The family of hand held signals (HHS) are used for both day time and night time signalling and night time signalling in the case of the M127A1.
There are a variety of types:
M125A1 – Cluster Green Star
M158 – Cluster Red Star
M159 – Cluster White Star
M195 – Parachute Green Star
M126A1 – Parachute Red Star
M127A1 – Parachute White Star
The star clusters consist of five-star illuminate assemblies and a rocket motor propulsion assembly contained in a hand-held aluminium launching tube.
The parachute signals consist of a parachute-suspended illuminate assembly and a rocket motor propulsion assembly contained in a hand-held aluminium launching tube.
The base of the launching tube contains a primer and an initiating charge. As shipped, the firing pin cap is assembled to the forward end and must be reversed for firing. Stabilizing fins on the tail assembly of rockets are folded parallel to the axis of the signal. A bolt, which also transfers the initiating charge flash to the propellant, extends into the centre of the solid propellant which fills the propulsion assembly. The illuminate assembly is mounted on top of the propulsion assembly with a delay assembly and an expelling charge between them. The parachute with suspension chords is packed on top of the illuminate for the parachute variety, and the tube end is sealed with a cork disk (rocket barrel seal). A label specifying firing procedures is secured to the body of the signal.
The propelling charge for both cluster and parachute type signals is a black powder composition with about 9% calcium carbonate. Black powder is used for the initiating and expelling charge for both cluster and parachute signals. The primer is percussion no. 68 and is used in both cluster and parachute signals.
These signal flares were commonly seen carried on the top of the rucksacks, tucked in the straps.