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Bulletpoint

Any flamethrower buffs here? Short range of German flame halftracks..

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I'm a bit puzzled that the German flame halftracks (Spw 251/16) in CMFB have a range of only 33 metres?

Not saying it's necessarily wrong; I'm no expert. Just wondering how such a big vehicle mounted flame projector can have a range comparable to most WW2 infantry carried flamethrowers.

For example, the British "Lifebuoy" flamethrower had a range of 36 metres, and the German Flammenwerfer 41 had a range of 32 metres.

WW2 vehicle mounted FTs usually had ranges of well over 100 metres.

So what kept the halftrack flamethrower back? Was the design inefficient or was it because of the fuel?

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20 minutes ago, Combatintman said:

Looks about right, a quick search indicates a range of 40m, so I guess the in-game model might be one Action Spot short.

 

Even if it were 40m, that's very short range for a vehicle flamethrower.

Wondering how they came up with the idea of an open top vehicle that had to get into hand grenade range to flush out enemy infantry...

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2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Even if it were 40m, that's very short range for a vehicle flamethrower.

Wondering how they came up with the idea of an open top vehicle that had to get into hand grenade range to flush out enemy infantry...

Probably why they lost.

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Yeah they were pretty incompetent.. While the British had their halftracks equipped with Ronson and Wasp flamethrowers with 80m range, the Germans thought 33m was probably more than enough to win the war...

Either that, or somebody made a typo somewhere in a historical source, and 33m should be 83m :)

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3 minutes ago, CMFDR said:

Afaik, on the Sdkfz 251/16, it's the Flammenwerfer 41 mounted, thus the 30m-ish range.

That would explain it, but in that case, why does it look so different on the halftrack?

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Maybe it's all down to a confusion between effective range and maximum range?

If most flamethrower ranges are measured by how far the furthest drops of fuel will go, and then this one is measured by where most of the fuel hasn't burnt in flight yet... then that would be two different yard sticks to go by.

That might also explain the very limited range of the machinegun given by the same source.

 

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Western Front Sherman flamethrower tanks weren't considered particularly good flamethrower tanks  either. Churchill Crocodile and the flamethrower Shermans that showed up in the Pacific theater by war's end are in a class by themselves. I can't recall the stats on the OT-34 flamethrower tank. It appears in the game to not like firing beyond 40m. British Wasp flamethrower carriers (not yet in any title) will fire out beyond 90m (Don't ask me how I know that ;))

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12 hours ago, MikeyD said:

I can't recall the stats on the OT-34 flamethrower tank. It appears in the game to not like firing beyond 40m.

Which is also odd. At least according to this site:

"The idea of installing a flamethrower in the T-34 originated in 1939, but work on designing the flamethrower itself did not start until November 1940, when the GKO issued a specification for a weapon with a range of 90 metres.

A number of designs were submitted. After trials in May 1941 Factory No.174’s design was judged to be the winner and was given the designation ATO-41. This had the required range of 90 metres"

http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_OT-34_flamethrower_tank.html

 

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36 minutes ago, CMFDR said:

Thanks for sharing. So much for my hypothesis about maximum/effective range.

But I continue to be puzzled about this vehicle.

Why are these two "large" flamethrowers restricted to pretty much the same range as a small portable one?

And why are there two projectors on the same vehicle?

Why bother having an extra small one on the back?

 

I'm starting to wonder if it was actually more intended to be a terror weapon than to be used on a real battlefield. Going down the main street of a Russian village, it would have been able to torch all buildings on both sides of the road very quickly in one go...

 

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40m is a long way to propel a liquid.

Think about the water coming out of a firehose.

Even at something like 300 psi, I think it would be hard pressed to go a whole lot further than 40-50m.

90m would take an enormous pump.

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21 minutes ago, Vergeltungswaffe said:

40m is a long way to propel a liquid.

Think about the water coming out of a firehose.

Even at something like 300 psi, I think it would be hard pressed to go a whole lot further than 40-50m.

90m would take an enormous pump.

I'm no pump expert :) just comparing with other contemporary flamethrowers...

 

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The thing is, most contemporary flamethrowers were pretty bad. The Crocodile and the US  M1/M1A1 are marvels of engineering by comparison - the M1's main advantage over the rest was that the design kept constant pressure in the system, so the first trigger press would have exactly the same range as the last, rather than the pressure decreasing as the weapon is fired.
 

Quote

Wondering how they came up with the idea of an open top vehicle that had to get into hand grenade range to flush out enemy infantry...


Flamethrowers in general are a fairly dodgy idea. They obviously have their niche, but their use-case is fairly narrow.

As with halftracks in general, and everything Panzergrenadier, the elements don't really make sense in isolation. If you had a fortified building that you can keep suppressed, but has to be cleared, you can either send infantry in to die in room-to-room clearing, or roll up a flamethrower to clear it for you. I agree that it's not a great idea, but it's no sillier than the Wasp. This kind of thing is typical for most examples in WW2 - it's the Crocodile which is unusually effective.

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2 hours ago, domfluff said:

The Crocodile and the US  M1/M1A1 are marvels of engineering by comparison - the M1's main advantage over the rest was that the design kept constant pressure in the system, so the first trigger press would have exactly the same range as the last, rather than the pressure decreasing as the weapon is fired.

Interesting, didn't know that.

 

2 hours ago, domfluff said:

I agree that it's not a great idea, but it's no sillier than the Wasp.

 

But it seems both the Wasp and the early Russian flamethrower tank had twice the range?

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The skinny on US flamethrowers, man-portable and AFV-mounted, including the special POA types,  is in the Army Green series ORDNANCE Corps: Beachhead to Battlefront. It also discusses German and other flamethrowers to a fair degree, but I don't recall there being much on the plethora of AFV-mounted ones.  If the Germans simply moved their existing flamethrower to an AFV, there's no way it could compete with the Crocodile's five huge compressed air tanks in the armored trailer alongside the fuel. Based on something I just saw online, max flamethrower range is obtained by the right balance among pressure, fuel and nozzle size. 

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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Germans also have PzIII flamethrower (if its not in a title yet it will be soon ;)), Hetzer flamethrower (in CMFB) and, most exotic of all, the flamethrower tank based on Char-B1 bis (in CMBN Holland module).

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5 hours ago, John Kettler said:

If the Germans simply moved their existing flamethrower to an AFV

It looks like a much bigger one on the halftrack?

2 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Hetzer flamethrower (in CMFB)

Used a "Koebe Flamethrower" with 66 yards (60m) range.

Looks like the one used on the halftrack too.

Could it be... that these devastating weapons were identical? (History Channel voice)

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According to the Osprey New Vanguard book on Flammpanzer, German Flamethrower Vehicles 1941-1945, the SdKfz 251/16, Panzer III, and Hetzer flame vehicles all used the 14mm Flammanlage Bauart Koebe (or Koebe-Gerat) flamethrower system. It had a max range in all applications of about 60m for burning fuel, and 50m for unlit fuel. Early versions of the SdKfz 251/16 had a 7mm handheld projector tied into the same system but that could be used "dismounted" by trailing a hose. It had a shorter range. The book has a lot of info on the topic and includes combat reports, design history, etc. As far as Osprey books go, it's a good one!

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