Flamethrower in action, during an officer trainees maintain session, in the woods near the village of Niinisalo, Finland - July 1, 1942. Colorized through Jecinci.

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The are afraid of fire is an inherent trait in both man and beast. On the pages the the history of war, many tales the devastating fire room not so hard to find.


During the ancient wars, the skies was regularly heavy v thick dark smoke as flaming arrows rained from all sides of the battle.

The Greeks take it the use of fire to a new level throughout the siege at Constantinople by making use of rudimentary projectors to shoot brief bursts of flaming oil in ~ the foe fleets. The catastrophic physical and psychological effects of this tactic birthed the heritage of Greek fire.


As the years passed, the usage of fire in warfare ongoing to see technical advancements till the appearance of a weapon through a much more sophisticated and much more controllable stream of fire, which became known as a flamethrower.

In modern times, the use of flamethrowers was tape-recorded in human being Wars I and II, as well as the Korean and also Vietnam Wars.

Greek fire may have been an early version of the flamethrowerGreek fire may have been very early version that the flamethrower

They have been arisen into portable and mountable varieties, as well as liquid-based and gas-based varieties. Flamethrowers have because found usage in areas apart native warfare, and also have over the years to be a subject of controversies, fan to its intake by civilians.

In this article, we will look at five things the reader could find interesting about one the the many psychologically terrifying weapons in history.

Let’s proceed.

Germany’s very first flamethrower unit to be commanded through a previous firefighter

The invention of the modern, portable flamethrower is attributed to a German engineer dubbed Richard Fiedler, that submitted models that the machine to the royal German military in 1901.

The machine was further arisen with help from German officer Bernhard Reddemann, who had actually been working on a flamethrower that his own. Reddenmann, in so late 1914, was tasked with assembling a unique flamethrower unit and also was likewise responsible because that the tactical applications of the weapon.

Interestingly, before the war Reddenmann had earned a strong reputation while serving as the chef fire officer the Breslau and also Leipzig. Also, recruited in ~ his first flamethrower systems were a variety of experienced firemen.

German flamethrowers during the very first World war on the west Front, 1917. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R22888 / CC-BY-SA 3.0German flamethrowers during the first World war on the west Front, 1917. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R22888 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The majority of the casualties native flamethrowers were not from the actual flames themselves

Owing come mankind’s inherent fear of fire, flamethrowers create intense psychological effects on your victims. The possibility of burning to death is undoubtedly unbearable. Flamethrowers were thus effective against enemy fortifications and also any kind of guarded emplacements.

The first combat use of the flamethrowers in contemporary warfare come at Verdun in WWI, where the Germans shocked French pressures with the terrifying new weapon. The same shocking experience hit british troops at Hooge.

A flamethrower strike from the trench 1918.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R52923 / CC-BY-SA 3.0A flamethrower assault from the trench 1918.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R52923 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Although numerous were killed or injured in this encounters, only a small percentage was actually killed by the flamethrowers. The majority of the casualties occurred when terrified soldiers leaped the end of your trenches for are afraid of obtaining burned, successfully breaking cover and exposing themselves to enemy fire.

This has, indeed, occurred in most instances in i beg your pardon flamethrowers were used. Thus, the flamethrower has been known to be more effective in scaring soldiers the end of their positions, fairly than killing them outright.

French trench in ~ Côte 304, VerdunFrench trench at Côte 304, Verdun

The first “Zippo boats” were created by parking flame-throwing Armored Personnel carriers (APC) ~ above Landing handmade Vessels

This innovation in flame-throwing modern technology was motivated by the river battles of the Vietnam War. Together US forces launched their first large-scale attack on the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, they realized that the capacity to burn adversary bunkers and concealed positions follow me the river financial institutions would be paramount in help them succeed. So, in 1967, attempts at making what is known as Zippo watercrafts began.

The first Zippo boat was do by installation a M132A1 flame-throwing APC in the fine deck of one Armored convoy Carrier. The potential in this hybridization led Navy designers to proceed with making conventional Zippo boats.

The Navy replaced the APC through a purpose-built boat fitted through two M10-8 flamethrowers. Compressed air and also napalm tanks for the flamethrower component to be housed in the well deck.

These Zippo boats had a speed of approximately eight knots, brought a crew that seven, and could carry up come 1,350 gallons that compressed napalm which might be fired end a distance of 300 meter for up to a maximum duration of three minutes.

An M67 “Zippo” tank that the USMC throughout the Vietnam warAn M67 “Zippo” tank of the USMC throughout the Vietnam war

Flamethrowers were not an especially favorite weapons for usage on the battlefield

 The flamethrower, pregnant v fire, has typically been a weapon hated both by the victims and also the operators.

This is since of numerous factors. Firstly, the flamethrower is normally heavy and also cumbersome, and poses some handicap to the operator’s mobility.

Secondly, the weapon was easily expended. Since it is minimal to a couple of seconds the burn time, its individuals are required to it is in very precise and conservative. Complicating this is the truth that flamethrowers have relative short range, therefore its operators usually had to acquire quite near to enemy positions come inflict damage.

A riverboat that the U.S. Brownwater marine shooting ignited napalm from its an installed flamethrower throughout the Vietnam warA riverboat the the U.S. Brownwater navy shooting ignited napalm indigenous its an installed flamethrower during the Vietnam war

Thirdly, due to the fact that the fear of fire is ingrained in everyone, opponents are constantly eager to eliminate its threat as shortly as possible. As a result, flamethrowers were always an especially targeted in the battlefield, and also this to be worsened by the reality that flamethrowers were easily spotted if in action. Flamethrower operators therefore became juicy targets for opponent snipers.

Operators that the weapon endured some especially harsh treatment at the hand of the enemy, particularly by foe soldiers who survived the flamethrower’s attack. Castle were occasionally summarily executed.

To minimization these disadvantages, flamethrowers were an installed on armored vehicles. Flamethrower-equipped tanks were commonly used throughout the 2nd World war by both the Axis and also the Allies.

An American flamethrower operator runs under fireAn American flamethrower operator operation under fire

Public ownership of the flamethrower

The usage of flamethrowers has actually long since gone past the military, and is in truth no longer used through the united state military and also most other militaries everywhere the world.

In the joined States, though, personal ownership that the incendiary maker is not minimal by federal law. In fact, just California and also Maryland are recognized to have placed some restrictions on the use of flamethrowers.

Flamethrowers are banned in the unified Kingdom, and ownership the the device is punishable by as much as 10 year imprisonment.

A soldier indigenous the 33rd Infantry department uses an M2 flamethrowerA soldier from the 33rd Infantry department uses one M2 flamethrower

Flamethrowers were provided as automobile security tools in south Africa in the kind of “blasters,” designed by Carl Fourie, but they have since been discontinued.

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Although flamethrowers are extremely controversial devices, they space still commonly used throughout the united States, with applications in locations such together agriculture, floor management, and strangely, in firefighting. In fact, in 2018, Elon Musk’s Boring agency sold over $10 million USD worth of flamethrowers come the basic public in just four days.