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Cool Guns / Flamethrowers

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"Break out the butter, I'm gonna make toast!"

While flamethrowers mostly fell out of service around the time of the Vietnam War due to being inefficient, heavy and dangerous to their operator and those around him (and not, as some claim, because they are against any rules of war), being superseded by incendiary and later thermobaric rocket and grenade launchers, there is no denying their cool (or rather, hot) factor and their place in history, as well as currently being the only real-life man-portable Energy Weapons.


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    Flammenwerfer M.16/Wechselapparat M1917
Top: Flammenwerfer M.16, Bottom: Wechselapparat M1917
The first flamethrower to ever be used in combat, the Flammenwerfer M.16, also known as the Grossflammenwerfer (Grof) M.16, was developed by German engineer Richard Fiedler based on the earlier Grof M.12 and Kleinflammenwerfer M.15, and was used during World War I by Austrian and German forces, most notably at Verdun in 1915 and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918. It was typically operated by two people, though a smaller, lighter variant of the weapon, the Kleinflammenwerfer (Kleif) M.16, was also designed for one-man portable use and used by German Pionier and Stosstrupp squads for rapid advances. It fires oil out of a metal hose from the tank at a high pressure and then ignites it with a hydrogen torch.

In 1917, a lightweight, modified variant of the M.16 known as the Wechselapparat M1917 ("Exchange Apparatus"), or Wex for short, was introduced, and replaced the earlier M.16 in service with the German Army. It is distinguished by it's unique ring-shaped fuel tank holding twelve liters of fire oil and a spherical compressed air tank in the middle of the ring. The ignition of of the flame jet was carried out automatically with a small gas flame, and could fire either in ten flame surges to a max of 30 meters range or fire three bursts up to 100 meters. It saw good use with the German Army in 1917/18, and was used by the Finnish military in the 1920's. The Germans were supposed to destroy all their flamethrowers after the First World War, but most were used by German Freikorps, and the Wex was later updated into the Model 40 flamethrower in the Second World War, though it didn't see much use due to being rather fragile. The British also made their own flamethrower based on the Wex, the No. 2 Portable Flamethrower, which was used by the British and Canadian militaries in World War II.

  • The Wex is added to Verdun with the Horrors of War DLC as the only flamethrower in the game, usable by the German Pioneer Squad.
  • The M.16 appears in Battlefield 1918, used by the Imperial German and Austro-Hungarian forces in several maps, and the Wex appears in Battlefield 1, usable in multiplayer by picking up the randomly spawning "Flame Trooper Kit" weapon crates, and has infinite ammo, deals high damage and causes players hit by it to scream in pain, but has a very short range. In singleplayer, it is unusable by the player, but is used by German flame troopers, and their fuel tank can be shot, causing the flame trooper to get set alight by ignited fuel and explode.
  • The M.16 appears in NecroVisioN: Lost Company used by enemies, but is unusable by the player.
  • The Kleif is used by a German trooper in The Red Baron.
  • Several German troops use the M.16 in The Lost Battalion.
  • Imperial troops utilize the Wechselapparat M1917 in Youjo Senki.
  • Corporal Davies uses a No. 2 Portable Flamethrower in A Bridge Too Far when they assault the German bunker on Arnhem Bridge.

    Flammenwerfer 35/41
Top: Flammenwerfer 35, Bottom: Flammenwefer 41
Developed in 1935, the Flammenwerfer 35 was a one-man German flamethrower used during World War II to clear out trenches and buildings, and could project fuel up to 25 meters from the user. It weighed 35.8 kilograms (79 lb), and held 11.8 liters (2.6 imp gal; 3.1 US gal) of Flammöl 19, a mixture of petrol and tar to make it heavier and to give it better range. The fuel is ignited by a hydrogen torch which provides about 10 seconds of continuous use, and the firing device is activated at the same time with the Selbstschlussventil and is inside the protective pipe of the weapon. With a 25 to 30 m long fire beam that lasted for 10 seconds, up to 15 salvages could be fired. In 1941, the lighter, slightly redesigned Flammenwerfer 41 replaced it and became the standard flamethrower of the Wehrmacht. The Flammenwerfer 41 was more reliable and easier to operate than the 35, had a longer range at 32 metres (105 ft), and a lighter weight at 28.7 kilograms (63 lb), though held less fuel than the 35 at 7 liters. However, the hydrogen torch lighting mechanism proved to be a problem when fighting against the Soviets in the winter of 1941, being unable to cope with the cold weather conditions, and so the Flammenwerfer 41 was improved into the Flammenwerfer mit Strahlpatrone 41, which used a much more reliable cartridge-based firing system with 10 ignition cartridges and further decreased the weight of the weapon to 18 kg at the cost of some slight range (30 meters instead of 32). The weapon was so effective psychologically and against well entrenched enemy troops that flamethrower troops were often targeted by enemy troops first, and so the weapon was often dressed to look like a standard infantry rifle in an attempt to disguise operators. In addition to its use by the Wehrmacht, the weapon was also exported and was handed over to civilian departments such as the police and fire brigades.
  • If a German is using a flamethrower in a World War 2 movie or game, it will usually be this one, typically acting as an Evil Counterpart to the M2 Flamethrower.
  • The Flammenwerfer 35 is added to the Call of Duty: United Offensive expansion pack of the original Call of Duty, occasionally used by German troops in the Russian levels. It can be picked up, but is fairly useless due to having next to no ammunition on pickup and no iron sights. It appears in German hands in the Soviet campaign set in Stalingrad and Berlin in Call of Duty: World at War, albeit reusing the world model of the M2 Flamethrower and is unusable. It is returning as a usable weapon in Call of Duty: WWII.
  • The Flammenwerfer 35 appears in Wolfenstein (2009), used by Drachen (Dragon) Troops. It can be collected from them and used, and can be upgraded to hold more fuel and produce hotter flame for increased damage. A preorder bonus allowed for players to collect it during the first mission, though you can't purchase upgrades or find more fuel for it until the point where you're supposed to get it normally.
  • The German Pionier squad in Company of Heroes 2 can be equipped with Flammenwerfer 35s.
  • The Flammenwerfer 41 appears in Day of Infamy as the weapon of choice for the German flamethrower class, and one of the two flamethrowers available to the Germans, the other being the lesser-known Einstossflammenwerfer 46. It holds 500 "ammo" and can light up the surroundings with its flames, but adds a fuel tank to the back of your character, which, if shot, leads to fuel leakage and possibly blowing up and killing you.
  • The Fury's flamethrower in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a customized Flammenwerfer 41 that is modified to fire rocket fuel instead of the normal Flammöl 19.
  • In Yozakura Quartet, one of the objects that Kotone is able to conjure up with her powers is a Flammenwerfer 35.

    M2 Flamethrower
Easily the most recognizable model of flamethrower, the M2 Flamethrower is an American flamethrower that was developed to replace the horribly unreliable M1 and M1A1 Flamethrowers that were in use with the US Military. It was produced in early 1944, and proved to be a far, far better weapon than the M1 and M1A1 Flamethrowers ever were, even being considered arguably the best flamethrower in WWII. It weighed 43 lb (19.5 kg) empty and 68 lb (30.8 kg) filled, held 2 gallons of fuel, and the weapon featured a constant-pressure regulator to ensure that the range stayed the same from the first to the last shot of a tank of fuel, an on/off main valve easily accessible to the operator, a supremely waterproof and reliable pyrotechnic cartridge ignition system, an auto-shutoff valve which sealed at the nozzle, preventing dribble (and cutting off fuel flow should the operator lose control of the weapon), and napalm as fuel as opposed to the petrol and tar mixtures of most other flamethrowers in the war. Even though its burn time was only around 7 seconds and the flame was only effective out to around 20–40 meters, it was extremely effective in the Pacific Theater, and would still see use afterwards in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, being upgraded to the M2A1-2 in Korea with straight sided backpack frames, vented gas caps, a cylinder sized regulator and a safety valve, and the M2A1-7 in Vietnam, which lacks the back handle of earlier models. It would later be replaced in US service by the M9 Flamethrower in Vietnam, but was exported to and saw further use with several US allies, including Australia, Brazil, the Republic of China, Japan (where it would be later replaced by a upgraded domestic flamethrower based on it), the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • If a US soldier or Marine is using a flamethrower in a WWII movie or game, it will usually be this one.
  • Sgt. Ben Patterson wields a slightly modified M2 Flamethrower in Them! while in the ants' nest.
  • Childs and MacReady use M2A1-7 Flamethrowers in The Thing (1982), the flamethrowers being the only thing really effective again the Thing.
  • The M2 Flamethrower is used by Colonel Braddock in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning.
  • The M2 Flamethrower appears as a usable weapon in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, used by German troops after the third Chapter. While ammo can be hard to find for it, it is extremely powerful, dealing fire damage over time and quickly reducing most human enemies to cinders. In the multiplayer, both factions use it. It returns in Enemy Territory.
  • The Flamethrower in Commandos 2: Men of Courage and 3: Destination Berlin is an M2. Only Inferno can use it in 2 and the Sapper in 3. It is very powerful, but finding ammo for it can be problematic and any inventory carried by any soldier it's used on is rendered useless.
  • The Flamer in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas is heavily based on the M2.
  • The M2 Flamethrower appears in Call of Duty: World at War, used by US Marines in the Pacific levels in Campaign. It is Miller's starting weapon in "Burn 'Em Out" and "Blowtorch and Corkscrew", and there is an achievement/trophy called Firestarter for beating a level using only it, melee and explosives. In multiplayer, it is unlocked at the final level, 65, as an equipment perk. It has infinite ammo in both single and multiplayer and deals a ton of damage, but can overheat (Faster in multiplayer than singleplayer) and has limited range.
  • The M2 Flamethrower can be used during the Uroboros Mkono boss in Resident Evil 5 to stun him and reveal his weak points, though the flamethrower itself can not kill him and needs to be placed on a recharging station on the wall once the fuel is used up, taking a while to refuel.
  • The Flame Troops in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater use the M2 Flamethrower, despite the game taking place in Russia and the existence of several, more appropriate Russian flamethrowers. If you call Sigint, he explains that they had procured the flamethrowers from American forces for study purposes. It is unusable in singleplayer, but can be picked up and used in Metal Gear Online, where it has infinite ammo.
  • Appears in Windtalkers, used by Harrigan to clear out Japanese bunkers and knock out enemy tanks.
  • Used by US Marines in Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers, particularly during the beach landings, in order to clear out Japanese pillboxes.
  • Used to horrifying effect in Rising Storm. The range is fairly short (20 metres) and the recoil is high (if fairly easy to compensate for), but the massive stream of near- One-Hit Kill flames gives the weapon incomparable close-quarters power. It's limited to 1-3 slots per 60+ player servers, and M2 users manage to be both high-priority targets AND prone to causing friendly fire.
  • An M2 Flamethrower is available use for a short time in the final mission of L.A. Noire, and appears in the hands of Allied troops in the WWII flashbacks.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, an M2 Flamethrower said to belong to the villain Firefly can be found in the Medical Facility.

    M9 Flamethrower
M9A1-7 Flamethrower

"Flamethrower, 4.7-gallon fuel Canister, M9A1-7. Fires jets of flaming napalm up to 30 meters. Holds around 7 seconds of fuel"
Weapon description, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam

Developed in the 1960s as the successor to the aging M2 Flamethrower, the M9 Flamethrower was lighter and easier to carry than its predecessor while still retaining the same range and firing duration. Variants included the M9-7, which introduced a new wand design, and the M9A1-7, which introduced further improvements to the design. This model would see service alongside the older M2 during The Vietnam War, until both were withdrawn in 1978 and subsequently replaced by the M202 FLASH rocket launcher.

  • In Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, the M9A1-7 variant is given to US and Australian Combat Engineers as an optional loadout. Compared to its predecessor, the M2 found in the original Rising Storm, this model is much lighter, allowing players using them to sprint farther and faster, while also having slightly more fuel capacity as well.
  • An M9-7 is used by one of the Sky Devils in Kong: Skull Island against the Skullcrawlers.
  • One is used by Carrie Fisher's character in The Blues Brothers in an attempted assassination against them.
  • The titular character in Machete Kills triggers an M9 to explode in one scene.
  • The M9 Flamethrower is added to the Vietnam expansion of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. It holds 100 rounds with 200 in reserve, and lacks a reload animation, the rounds being instantly loaded when you hit the reload button. It causes enemies to scream in pain when hit by it in addition to doing heavy damage, and obscures their screen with fire.

Example of: