We’re at war and most of us are not concerned about killing someone humanely or remembering what the snot nosed Junior JAG Officer said during the Rules of Engagement brief. It’s kill or be killed and I doubt Patton or Churchill were losing much sleep when Army flamethrowers were burning Nazis in pill boxes on the beaches of Europe in WWII.
Here we take a look at one of my favorite weapons, the flame thrower. If these were in the SEAL inventory I’d be very tempted to take it on a few at-sea boardings. Would make a few folks open some hatches I think, or burn.
Enjoy a look at a classic tool of warfare…
The Flame Thrower
The man-portable flamethrower consists of two elements: a backpack and the gun. The backpack element usually consists of two or three cylinders. In a two-cylinder system, one cylinder holds compressed, inert propellant gas (usually nitrogen), and the other holds flammable liquid—typically petrol with some form of fuel thickener added to it.
A three-cylinder system often has two outer cylinders of flammable liquid and a central cylinder of propellant gas to maintain the balance of the soldier carrying it. The gas propels the liquid fuel out of the cylinder through a flexible pipe and then into the gun element of the flamethrower system.
The gun consists of a small reservoir, a spring-loaded valve, and an ignition system; depressing a trigger opens the valve, allowing pressurized flammable liquid to flow and pass over the igniter and out of the gun nozzle. The igniter can be one of several ignition systems: A simple type is an electrically-heated wire coil; another used a small pilot flame, fueled with pressurized gas from the system.
The flamethrower is a potent weapon with great psychological impact upon unprepared soldiers, inflicting a particularly horrific death. This has led to some calls for the weapon to be banned.
It is primarily used against battlefield fortifications, bunkers, and other protected emplacements. A flamethrower projects a stream of flammable liquid, rather than flame, which allows bouncing the stream off walls and ceilings to project the fire into blind and unseen spaces, such as inside bunkers or pillboxes.
Typically, popular visual media depict the flamethrower as short-ranged and only effective for a few meters (due to the common use of propane gas as the fuel in flamethrowers in movies, for the safety of the actors).
Contemporary flamethrowers can incinerate a target some 50–80 meters (165–270 feet) from the gunner; moreover, an unignited stream of flammable liquid can be fired and afterwards ignited, possibly by a lamp or other flame inside the bunker.
Flamethrowers pose many risks to the operator.
I personally think the rewards far outweigh the risk….thoughts?