Brando wrote:The Flamethrower is a crude and barbaric weapon. It has questionable effectiveness and is dangerous to field in any suitable numbers. For every video demonstrating a flamethrower's "effectiveness", there are 5 videos that demonstrate what happened to a soldier strapped with a giant zippo on his back when struck by enemy fire - he lights up like a Roman candle!
No modern Army is going to field that monstrosity any time soon as its far easier and cleaner to use RPG's and artillery. Further today war is as much about "public opinion" as it is about fighting and using flamethrowers is going to be extremely damaging politically.
Flamethrowers are no longer the same device as that shown in World War II. For one thing, the World War II device was highly inefficient and really wasted a lot of fuel getting to the target. Also, the image of a soldier's tank getting hit and the soldier lighting up is largely a Hollywood myth. Fact is that even in World War II era flamethrowers, the tanks were filled with a non-flammable gas fuel and they needed a special magnesium igniter to just light it. Shooting a flamethrower tank is like shooting a vehicle's gas tank: Hollywood would have you believe that it will explode into a giant ball of flame. Mythbusters proved that this was not the case, unless you use special incendiary bullets. It is the same situation with flamethrower gas tanks as well -- the fuel will generally leak out of the hole unless the bullet is an incendiary type specially designed to ignite the target.
New generation of flamethrowers don't have a stream of flame coming out any more, because that is a waste of fuel and it is also too short ranged. Instead, newer generations of flamethrowers like the RPO (Shmel) shoot out a container of incendiary materials towards the target. The container ignites when it strikes the target. That way, there is no fuel wastage between the user and the target and the range of the weapon can also be higher.