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Bulletpoint

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

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absolutmauser,

If both flame projectors are feeding from the same pressure vessel at once, then the line pressure must drop, and with it, range. Also, the handheld projector is visible in the lower right corner of the 251/16 pic CMFDR posted. The idea was to be able to flame targets in heavy cover, close terrain (say tightly grouped trees), or BUA w/o exposing the halftrack to do it. The rig was not all that different from the old gas hose and nozzle before all the anti-pollution vapor traps and short hoses became common.

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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5 hours ago, absolutmauser said:

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.

Thanks. That's what I thought too. So I still wonder how come the version on the halftrack is listed as having a much shorter range?

Could it be because the numbers were somehow mixed up with the range for the small hose flamethrower on the back?

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

Thanks. That's what I thought too. So I still wonder how come the version on the halftrack is listed as having a much shorter range?

Could it be because the numbers were somehow mixed up with the range for the small hose flamethrower on the back?

Fairly sure it comes from the "effective" vs. "max" range distinction. Watching the YT videos it seems to me pressure is rather low and fuel storage maybe too. So for the intended purpose as  @John Kettler describes it´s the effective range then.

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1 hour ago, RockinHarry said:

Watching the YT videos it seems to me pressure is rather low and fuel storage maybe too.

Then again, that footage was staged, so maybe they didn't go full throttle.. trying not to roast too many actors

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9 hours ago, absolutmauser said:

Ah, according to the Osprey book, when firing BOTH 14mm projectors at the same time on the SdKfz 251/16, the effective range of the pair was reduced. That may be where the shorter range is coming from? 

I would think this is why we are seeing the shorter range in game. I can't think of another weapon system in the game that would have its effectiveness cut in half if both barrels are firing at the same time. The code then must be set for the short range to keep things "balanced". Sort of a choice between letting both fire at the same time at the shorter rate or only let one fire but at a slightly longer range. The real question now becomes @Bulletpoint can both flamethrowers fire at the same time? If not, then I would suggest it is something worth asking for a fix. 

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10 minutes ago, Heirloom_Tomato said:
9 hours ago, absolutmauser said:

Ah, according to the Osprey book, when firing BOTH 14mm projectors at the same time on the SdKfz 251/16, the effective range of the pair was reduced. That may be where the shorter range is coming from? 

I would think this is why we are seeing the shorter range in game. I can't think of another weapon system in the game that would have its effectiveness cut in half if both barrels are firing at the same time. The code then must be set for the short range to keep things "balanced".

I think it's probably just that the sources BF took their numbers from were confused. A number got put down many years ago by someone not realising it was from when both flamethrowers fired at the same time.. that number then got copied and re-used elsewhere, and became accepted fact.

13 minutes ago, Heirloom_Tomato said:

The real question now becomes @Bulletpoint can both flamethrowers fire at the same time?

Maybe they can if both gunners spot different targets on opposite seides of the vehicle at the same time, and survive the 8 seconds aiming while getting shot at from 30m range :) Which won't happen very often. But when giving a target order, only one FT will fire.

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Conclusion:

I would like to suggest to Battlefront to update the Halftrack flamethrower range to 60m, based on following source:

"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."

 

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

Then again, that footage was staged, so maybe they didn't go full throttle.. trying not to roast too many actors

then every photo, painting, video I know was staged. :huh:

No seriously... I remain at the conclusion that for given purpose (suppressing and routing dug in enemy infantry during tactical breakthroughs) conserving the loadout and doing the job with just small bursts is the main reason for that short effective range. I have no idea about liquid flame physics, but liquid composition might also play a role here. For longer range destruction purposes you´ll likely need something more viscous, as well as a big loadout (crocodile!). to pump enough of that into the target. The 251/16 could probably do at longer range (one source says upto 60m) at highest nozzle elevation (whatever it is), but likely expends a majority of the loadout while doing it. It also looks to me lots of the flame burst liquid spread gets "lost" halfway to the target, so overall effectiveness of that vehicle flamer appears rather low overally. But for the mentioned tactical purpose it´s likely ok.

Edited by RockinHarry

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How does one aim those things, anyway?

Imagine taking a wee, except you're letting loose a stream of flame and a plume of smoke -- and looking out of a periscope!

From what I've seen of crocodile footage, is that they kinda have to get close to a large target like a bunker or a house. Then, spew short bursts in the general direction.

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some additional interesting info from an Osprey book (the flamthrower):

"The Flammenwerfer 41 had two regular cylindrical tanks in a horizontal arrangement, the lower one for 7.5 litres of fuel while the smaller upper tank held compressed hydrogen. Hydrogen A German Pionier has help fitting his Flammenwerfer 35. The fuel tank was filled with a substance known as Burning Oil No. 19, consisting of blended tar oils, although other fillings were also used according to necessity and preference.was also used for the ignition system, but in the terrible conditions of the Russian autumn and winter, this system became unreliable, so an ignition cartridge method was introduced to the lance. The result was the Model 42, and this became the mainstay portable flamethrower of the German forces for much of the rest of the war."

"The Germans wrestled with several ongoing issues with their flamethrowers, but mainly with the desire to increase the fuel capacity without dramatically increasing the weight. They also sought ways in which to increase flamethrower range, based on the good distances Allied flamethrowers were achieving using thickened fuel. They never quite realized their goals. The subsequent Models 43, 44 and 44a fell short of their designer’s objectives, being either too heavy (Model 43) or with limited fuel (Models 44 and 44a.) Furthermore, the flamethrowers could never quite break beyond the 25m range mark, as much due to the German fuel compositions as the design of the flamethrowers. Still, there was some innovation. The 44a actually used cordite as a propellant rather than nitrogen; although typical for late-war German design, this feature was an unnecessary distraction from more practical concerns."

and some interesting evalution of flamethrowers from US perspective:

http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p4013coll8/id/2797/rec/1

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2 hours ago, RockinHarry said:

For longer range destruction purposes you´ll likely need something more viscous, as well as a big loadout (crocodile!)

The main point is that if it's the same flamethrower as on the other German vehicles, then the range should probably be the same.

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2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

The main point is that if it's the same flamethrower as on the other German vehicles, then the range should probably be the same.

If it´s the same then it also needs all components taken into account (pressure system, has pump or not, ect.) used in the vehicles. Tactical purpose of all vehicles aren´t quite the same either. The Pz III and Hetzer flamer surely had more of a similar tactical role as the crocodile and comparable, bunker busting and such while it wasn´t quite the intended purpose for the halftrack version. Doesn´t mean it wasn´t used in that role though. The Panzer III had extra armor to account for the close engagement ranges and the Hetzer already was well armored. Thus far the majority of sources say effective range was around 35 meters for all and those mentioning 60m surely mean maximum range. Like many other weapon performance data in the game, BFC usually leans toward "effective" range. While maximum range might be somewhat different in RL, we got to live with what BFC approved as "effective" range and thus far, I´m ok with it.

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I setup a quick little test in CMFB with 10 251/16 halftracks and 20 houses, in 5 blocks of 4 houses each. Each block is separated by a tall wall. The houses are 5 action squares apart separated by a main road. On the road in front of each house and roughly 20 meters from each house, there is a halftrack facing the nearest section of wall. This will prevent the halftrack from engaging targets with the MG and encourage them to use the flamethrowers. In each block of houses is a full American platoon, one section per house. I have the Americans as Elite  Fanatics and the Germans as regulars.

For this test battle, you play as both sides, giving the Americans short covered arcs so they cannot engage the halftracks. Let the flame tracks engage as they wish. In the three test runs I did, 30-40% of the flamethrowers fire both sides at the same time, which according to the source given would limit the effective range to 30 meters.

I will post the test battle when I get back to Wifi so you can flame away and see what your results suggest. 

I will ask again, can you name another weapon system in any of the CM2 games, where having both main guns fire at the same time results in the effective range being halved? I can't think of any. If this means the 251/16 is either always locked at potential half effective range so both flamethrowers can fire at the same time, or the vehicle is excluded from the game due to limits of the code,  I will take half effective range and dual flamethrowers. 

 

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In the game the flamethrower max targeting range is a bit misleading. You fire a burst and the jet of flame is probably going to overshoot by 10-15 meters anyway, leaving a long narrow impact zone. So what's the max range, the max targetable range or the max distance of the impact footprint?

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1 minute ago, MikeyD said:

In the game the flamethrower max targeting range is a bit misleading. You fire a burst and the jet of flame is probably going to overshoot by 10-15 meters anyway, leaving a long narrow impact zone. So what's the max range, the max targetable range or the max distance of the impact footprint?

It's very debateable, yes. All I'm saying is that if it's the same weapon, then it should have the same range - extra overshoot range would then also be the same...

And it's possible, as @RockinHarry argues, that it could be the Wehrmacht turned down the pressure or something for this particular installation. I don't know. It just seems an odd thing to do, especially as it doesn't seem like there would be less space for compressors and fuel in a halftrack than inside a Hetzer.

Another thing to consider is that they actually made 300 of these things. If they had been a mistake, I think they would have stopped much earlier, just like with other rare limited edition test runs. They started making them in 1943, and in 1944 they made an adjustment (removed the small rear hose-based flamethrower). But they didn't stop making these strange halftracks, even though there was a great lack of normal halftracks for the Panzergrenadiere - which were meant to ride halftracks, but many never received any.

So we might assume they worked, somehow. And I don't see how a halftrack that needs to enter handgrenade range to attack could work.

But yeah, I want to make clear I am not claiming to know better than anyone about this subject. I just thought there might be something here that doesn't add up :)

 

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2 hours ago, MikeyD said:

In the game the flamethrower max targeting range is a bit misleading. You fire a burst and the jet of flame is probably going to overshoot by 10-15 meters anyway, leaving a long narrow impact zone. So what's the max range, the max targetable range or the max distance of the impact footprint?

the latter I would presume.

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The range should be the maximum possible (60 meters?) accounting for the fact that competent operators would shoot the two projectors in turns, if necessary.

Best regards,
Thomm

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Did a bits of testing in CMBN and figured the impact footprint sometimes goes as far as 40m and as well has great suppression and morale effect somewhat beyond. Taken all that into account I´d say the 251/16 flame projectors "max effective" range lies between say 40-50m in circumstances. Also figured the biggest enemy of these vehicles when it comes to defending infantry without AT weaponry (zooks and like) is simply small arms fire and not hand grenades. As with all other (german) halftracks, the HT flame gunner is pretty much vulnerable, the more if shots do not come frontally, but rather at an angle, or straight from the side (of the gunner, not vehicle).

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20 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Another thing to consider is that they actually made 300 of these things. If they had been a mistake, I think they would have stopped much earlier, just like with other rare limited edition test runs. They started making them in 1943, and in 1944 they made an adjustment (removed the small rear hose-based flamethrower). But they didn't stop making these strange halftracks, even though there was a great lack of normal halftracks for the Panzergrenadiere - which were meant to ride halftracks, but many never received any.

The Osprey book on the Flammpanzers does mention a StuG-based one that used a different flamethrower system. They only made a handful of them and stopped because they kept setting themselves on fire! 

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21 minutes ago, absolutmauser said:

The Osprey book on the Flammpanzers does mention a StuG-based one that used a different flamethrower system. They only made a handful of them and stopped because they kept setting themselves on fire! 

Well, I think that confirms that they generally stopped producing stuff that didn't work.

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On 2/21/2019 at 3:31 AM, DerKommissar said:

How does one aim those things, anyway?

This is an interesting question in the context of range because to achieve the maximum range you'd have to arc the stream pretty heavily.  How much fuel would you burn trying to get on target, or do you overshoot and hope the dribble hits?

Lots of talk about maximum range, but I wonder what range they were generally used at?

Edited by Offshoot

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10 hours ago, absolutmauser said:

Walter Seifert's "Waffen-Arsenal" book on the 251 gives the range of the 251/16 as 35m with both 14mm flamethrowers firing. 

Sounds like the smoking gun .. Pun intended. I think it's pretty clear the 35m range was for both flamethrowers firing at the same time, and that it would have a 60m range when only firing one at a time. 

Edited by Bulletpoint

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On 2/20/2019 at 4:46 AM, absolutmauser said:

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!

in the meantime I as able to obtain that book and can confirm about that detailed info which seems reliable to me.Very detailed and recommendable read indeed. B)

From amongst the successfull tactics mentioned are night attacks or surprise (counter) attacks vs. rather unprepared enemies. Engineer formations equipped with these vehicles surely would do normal business (bunker busting) with these, as well as other common cases.

So as to the (limited) given range of 35m in the game for that vehicle, I would presume this was a rather deliberate decision, either to conserve ammo (flame liquid), excessive (gamey?) use, or implementing the dual range cases not applicable for the TacAI, for whatever reason. That´s to be answered from BFC in any way.

Interesting scenario creation ideas come in mind... 

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