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Jul 3, 2006
Land of hope and Glory
Flamethrowers- probably one of the most inhumane weapons ever produced-but where they actually effective in combat? Sure, they where devistating phsycologicly (the sight of a flamethrower tank was eneugh to get Germans to surrender), but did they really prove efective, as a well placed bullet could send the guy (and any people unlucky enugh to be nearby) up in flames


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I just saw a special on this and Marines that used them on Saipan and Okinawa said they were very effective, especially against an enemy who was dug in and refused to surrender. On the program they did point out that the tank emptied in about 5 seconds so movie clips of soldiers spraying flames for 5 minutes is false....
If the sight of a flamethrower tank made an enemy surrender then that alone would count as being effective in my book.
However, everything that I have read would indicate that they were effective in destroying bunkers and buildings. If the occupant wasn't burned to death then the air would be used up. No one said it was pretty but it worked.
I think the British Crocodile, basically a Churchill tank with a flame thrower replacing the hull machine gun had about 60 to 100 seconds of fuel but then it was towed in an amoured trailer.where as I think the Sherman stored its fuel supply on board.
But for clearing a fox hole or pill box I would have thought it was a very effective weapon
For sure.
But was it still widely used and did it take a prominent place like in WW2.

From Wikipedia: The United States Marines used flamethrowers in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Flamethrowers have not been in the U.S. arsenal since 1978, when the Department of Defense unilaterally discontinued their use, because of public opinion concerns that found their use inhumane, although they are not banned in any international treaty the U.S. has signed. Thus, the US decision to remove flamethrowers from its arsenal is entirely voluntary.

I admit that I haven't heard about them being used in the British Army but these days its more common to destroy a bunker with an anti tank missile and a whole lot safer for the user.
I love your Avitar trackend :D

As for flamethrowers are concerned, in the pacific I think they were necessary for clearing bunkers caves etc with minimal casualties because of the fanatical attitude of the japanese.
In Vietnam the VC built water traps in their tunels which prevented any flames or gas from infiltrating the entire complex, so they weren't that effective.
I don't know if napalm is more inhume. That has more to do with the way it is used. Flamethrowers are used on the battlefield while napalm is usually dropped from the air thereby increasing the chance of collateral damage ... nipples for instance.

Ouch indeed.

And ouch for her husband.
Difressing a little. Body piercing is now banned in the RN. One chap went into the fire fighting school simulator where you fight real fires at close rangre and his nipple rings got far too hot. Not pretty but his mates found it hysterical and if anyone is wondering, it wasn't me.
By the way, it really happed. I cant remember where I heard it but it said," one mother who was caught up in a Naplam attack was unable to raise her child as her nipples got burnt off"
I think they were effective, but as to whether they get used ever again, that depends on the circumstances of their use... Certainly it seems less likely since targets are more likely to hole up amongst civilians. But again it is a case of never say never...

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