The flame thrower has been used with deadly effect in this war. In an
attack against a modern fort built of steel and concrete, it could well
be the most important instrument of the attack.
According to British sources the two previously used Italian flame
throwers, the 35 and 40, have become obsolescent due to their excessive
weight. These models have been superseded by model 41.
The weight of the new model is 40 pounds, and it has a range of from 17
to 22 yards, and a fuel capacity of 1.75 gallons. The fuel used is a
mixture of 9 volumes of heavy oil and 1 volume of gasoline. The duration
of a continuous jet is five to six seconds.
The range and efficiency of the model 40 is reported to have suffered
seriously because of the use of the impeller in the oil stream. It also
presented a very heavy load to the operator. In the model 41, the impeller
driven magneto is operated by the compressed air passing to the fuel cylinders. In
this way the flow of fuel is not affected. The quantity of fuel carried in the
model 41 is much less than in the previous models. The capacity
of the 35 was 2.6 gallons.
There are three containers, two for fuel oil and the third for compressed
air which is used as a propellant. The fuel cylinders are on the outside
with the compressed air cylinder between, and slightly to the rear of them.
Each fuel cylinder is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet high, 5 to 6 inches in
diameter and is charged with 0.9 gallons of fuel oil.
The left cylinder carries on its top a luminous dial pressure gauge
while the right cylinder is fitted with a refueling neck and an outlet
tube in the same positions as in model 40 (for a description with sketches
of both models 35 and 40 reference may be had to Special Series, No. 16, Enemy
Capabilities for Chemical Warfare, prepared by the Military Intelligence
Service, War Department).
The compressed air container is charged through a valve in the top
from high pressure cylinders. Attached to the sides, near the bottom, is
an impeller-driven magneto, which functions by the compressed air passing
to the fuel cylinders. This magneto supplies the current for the spark
Comment: This equipment embodies the most obvious and most important
improvements in the model 40. The range and efficiency of the earlier model
suffered seriously because of the use of the impeller in the oil stream, and
also presented a very heavy load to the operator, who was required to carry it
when approaching, usually under difficult conditions of terrain, to within a
very short distance of his target. The change-over of the drive from the
impeller to the compressed air stream, where it cannot affect the flow of
fuel is the obvious correction of the former trouble, while the latter
drawback has been overcome only by considerable reduction in the
quantity of fuel carried.