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Volume l0 Issue l18

Published by
:': ,. >,biishlng Ltd
: -=-:s33ce Publlshrnq Ltd 1985

ltr,:nag'ng Editor: Sian Morse


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C.siorr Origination: mago Publishing Ltd,

'll'pesetting: S. J:-cosing Ltd

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Consultant Editor: Malor General Sir
Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MC, Comman-
der of British Land Forces during the
Falklands campaign.
Picture ackno$rledgements
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Flamefhrowers
of WbrldWll
Liqtid fire was used in medieval times by the Byzantine
The Germans made extensive use of
narry, but its 20th-centuty use stems from Ilamethrowers flamethrowers during the battles
introduced by Germany during World War L By World War II around theVerdun forts in I I I 6.
Here a Wehrmacht flamethrower
such oterror' weapons were in widespread sewice, adding team practises for the second round
new horror to the conflict, in 1939.

Fire rn all its guises has been an established weapon of war since ancient flamethrower's positive and obvious manner, its impact on an ene:r.- :1,.
times, but when the flamethrower appeared in its modern form on the be considerable, At times during World War II the mere slg:- :, .
battleflelds of World War I it seemed that a new aspect of its horrors had flamethrower in action was enough to make the enemy break a:-j :--
arrived Despite the outcnes of drsgnrst that arose on all sides, the often towards its operators in order to surrender. There are ::.r:
flamethrower qulckly became an established mriitary weapon and by types of battlefreld target against which the flamethrower can :a','= -=.,
World War II most armies either had the flamethrower in their armouries effect, but they are not many,
or were making active plans to place them there, These early World So why are they but little used today? That question ts hard ic a:-s-,'.'=:
War II flamethrowers were very drfferent beasts from those that came though the main reason seems to lie in the fact that flamethro..-;::: =-=
later in the war, for they were usually not much different from World War essentrally short-range assault weapons best used in confined :::--.
i models and in some cases, such as the several improvised designs Modern warfare rs expected to involve mobile forces moltnl -::-..
rushed out in the UK during 1940, virtually identical, Flamethrower tanks open country, where flame weapons can be of only little use. T:- . -: .
had also been developed, although few armoured commanders knew nrce assumption to make but it may not be borne out in practice I: *:.: ='
how to use them to best effect when they flrst encountered them The or close-quarter warfare is ever necessary in future, the flame::i::','.'=:
potential of the mobile and armoured flamethrower was enormous, as may well reappear And if it ever does the contents of thrs s:;l',' '.'. -,
the Britrsh Wasp and Crocodile were to demonstrate durlng 1944 and provide an indication of what might be expected, Let us hope ri,'e ::'..=:
1945. Portable flamethrowers had many tactlcal uses as well, but gener- have lo encounler them agarn
a]ly speaking the portable equtpments lacked the range and impact ol
their vehrcle-borne counterparts, AUS Marineuses anM2-2 flamethrower againsf a/apanesestrongpoint an
Okinawa. This model was adopted in March I944 and was first used in actiar
Fire is a dreadful weapon for not only are rts effects dreadful to bear duringluly 1944 during operations onGuam. The M2-2 was produced in
and behold but it has a powerful morale effect, Mankind has an instinc- greater numbers than any other American portable flamethrower, and was
tive dread of frre in all rts forms, and when rt is used offensively in the used mainly in the Pacific theatre.

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T
German flamethrowers
The first time the German army used The Flammenwerfer 4 l, seen here
flamethrowers was in 1914, when some resting on its side, used a hydrogen
were used against the French during ignition system that proved to be too
the Argonne fighting, but their flrst unreliable under the extreme winter
large-scale use was against the French conditions ofthe Eastern Ftont, so it
(again), this time durinq the 1916 Ver- was later replaced by a cartridge
dun campaign. These early igmition system. The larger of the two
flamethrowers were large things that tanks contained the fuel; the other
needed up to three men to handle nitrogen.
them, but development led to a much
hghter version that weighed 'only'
35,8 kg (79 1b), This was the Flammen-
werfer 35, which was issued to the new
German army dwinq the 1930s. In de-
sign terms it owed much to the World
War I equipment, and it remained in
productron in 1941,
The Flammenwerfer 35 was g[a-
dually supplemented by the Flammen-
werfer klein verbessert 40, a much
lighter 'lifebuoy' model that caried
less inflammable fuel, but relatively
few of these were produced as they
were soon replaced by the Flammen-
werfer 41, which reverted to the twin-
tank arranqement, Thrs remarned the
standard German flamethrower until
1945, though one tmpofiant modiflca-
tion was introduced after the grrm wm- was one odd model produced for use carried on a small trolley, If this were made as much use as possible of cap-
ter of 1941-2, when the intense cold by parachutists and assault troops. not enouqh there was also a much lar- twed equipments.
prevented the normal flame ignirion This was a single-shot model known as ger model carried on a trailer towed
system fuom workrng, This system was the Einstoss Flammenwerfer traqbar behind a light vehicle: this carried Specification
replaced by a cartridge iqmtron de- which flred a l/2-second burst of flre to enough fuel to produce flame for 24 Flammenwerfer35
vrce that was much more reliable at a range of about 27 m (30 yards), Not seconds, Finally, for use in static situa- Weisht: 35,8 ks (79 lb)
other temperatures as well, When full many were produced, tions there was a device known as the Fuel capacity: 1 1 B litres (2.6 Imp gal)
,

this version, which was otherwise It should not be thought that the Abwehrflammenwerfer 42, a singrle- Range: 25.6 to 30 m (28 io 33 yards)
identical to the i941 model, weiqhed above were the only German shot device to be buried rnto the Durationof fire: l0 seconds
18.14 kg (40 lb) and the range at best flamethrower equipments, for in this ground with only the flame projector
was 32 m (35 yards), field as in all others the Germans were nozzle above ground and pointing to-
All these German equipments used liable to produce proliferatrons oi wards a target area, This was set offby Thefearsome blast of aman-pack
:he trnnn-tank operating process one models. For instance, in addition to the remote control as an enemy flamethrower is seen during a night
:ark contarninq the inflammable liquid back-pack Flammenwerfer 35 men- approached, and was the German attack at S talingrad. Flamethrower
and the other a compressed gas for tioned above there was also a tvvo-man variatron of the old fouqasse weapon operators had to be well protected
propulsion. They were a1l capable of versron known as the mittlerer Flamm- used for many years in fortrfications. by friendly infantry as they werc
producing multiple bursts but there nwerfer, which had its main fuel tank Needless to say, the Germans also vulnerable and highly conspicuous.
German fl amethrowers (continued) Flamethrowers of World War trI

A Flammenwerfer35isseen jn action against a concrete emplacement in AGermanassaultpioneer team is seenwithone member of the team carrying
Poland after the 1939 campaign. The Flammenwerter 35 hail a range of 25.6 to the weight and bulk of a Flammenwerfer 35. This equipment weighed
30 m (28 to 33 yards) and carried enough fuel for I 0 seconds of use-, but it kg and w as an aw kwar d-lo ad-for one m an to cirrj, tut ine idi, p^"
3 5. 8
weighed 35.8 kg (79 lb) and so was often carried into action by two men. -
remained in production until I g4l . Its basic design diied from t S t d. ",

re! E#*"n flamethrower tanks


Throughout World War II the Germans gmn, and there was capacity rnternally the French tanks captured by the Ger- tanks, each containing 700 hres .,:-
were not particularly energetic in the for 1000 litres (220 Imp gal) of fuel. mans in 1940, but once aqain the num- lmp gal) of fuel, enough for 8l :r:-
deployment of flamethrower tanks, These Flammparuer III vehicles were ber rnvolved was not grreat, probably second bursts of flame. Each:;e_ .-_.'
even though they were fieldlng a light very effective but do not appear to about 10, supphed its own projector. c:.: :-:::
flamethrower tank at a time when no have been much used, mainly as a re- For much of the war the German side of the open vehicte rear s.::.
other nation was doing so, This was in sult of their inability to defend them- army relied upon the SdKfz 251 half- had a thtrd but smailer pro]ectcr :. :-=
194I when, following a period of trials, selves against enemy tanks, for track for the flamethrowing role, The fronr. bur on mosl vehicles this p:-i:--:
a PzKpfw I was converted to take a whenever they were used in action versron used was the SDKfz 25Ii 16 mit- was occupied by a machrne-qi-:. _-.:
Flammenpanzer 40 flame projector ln other 'gun' tanks had to be used to tlerer Flammpanzerwagen, first used usual range of these projectors -r,-
place of one of the machrne-gmns in the guard them, during 1942. This carried two fuel about 35 m (38 yards),
turret, This produced the Flammpan- Apart from the odd trials model, no
zer I, and the first ofthem were used in PzKpfw IV was converted to the oper-
action by the Deutsches Afrika Korps ational Flammpanzer role. Apparently
in North Africa. This expedient was there were plans to convert various
soon followed by another, this time the marks of Panther and Tiger II to the
Flammparuer II which was a conver- flame role, but none appear to have
sion ol the otherwise little-used seen fruition, Instead the little Flamm-
PzKpfw Il Ausf D or E On thrs conver- panzer 38(t) was placed into produc-
sion tvuo flame projectors were used, tton durrng 1944 as the standard flame
one on each side ofthe front hull, Each tank of the land forces. This small tank
projector had a range of about 36.5 m was well suited to the role as it used the
(40 yards). Not many ofthese conver- low and easily concealed hutl of the
sions were made, and most appear to Hetzer tank destroyer, Once again the
have been used on the Eastern Front flame gmn took the place of the matn
The most nullerous conversions ro gmn and some of the internal space was
the Flammpanzer role were made with devoted to fuel for the projector.
the PzKpfw III Ausf H or M, At least 100 A few captured tanks were used by
ofthese tanks were converted to take a the Germans for the flame role. One
flame projector in place of the main example was the larqe Char B, one of

4Flammpanzerlll with aflame projector in place of the usualgun. Above : O ne of the forw ar d - moun ted
These vehicles used later Panzer III chassis: a machine-gntnwas
flame projectors carried by the
nounted co-axially and thefuelwas carried internally intwo tanks,
enough for 70 to 80 two- to three-second burs ts. The normal crew Flammpanzer II, whichwere mainly
was threemen. used on the E as ter n F ront althougi
not manywefe actually produced.
This projector is firing a rod of unJit
fuel that could be ignited later when
it lay on the ground.
Flame Technologg
Flamethrowers might have appeared to be brutally simple
weapons, but in fact they presented ahost of complex design
problems;fuel composition, propellant gas and ignition
systems all underwent considerable development during the
war. Fortunately for the Allies, it was their scientists who
produced the better models.
AnV flamethrower, static, man-portabie or vehicle-borne, has four maln compo-
nerits, They aie the f uei, the f uel system, the pressure system and the pro.iector
and ignitioir system. With so few iomponents to worry about, i-l.is not,too
iuiprising thai all the f lamethrower weapons in.use during World War ll had
mairy fac.-tors in common and many even looked alike
Hciwever, tirere was one area in which Axis and Allied flamethrowers dif fered
consjderably, and that was in the type of fuel that produced the flame, When the
wiritarted ijoth sides were usrnq'what were basically the same fuels, those of
Woria Wff l. There were severJl of these, but typ cal was that used by the
Gerrnans, whlch was of the.petrol/tar-oil variety. Generally speaking this f uel
wis raifrejr tnin in qualrty and ii had the tactically unfortunate property of burnrng
up as sooh as'it left the proiector nbzzle Thus although the flame
"tmostcould be very spectaculai lti efTects on target were ofte-n sltght and
pi-oduced
i"n""ni Ranges were also short. The only way to improve the performance of
the flame iet rias to thrcken the viscosity of the fuel. 1f this could be done the
resultant fiame iet would form what wai known as a'rod'which could travel
much f urtherto'carry its burning properties with it. Research demonstrated the
abrljties of these thick f lame rod-s io smack against a target and so add to the f inal

Fuelthickening
The problem *u, ho* to thicken the fuel. At first all manner of substances
were tlied, including such obvious agents as rubber, thick tars and creosote, but
tnese mjCe little difference. The bieakthrough came when it was discovered
tn.iu group of chemicals known as aluminitrm 'soaps'added to petroJ would Above:Theflame projector of the Below: An L3 Lanciafiamme
providdall ihe properties required. These'soaps'had virtually nothing in com- Wasp Mk II was sifuated tn the front demanstrates its abilities. On these
ron witf' the f'amiliar washing substances; the tYpe most cornmonly-used to hultin place of the usualBren small andlightvehicles the flame
machine-gun.It could be elevated was more often a morale weapon
tniiken petrol was an agent kiown as aluminium stearate. Although difficult to
manufaiture Ln quantit\ito the requlred qualitY thrs agent, when added to petrol, and traversed to a limited degree, rather than a practical one, due
ih:ckened a flamethrower jet to such an extent that when it struck a target rt and was so small that it was usually mainly tothe light armour on the
jmpossrb/e to spot as a flamethrower vehicle, although it was dreadfully
would break up into small blobs of burning f uel ihat could scatter over a wide
a rea By varyinb the mount of the agent add"ed, thickened f uels of varyrng
weight unti/ it il/as use d in action. effective against native troops in
and vls'cosiiy c,'ould be produced tb suit various types ol flamethrower' Ethiopia.
Flamethrowers of World War ii
Fortunately only the.Allies made this discovery. Throughout the war ihe used. The earliest-methods were crude io an extrerle \'1:s .. -
Germans, Japanese and ltalrans had to cqniinue.to.use.their o1d petiol/tar-oil f.amerhrowers had r;srallv nad a wad of so.rretr^ing ,.e cc.-.- :
mixtures with all their shon aange and other disadvantages, while the Allies, gnated wjlh parqffin, held ciose to the projector mutzl€ ani a: e.: _ -. -
rncluding. the Soviets, could pioduce. weapons with much longer ranges and War.ll design; the Harvey, used dxactlv this method- Hcwer':r -::.
,._ , :
other use{ul properties such.aE the ability to produce flame rodS that could ll designs were more advanced,.The'uSualone was 10 place e : :-._
s-. : _-
cr ^:
-- _: - -
bounce arouhd the interiors of Stiuctures to reach..areas out of the direct line o'f 4 th_e'path of a flammabrle gas or liquid to produce an 'gn t ::
fire- .flamm.able substdnae was usuaily pelrol or a gas such as -hyclrcg€r : -

Coupled with the fuel w6re the fuel systems,. ln. the main thege simply the.ignition.srTstem1oraslong'asthetrurstwasrequired..Tns-,.1=:.-:::'::
consisted of .a tank or tanks with the necessary Vaives and..hoses to conneet wasnormallytheelectrical,so.urce, usuallyasmall torch-sizeoba:::-- .-= . ,
them to the f lame prolector. The f larne proiector itself was usually a very siniple oftenfailedunderdamp.orcoldcondjtjon,s,,leavtngafiamethrc\.\.,ei::---: --: -

pipe along whrch the fuel was.propelled to the ign;tion System at the muzzle of .parlous situation. On the large vehicle-borne equifments more pcs : , - : : ,-- .
the projector. The pressUre system was.responsible loi'this propulsion, and al svstems, u.sing higher Voltages and f lammable liquid such as ce:-: : _ - : : -
consisted usually of a compressed gas contained within one oT more pressure used with f.ar.less uncertaint!;,bul the portable equipments :3: .: __.
cylinders and released at a fixediate for the proBulsion procesl. Attemp{s were something better, usually in the fqrm of A blank cartridge that p;6 ; - - ; ; . . -.
made lo use Bumping system.s in place of .compression sistems, but non6- of nlmberolhotsparkswhenoetonatedbyape'c.tssionTrec^a-s- :--':
them worked, especially with thickened fuels, as the pumping action usually tim6 the war ended there were various types of spark-producers C-: _ -= : _ -
broke up the ,fuel structure and destroyed its rod propeities. Thus the compress: the.US M2-2 portable flarnethro{,er had.a revolver chamber ro -: I -.-: ,: -
ed gas systems were used almost universally, the exceptions being a few.odd tridgesandindextqthenextcartr,ldgeforeachburst.Usingthtsder.c: -: ., . ,

cases {such as, the improvized British Ho.me Guard mo.delsl and some tank virtuaily ceriain flame'jets- could be irroduced befor.e .mo rd - -
ca rt r dg;s : : -:=
flamethrowers. insened.
Propulsionsystems Terrorweapon
The gases vaned, coirpressed air being used on som.e models as it was eaby So much for the mechanics of the flamethrower. but a few .- '. -- .
wcris
and cheap to produce, but it had the disadvantage..of burnrng when it came into I
ate ?rlso in oider Flamethrowerd are essentially;ssault weapons, a^ . : -- : :
contact with fuel. Thus various inert gases Were favoured, among th6m carbron We.apens cjf this nature they are.close"range devices. more akjn to:re .. : .- --
drcxide, nitrogen or an inert gas formed by buintng ofi oxygeri from the air; if -::::
machine-gun than anrl others. They,are at their best when used en :-_
required this last could be produced out in the lield using special apparatus. when large-scale use.can be augmented with surprise theLr e:;::: ::- :-
Hydrogen was anotherallernative, for although it ls inflammable it could be u.sed greOtly magnified. They cannot produee results on their own. As ..!:- :.:-
for the ignition system as well, As the war ended the Allies wer.e carrying...out o:lher type of weapon they require suppoit and co,operatton fror ct-:- ,'--.
experiments wlth. slow-burning cordite to create working pressure, but other and they require infantry to'follow up their iesults. They aLso req- -. -.-,:'-
combustible powders were also under investigation. The war endbd before reconnaissance, for not every target is suitable for their frery outp": .-: :--
these experinaents came to,anything, and the compressed gas systems re' those that are suita.ble must be approached in a safe and appropr,a.ie -.--:'
mained in.use for all but rsinole-shot'flamethrowers. Perhaps,the greatest ef.fect of the flamethrower is not on maie-. i-'. -
morale,All rnankindhasaninstinctivedreadoffire,andwhenthei;3r3.^-;.--
Compressedgases is used.as a long-range probirig weapon (as was often the cose ri,',, - .t, . : -
As it turned out, dif ferent types of weapon used varying types of pressurizing any soldierwill immediately dread the results. Time and time aqar. 3-- - r, - - _-

gas. The Crocodile. used nitrogen or.inert qas and the Wasp used carbon dioxide: War ll the mere sight of arflame burst was enough to make ine it-:::. .- _
The Lifebuoy used hydrogen. whil6 the ltalian flamethrowers Ljsilallv, used best-trained soldier:s turn ahd run. - .

nitrogen. The Japanese chose to use compressed air. On the Allled side,it was
never decrded whether these qases should be.delivered as a form of emmuni' A US Army flamethrower tean is shown on Boagainvilte, April I 944. The
tron or made in the field, and rn the end both.procedures were useo. ri{}eman is supposed lospotenemlr snipers before they sioot the operaic:
The ignition system was all too often the weakest pornt in the design of any The dkcovery that aluminium siearate couJd increase the viseosity o{ the ::e .
f lamethrower, As the fuel gushed from the projector muzzle it had to be ignited ensured that Allied tlamethrowers were longer-ranged and more jeth a i : a :. :
ln some way, and throuqhout World War ll mainly unsatrsfaitory methods weie their Axis equiya,lents.

:{
.-i
"-i .s
:.l JAPAN

Portable Flamethrower Types 93 and 100


If war{ime propaganda photogrraphs
are to be believed, the Japanese army
and marines made extensive use of
flamethrowers during World War IL
This impression came largely from a
long series of 'official' photographs
taken during Japan's protracted war
against the Chinese, where weapons
such as flamethrowers could have a
morale effect that far outweighed their
usefulness as combat weapons.
Against the flimsy structures used as
housing throughout mainland China
flame weapons could gain impressive
results, and accordingly the Japanese
made much use of them,
At first the main verslon used by the
Japanese was the Portable
Flamethrower Type 93. This was flrst
rssued durrnq 1933 and was an ortho-
dox desrgn that made much use of Ger- TheJapanese Modelg7 and 100 -
man experience in World War I. It portable flamethrowers were almost
used three cylinders on a rather awk- identical - this k the Model 93 - and
ward back-pack arranqement, hvo of differed only in the shape of the
the cylinders containing the fuel and flame gun and other minor changes.
the central (and smalier) cylinder con- Twotanks heldthefueland the other
taining the compressed gas, When the was the nitrogen pressure tank,
T}pe 93 was first issued this was com- providing a flame iet duration of I 0 to
pressed mtroqen, but this was soon l2 seconds.
changed to compressed air, From 1939
onwards a small petrol-drtven ait com- was identical to the TVpe 93, The new only one attemptwas made to produce TVpe 98 medium, whose onlY other
pressor was issued with each equip- flame gmn was shorter than the earlier flamethrower tanks and this was a armament was a single machine-gnrn
ment. This was the Type 99 compress- model- 901 mm (35.5 in) as opposed to smali unit of specialized combat
or and when not in use it was trans- 1.197 m (47.125 in). The nozzle of the enineenng tanks that were encoun- Specification
ported in a small wooden case. flame gun could also be easilY tered on Luzon in 1944, These turret- Portable F lamethrower TYPe 100
For various reasons the flame pro- chaneted on the TYPe 100, whereas on less tanks were fltted wrth obstacle- Weight: 25 ks (55 lb)
jector ofthe Tlpe 93 was considered to the TVpe 93 it was frxed. clearing equipment on the front hull Fuel capacity: 14.77litres (3,25 Imp
be unsatisfactory, and in 1940 it was Although the JaPanese infantrY and mounted a single flamethrower sal)
chanqed to a new type. This was made use of flamethrowers, the forward, Both internal and external Range: about 22.91o27.4 m (25 to 30
known as the Portable Flamethrower Japanese tank formations made only fuel tanks were carried. The tank used
Type 100, but in every other aspect it limited use of the weapon, Apparently as the basis appear to have been the Dwationof fire: 10to 12seconds

fion"Ut" Flame-Thrower Mt and MIAI


==
rAihen the US Army requested a new
porlable flamethrower rn July ]940, the t. i't.
Chemical Warfare Service had abso-
lutely no knowledgte base upon which rii 4:
:o work, and so had to start from
scratch. Using a model known as the . 1',9

Flame-Thrower EI, qradual develop-


:rent reached the stage where the
E lRI was ready for troop trials, some of
-;hrch were carned out under combat
::ndrtions in Papua, The E1R1 was far
::m perfect for it was easilY broken
ld the controls were difficr:lt to reach,
: -r a more rugged verslon was
:::epted for sewice as the Portable
Flame-Thrower Ml, This Ml was much
the E]Rl in that it had tvvo tanks,
-<e
::-e for fuel and the other for com-
p::ssed hydrogen.
-he Ml went into productron in
1.1.::h 1942, and the weapon was In
-:::r dwinq the Guadacanal oPera-
-:- ol January 1943, It proved to be
s:::-et.].ing of a disappointment, for the
I.l- -r;as prone to all manner of produc-
,::- :aulG, and these often meant that
-j-: -,';eapon failed in action, The igni-
-,^:- 3[cu1t used e]ectrical
power sup-
;--=d by battertes that often failed
'i-aer active semce condrtions, and
-:,: .::ks were liable to pin-hole corro-
fuels previously employed, This thick- MlAls were used in Italy and the The American M I flamethrower was
:,::- sDots that allowed pressure to Far East; their use rn Europe after June adevelopment of the earlier EIRI
:s:rpe A special repair and insPec- er fuel qave better flame effects and a
: : s=r..ice had to be established to range of up to 45,7 m (50 Yards) com- 1944 appears to have been somewhat which, although technicallY an
pared with the maximum of 27,4 m (30 restricted once the Normandy cam- experimental model, was used in
=:i-:3 a sewiceable resewoir of Mls yards) of the Ml. Unfortunately the paiqn was over, action in 1 943. The M I was used for
::-:; lCr aCttOn,
the first time during the Guadalcana'
l-; lure 1943 a new model was in troublesome ignition system was not
campaign ofJune 1942, and used the
-'--- iris was the MIAI, of which altered in any way and the prevlotts
Specification old'thin'typeof fuel.
-1 ,,, exampies were produced, The problems persisted to the point where
1,1 -:,,',';as an Ml modified to make use troops in action sometlmes had to Portable Flame-Thrower M lA I
ignite the flame jets with matches or Weight: 31,8 kq (70 ]b) I to 45.7 m (45 to 50 Yards)
:- :: :ev,' thicker fuels produced bY Range: 4
pieces of burninq paper. F\relcapacity: lB.2litres (4 Imp gal) Duration of fire: B to 10 seconds
,:-=:-:,J additives in the petrol-based
E fion"Ute Flame-Thrower M2-2 Flamethrowers of World War tr

Above: Ina typicalllamethrower action theflame gunopetator is given


coveringfire by an infantry team.The flameweaponis anM2-2, beingused
against a J apanese bunker to burn out the occupants, who were usually loth to
surrender to anything but flamethrowers - and often not even then.

Left: The Portable Flame-Thrower


M2-2 was produced by the
Anericans ingreater numbers than
anyother We, andwas firstusedon
Guam in J uly I 944. I t was to remain
the stand ar d Amer ican flatne
weapon for many years after 1945
and saw action in Korea.Its
maximum range under good
conditions was 36.5 m (40 yards).
By mid-i943 the Chemical Warfare allowed up to sx flame jet shots before lng to a halt the development of an afterwards. It would have had a rang:
Sewice had better idea ofwhat
a much new cartridges had to be inserted. It tndigenous Australian flamethrower of 27,4 m (30 yards).
kind of portable flamethrower the proved to be much more reliable than known as the Ferret,
troops requfed and set about design- the old electrical methods, Although theM?-Z was an improve- Specification
ing a new type, Based on an ex- The M2-2 was first used in action on ment over the Ml and M]A], the US Ponable Flame-Thrower M2-2
penmental design known as the E3, Guam in July 1944 and by the time the Army still considered that it was not Weight: 28. l to 32,7 kg(621o72lb)
the Portable Flame-Thrower M2-2 was war ended almost 25,000 had been what was really wanted, and develop- Fuel capacity: 18.2 litres (4 Imp qal)
evolved, and this featured several im- produced, more than the totals of MIs ment continued to find a better and Range: 22,9 to 36,5 m (25 to 40 yards)
provements over the old MlAl, The and MlAls combined, However, pro- lighter weapon, Some work was car- Duration offire: B to 9 seconds
M2-2 contrnued to use the new thick- duction was not easy and some troops rred out to evolve a singie-shot
ened fuel but it was a much more mg- rn the Pacific theatre continued to use flamethrower that could be discarded In addition to their noise,
ged weapon carried on a back-pack the old MIAI until the war ended, It after use, A model that used a com- flamethrowers had a powertul visual
frame (very similarto thatusedto carry was March 1945 before the first M2-2s bustible powder to produce presswe eftect on morale, and the mere sight
ammunition) but the main improve- arrived in Italy, to eject 9litres (2 Imp gal) of thickened of their flame jetwas oftenenoughto
ment was to the ignition, This was M2-2s were used by armies other petrol-based fuel from a cylinder was make even the strongest men quail.
changed to a new cartridge system than that of the Americars, Some were under development as the war ended, This is an American M2-2 in adion on
usrng a revolver-t1pe mechanism that passed to the Australian army, bring- but the project was terminated soon IeShimainJune Jl945.

.ffi.
',*ry' I

..,,:":l
.-

j
rS .lll ,t
R*"rican tank flamethrowers
=
I'iie flrst American tank flamethrower
-,'ras produced in 1940, and this Flame
tems, by then known as the M5-4, were
ready for service in the Far East. Four
ignited at the other end by an operator
using a portable flametfuower,
developed, One of these, the n:i=,
M3-4-EGR3 was placed rnto pro:-:-
Projector E2 mounted in an M2 were used in the Philippines, Both of these flame-producrng sys- tion but was too late for war use.
rredrum tank was demonstrated to US While all this development work tems mounted the flame projector in Once again the troops stationei :-
Army tank offlcers in mld-1940. They was being conducted in the continen- place ol the main armament, a feature Hawaii did not wait for weapons to a:-
..r/ere not impressed and the project tal USA, troops in Hawaii were busy not greatly liked by the 'tankies', who rive from the continental USA, and s:
'was allowed to lapse, It was not long producing actual weapons, Usrng the wanted to retain some form of defen- about producing their own auxlia:-,.-
before opinions changed but by that Ronson flame projector as their basis, sive armament, Attempts had already flamethrowers, This time the MlA-
trme the Chemical Warfare Service they mounted flame systems in place been made to mount a flame projector portable flamethrower was used as the
designers had to start once again lrom of the oldturret gnrns on obsolete M3A1 alongside the main qun on some M4 basis for a projector that could be
the beginninq and before long had a light tanks whichwere renamed Satan flame tanks and in the latter stages mounted in place of ihe bow machine-
pump-operated Flame Projector E3 Once installed these Satan systems some M4s mounting 75-mm quns or gmn of an M4 medium tank. Some 176 of
mounted in the turret of an M3 Lee used compressed carbon dioxide as lO5-mm (4. 134-in) howitzers also car- these conversrons were made, anci
medium tank, The pump system the propellant qas, and could fire rred co-axial flamethrowers, but lack of were on hand for the Okinawa and Iwo
tended to break up the fuel structure thickened fuel to a range of 73 m (80 spare parts prevented many conver- Jima campaigns but they were nct
and so reduce flame performance and yards); each vehicle could carry 773 sions being made. much used as the troops preferred the
ranqe but when the pump was re- litres (170 Imp gal) of fuel, The initial Other earlier attempts to mount 'local' conversions with the turret-
placed by a compressed air system 'production run was for 24 Satans, and portable flamethrowers that could fire mounted systems on M4 medium
these drawbacks were eliminated, by June 1944 rhey were in action on through pods at the front of light tanks tanks,
At the same nme as lhese experl- Saipan, had been made but without much suc- Mention must also be made of the
ments were under way, another prog- The success of the Satan in action cess, so in October 1943 the Chemical installation of the 'Q' project M5-4
ramme to produce a service weapon prompted commanders to request a Warfare Service was asked to produce flamethrower in the LVT-4 amphibious
rapidly was rnitiated under the 'Q' similar installation in the M4 medium a flamethrower that could be mounted carrier. Six of these were used on
(Quickle) designatron. The British./ tank, Old 75-mm (2.95-in) tank gLrn bar- in place of the bow machine-gnrn on Peleliu, but the carrier proved to be
Canadran Ronson flame system was rels were used to mount the Ronson M3, M4 and M5 tanks, so that if re- rather unsatisfactory for flame opera-
obtained from Canada, but initial trials flame projectors and this new tank ver- quired the machine-gun could be re- tions, Although they were used very
had to be conducted with the system sion, known officially as the POA-CWS installed, Consequently 1,784 M3-4-3 effectively the LVT-4 was really too
mounted on the rear of a truck as no '75'H-I (H denoting Hawali), was used flamethrowers were produced for in- lightly armoured.
tanks were available, The 'Q' project in action during the Ryukyus opera- stalling in M4 tanks and 300 ESR2-M3
continued until an installation to be tion, The type was iater used on Okina- flamethrowers for use on M3 or M5 The Satan flamethrower was used on
itted to the turret of the MSAI light wa, in a special application to flame out tanks, Many of these were used in US M arine C orps M 3A I Wht tanks in
:ank was developed, but the tanks into defending Japanese from deep caves: Europe and in the Pacific theatre, place of the main turret gun. This
,'ihrch this system was supposed to be several lengths of fire hose were con- Many tank commanders dtd not like example is in use on Saipan during
lstalled were simply not forthcoming nected together and taken deep in the the idea of losing their bow machine- July 1944, and theSalan wasso
and the 'Q' project thus turned out to be caves, one end then being connected Cnrns, so analternative installation that successfu/ lft a I many more old M 3A 1
an1'thing but a quickte. In fact it was to the M4 flamethrower tank which could be mounted next to the comman- Iight tanks wete converted to the
early 1945 before any of the 'Q' sys- pumped fuel alonq the hose to be der's periscope on the turret top was flame warfare role-

"&* "* .l
'
"i'.r*
rys*
Below : The S herman C rocodile was a
British developmenl fo use Sft ermans
in the fl am e- throwing role, bu t only
fourwere ever produced as US Army
interest in the projectwaned almost
rted. The flame gun
as soon as if sta
was mounted to the right of the hull
gunner's escape hatch.
TheFqllof lwo limcl
Thecapture of lwoJimafulfilled twoAmericanobjectives:firstly, itenabled theAir
Forceto provide fighter escort for the B-29 Superfortresses on their bombing raids
againstmainland]apan;and, secondly, thefallof anislandtraditionallypartof the
Home Islands might at lastbringJapan'sleaders to realize that the days of their
P acific E mpire were numbere d.

By the end of 1944 it had become qulte evident Force carried out massive bombardments, The
to the US commanders rn the Pacrfic that in the US Navy began its assault in November 1944
near future they would have to mount a larqe- with flre from the guns of slx destroyers and
scale attack on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. four heavy crursers which lasted a whole morn-
Three factors made the decision inescap- ing and was repeated at regular rntervals until
able, First, healry Boelng B-29 bomber raids on February, while on 8 December Consolidated
the Japanese mainland, then belng mounted B-24s and North Amerrcan B-25s began an
from the Marianas, were proving prohrbitively assault which was to last 72 days before climax-
expensive as even North American P-51 Mus- ing on the morning of 19 February with an
tangs could not escort them on the 4505-km attack by I2O carrierborne planes, dropping
(2 800-mrle) round trip, and they thus lacked
essential fighter protection over the target Right: IwoJimawas defended by a labyrinthof
areai Iwo Jima lies only 1060 km (660 miles) tunnels, caves and bunkers whichwere invariably
from Tokyo and possessed two airflelds, one of defended to the last man. Here a US demolition
which could take B-29s immediately, Second, team blow in the roof of a cave connected to a three
storey blockhouse, burying the surviving
even with no further advance towards Japan members of the garrison in the ruins of their
Iwo Jima was a highly desirable link in the position.
defences of the newly-captured Mananas, And
thirdly, the island was traditionally a part of the
Japanese homeland (it was administered by
the Tokyo prefecture), and rts fall would thus
constitute a severe psychologlcal blow to the
Japanese people, The island must therefore be
captured; isolatron would not be enough,
Strategic importance
Unlortunately for the Amerrcans, the
Japanese high command possessed just as
keen an understanding of strategic realities,
and had long appreciated the necessity of de-
nying Iwo Jlma to the Americans. One staff
officer even went so far as to sugqest that as
Japanese air and naval strength had suffered an
apparently irreversrble erosion, serious con-
sideratron should be given to a project of sink-
rrg the island into the Pacific, or if not the whole
sland then at least the half whrch contained the Below: LVTs manned by crews Irom the US Above: The US forces knew what to expect in re!::-s
narn airfield, Iwo Jima is, alter all, only 8 km (5 Coastguard bring the 4th Marine Division ashore of fortificationon IwoJima, and began a series o:
rrles) long averaging 4 km (2 5 miles) wrde, on Iwo Jima. The Japanese chose not to contest the preparatory bombardments in November tt
a:rd at rts tailest pornt (the summit of Mount landings initially, but putup fanatical resistance as readiness for landings not scheduled until
the Marines attempted to advance off the beach. February. Regular shelling from warshtps anc
S'.uibachl) only 168 m (550 ft) hrqh. By the end of the first day 30,000 Marines were an aerial bombing intensified in the days before te
The suggestion was turned down, but as ear- Iwo, and the battle began in earnest. actual assault and the landings were successi';-
--,- as June 1944 the highly regarded General
:i':ibayashi was sent to organize the defence
:- ie rsland, and given clearly to understand
:-a: in case of failure he should not expect to
.== his family or homeland again; the same
::-l:rre applied to the 14,000 veteran troops
':-:-: followed him to Iwo Jima during the
: : :- ns which followed, As they were provided
r---i- rleavy and medium artillery, anti-aircraft
: r:=ies, heavy and iight machine-gnrns, mor-
-.:,. together with relevant ammuni-
:-:.'r=Contanks,
an ample scale, their morale was in
:r- -.';i-,- cast down by their predicament,
3'lrkers andtunnels

:,= lefenders this was as well as, in


- ::-:en up' the rsland before the land-
:e US Nary and the US Army Air
The Fall of IwoJima

napalm along the strip of ground just inland of Sheer pressure drove the leadlng platoons savaqe battle of attrition was fought as the
the proposed landing beaches, From then on forward out of the maelstrom behind them lnto Marines assaulted the defence lines to the
the bombardment took the form of a creeping and over the nearest Japanese defensive posi- north, Bayonet, rifle, flamethrower and gre-
barrage from the massive guns of seven bat- tions, some of which they destroyed, leaving nadewere the weapons withwhlch the fiqhting
tleships, four heavy cruisers and three light others to their comrades coming up behlnd; was conducted for the next 2l days, for &e
cru$ers. and in less than an hour they had widened the Japanese defenders were not only fightilg
Fow hundred and fifty vessels of the US Sth beach-head to 0,8 km (0 5 mile). Seven whole from well dug-in positions, but followed the
Fleet were offshore at dawn on the morning of Marine battalions were ashore with their practice of waiting in deep cover untrl the
19 February, and around and among them essential equipment, forward patrols had Marines were closed up to wrthin 45 m (50
swarmed 482 landing craft of various descrip- reached the edge of the main airfield and yards) or less before manning their gmns and
tions, bearing the men of eight US Martne another was in sight of the western beach, thus betraying their positions, seemingly to
battalions; and at 09,02 the first wave hit the Undoubtedly Kuribayashi had made a fun- vanish again after a violent spasm ofvicious and
landing beaches, Sth Marine Dlvision platoons damental error rn allowing that first wave of costly close-quarter battle,
on the left, 4th Marlne Division platoons on the Marines to get ashore, for by the end of the day
right. 30,000 Marines and their weapons and stores Japanesetunnels
had been landed, and they were there to stay, Time after time the Marines moved in be-
Heavyresistance Their casualties had been high (that had been hind an apparently devastating barrage, to be
For the first 20 minutes it seemed as though expected), but the combination of pressure gneeted when the gnrns lifted by fierce resist-
the US Navy and the USAAF had done the job from behind and desperation had flung the ance from virtually invisible positions. Then
ior the US Marrnes, who met only sporadic and leadrng elements straight across the neck of after half an hour of bitter and costly fightinqr,
scattered resistance, apparently totally unorga- the island, isolating Mount Suribachl and its they would rush the post to find only a few dead
nized. Then as the Marines moved up towards garrison from the main defendrng force, and Japanese and perhaps one wrecked machine-
a low sand ridge, concentrated fire from con- placrng the southern end of the main airfield gnrn; and as they moved forward again the post
cealed machlne-gun and mortar posts opened, firmly in American hands. would spring to life behind them as the defen-
and a deadly rain of metal swept the L6-km The ensuing four days were spent in captur- ders reoccupied the post through the funnels.
(l-mile) strip; the most costly operation in the ing Mount Suribachi (the most famous photo- By D+ 10 many Marine formations were
history of the US Marrne Corps had begun, grraph in American history, of the flag being dornm to half strength, and although the 3rd
For a matter of seconds the shock of the raised by a Marine patrol on the summit, was Marine Division had now been put ashore, it
sudden deluge of Japanese fire froze the taken on 23 February), and from then on a soon found itself blocked by a positive lattice of
Marines where they 1ay, then training and the defensive positions which constituted the
realities of the situatlon galvanized them lnto
action, They could not stay where they were
'Bunker by bunker' northern half of the island. Complexities of
and live; they could not go back, for despite the Thebattlefor lwoJimawas themostcosUyoperation in the history of theUS MarineCorps. ThemoonJike
shot and shell which furrowed the beach be- landscapeof thevolcanicislandwas riddledwithcaves,which theJapanese had reinforced and linked to
hind them LCVs were still swimming in b/ockftouses an d bunkers by a tunnel network. From their concealed positions ffte/apanese garrison of
2l ,500 men commanded by General Kuribayashi fought with fanatical courage. The Marines slowly
through the surl and waves of supporting com- advanced inland, engagingeach pillboxwith a deadly combinationof flamethrower and demolition
panies were flooding ashore and packing the charges.
-leach-head, ".#L I

{l
Flamethrowers of World War Il

Below: The US Ilamethrower teams gave the Above: Men of the Sth Marine Division call upon Above: A Marine directs suppressive machtne.
defenders a horrible chaice of abandoning their the occupants of a cave to sufiender. ,Sucfi p/eas gun fire againstJapanese positions on I Marcr
positions or being burned to death, but frequently were invariably ignored, and the Marineswould 1945. Extensive tunnelling enabled the Japanese ::
theMarineswould capture a position only to be either seal the cave with explosives or pump it full appear and disappear with bewildering speec.
ejected by a sudden J apanese counter-attack. In of gasoline before dropping incendiaries inside. and they knew that if they stayed sufficiently cics:
this bloody battle of attrition the Marines sustained to the Marines the Americans would not be able ::
over 20,000 casualties. provide support fire for fear of friendly casuai::e:

rJ
;-!l
i
':,:,r::.
=:':. i"-'t
:
,=-
-_ a.
The Fall of lwoJima

underground bunkers faced them, and mazes


of interwoven caves; in one area 9i5 m (1,000
yards) wide and I80 m (200 yards) deep 800
pillboxes, blockhouses and dug-outs each held
fanatrcal defenders every one of whom, it was
afterwards revealed, had sworn to kill at least
i0 Marines,
It was not until D+ I89 that the first Marine
patrols reached the north east shore of the
tsland, and then it became possible to partition
the area still rn Japanese hands rnto small
pieces and gnaw away at each piece until the
defence was crushed. But at last it was done,
On the night of 25/26 March the last defenders
launched a ftnal Banzal charge agatnst their
attackers, and the following morninq the
bodles of the 300 devoted servants of the
Emperor who had carried rt out littered the
giround around the entrace to their last position,
By thrs time the first B-29s had landed on the
island's main airstrip, and by the end of March
squadrons of P-Sis were flying in to take up
their role oi escorting the heavy bombers
against the Japanese mainland, It all formed a
srgnificant step in the defeat of Japan, but it had
cost the Marines 6 821 kl]]ed and three times
that number wounded; and of the 23 000
Japanese who had been on the lsland when the
irst landlngs took place, only I 083 were ever
:aken prrsoner, most of lhem Qadly wounded.
Iwo Jima was less than 26 km' ( 10 sq miles) in
area. It had taken 72 days of air bombardment,
'trree days of concentrated naval hammering Above: The 'thousand mile stare'. The fixed Below: MountSuribachi looms overthe lunar
and 36 days of the most bitter lnfantry flqhtlng expressions on the faces of these Marines as they landscape of lwoJima as US mortars pound
io conquer it, come out of the line are eloquent testimony to the Japanese positions. The garrison fought to
ferocity of the fighting. The resistance on lwoJima practically the last man and the body of its
How 1ong, and at what cost, would it take to gave some indication of what the Allies could comn ander, General Kuribay ashi, w as never
conquer the Japanese homelands by the same expect if they tried to invade Japan itself. found.
methods?
USSR

ROKS-2 and ROKS-3


'.,::r the USSR entered the war tn tactrcal usefulness, and there were
,:i, it had been developing flame also many technical drawbacks, Most
''=i-oons for some years but at a re- of these were ehminated with the in-
.--',-ely low prionty In 1941 rt had a troduction of the ATO-42 equipment,
: -:.able flamethrower type known as which could accommodate more fuel,
:-= ROKS-2 (ranzewiij oqtnemjot KS-2). A few of these improved equipments
l,: details of the RCKS-I have been vrere installed in the KV-1S heavy tank
:-s:cvered but it is llkely that this was to produce the KV-8S, but most of the
. ievelopment model only, In desiqn ATO-42s were installed in place of the
:rms there was nothrng really re- bow machine-gun ofthe T-34/85 which
::rkable about the ROKS-2 apart from then became the TO-34, The ATO-42
.,: attention paid to the appearance of could fire four or five flame bursts in 10
:: weapon, One of the tactical lessons seconds, and the maximum range with
-::rned dunnq World War I reqardinQt thickened fuel was 120 m (131 yards)
- rmethrowers was that any soldier The Soviet flamethrower tanks were
.. .cecl by the enemy to be carrying a used in special three-company batta-
:--:me weapon immedtately became lions
::e target of every weapon tn sight, so
he appearance of the flamethrower
::uld be altered in some way the user Specification
: rd a better chance of survival. Accor- ROKS-2
:-ngly the Soviet designers went out of Weight: 22,7 ks (50 lb)
:er way to make the ROKS-Z appear Fuel capacity: 9 litres (2 lmP gal)
: be an ordinary tnfantry weapon. The Range:36,5 to 45,7 m (40 to S0Yards)
::,ain fuei tank was configured like a Dwation of fire: 6 to B seconds
s:ldier's ordinary back-pack and the
i:rne projector was made to look like
= ordinary rifle, and in fact the butt oi
.---e projector was taken from the stan-
i:rd Sovret Mode] l89l/30 rrfle The Right : The S oviet ROKS -2 was carried
,- :ly noticeable flamethrower features as a backpackwith the cylinder
r,:re the small gas pressure bottle tanks vertical. The flame gun was
-:der the 'pack', the hose leadrnq to desrgned foresemble arifle to
':.: projector. and the ra her prom.n- conceal its function, as flamethrower
=:-t iqnition device at the muzzle of the
operators usually attracted a great
::cjector. On the battlefreld these fea- deal of enemy attention and fire. The
:r:es would probabiy have merged Iarge tank contained enough fuel for
:-.0 the general background. about eight seconds ofuse.
After the German invasron of the
-SSR rn l94l most of the nation's in- Below: Finnish troops surround a
-:;trial facilities were soon in a state of S oviet OT- 2 6 fl amethrower tank in
1941 . This was a version of the twin-
-:reaval as factories were overun or
:-:ved to the east. Flamethrower pro- turret T-26 light infantry tank, with
:,:tion was affected along with every- internal fuel tanks taking the place o!
--,:g else, and in the struggle to meet one of the turrets and the other
:: ever-increasing demands for mounting a flame gun.
''::pons or all kinds t',e desigr nice-
=s of the ROKS-Z had to be omrtted,
A lp.:a:.::.::11. i'ri's
and srmpler model known as the
,-,:',-.
?CKS-3 came into being, and this dld
l
.'',ry with the pack appearance and
.:-..:ad used two cylinders on a frame
- : '.ed on the back. The flame pro jec
--: silll resembled a rifle, but lt was $
sirl, '
u'fl.:,*,.--r.t"g:
,1,;

.----:: simpler and easier to make in


---r:-iity.
1?,.*:,,;*'l
l-r
- inng their investigations 1,
.::,: warfare the Soviets discovered
into
i,,
- .'.' :o make the thickened fuel that
:-,: :rved flame effects and range and
rhrs new fuel rn both the ROKS-2
ld
-.=:
. r-CKS-3 Usingthickenedfuelboth :*
.:-.ments had a maximum possible
-..-;: of 45.7m (50 yards) though
,;-:=:,onal ranges vrere rather shor-
X n*pof"njot I94l System Kartukov
The weapon that was known as the illustrations seen show the gun
Ampulenjot I94l System Kartukov mounted on a srmple yoke arrange-
appears rarely in Westem literature ment mounted on a steel post, There
and it is still somethrng of a mystery were no elevation or traverse controls
weapon, It was not a flamethrower in other than two rudimentary handles,
the usual sense used elsewhere in this located behind the 'breech', with
study. bul rather an incendiary projec- which the firer armed the weapon. The
trle launcher, During World War II breech itself was a yery simple affair:
these were little used by any com- when opened, the breech block
batant, although there were plans to moved back alongT a short slide to
produce similar weapons in the UK allow the charge to be inserted, It
during the dangerous days of 1940; the seems almost certain that the charge
abortive Newton Mortar was one of was only a small black-powder car-
these, The Kartukov gmn appears to fall tridge and that the projectile was
Lntoexactly the same category, for it loaded from lhe muzzle, To aim the
was produced in 1941 when the Ger- weapon a f,xed raised sight that
man army was rapidly overrunnlng aligned wrth a small 'pip' on the muzzle
most ofthe western areas ofthe USSR, was used, holes in the raised sigtht
These western areas contained the being used to vary the range, Firinet
vast bulk of the USSR's industrial was by percussion, The projectile had
potentlal, As many as possible of the a diameter of 127 mm (5 in) and was of
machine tools and other raw materials a type once known during the Middle
cf productron were hurriedly uprooted Ages as a carcass'. Ths was an in-
aad taken away to the east beyond the cendrary device that burst into flames
Urals. Durrng this periodof reorganiza- as it struck the target and spread
-.ron and confi-sion the Soviet Army was flames or burning material in the
losing vast quantities of war weapons general tarqet area, Although it cannot
cf every kind, and something had to be be stated for a fact, it seems that the
ploduced quickly to replace them, Kartukov grun used some form of phos- T heS ov iet Am pulenj ot I I 4 I Sy s tem K ar tukov w as a simp/e pipe' gun th at
lhis was where the Kartukov gun phorus mixture allied to a thick oil- used a small black powder charge to fire an incendiary'carcass' projectile. It
:ame in, for it was a very simple based fuel. The range at best was only was an expedient defence weapon used for a short period in I94l . The
'i;eapon that could be produced with about 250 m (274 yards). maximum range was only 250 m (274 yards).
-:e absolute minimum of facilrties and The advancing Germans captured
:aw materials, numbers of these Kartukov gruns, and It would appear that by 1942 the Kar- Weight: 26 kq (57,3 lb)
The Kartukov was what is now the only references now available re- tukov gn-rns were no longer required Elevation: 0 to * 12"
jererally know as a 'pipe grun', i.e. it garding these weapons are to be found and were scrapped Traverse:360'
;as srmple length of steel pipe closed among German intelligence reports. Muzzlevelocity: 50 m (164 ft) per
:: cne end and wrth a minimum of fire- Understandably enough the Germans Specification second
::ltrol equipment, It would appear did not have a very high opinion of Ampulenjot I 94 I System Kartukov Maximum range: 250 m (274 yards)
rai gun them as weapons and they reqarded Calibre: 127 mm (5 ln) Projectile weight: 1.5 or LB kg (3,3 or
'jedtheatKartukov was meant to be
static locatrons, for the only them as 'primitive' Length: overall 1.02 m (40. 16 in) 3 97Ib)

>K brocodile
-:-e fust qreneral staff specification for The Crocodrle was meant to be used The order was made desplte the fact operational range was about 73 m (80
= lamethrowinq tank was put forward with the Churchill infantry tank, hence that no troop trials had taken place, yards), although under favowable con-
- early as 1938, although at that time Churchill Crocodile. When it flrst Although the initial plan was that the ditions 110-m (120-yard) ranqe was
::-ere was no research department appeared tn 1942 a change of War Crocodiles were to be mounted on the possible.
::alng speciflcally with flame war- Office policy meant that there was Churchill Mk IV, most productron The Churchill Crocodiles f,rst went
:-e Some desultory trials led to a offrcially no longer a requirement for weapons were rnstalled rn the Chur- into action on D-Day, 6 June 1944,
:-'::ber of experimental models, but the flamethrower tank, but work chill Mk VIL The main part of the Cro- Thereafter they were used in all
:----::ng deflnite was achieved until a nevertheless went ahead. It was just as codile was installed in a two-wheeled theatres of war and came to be very
:p:cial Petroleum Warfare Depart- well, for in April policy
1943 another trailer towed behind the Churchill tank effective weapons that were greatly
::-e:r: was established, and then some change meant that the Crocodile was and connected to the tank via a univer- feared by the enemy. There were
::-::e definite work was commenced, wanted once more and in Augnrst 1943 sal joint through which the pressurized plans for Crocodiles to be used on
-:-: PWD concentrated on a type of an order for 250 was placed, these fuel had to pass. The projector itself Sherman tanks operated by the US
!::_ector that used compressed hyd- vehrcles being needed to equip units was at the front of the tank, installed in Army and although some desrgn work
r: ;ler to propel the flame fuel jet, and that would take part in the forthcoming place of the hull machine-gnrn, The was carried out only sx were built and
:- -_ne thrs led to the Crocodile, Normandy landings, Churchill's main 75-mm (2,95-in) gun of those only four were used in action
and turret machine-gnrn were retained by the Americans in Europe,
The Churchill Crocodile was one of to enable the vehicle to be used as a By the time the war ended 800 Chur-
he mostwidely usedof allthemany normal gmn tank if required. The trailer chrll Crocodiles had been produced.
Churchill tankvariants, and towed a could be jettisoned when empty or if The main British army user was the
special trailer that carried both the the occasion demanded. The trailer 79th Armoured Division, although
framefuel and the nitrogengas contained enough fuel and compress- other formations also had the type.
cylinders. The flame gunwas ed gas to produce about B0 one- Once the war was over most were
:nounted in the hullfront and the second flame bursts, and the usual withdrawn from use,
turret retained the main71-mm
(2.95-in)wn.
The Churchill Crocodile
First used in action during the D-Day landings, the Churchill Crocodile proved tobe
tfte mosf successfu I flamethrower tank of the war. In the battles across France and
Germany the appearance of a Crocodile spraying liquid firewas enough to shatter
the nerve of ffte mosf resolute defence.

The Crocodiie had an inauspicious start to its prise use of flame had completely demoralized
service career, Out of the six that were sup- the battery: it was an encouraging augnrry for
posed to have landed at H+ 45 on D-Day (6 June the future.
i944) only two survived: hvo troops of Croco- Over the next few days the hvo Crocodiles
diies, each of three tanks, were to have landed, were aerain used as gnrn tanks, but meanwhile
but all the vehicles of one troop became the vehicles that had foundered on the first day
casuaities ofthe rough seas or beach obstacies, were recovered and on 14 June they had a
and in the other troop one vehicle foundered in brush with a troop of Panther tanks, resulting in
an underwater crater. The two that siruggled two Panthers being knocked out (by gmns, not
ashore found themselves being used not as by flame) and one Crocodile damaged. Fol-
famethrower tanks but as ordrnary gmn tanks in Iowing this scrap the nearby village of La
support of the 7th Battalion, The Green Ho- Senaudiere was flamed in a spectacular action By I 944 the Churchill tank was oflrin jfed use as a
'vards, and at times on that momentous day the and the occupying Germans were driven out. battle tank, so its conversion to the Crocodile
.nfantry swarmed onto the Crocodries as they Dunng this flame action one Crocodile was flame role provided itwith a useful lease of Me.
:leared their way throueth the village of l,a destroyed by a German tank, Once this action Although slow and ponderous the Churchill was
ideal for the close support flame role as it was we[
hvidre. was over the two D-Day troops were with- pratected and was able to retain its main gan.
These two Crocodiles belonged to the l41st drawn. Therr brief operational- life had been
i.egiment, Royal Armoured Corps (141 RAC), busy, but little was iearned about the oper-
re first unit to be equipped with them. When ational use of their flame weapors, luly. A squadron was supposed to take par :-
-41 RAC landed it had been given oniy a very an attack but as a result of the adminisira:-.-=
seort period of time to train with its new equip- Earlyactions dislocation of the squadron, which was spre:'
::ents, and it was about to learn how to use its This was to become very apparent once the out over a wide front, two troops did not e;3:-
-.:ve1 charges operalionally, Iiteralty in the remalnder of i4l RAC landed in France be- start, As a thlrd troop moved forward one Cl--
:.eat of battie, On the morninq after the landing tween 22 and 24 June. Almost as soon as they codile was knocked out by a German rcck=.-
:e Crocodiles and their crews stood to on the landed the squadrons were broken up into launcher and another was hit by an arrii-:-.:
: *skirts of the small village of Crepon, and small groups in support of various formations. gnrn. Fortunately the fourth troop appearei a:-:
;,'ren it was light they tound themselves only a The commanders of these formations often had in a spectacular flame action cleared the -,---
,=-,',. hundred metres irom a German artillery no knowledge of flame tanks and even less lage.
:::iery hldden in a wood. A hasty attack was idea of how to use them in action, and the
:-ar.ned using nearby Qunners and signallers period that followed was unfortunate for the One of the main users of the ChurchillCrocodile
.. infantry, with two Sherman Crabs acting as was theT9thArmouredDivision, which had thr*
Crocodrle crews. A1l too often they were called regiments equipped with them. Other regimens
;-: tanks. The Crocodiles moved forward and upon to take part in actions where their capabl- were formed later, bu t the C hurchill C rocodile
'-:C only eight flame shots before the wood lities could not be used to the i:11 and at times wasused only during the lastyearof thewar in
::lame a mass of white flags as 150 Germans they were simply asked to do too much. A Europe andwas mainly retained in support of
-:--.;ed forward to be taken prisoner. The sur- typical examplewasthe actionat La Bijude on8 infantry operations.
The Churchill Crocodile

Apart from the enemy-rnflrcted casualtles,


::e Crocodile that took part in thts actton was
'-:iable to function for purely technical reasons.
3eicre a Ctocodile could be ready for action
-::e nitrogen or inert gas used to pressurize the
r,rstem took about 30 minutes to work up to
:perating levels, Once at operating pressure
re Crocodile system became prone to leaks
other malfunctions that could render the
=d
sisiem inoperative, All too often the Crocodtles
::ai to fit into attack plans made by other forma-
:cn commanders who drd not appreciate or
':::Cerstand these technical points, so all too
:ien any delays or holds meant that some be-
lame rnoperative, At other times co-operation
be:ween the infantry and the Crocodiles was
not as good as rt might have been, and ali too
often reconnaissance was elther hasty or in-
complete, leading to some nasty moments and
casualties,
Assault on Carpiquet
Not al1 these early actions were abortive, for
some small-scale actions were great succes-
ses. Very often lhe German defenders either
gave up or simply moved off to the rear as soon
as the first flame shots were made, Sometimes,
such as during a Canadian action against the
airfi.eld at Carpiquet, the Germans attempted
Above : During I 944 and I 945 the German army Below : One unpleasant faskca rried out by
to leave their trenches and swarm all over the
made use of all sorts of cover to form defensive ChurchillCrocodileswas the burning of the
advancing Crocodiles and their trailers. This strongpoints that could only be reduced either by typhus-ridden huls at lft e Be/se n concentration
hrghllghted the need for supporting infantry heavy artillery fire or by flamethrowers.The camp after the unfortunate occupants had been
during such actions, but in the event the Ger- Churchill Crocodile was widely used to deal with removed. Evacuating them took many weeks,
mans were beaten off by Besa machine-gmn them. duringwhich the contaminated huts remained
flre from another Crocodile troop, infectious to allwho entered them.

{
,l
,{
I
{
Flamethrowers of World War II

-: was during this July period that the use of


-rne against concrete defensive structures
::came established procedure, Ifa bunker
an
,-aC weapons slrts the flame jeis could easily
l:t inside and clear the unfortunate occupants
::m the interior. However, if the interior rooms
-.',-ere sealed by doors and gas seals the occu-
lants were unaffected by the flame and were
-ble to remain unharmed for as long as they
-ked, This was rarely 1ong, for the opening
lame jets were usually enough to make any
such occupants lose any ideas oi holding out,
By the end ofJuly the Crocodrles had earned
,he respect of Alhed commanders, who in-
:reaslngly gave them the lead in the planning
:i attacks. Gradually the Crocodile comman-
Cers were given the chance to plan their own
lctions, carry out their own reconnaissance
and, perhaps most imprtant of a}l, say whether
or not the Crocodiles could carry out a specific
task, These changes brought about the use of
Crocodiles in larger numbers than the pre-
vious one- or two-troop actions, during whtch
some vehicles usuaily had to drop out as a
result of technical failures,
Sguadronattack
The first squadron action was against May-
sur-Orne on 8 Augnrst. Infantry attacks had pre-
viousiy failed to clear the vrllage of the enemy,
who were well dug in. Three Crocodile troops
took part in the attack under fire support pro-
vided by the gun tanks of the troop comman- A ChurchillCrocodile opens fire on the fortfied
ders, and by a barrage lard down on the village village of StJoost, supporting an attackby two
itself, As the Crocodiles moved forward they platoons of the I st Rifle Brigade in J anuary I 945.
used their main guns to blow a hole in each Flamethrowers were excellent weapons for
suppressrng defensive fire. Here the attacking
building, through whlch jets of flame were then infantry hurry along the roadwhile theCrocodile
directed to clear the interior, and any ditch or ensures ffte Germans have their heads down.
hrding place likely to be used by the enemy
was liberally doused with flame, The tnfantry operations that were required were usually
moved up close behind the Crocodiles and carried out by Wasps, During October l4l
continued the clearing process, The operation RAC was ;oined by the Crocodrles of the ]st
'ruas a complete success, The Germans left the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and from then on the
rillage, and the attacking Crocodiles and infan- two reglments both took part in some of the
:ry suffered no casualties at all, Operations actions that took place in the aftermath of Op-
such as this contrnued all through August, erations 'Market 'and 'Garden', The battles of
the approaches to the Rhrne followed, with the
Channelports clearrng and capture of Frasselt, Cleve, Gen-
By the end of Augnrst 1944 the Allies were nep, Hassim and Goch, In the close fighting that
advancrnq at such a speed that not only could took place in the gloomy Reichswald the Cro-
-,ne slow-moving Crocodiles not keep pace but codiles were the only weapons that could be T he C hurchill C rocodile had a norma I o p et a - :' : i
irere was littie for them to do, They according- used for effective support of the infantry, the range of about 73 m (80 yards), although unce:
-.i settled down for a brief respite of rest and long tongues of flame being able to clear the favourable conditions they could manage i . | ::.
:epairs to their trouble-prone vehicles. But Germans from therr forest defences where (120 yards). Enough fuel was carried for 8C ar.e-
reir rest was to be short-lived, for although the tanks could not make thetr way through the second bursts, but this was nrely attaineC as :.=
closely-wooded undergrowth. A11 through gas cylinders were prone to leakage.
-:ilies had advanced almost to the French bor-
jers in places, the Channel ports in their rear
:, ere still held by their German garrisons. The
lrccodiles were used during their subsequent
-:-'.estments and in one of these actlons, at Le
..--"'re, the Crocodiles were used for the flrst
-:::e during a night action, Thts took place on
:: nrght of 10 September, when the flame guns
'',':re inrtrally frred well outside thetr maximum
:.:ge of any target, The sight of the
=:iroaching jets of flame had a terrifying effect
-:-::e enemy, who promptly surrendered, This
.-.:l operation made a hole in the Le Havre
:::-neter defences and on the following day
-.: process was repeated wtth similar success,
'.'.-as during the Le Havre operation that an
.--'.:e German platoon was caught in the open
- Crocodile attack and every man tn the
-: 'ln',-rere
was burned to death. Similar opera-
-,=-s carried out at Brest, Calais and
--.: autumn operations of 1944 rarely
-= - : i the use of flame tanks, and those flame
>K i,it"uoo,
Development of what was to become
officially known as the Flame-Thrower,
Portable, No. 2 Mk I, began during
1941. It appears to have been rnflu-
enced by the German Flammenwerfer
40, but thebasic design ofany portable
flamethrower is fixed by physical con-
stuarnts, This results from the fact that
for a vessel that has to contain gas at
high pressure the sphere is the best
possible shape, On a flamethrower the
fuel tank has to contain as much fuel as
possible within as small a volume as
can be managed. These design
criteria virtually dictate the shape of
the resultant equipment, i.e, a central
sphere with a fuel tank having a crcu-
lar cross-sectlon wrapped around it.
This produces the classic shape which Above : The Mk I version of the F lame
gave the British equipment its Life- Thrower, Portable, No. 2 was usually
buoy nickname, a nalne that stuck. known as the Lifebuoy from its
The first pilot model was ready by s hape, but it was nol a grea I success
mid-1942 and a production order soon and saw only limited operational use
followed, despite the fact that the usual hefore being replaced in late 1943 by
series of troop and other trials had not theMkll.
been completed, This was unforfunate,
for after only a short time in service the Left: The Mk II version of the Lifebuoy
Lifebuoy began to demonstrate a num- became the standard British
ber of serious defects, many of them flamethrower from early I 944
caused by hurried manufacture of the onwards, butitwas nevet apopular
complex shape ofthe tanks. As always, weapon andwas used operationa@
igmrtion proved to be somewhat unreli- only in limited numbers lts shape
able, and the position of the fuel valve was cft osen to provide the maximum
ulder the tanks proved to be awkward possiblevolume msrde a pressure
to use in action, As a result the first vessej.
production run of the Lifebuoy, the Mk
i. was withdrawn and used for trainingr The offlcral solution was to produce a
cnly foom mrd- 1943 onwards. It was not smaller device known as the Ack-
';ntil the followrng year that the im- Pack which weighed 21,Bks (4Blb),
proved Flame-Thrower, Portable, No. not for use in Europe but for possible
2 Mk II appeared. It was this version use in the Far East, In the event the
'nat the Bdtish army used until the war Ack-Pack was gdven such a low de-
ended, and for many years after, In velopment priorrty that it was not pro-
appearance there was little to diffe- duced until after the war was over, So
rentiate the Mk I from the Mk IL ended the rather unfortunate Lifebuoy
The Mk II was ready for servrce by project.
J'-ne 1944, and was r.rsed during the
Normardy landinqs and after them, rn- Specification
sluding the campaigns in the Far East, of the Mk II endedas early as july 1944, after even a short penod of use the Lifebuoy
Hcwever, the British army never was after 7,500 had been made, Even the battery often failed. The old produc- Weight: 29 kg (64 lb)
:eally enthusiastic regarding portable Mk II proved to be generally unreli tion problem ofquality control was car- Fuel capacity: 18,2 litres (4 imp gal)
lamethrowers and decided that not able as it depended on a small battery ried over as well, and as always the Range: 27,4 to 36.5 m (30 to 40 yards)
r:any would be requrred. Production to ignite the flame, and in the wet or troops complained about the weight, Duration of fire: l0 seconds

NTIZ ::-
wasp
--<
l1e first British use of flamethrowers in Wasp Mk II hadappearedwith a much
:,:rnechon with mobile warfare was smaller and handier flame projector
:rrinq 1940, when the newly- mounted at the front in place of the
Petroleum Warfare De- machine-qun otherwise carried, This
=s:abhshed
pa:tnent developed a flame projector new flame projector was a great adv-
as the Ronson, This had a re-
-<:c-.rr'n ance over the previous design and
-a:-rely shorl ranqe and was mounted gave a much better flame perform-
::- a Universal Carrier with the fuel and ance even though rhere was no im-
:.:npressed gas tanks over the rear of provement in range; the same type of
-:e velncle. For various reasons the projector was also used with the Chur-
tslr.sh army decided not to proceed chill Crocodile. It was also easier to
T-:j'] lhe Ronson. requestrng more aim and much safer to use,
::rge, but the Canadians persevered The Wasp Mk Ii first went rnto action
-r-r the desrgn, and later in the war it during the Normandy fightinq of July
;as adopted by the US Army, who cal- 1944, They were used mainly in sup-
-ei it the Satan, port of rnfantry operations, whereas
Br' 1942 the PWD had developed the the Crocodrle was used in conjunction version of Wasp. They decided that to The W asp M k I I C was the Canadian
:.::€on to the staqe where ranges of 73 with armoured formations. They were devote a Universal Carrier to the version of the BritishWasp, and
:: 3-.5 m (80 to l0O yards) were being dreadfutly effective weapons, and flamethrower role only was rather carried its fuel in a single tank at the
:=ached. and thrs improved device greatly feared by the unfortunate Ger- wasteful in vehrcles and they rede- rear ; the British Wasp M k I I had two
-fi- put mto production as the Wasp mans who had to bear their effects, signed the Wasp so that the Carrier internal tanks. The Wasp was a
Mk I. In September i942 an order for though for fear of these effects German could also function as a normal Carrier conversion of the Universal Carrier
- l'-lt" was placed and by November infantry opposrtion very often ceased if it had to. Accordingrly they moved for the flame role first tested in I943.
--:: ::llowing year all had been deli- once the Wasps had arrived on the the fuel tanks to a location outside the
-;:reC These Wasp Mk Is used a larqe scene. rear of the vehicle, and replaced the
:ra-eCor gln that was routed over the It was not lonqr before the Wasp Mk arrangement of two tanks with a single IIC much more tactrcal flexibility, anci
::: :: rhe Carrier and connected to two IIs were joined by yet another Wasp 34llitre (75-lmp gal) tank This gave it gradually came to be the preferred
--:el tanks inside the Carrier hull, variant, this time the Wasp Mk IIC, the room insrde the open hull for a third type, ln June 1944 all Wasp productron
-::;ever, these Mk Is were deemed suff,x denotrng Canada for the Cana- crew member, who could carry a light was swrtched to the Mk IIC standard
';:sj-table for service as by then a dians had also developed their own machine-gmn Thrs gave the Wasp Mk and field conversions were also made
Wasp(continued) Flamethrowers of World War II
using the existing Mk II 272.7Jitre (60
Imp gal) tanks. Operational expen-
ence demonstrated the need for more
foontal armour, and many Wasp Mk
llCs were frlted wLlh plastic armour
cver the front hull plates,
Some Wasps were fitted with spe-
cial smoke-producing equipment, and
a few had wading screens installed for
possible use during amphibious op-
erations. The Canadians demons-
trated their interest in flamethtower
-anks by fittrng Wasp eqlupments to
old Ram tanks to produce the Badger.
These conversions were carned out Ln i':,
the UK for the Canadian lst Army. Ear-
}y Badgers did not have turrets, thouefh
later versions did, the turretless ver-
srons being based on Ram Kangaroo
personnel carrrers. They w-ere used
by the Canadians from Februarv 1945
onwards.
During early 1945 three Wasps and
a quantity of their thlckened fuel were
sent to the USSR What the Soviets
made of them has not been recorded

TheWasp Mk II differed from the


earlier Mkl in having a much smaller
flame projector mounted in the front
hull. BritishWasps had a crew of two
while the Canadians had three. one
otwhom usually operated a
machine-gun or light mortar.

>K fi"*"y flamethrower

-{&! l'-

:--:,: i -,..-:'-. the projector and Thiswas theflame jet produced by the Harvey flamethrower, a static
--:-,'.ath
.- .:: :.= .:- jt
ler pornt. probably
_-.= defensive.device producedin 1940 mainlyfor the HomeGuard. Although
:.:::,: -i=;:=: -: s:me fashion, When a meanf to be used in a static role, it could be moved on a simple two-wheeled
!', -:--a :-:::: apprcached the flame caftiage, butitwas a cheiap and crudeweapon.
'.'.
aj .l- -:: - -:.= .::l rushed rhrough
-:-= ::: :-:: ::-l=: cressure. 1iked, but they worked after a fashion. Specification
-.'-: ':., -----.-=-.: ,',-+re sSued tO Some of them even lound their way to Hawey
; +L-
-, - -;.- -. .'.e UK,but it the Middle East where they were used Weight: not knoum
;;i ::. --:-;: :=,,:: :iHome Guard not for flame work but for smoke pro- Fuel capacity: 127.3 litres (2E Ir:-: :=
i:. --.-:.
-:.-:-:
duction. They were never used oper- Range: about 46 to 55 m (50 tc €,-'.'-..
:-:-= ::-i .'.::: f-Ot greatly ationally in a flame role, Durationoffire: l2seconds
Gt i.,attci*tiamme modello 35 e 40
As lts deslgnation implies the ltalian
lenciafiamme modello 35 entered ser-
rrce in 1935, just in time to make its
cperational debut during the ltalian in-
.;asion of Abyssinia, There this
ilamethrower terrorized the hapless
nalrves who had to endure its efficren-
cy, and from this the weapon gtained
for itself a reputation for lethality wlthin
ihe ltalian army,
From a design viewpoint there was
nothing really remarkable about the
modello 35, It was a relatively portable ty::,i*1.,i:,
twin-cylinder back-pack equipment
that used a rather cumbersome flame
projector, Thrs projector was fltted at
the end with a large collar houstng the
rlame ignition system, For various
reasons this ignition system was not
corsidered rehable enough, so it was
modfied to produce the Iranciafiamme
modello 40, In general appearance
and use the modello 40 was otherwise
identical to the modello 35,
These flamethrowers were used by
special troops known as Guastori, or
assauit pioneers, In action these
ilamethrower troops had to wear thrck
protective clothing and their faces
were covered by normal service gas
respirators, When so clothed therr
cperatronal mobrlity and vision was
restricted so they were usually
gnrarded by teams of supporting infan-
iw
ry. On the move their flamethrower
equipments were usually carried on
loecial brackets fitted to trucks or, if
:re formation was not mechanized, they appear to have been little used, Above: The flame projector of the L3 Below : The L3 Lanciafiamme was the
nules with special harnesses were Lanciatiamme was mounted in place most widely used of the Italian
employed, The fuel for the Specification of the machine-gun carried on the flamethrower tanks. The fuel w as
ilamethrowers was carried in specially Lanciafiamme modello 35 L3 / 38 tankettes. These flamethrower carried in a trailer weighing 500 kg
tanks were of very limited tactical ( 1, 1 02 Ib), but some later models
narked jerricans. Weisht:27 ks (59,5 Ib)
Both of these flamethrowers were Fuel capacity: I LB litres (2.6 Imp gal) value as they were v'ery lightly used a much sm aller fuel tank
used in some numbers by Italian Range: about 22 B m (25 yards) armoured and had acrew ofonly mounted over the rear hull.
3oops operating in North Africa and Duration offire: 2O seconds two.
by the hapless ltalian troops who had
ic fight alongside the Germans on the
Eastern Front, In both theatres ofwar
-,le modello 35 and 40 worked well
enough, but it was increasingly
:oticed that they lacked rangte com-
pared with contemporary equivalents,
and especially the later German de-
signs. This did not stop the Germans
usinq them from time to time
=cm it suited them.
','.'hen
Incidentally, the success of
lamethrowers in Ethiopia moved the
I:alian army authorities to flt a special
;ersron of a lanciafiamme, much larger
-rar the man-pack version, to the little
- 3 tankette As space wrthin the low
:ull of this L3-35Lf vehicle was very
rmited the fuel was carried externally
:: a lightly armoured trailer, with a
ccrrugated pipe passing the fuel to the
projector from the trailer, There was
also a version that dispensed with the
:ailer and carried a much smaller flat
-:el tank over the top of the vehicle
lear, Although much was made of
::ese two flame-throwing tankettes The ltalian L3 Lanciafiamme carried its fuel in a trailet
connected to the flame gun by a flexible hose. The
propellant gas was contained in a cylinder on the iear
of the chassis, but later versions carried both fuel and
gas actually on the hull exterior. The L3 Lanciafiamme
was the most widely used of the ltalian mobile
flamethrowers.
Armed Forces of the World

Niccffcgucl
' 979 Nicaragua fell to the Sandinista Natonal
'1

-beration Front after about a year of bloody cvil


,.'ar. Since then the army has been built up with
luban and Soviet help to become the largest in
lentral Amerrca; Ntcaragua has thus come to be
':garded by the t-tS administration as the prrmary
.^ -:at to stability
rn the region. The Americans there,
',': sJpport a number of guerrilla forces whose aim
: .: :\'erthrow the Sandinistas, and who are collec-
.: . ca led the 'Contras'. These guerrilla bands
: :: -.:e across the borders from both Honduras and
,:. -: Blca.
-^e Nrcaraguan army numbers more than 60,000
j- r coror ses the lollowing units:
: ^e motorized infantry battalion,
:^ree aTmoured battalions,
-
2 infantry battalions,
.rree lrght infantry battalions,
:ne enqineer battalion,
:ne air-defence regiment (under air force control)
and
:wo field artillery regiments (with three battalions
each).
Weapons come from a number of countries, but
.re major source is now the Eastern bloc, with
:el very usually via Cuba. There are around 3,000
lrban and 1 00 Soviet advisers :n the country at any
:re time. Listed below are the army's primary types
,rd numbers of equipment.
.'mour: '1
10 T-54 and T-55 MBTs and PT-76 light
amphibroustanks; 20 BRDM-2 and2}f 17
Staghound armoured cars; 1 00 plus BTR-40, BTR-
60 and BTR-1 52 APCs
.tillery:US M1/M29 B1-mm (3.19,in), Soviet
M 1 931 I 1 941 I 1943 B}mm (3.23-in), Soviet
lvl1938/1943 120-mm 14.12-n) and lsraeli Soltam
120-mm mortars; 12 US 105-mm (4.13-in) M101
howitzers; 24M1938122-mm (4 8-in), 12 D-30
1 22-mm, 1 2 D-20'1 52-mm (6-i n) Soviet
howitzers; 30 M 1942 76-mm (3-in) Soviet field
guns; 12 BM-21 Soviet multiple rocket-launchers
. r m o u r w e a po n s : 57 -mm (2.24-in) lV 1 8, 73-
1 t i -a

mm (2 B7-in)SPG-9 and l06-mm (4 17-rn) M40A1


recoliless rif les; Soviet RPG-7 and French 6B-mm
2.68-in) SARPAC rocket-launchers
r

. ^i;-aircraft weapons. SA-7'Grail' SAMs, SA-B


'Gecko' SAMs, SA-9'Gaskin' SAMs; "14.5-mm
) 51-in) ZPI-I1214 guns, 23-mmZU-23 guns, 37-
r
- M 1939 guns. 4O-mm M 1 guns and 57-mm
-i-60 guns
--
'.., :rms. Americarr M'1 64'1 , lsraeli Galil, Soviet
- r.*7 and AKM assault nf les; lsraelt Uzi sub-
--::^ ne guns; Amelcan M60, Soviet RPD, RPK
=-: ir-46 light machine-guns; 7 62-mm
- --^., ng medrum machine-guns; Soviet DShK
-l - 'r^m" (0
5-in)and Brown ng 12.7-mm heavy
--::'-e-gUnS. mixture of older Western aircraft which mostly pre- A soldier of the Nicaraguan army mans a
date the civil war. The air force's composition is as checkpoint in the capital, Managrua. Since
^= ^a,.'y:s a sma I coastal defence force of some follows: ovetthrowing the US-backed Somoza regr,n:e -:
, --^ wrth 15 patrol craft and a single LCIV. Of
, 1979 the Sandinistas have acquired man',, o! :-:e
'= ..-.'a boats the most important are the four one fhter/g round-attack sq uadron with three
ig
trappings of a regular army but rerna jn es"-e::. -_;'

:'r: l:c.tt'c ass craft armed with 20-mm cannon a guerrilla force with very limited offensi,'e
Lockheed T-33As, three North American AT-28Ds,
capacity.
-' :- rr,achine-guns. six SlAl-Marchetti SF.260 Warriors, six Aero L-39s,
-- =a.;
'- -:
'
= = '3rce rs llm ted in stze to 1,500 men or so, and six Mil Mi-24'Hind-Ds' To support tnese ''onr- fl€ €=-:-.i -.'- , =
:oss brlity at present of acquiring high- one transport squadron with one CASA C-2'l 2, one 60,000 reservists together with 4,All ::':=' : -.- _=
. - -:-^-:^ie MiG fighters because of the threat of lAlArava. four Douglas C-47s, one Dassault- andacivirian'rilitaof aO,OOO -: -:-',- t'..'
-- - ,.' 3'e-ernptive arr strikes. The major offen- Breguet Falcon 20, and two or three Antonov An-2 security in <ey areas t.tere are o:: ::^ - . . '_
- -:::: :v s l mited to the recent acquisitlon of LOIlS 3,000 Ministry of the lnter or trccos - ,' .---=
'.'--- 'l rd-D' gLnsh,p nericopters plus one helicopter squadron with two Aerospatiale second line units are armeci io tz','J :-.=- -:'i:
'-,- - ---::.cjdual-ro e CzechAero L-39 jettrarn-a Alouette llls, two H ughes OH-6As, and two or three and usually come into contaci ,,", :^ l:-.-. _- -.
- : --. ..'.'.: a rcraft. These supplement a varied MilMi-B'Hips'. during the course of therr dui es.
rD pa-sg
Armed Forces of the World

ElScilv dor
El Salvador is the most densely populated of the
countries in Central America, and since 1977 has
suffered major internal subversion with the US-
supported right-wing government fighting in-
creasingly better-armed and better-trained left-wing
g.-rerrilla groups which receive support from the
Soviet Union and Cuba. The country is divided into
:'ree zcnes (the Western, Central and Eastern De-
':r:ce Zones) which cover the 14 individual depart-
-ents or states. Military service is now compulsory
':r all male citizens between the ages of 1B and 60 in
:.der to maintain the unit levels required by the
:nree sei-vices.
The army has a manpower strength of more than
10,000 and comprises the following units:
:- ree infantry brigades (each of two infantry
:egiments with one regular and two reserve
cattalions apiece)
:re :nfantry brigade (with four specialist anti-
g..rerrilla infantry battalions),
:. r--e ndependent special f orces battalions,
:

:ae mechanized cavalry regiment,


:-e artillery regiment (with two battalions),
- lndependent light infantry battalions (one per
aepartment),
- -: reserve infantry regiments (with three
:attalions each),
: -e engineer battalion,
: - e Daratroop battalion (under air force control) and
: ^: a;riefence battalion (under air force control).
-re equipment used by these units comes f rom a Above: EI Salvador's latest revolutionary war is
- --Der of sources including (surprisingly) Yugosla- noweightyears o[d, and the armymustpatrol
, :. and although sparse in some areas is relatively constanily to retain control of the countryside;jeep
patrols like this are always vulnerable to
- cdern. The standard of training is improving slowly landmines, even neat the capital.
as ihe Arnerican influence increases, but the army
51 , psriodically suffers defeats at the hands of the
-:rels. Listed below are the army's primary types successful Lhen a second will be procured. Other-
:ri numbers of equipment. wise air strikes are confined to rockets, general-
purpose bombs with extended fuses, and cannon or
.'ttour: 1 2 AMX-1 3 light tanks, 1 B AM L-90
machine-gun fire.
rmoured cars, 20 UR-41 6APCs, 1 0 M1 1 3APCs
The air force comprises the following units:
and an unknown number of locally modified M1 14
APCs Escuadrilla de Caza with 1B Dassault-Breguet Super
z t' I I e ry : 81 -mm (3. 1 9-i n) Hotch kiss-B randt mortars Mystdres;
and Yugoslav 120-mm (4.72-in) UBM-52 mortars; Escuadrilla de Caza Bombarda with 1 1 Dassault-
1 2 Yugoslav M56 1 05-mm (4.13-in) howitzers, 30 Breguet Ouragans; Aguerrilla poses by the site oIa successfu/
105-mm M101 howitzers,andsixMl 14155-mm Escuadrilla de Ataque with 1 7 Cessna A-37 ambush on the coastal highway. Generations of
1-in) howltzers Dragonf lies, seven 46rospatiale C. M.1 70 oppressive government have created fertile
'6 ground for Soviet-backed revolution.
2 nt-armou r weapons : 57 -mm (2.24-inl M 1 B and 75- Magisters and one Douglas AC47 'Spooky';
nm (2.95-in) M20 recoilless rifles;66-mm (2.6-in) Escuadrilla de Transporte with two Fairchild
Ml 2 and Israeli B0-mm (3. 1 5-in) rocket-launchers C-l23Ks, two Douglas DC-6Bs, five lAl Aravas
3 nt -a i rc raft w ea pon s : 20-mm B reda, Yugoslav 20- and five Douglas C-47s;
rrm M55 triple and 40-mm Bofors L/60 guns Escuela de Aviacion Militar with three C.M.1 70
so.all arms: M1 Garandand M'14 rifles; lsraeli Galil, Magisters, six Cessna T41 s, eight North
US M1642 and West German G-3 assault ri{les; American T-6 Texans, three Beech T-34 Mentors,
lsraeli Uzi sub-machine guns; 7.62-mm (0.3-in) seven Cessna 1 80s, one Cessna 1 82 and one
Madsen Model M1954and 7.62-mm M60 light Cessna 1 85; and
machine-guns ; 7 .62-mm Browning medium miscellaneous: six Cessna O-2As, three
rnachine-guns ; and 1 2.7 -mm (0.5-in) Browning 46rospatiale SA 31 5B Lamas, two A6rospatiale
neavy machine-guns. Alouette llls, one Fairchild-Hiller FH-1 100, 1 Bor
more Bell UH-1 Hs and one Hughes 500D.
To back the army there is a small but potent air
=orce of around 1,500 men. The air force flies both Not all of the aircraft are airworthy at the same
+merican and ex-lsraeliwarplanes which are tasked time. some being mothballed for spares and others
,,rith both COIN and army close-support missions. undergoing maintenance or battle damage repairs.
One recent addition to the inventory has been a The Salvadorean navy is based on the long Pacific
s,ngle Douglas AC-47 'Spooky' gunship conversion coast, and is used for patrols against gun runners
of the venerable Dakota. Although not armed with and for customs work. The navy has a strength of
Miniguns, this has three single 12.7-mm heavy 130 men to man seven patrol boats and a smalltug. Government troops have improved in
rrachineguns and operates on exactly the same The patrols are meant to restrict the influx of effectiveness, thanks to an influx of US aid: the
crnciples as the Vietnam War gunships in orbiting a weapons and supplies that are channelled to the machine-gunner carries an American M60 GPMG,
:3rget to bring it under fire. lf the aircraft proves rebels via El Salvador's near neighbour Nicaragua. his number two an M I 6A I rifle.