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"Italian Portable Flame Thrower, Model 41" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following WWII U.S. military report on the Italian portable flame thrower model 41 was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 34, September 23, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


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 These models have been superseded by model 41.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 ignition system.

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.


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