The Molotov cocktail is a simple, improvised incendiary weapon, a deadly message in a bottle. It was the Explosive weapon of the Mafia.
The Molotov is a glass jar or bottle filled with a flammable liquid, usually gasoline. A rag held in place by a stopper acts as a wick.
- 1 foot
- 2 lbs
- Glass and combustibles
The rag is lit and the Molotov cocktail is thrown, where the bottle shatters on impact, igniting the gas inside.
Historically, similar weapons have been used as early bombs in ancient times. Bombs made out of Greek Fire was used during the Medieval Ages by the Byzantine Empire.
The Winter War had Finnish soldiers use Molotovs to burn Soviet tanks. They were able to do this effectively by using skis to perform hit-and-run attacks in the mountainous and snowy climate of Finland. The Molotov was effective because Soviet tanks at that time were so crudely made that they had several gaps, which the flammable liquid could flow into.
WWII saw many uses of the Molotov Cocktail in all theaters. In the Battle of Stalingrad; Stalin ordered his army to maintain close distance to the enemy to prevent The Luftwaffe from bombing positions without causing friendly fire. Because of this urban combat; it was common for both sides to ambush enemy tanks with Molotovs.
As depicted on Deadliest Warrior; using the Molotov in battle is difficult since it's such a large and noticeable weapon that requires a few seconds to get the rag burning. Modern armored vehicles are designed to have no gaps and to be fire resistant, meaning Molotovs are less effective against the tanks of today, due to advancements made after the World Wars.
It is possibly one of the most mass produced weapons in modern history because of its low cost, and has seen action in almost every modern war. Due to its simplicity, both in construction and use, the Molotov cocktail is still often used today by criminals, terrorists, and rioters. The 2019 Siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University witnessed Pro-Democracy protesters stockpiling 3,989 petrol bombs, 1,339 explosive items and 601 bottles of corrosive liquids.
- The name Molotov Cocktail was used as an insult to the Soviet politician Vyacheslav Molotov in the early 1940s: primarily due to Soviet failures in the Winter War. So the name of this weapon is actually younger than the weapon itself, similar to the Claymore sword.