The Notsignalbehalter, or emergency signal container, is a watertight
semicircular case which can be carried by means of a one-half-inch leather or
web strap. The case is made of thin sheet iron, and the cartridge holder inserts
are made of sheet aluminum. The pistol contained in it is made either of
aluminum or an aluminum alloy. Each container has in it one flare pistol, 10 red-star
signal flares, 7 green-star signal flares, and 7 white-star signal flares. In
the particular container examined there were three semicircular cartridge
holders (only one shown in accompanying sketch) and one flat cartridge holder
(not shown in sketch). There were six cartridges in each holder.
The emergency signal container has been observed being carried by
German parachute, air, foot, and tank troops. It is a very neat and compact unit
which, besides being watertight until time of use, is very light in construction.
The total weight of the entire unit is 8.04 pounds. The following is a
breakdown of the weights of the container and various components:
|Entire case|| ||8.04 lbs|
|Case without cartridges||2.70 lbs|
|Semicircular insert with cartridges||1.10 lbs|
|Flat insert with cartridges||1.00 lb|
|Live individual cartridge||0.16 lb (approx)|
|Expended cartridge||0.05 lb|
The weights of the individual cartridges varied from 0.15 to 0.18 pound
for the different colored flares. An approximate weight is therefore taken.
The container is of a semicircular shape, approximately 13 inches high
and 7 3/4 inches wide. It is approximately 4 inches from the
flat side of the container to the center of the opposite curved side.
Besides the regular ones, a wide variety of additional flares are available
for the flare pistol; they consist of parachute, high-burst, low-burst, yellow
smoke, and whistling flares, and four blue streamers. The regular red, white,
and green flares are also manufactured in cartridges approximately 3/4 inch
shorter than the regular cartridge.
It is also of interest to note that the Germans have designed a small grenade to be
fired from the pistol. This serves to illustrate the versatility of the weapon.
A rather important feature of the red, white, and green flares was the
method of identification. The color of the flare is painted on the base and end,
and also on a strip around the cartridge just above the base. In addition, for
purposes of night identification, the red flare has a base serrated completely
around, the white flare has only half the base serrated, and the green has no
serrations at all. This makes for ready recognition at night.
Flares of other colors and for other uses are marked by means of painted stripes and
bands. Also, a raised figure is used on the top of the shell.
The flare cartridge cases appear to be made of aluminum and approximately the
size of an eight-gauge shotgun shell. Other flares which fit the pistol
had cases of brass, indicating that more than one type of metal is used in the
The flare pistol was at first thought to be made of steel; later as a result of
tests, it was found the pistol frame and barrel were made of aluminum or an
aluminum alloy, but, of course, various pins and parts are made of steel. This
accounts for the extreme lightness of the pistol. The actual weight of the
entire pistol is 1.58 pounds.
The pistol, while being very light and versatile, has a very heavy recoil. This
is to be expected, as the recoil varies inversely with the weight of the pistol. Another
detrimental feature is that it has a very large number of parts. This does not
seem to be necessary for the use to which the pistol was intended. Also, long
cartridges, such as those containing parachutes, do not readily slide in and out
after shorter flare cartridges have been fired because of the formation of
a "cake" inside the barrel.