The Molotov Cocktail, or Molotov for short, is a device similar to a hand grenade, but cheaper to make.
There are several different types of Molotovs since it is an improvised weapon. The Molotov is often used as an alternative to hand grenades namely because it is cheap to make and does not require much skill to use. The most common variant consists of a glass bottle that is filled gasoline (or alcohol) and a rag taped to the top that acts as a fuse.
The proper way to use the Molotov is to ignite the rag fuse with a match, then after it begins to burn, throw the Molotov. The bottle will then break and all gasoline will spread out and catch fire, and anyone caught too close will most likely be burned to death.
The Molotov could be used in different ways, firstly it could be set up in a trap so that if any unlucky enemies open a specific door, the molotov sprays flames all over them or the molotov could be used to take out tanks. Of course, a Molotov can't literally destroy a tank it can effectively put one out of action. There are several areas of a tank that prime targets for Molotov attack. The first is the driver's hatch, but only if it is open. If so, one can kill the driver by throwing a Molotov into his compartment. Air vents are also prime targets as one can force the crew out of the tank if the smoke is thick enough.
The Molotov Cocktail has many different variants, some with different fuses, some with different chemicals (particularly to make a choking smoke effect), and some from different countries. The main variant of the Molotov design was the actual production made Finnish version which featured a mixture of gasoline, tar, and kerosene. It also had two water-proof matches on the sides of if and did not have a rag for a fuse. Instead, when the bottle breaks, the lit matches (only one was required to be lit) would ignite the mixture when they came into contact with the chemicals.
The Molotov Cocktail got its name from the Finns during the Winter War, who named it as an insult to Vylacheslav Molotov, who the RRAB-3 Cluster Bomb was named after. The Molotov was made as a "drink to go with the food," food being the Molotov bread basket as the cluster bomb was known. However, the first recorded use of a molotov in combat was in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War where it acted as a cheap anti-tank weapon.
At that time, they were a decent anti-armor weapon, incinerating a tank crew caught inside the tank at which the Molotov was thrown. Hundreds of production model Molotovs were produced during the course of The Winter War and later the continuation war by Finland. However, in the 21st century, the Molotov has been used by insurgents in Iraq, and few of them caused any damage to more modern M1A2 Abrams tanks, although there was a report of an M1A2 Abrams tank driver badly injured when an Iraqi insurgent threw a Molotov inside his tank. Still, the Molotov is used worldwide by rebels, insurgents, and irregular military forces to this day. The Molotov Cocktail was also used by Soviet forces during the Second World War, and were used extensively by partisans. Germans also used Molotov Cocktails against the Soviets and Americans.