n.- (flechette, flechettes)A small, sharp piece of metal, used as projectile or shrapnel weapons. Flechettes can resemble needles in design, as well as razor-edged disks, but by definition and origin are most like darts in nature. Their application is (or rather was) most useful in artillery rounds, raining thousands of such darts upon enemy emplacements- and with a startling success against body armor. Their use today is questionable, as these projectiles will not necessarily kill an enemy combatant (but possibly maim), and when used in areas thick with civilians, the cost in collateral damage can be quite high.
The use of artillery flechette rounds in populated areas has recently been criticized due to their use by the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip. These criticisms focus on the wide area of effect of artillery flechette rounds, and their use in areas with large civilian populations.
by Will "Reclaimer" H April 28, 2008