Video encyclopedia

White phosphorus munitions


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White phosphorus is a material made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus that is used in smoke, tracer, illumination, and incendiary munitions. Other common names include WP and the slang term "Willie Pete" or "Willie Peter" derived from William Peter, the World War II phonetic alphabet for "WP", which is still sometimes used in military jargon. As an incendiary weapon, white phosphorus is pyrophoric (self-igniting), burns fiercely and can ignite cloth, skin, fuel, ammunition, and other combustibles.
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    • History 

    • World War I, the inter-war period and World War II 

    • Later uses 

    • Smoke-screening properties 

    • Effects 

    • International law