPAC were modified to be immune to napalm during the early 1980's. It is only good against civilians. 13:51, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Napalm is effective against troop concentrations. Keep in mind that most countries have regular infantry units that are not mobilized by APCs, or are in light vehicles. Tabmoc72 22:30, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Napalm is not mostly a terror weapon. It is highly effective against soldiers in trenches, fox holes, pill boxes, bunkers, and cave fortifications. When dropped as bombs from aircraft, one of these can immolate an area 100 yards by 300 yards (larger than three football fields). Since napalm is liquid and is very sticky, it is impossible for any soldier in this area to escape its effects. Napalm is also highly effective in destroying ammunition and fuel, as well as other equipment like tents, duffel bags, radios, computers, and unarmored vehicles. Napalm also consumes all or most of the oxygen in its surrounding causing enemy personnel to aphyxiate. --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on 22:40, 6 April 2006.

Take a break trolls. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 05:16, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Terror weapon? Maybe...but that's part of its appeal. To say that it is not effective against APCs and tanks is incorrect. There is much documented evidence that it is highly effective against tanks and other such vehicles. In fact, one of the references cited in the article explained how the North Korean tank crews, who used to feel safe from attack by air, began to dread overflying aircraft when the UN forces started to use napalm against them. Where rockets and bombs required a great deal of accuracy that was difficult to achieve against moving targets, napalm was used as an area weapon that covered an area 275-feet long by 80-feet wide with solid sheet of 1500-degree fire that killed everything within it. The enemy hated napalm and feared it more than any other weapon used against them. It was extremely demoralizing. Those psychological effects (consistent with any "terror weapon") resulted in numerous enemy troops surrendering. Read the article in Naval Aviation News from May 1951. It is an official U.S. Navy publication that was written during a time of non-political correctness (also at the height of the Korean War) and pulls no punches when it comes to the terrible (yet useful) nature of napalm. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:25, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Styrofoam vs. aluminum soap, take 2[edit]

I've checked this article after not looking at it for a few months, and have found that someone has inserted multiple statements that napalm is gasoline jellied using styrofoam.

This is completely incorrect, for reasons noted in the other thread with this title. Military napalm is gasoline jellied using other agents (aluminum-based soaps of at least two organic precursors). The styrofoam version is the least useful of the several home-brew "napalm-like" recipes that have been circulating electronically since the early 1990s. It produces gasoline-based goop that burns. The similarity ends there. I'm modifying the article appropriately. --Christopher Thomas 20:56, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually this is technicaly the previous post is incorrect considering that the Naplam used in vietnam was a new mixture consisting of 46% Polystyrene, the Chemical name of styrofoam,33% gasoline, and 21%benzene. While you can't get that much benzene, gasoline is already 4% benzene. So the mixture is not exact but the ingrediants are correct. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) on 22:33, 9 May 2006.
The sentence in the first paragraph was added by (talk · contribs) on 19:03, 20 January 2006. I'm assuming that this was a good-faith but misguided edit.
The sentence in the "background" section was added by (talk · contribs) on 8:23, 24 January 2006. It's inconclusive whether or not this was intended as vandalism, as the same IP address has multiple vandalism warnings on its talk page.
Both of these sentences have been removed. --Christopher Thomas 21:47, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Pop-culture references to napalm[edit]

I've moved the following sentence added by (talk · contribs) here:

also in one of the megaman games there is a robot master named napalmman

If pop-culture napalm references are considered appropriate for this article, they should probably be in their own section. Potentially notable references include:

My vote is that there aren't enough notable references to make adding a section about them worth it, but I'm putting the idea forward for discussion anyways (as something along these lines tends to get added a couple of times per year). --Christopher Thomas 22:02, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

  • "Tyler Durden" (Brad Pitt) gives a ficticious recipe for napalm in "Fight Club" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) on 02:24, 26 February 2006
Odd that the publishers/producers deemed it safer to give a fake recepie than a real one, after all a "Real" napalm substitute should burn slowly and evenly. What does orange juice concentrate do? MAXIM magazine, a publication that I freely admit often screws around with its readership, claimed that they tried mixing orange juice concentrate and gasoline and thought it worked at a 2 parts gasoline to one part concentrate ratio. Shenanigans? 06:45, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Christopher Thomas that we need more references before we write a section for it. But I think it would be good to have one and to that end here is a music reference "Napalm in the Morning" by Sodom from the album M16 is about Napalm use in the Vietnam War (talk) 20:00, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Napalm in the Iraq war[edit]

I've reveted the changes made by User: on the above subject because:

  • Such claims need to be backed up by references
  • The contribution was strongly POV and was indistinguishable from vandalism

Sorry for the multiple reverts - I was struggling to find an acceptable version of the contribution. In the end I had to it completely! Waggers 15:11, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Indeed it is a chemical weapon[edit]

The UN convention on chemical weapons ( reads as follows:

1. "Chemical Weapons" means the following, together or separately:

(a) Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes; (...)

2. "Toxic Chemical" means:

Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. This includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.

Clearly, napalm is a chemical weapon causing death through a chemical action. Bloomberg 20:49, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

  • No, it does not cause death through "chemical action" in a strict sense, which refers to the effects being a direct product of the exposure to the chemical itself, not a secondary effect. Napalm it causes death through flame, explosion, etc., not exposure to the chemical (consider the difference between TNT and nerve gas: both are chemicals, but only one kills via direct exposure to the chemical itself; TNT kills by explosive force or fire). As our page on chemical warfare rightly specifies: "There are other chemicals used militarily that are not technically considered to be "chemical weapon agents," such as: ... Incendiary or explosive chemicals (such as napalm, extensively used by the United Statesin Vietnam, or dynamite) because their destructive effects are primarily due to fire or explosive force, and not direct chemical action." Hope that clarifies things. --Fastfission 22:01, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • In point of fact a contribution above clearly makes the point that napalm kills not only by contact, but by consumption of the oxygen from the surrounding environment, thus causing asphyxiation. This is clearly a case in which deaths arise from the chemical properties of napalm, and therefore endorses the proposition that napalm is a chemical weapon. User:Reiner_Torheit
  • And as a further bit of clarification, notice that napalm nor any other explosive appears in the "Annex on Chemicals" to which the treaty refers as a list of what is considered to be chemical warfare. --Fastfission 22:04, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Keep in mind that one's OPINION of what constitutes a chemical weapon is not the deciding criterion. The decisions of the relevant international bodies are the final word. "Well, I'd say this effect is chemical" is an opinion, not international law or treaty. Michael Z. Williamson209.43.8.77 03:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

In August 1964, a chemical attack took place in the Kokkina Mansoura area. Fighting broke out on 3 August and continued until 6 August, during which the Turkish air force bombed Greek villages indiscriminately with napalm. Napalm tops the list of chemical weapons used by the Turkish state. Napalm can generate temperatures of up to 800 degrees when used on its own, but this temperature may rise to 1,500 to 2,000 degrees when it is fortified with certain chemicals —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:01, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

In response to Reiner_Torheit, the napalm only consumes oxygen when ignited, and therefore, is due to the fire. Im not sure about the "death by contact" thing, but Napalm is mostly just a combination of fuel and catalyst for combustion.---Alex Showell

While Napalm is a chemical it does not fall under the chemical weapons definition provided by the UN. Napalm falls under incendiary weapons, not chemical weapons, as it killing property is its flammability. Same general idea for White Phosphorous.--LWF 23:23, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Why is "napalm" capitalized in the article? Seems to me that it should not be. --Yath 17:40, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I, the most educated person in the world, think you are putting too much emphasis on how things are worded rather than the subject at hand. Griping about quotation marks in a sentence has nothing to do with the history of napalm other than direct quote. I read this to learn about napalm, not take a punctuality class. If there is wrong information then correct it, but if a quotation mark or capital letters have no effect on the statement, then why worry about it. It seems that most of the information is correct and some people love to correct others, since there is nothing to correct pertaining to the information, they choose to correct spelling and punctuation (by the way some of the corrections had misspellings in them)...... THEY WHO THING THAT THEY KNOW EVERYTHING, HAS A LOT TO LEARN—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:58, November 12, 2006 (UTC)

I realize these comments are very old, but for the benefit of anyone who might be reading this page, I will say that correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation are crucial to any resource that strives to be taken seriously. Not everyone cares about punctuation, but those of us who make a point to be meticulous notice not only capitalization errors but also the numerous errors in the above comments. Who are you to say that capitalization is not important? This is an encyclopedic source. The reliability of the content will be measured by the correctness of the minor formatting and other details. PatienceGoodlove (talk) 19:45, 18 October 2011 (UTC)


You all remember Tails, that cat-thing that Sonic used to hang out with? Well, in one of his games, didn't he have a napalm-based weapon? (Please respond on my talk page.) tinlv7 01:24, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

This isn't your personal blog. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 05:19, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

yes it is —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

tails is a fox duh —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:43, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

In A Car...[edit]

How badly would a car (and passenger(s)) suffer if dish soap was poured into it's gas tank? I've read a few articles on napalm and napalm-like subsitiutes that dish soap and gasoline creates a similar compound, and I've been wondering as to the validity of the articles' statements. TheChrisParker 21:35, November 18 2006

You shouldn't be allowed to edit Wikipedia if you think adding dish soap to a car's gas tank would somehow create an explosion on its own. --Haizum μολὼν λαβέ 05:18, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Most dish soaps i know of aren't flammable anyway so I don't see how it would help. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:33, 18 September 2007 (UTC)


Was it not the US AF napalm bombing Trang Bang village area??

No. It was the work of the then-South Vietnamese Air Force. The Aircraft used to deliver the napalm was the A-1 Skyraider.Wikiphyte 16:29, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
You forget the world you used to live my friend, of course it was South Vietnamese Air Force. Americans never harm anyone but terrorist!
That's terrorist talk! Burn, baby, burn! It was the VNAF, by the way. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Usage in Warfare[edit]

Even though one might argue that the present title for this section is broad, it does not encompass all the information present inside it. I think Kim Phuc's statements would be better served under a "Controversy" heading. Also, anarchist cookbook recipies clearly don't fall under the heading of usage in warfare. If I find the time, I'll make these edits soon. Nosferatublue 21:22, 28 June 2007 (UTC)


can someone put quotes around "phuc sustained..." Jacob.vankley 17:43, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Use in Second Gulf War[edit]

I've read references (good ones) about the use of Napalm by the US military during the latest Gulf War. Yet there is no reference to it in the article. Any reasons why? -- 15:28, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

History - citation for first use in Europe[edit]

I just removed a citation for the first use of Napalm in Europe in WWII. The link appears to be dead, and the version on the internet archive does not seem to support the sentence. Anyone have updated information? --TeaDrinker 17:17, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Which counties have used napalm in war?[edit]

The text in the article on napalm reads:

Napalm has been used recently in wartime by or against: Iran (1980–88), Israel (1967, 1982), Nigeria (1969), Brazil (1972), Egypt (1973), Cyprus (1964, 1974), Argentina (1982), Iraq (1980–88, 1991, 2003 - ?), Serbia (1994), Turkey (1963, 1974, 1997), Angola, France (1946-1954, 1954-1962), United States.

Note the text equivocates between those who have used it and those who have been victims of it, "Napalm has been used recently in wartime by or against". This should be corrected by those who know. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Markinship (talkcontribs) 06:18, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

NAPALM with soap[edit]

Can you really make napalm using ordinary soap? Of course, I don't mean just putting it in benzene but can you really create this highly flammable with just these two ingredients? —Preceding unsigned comment added by MavericK Long Range (talkcontribs) 14:14, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

You can make "napalm" with many different things. essentialy all what napalm is is thickened gasoline so yeah i guess you could make it with soap. ive also heard people use motor oil to thicken it. (talk) 18:40, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

popular culture section removal.[edit]

i removed the popular culture section as it was simply an innacurate,irrelevant, trivia list. (talk) 21:10, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I restored it. There is no policy against such sections. It should be improved, but napalm does figure in an important way in various notably works of fiction etc. Agreed, it does need improving. DGG ( talk ) 04:28, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Popular Culture section...[edit]

Why is there no mention of the novel/movie Fight Club and the validity of the recipes for napalm discussed within said media? -- (talk) 03:37, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Please read this: What Wikipedia Is Not.bwmcmaste (talk) 07:02, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Article Overhaul[edit]

I sat down for a couple of hours and overhauled this entire article for things like copy-editing and wikifying. I basically took the existing information and references, organized it, cleaned it up, cut out the junk, and restructured it to look encyclopedic. Please remember to source your material and stay within the scope of the subject. I was finding a lot of irrelevant information and unsourced material. Here's my list of changes:

  • General article cleanup (i.e. removed dead piping/links and consolidated inline citations)
  • Added new reference links (University of Bristol and Travel & History)
  • Removed numerous unsourced and possibley irrelevant statements
  • Removed external links to ophsa and dispatx sites (not relevant to article)
  • Renamed "Notes" section as "References" as per Wikipedia status quo
  • Moved References above "See Also" section as per Wikipedia status quo
  • Removed piece about MK 77s under "Use In Warfare" section (relevancy)
  • Copy editing of entire page
  • Removed large portions of unsourced material, and replaced with sourced material
  • Removed instances of plagiarism
  • Separation of "modern napalm" and "napalm"

I would like to make a special note of the last item. It seems to me that this is an article about napalm: It should include the modern variants, but they should be listed as a subsection (as I have done) to keep the article from getting confusing. The two are very different and should be kept separate so that a person reading the article is not constantly bouncing back and forth between the new and old. It would be a great help to this article if we could get someone with a chemistry background to add some more specifics about the composition and such (with proper referencing, of course). bwmcmaste (talk) 07:13, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Any use in protests?[edit]

I'm kinda surprised napalm isn't mentioned on the news more often when they talk about violent protests; if it's so easy to make why aren't people cooking batches to throw at the riot police? --TiagoTiago (talk) 14:31, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Because they're not suicidal- doing so would entitle the cops to respond with lethal force, i.e. gunfire. Solicitr (talk) 00:50, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Does happen occasionally, but is usually written up as regular "Molotov cocktails" or "petrol bombs" - coppers who have done riot duty in the right sort of environment are likely to have seen jelled incendiaries at some point. Anecdotal, based on accounts from people who have served in Ulster during the "troubles". (talk) 16:34, 20 May 2015 (UTC)


is it a quick na-pal-m or is it naa-pa-l-m? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

It's either, depending on UK or US usage - nap-palm for UK, nay-palm for US. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

First use in World War II[edit]

I have come across three different dates for the first use of Napalm in WWII, including the one in this article. There is a claim here that "The first use of napalm occurred on July 23, 1944, during pre-invasion air strikes on the island of Tinian, part of the Marianas island chain in the Pacific." In the French Wikipeida here the claim is made that the first use of Napalm in Europe was against SS troops at Bonneuil-Matours: "In retaliation for the death of First Lieutenant Stephens (SAS), killed in blows with a wooden stick, the barracks are bombed on July 14th (1944). It is the 140th Wing which is charged with the mission: it sends 14 Mosquitos of 21 Sqn. Royal Air Force, 464 Sqn. Royal Australian Air Force and 487 Sqn. Royal New Zealand Air Force, armed with American M-76 napalm bombs (it is the first military use of napalm in Europe) and explosive bombs."

Can anyone provide an accurate date for the first use of napalm (i.e. not Napalm-B) in warfare? Thanks. --TraceyR (talk) 13:43, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

The date in this article is from a contemporaneous report that I found at the Air Force Historical Research Agency. (I have a scanned copy of the report I would be happy to forward to you.) The report claims to be the first use. I would tend to regard that as more reliable than the global security reference to a later date. I have no information on the Royal Australian/Royal New Zealand date. In any circumstances the dates are consistent - July 1944. -- ed Ecragg (talk) 18:28, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. The Frnech WP article cites a French work (Christian Richard, 1939-1945 : la guerre aérienne dans la Vienne, Geste éditions, 2005. 348 p. (ISBN 2-84561-203-6) , p. 205) which is not available online. I did come across a mention of a sortie carried out by one of the RNZAF Mosquito aircraft on the mission, which states "Bombed Gestapo Barracks 14/7 Bonneuil Matours 10m S of Chatellerault 4x500lbs (150 killed)", i.e. it doesn't mention that the 500lb bombs were in any way unusual, although the M76 napalm bombs were also 500lb. The French report states also (1) that the bombs missed the target but (2) all the buildings caught fire! It would be interesting to find the French source. --TraceyR (talk) 23:18, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

'Napalm' as generic term?[edit]

In a Rutgers essay by economist Mark Wilson the distinction is made between napalm, as developed at Harvard, Columbia and Standard Oil and manufactured by Dow Chemical, and 'goop', a mixture of asphalt and magnesium as well as gasoline and other component used in napalm, developed and made by the Permanente Metals Corporation (PMC). Since, according to this source, some 76,000 tons of goop-filled bombs were dropped in WWII (8% of all incendiary payload), perhaps there should be a mention of it, either here or in separate article. Certainly the PMC article needs to include some reference to goop. The Rutgers reference states that PMC's formula for what the U.S. Army‟s Chemical Weapons Service (CWS) referred to as "PT Mix" was, by weight, 39% "microscopic magnesium dust," 10% asphalt, 5% distillate, 27% gasoline, 10% magnesium crystals, 5% sodium nitrate, 3% isobutyl methacrylate gel, and 1% ammonium perchlorate. It was the first three of these ingredients - the dust, asphalt, and distillate - that comprised "goop"; the rest of the mix was essentially napalm plus even more magnesium. PMC's interest was to find a use for its magnesium dust, on which it was making a loss during the early years of the war.

If we were to make a distinction between the two, an issue would be whether reports on the use of jellied gasoline also differentiated between them. For example, I have come across a reference (see previous section) to the first operational use of napalm in 14 July 1944, which refers to it being delivered in M76 bombs, although, as far as I have been able to establish, the M76 (also referred to as AN-M76 and M-76) contained PMC's goop. Many sources claim that the first use of napalm was 17 July 1944 at Courtances, France, but was this the 'real' napam or perhaps also goop? Was napalm delivered in bombs with other designations? --TraceyR (talk) 08:49, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Decades ago the name became so widely known (as stated in the article introduction) that virtually any semi-liquid flaming substance used offensively (and sometimes explosive ignition of flammable liquids like paint, edible or lubricating oils, or gasoline fuel tanks near the target) will be described as napalm by those targeted by the attack (and probably by those observing the attack); since recipients and observers are seldom well positioned to read product labels. As such, it is important for editors to screen references to determine if the author had reason to know whether it was actually napalm rather than some substance with apparently similar properties.Thewellman (talk) 06:56, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


Unfortunately the article starts with an error: "The term napalm is from what was originally thought to be its composition: sodium (Na) palmitate. As it turned out, the sodium palmitate used to make the first napalm had an additional substance in it. However, the name was kept because it was well into the development process when this was discovered."

However, The name Napalm, as elsewhere stated correctly, derives from naphthenate and palmitate. The accurate explanation for the name is given by L. Fieser ("The scientific method....", 1964, page 27): "One new soap tried was a powder obtained from Metasap Chemical Co., Harrison, N.J., under the name "aluminum palmitate"; the name is put in quotation marks for a reason which will become apparent later [...] On Feb. 14 [1942], we reported to NDRC development of two lines of gels that could be prepared by stirring with gasoline at room temperature. To one, made from aluminium NAphthenate and "aluminum PALMitate", I gave the name Napalm. Two of the first formulations are as follows: ..." (original text uses small letter italics, not capitals, for emphasis)

The ambiguous nature of the "aluminum palmitate" is later explained by Fieser (p. 29) as such: "Something seemed fishy about the Metasap product, or rather about the name. Indeed, in a visit to Metasap I learned that their product is not a palmitate at all but the aluminum soap made from the total acids of coconut oil."

Fieser published his personal account on the work on Napalm in 1964, which was certainly bad timing in terms of shifting public opinion. Ironically (?) the Napalm used in Vietnam was mainly Napalm B (as far as I know) and in that sense was quite different from the product which had led to the "Napalm" name. Napalm B is more similar to mixtures made from natural rubber and gasoline, on which Fieser states (p. 19): "Major Rambaut had stated that the British had experimented with rubber-benzene gels but had not developed a completed bomb." The change to aluminum soaps became necessary after the Pearl Harbor attacks, when Japan "gained control of all the important sources of natural rubber." (Fieser, p. 24). In fact, many people were involved at many stages in the development of "incendiary gels", which were later all named "Napalm". So, adding to the above comment ("generic term"), it is certainly true that "Napalm" is now often used as a generic term for "incendiary gels" (this expression is actually the title of Fiesers 1943 patent, US2606107) and says little about the chemical composition of the thickener used. (talk) 15:48, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

"Primarily an anti-personnel weapon" ... ?[edit]

I don't think that it is correct to describe napalm as "primarily an anti-personnel weapon". Certainly its development was driven by the need for a more effective incendiary device, i.e. one which didn't just produce a short flash of flame but which stuck to buildings long enough to set them on fire. All of the initial testing in the USA was against targets built to simulate German and Japanese buildings. It was soon used in flame-throwers of course, and became infamous in Vietnam in an anti-personnel role, but its use in WWII in Europe and the Pacific theatre, especially against Japanese cities, was mainly as an incendiary.--TraceyR (talk) 08:06, 29 August 2011 (UTC)


File:TrangBang.jpg, the photo of "Phan Thị Kim Phúc running down a road near Trảng Bàng, Vietnam, after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village of Trảng Bàng by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force." is a non-free image and as such can only be used on articles under the terms of Fair use. Per the Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria, there must be a specific and separate Fair use rationale provided for every article that uses the image. This photograph was used in the "Effects on people" section of this article without such a rationale. As such I have commented it out to prevent it being shown. If you believe that a valid fair use claim can be made for use of this image in this article (I make no judgement), then write a fair use rationale for it at File:TrangBang.jpg before adding it back to the article. If no valid claim can be made, remove the code completely from the article to discourage others readding it. Thryduulf (talk) 20:02, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

in literature[edit]

A Napalm like substance is referenced in one of Nevil Shute's novels though it can be dispensed by flamethrower - sorry, can not recall the book but relates to naval attacks around northern FranceOffbeam (talk) 21:42, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Vietnam Inc. had a major influence on American perceptions of the war, and became a classic of photojournalism.[11][12] The book was the result of Griffiths' three years work in the country and it stands as one of the most detailed surveys of any conflict, including descriptions of the horrors of the war as well as a study of Vietnamese rural life and views from serving American soldiers. Probably one of its most quoted passages is of a US army source discussing napalm:

‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot - if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so’s to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.’[13]

Philip Jones Griffiths (2006) [1971]. Vietnam, Inc.. Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-0-7148-4603-3.

'It is believed to have been formulated to burn at a specific rate and to adhere to surfaces...'

Why 'it is believed'?

Notreallydavid (talk) 20:01, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

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