While the Japanese have as yet made little use of
flame throwers, they are believed to possess them in
some quantity. These weapons are not carried as organic
equipment by units, but are held for issue to specially
trained personnel when the weapons are needed.
The information in succeeding paragraphs of this section
is paraphrased from a Japanese document titled: "Use and
Effectiveness of Flame Throwers." The document
mentions four types of Japanese flame throwers, but
gives a description of only two. One of the
latter, "No. 1 Flame Thrower," has a maximum range of
approximately 30 yards--according to the Japanese
document--while the other, "No. 2," has a maximum range
of nearly 45 yards. The No. 1 weapon will maintain
a steady flame for 10 seconds as compared to 12 seconds
for No. 2, and No. 1 has a fuel-tank capacity of
about 4 gallons as compared to more than 10 gallons
for No. 2. The two flame throwers mentioned but not
described are known as Type 95 and Type SS.
The fuel capacity of the No. 2 flame thrower indicates
that it is of a type too heavy for one man to
carry. It is probably a two-man load.
A Japanese flame thrower, designed to be carried by
one man, was captured by U.S. forces on Bataan. It
has been examined by the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service, and
was described in Tactical and Technical Trends,
No. 18, February 11, 1943.
2. HOW THEY OPERATE
Although the Japanese document as a whole speaks of flame throwers
in general, it is believed that the
Japanese charts refer to a type which is carried by
one man and which throws a flame approximately 30 yards.
a. Flame Chart
The Japanese chart given below is measured in meters (1 meter=39.37 inches).
The fuel for flame throwers usually is a mixture of gasoline, crude
oil, and kerosene. Sometimes only two of these are used. The
crude oil prolongs the burning and increases the length of
During an emergency, or when no kerosene is available, a mixture
composed of equal parts (by liquid measure) of gasoline and
crude oil may be used. When no gasoline is available, the mixture
should be composed of 2 parts of crude oil and 4 parts of kerosene.
During hot weather, the mixture should be 1 part of gasoline, 3 parts
of crude oil, and 6 parts of kerosene. For cold weather, the
proportion of the more volatile component should be increased: the
mixture should be 1.5 parts of gasoline, 2 parts of crude
oil, and 6 parts of kerosene.
For burning out emplacements, the mixture should be 1 part
of gasoline, 4 parts of crude oil, and 5 parts of kerosene.
c. Safety Features
With the fuel tank full and ready for use, the flame thrower
can be dropped from a height up to 6 feet without affecting the
fuel tank, air pressure, or air-tight seal.
With the weapon charged and ready for use, a direct hit on
the air container by small-arms fire from a distance
of 110 yards will not cause it to explode or burst.
|Figure 6. Combustion chart for Japanese Flame Thrower.|
If the same test is applied to the lower part of the fuel tank, fuel
will spread over a radius of about 7 yards. If the upper part
of the tank is hit, only gas will escape; the tank will not burst
3. TACTICAL AIMS
Flame throwers are designed to kill enemy troops, to set afire
or explode certain objectives, and to build up the morale of our
own forces by striking fear into the enemy. They are used during
an assault to break up flank defenses, or in mopping up. They
also are used in the capture of centers of resistance, obstacles, and
key positions, and to attack tanks at close range.
The essential objects of training are to:
a. Impart thoroughly the details of the construction and operation of the flame thrower;
b. Teach the importance of maintaining the fuel supply and of being economical with it;
c. Teach the proper maintenance of equipment;
d. Teach the importance of observing strict discipline, because of the dangers involved in training;
Use water instead of fuel in training, but act as if it were real fuel.
5. TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT
a. Against Key Positions or Emplacements
A partly consumed discharge (imperfect combustion, see fig. 6) will
attain the best results against an objective. However, for
momentary neutralization, such as the initial subjugation of flank
defenses, a perfectly burning discharge will achieve the purpose.
In attacking special positions (such as flank defenses), temporary
neutralization is achieved by inflicting casualties among the
defenders and rendering their ammunition temporarily unfit for
use. To insure success, follow up with an attack using explosives.
Because of the black smoke and noxious gases emitted, it is impossible
for the enemy to post fresh guards for 5 to 10 minutes.
In attacking enclosed positions, direct the flaming oil through
the loopholes. The stream will strike an inside wall, be reflected,
and reach every part of the interior.
b. Against Tanks at Close Range
Our experiments show that flame throwers at close range can
temporarily neutralize tanks by inflicting casualties among the
crew and by stopping the engines. Complete destruction is possible
if the action of flame throwers is followed by attacks with
explosives. However, best results are obtained by settingfire to
combustible parts inside the tanks.