The first recorded use of fougasse flame throwers in this war was in Soviet
static defenses around Moscow in 1941. These fougasse flame throwers were
remote-controlled cans with nozzles designed to be embedded in the ground
and set off from a distance. Since the Germans have been on the
defensive, they have used similar flame throwers.
The German type of fougasse flame thrower resembles the Soviet type. The
cylindrical body, which carries the fuel, is of heavy cast-iron, with a
height of 21 inches and a diameter of 11 3/4 inches. It has a
capacity of about 8 gallons of fuel....
|A fougasse flame thrower which has just been lifted from its emplacement.|
In practice, fougasse flame throwers have been found emplaced behind and
among mine fields and barbed-wire entanglements. They are dug-in, and are
covered with stone, earth, or other local natural materials so that only
the nozzle shows. Proper camouflage of the nozzle makes detection
difficult. In Italy, as many as seven flame throwers have been emplaced
together. Groups are controlled from a central switchboard, from which
run four wires to each flame thrower.... Reports by
French officers and noncoms who have encountered the fougasse flame throwers
state that the estimated jet of flame was 5 yards wide and 3 yards high, and
that the range was 5 to 15 yards. Heat was intense 10 yards from the jet. The
duration of the burst was only 1 to 1 1/2 seconds.
|A fougasse flame-thrower emplacement, partly uncovered, showing the control wires leading to a central switchboard.|
|A fougasse flame thrower emplaced under a barbed-wire entanglement. Only the nozzle and propellant cylinder show above ground.|
While flame throwers of this type may have a temporary psychological effect, it
can be seen that they suffer from limited range and very limited endurance. Direction
of fire must be predetermined, and it is unchangeable in action. The weapons
are extremely immobile. Their control wires are subject to damage by preparatory
mortar and artillery fire. While luck might bring about a few instances of considerable
success, the general tactical value of the fougasse flame thrower is slight. As a
weapon of fixed defenses, it may be classed with the anti-personnel mine and the booby trap.
|The central switchboard for the fougasse flame throwers shown in the preceding photographs.|
|The terrain in which the fougasse flame throwers in the preceding photographs were emplaced. Ten flame throwers are situated along a barbed-wire entanglement indicated by the white arrows.|