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Just watched Stalingrad a few days ago and was thinking.

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Flammwerfer 41s?

What did they use for fuel?

I remember reading it was a sticky black substance?

Also did anything replace the 41 model?

I have the US Army field manual on the German military, it's vast even with it's mistake on the Wehrmacht, I should take a look in that.

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I have an old fieldmanual for Pioniere, but it only mentions models Flammenwerfer 35 and 40. It's from 43. My sample is incomplete, but seems to cover Flammenwerfer. Couldn't say for sure though.

35 was large and bulky, with 35 "Flammstösse" (bursts of 45 seconds) capacity and 25-30 meter effective range. Weighed 37 kg fully tanked. It seems to have used a separate ignition similar to a lighter.

40 was lighter and apparently more common, weighing only 22 kg but with a capacity of only 10-12 bursts and 20-25 meter range. It had an electric ignition and the user could control the length of the flame.

That doesn´t mean there was no model 41 or later ones, I just can't find any other model in this manual.

It says that the main tube is filleld with highly inflammable oil ("leight entflammbarem Öl"), so probably mixed with gasoline just as Mike Adams says here. The oil was pressed out of the tube using nitrogen gas. In the model 35 the "lighter" at the end was simply lighted and the oil rushing through, mixed with nitrogen, ignited upon exit. Model 40 used another system, pressing through only nitrogen initially, it passing over a batterydriven glowing... well you know a small glowing thing, and so the nitrogen ignited, and only then did the firer let the oil on.

Says flamethrower teams (of two men) could only count on success if able to fire at short range from hidden positions, and that they should always be escorted by riflemen (Hilfsschützen).

Strangely, it actually says the smokedevelopment is as effective as the flame. Not sure what they mean here. Also emphasis on psychological effect of course.

Also says flamethrowers often malfunction due to bad maintenance, and great emphasis is put on proper maintenance.

Nasty business, flamethrowers.



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The flame thrower 41 "Fm. W. 41" was the standard light German flame thrower with roughly 70.000 being produced. It actually had 7,5l of inflammable oil (as Dandelion pointed out) and used Hydrogen instead of Nitrogen as a propellant. First it used the older ignition device (Glühzündapparat), but after problems especially in cold weather they switched to "ignition bullets" (Zündpatronen).

Improvements of the Fm. W. 41 were the Flammenwerfer 43 (rejected because of too high a weight of 24kg) and the Flammenwerfer 44 (rejected because of too little amount of fuel with 4l). The next flame thrower that actually saw production was the Einstoß-Flammenwerfer46 (One-shot flamethrower 46) also called Volksflammenwerfer46. It weighed only 3,6kg and had only 1l of fuel, enough for a burst of 0,5sec at a distance of 30-40m. Production started in Oct.44. It looked like a tube of ~5cm diameter and 50cm length with a handle with trigger underneath.

There was also a stationary flame thrower called Abwehr Flammenwerfer 42.

The smoke developement was considered very important for the moral effect on the enemy. A huge wall of fire and black smoke rolling at you was not exactly boosting the defenders morale. But there were fuels for the flame throwers with way less smoke developement for more "covert" operations.

Source: German Waffen-Arsenal Magazine, Vol. 154, Flammenwerfer des Deutschen Heeres bis 1945, Fred Koch.


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