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Stink Bombs

Stink Bombs (or Stink Pots) were pots or bags filled with noxious material and used to create such a foul odor strong enough to make the enemy surrender or stop fighting. Many sources mention the use of rotting animals and fowl smelling liquids to create stink pot, however when the material was available brimstone (sulfur) was often the stink bomb of choice. Brimstone, or sulfur, as it is commonly called today is a naturally occurring mineral found world wide and is a chief component of gun powder. When sulfur is burned, it creates a choking smoke that smells strongly of rotting eggs. The odor lingers long after the sulfur has stopped burning. Beside having a foul odor, the smoke also creates a breathing hazard when used in a confined area.

Stink Bombs

Most of the time stink bombs were not thrown but dropped through hatches in an attempt to clear below decks and force people out of cabins. In the case of the sulfur stink bomb, a slowmatch would be used to set the sulfur on fire and once the sulfur began to burn it would be tossed in a cabin or dropped below deck. A sharp shooter would keep watch on the stinkbomb and shoot anyone who tried to put it out or throw it back.

Another popular method of stink bombs was urine. Urine would be collected and the water portion would be boiled down in order to concentrate the amount of ammonia left in the liquid. The ammonia would be placed in breakable jars and again dropped below decks. Once the jar broke the ammonia would soak into the deck and begin to burn the eyes and sting the throat. The advantage of the liquid stink bomb like ammonia was that it could not be easily put out or thrown back. The disadvantage was it could be diluted with water and the smell did not linger as long as something like sulfur. Also the liquid bombs often required more bombs for the same amount of stench.

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Updated: 04 September 2022