The flamethrower is a devastating, demoralizing weapon with origins that date back to the early 1st century AD, with perhaps even earlier implementations being used as far back as 424 BC at the Battle of Delium. Sometime in the 7th century AD, it was the Byzantines who were first to truly harness the power of a flamethrower. With their invention of Greek Fire, the Byzantines were able to attach flamethrowers near the stern of their naval ships and douse their enemies with liquid fire. The evolution of the flamethrower continued through several nations and militaries. However, it was not until Richard Fiedler, a German scientist, invented the Flammenwerfer in 1901, that the flamethrower was ready for modern combat.
Richard Fiedler created a portable device, made of a single vertical cylinder that was horizontally divided in two, with flammable oil on top and pressurized gas below. Upon firing, the pressurized gas pushed the flammable oil through a rubber tube and over a lit wick. The weapon projected a stream of fire about 20 yards. Richard Fiedler submitted his model to the German Army and thus began the modern flamethrower.
Built upon the design of the Flammenwerfer, the M2 Flamethrower was also a portable backpack flamethrower. The US Army Chemical Warfare Services designed the M2 with around 14,000 being built for active duty. The M2 had a burn time of around 7 seconds and was able to shoot a stream of fire as far as 33 meters. The M2 was used by American troops during World War II on both fronts and for specific situations, was an invaluable asset on the battlefield. However, as newer tanks, specifically flamethrower tanks, arrived on the battlefield, the need for infantrymen to risk their lives with the M2 became unnecessary.
Tips for the M2 Flamethrower
Don't expect to go commando with your M2 Flamethrower and sweep the level on your own. Teamwork is vital when you are packing the M2. Stick close to a SMG gunner or have the cover of an MG as you move through the map. The M2 is a very opportunistic weapon, so if the opportunity isn't there, you are going to need cover fire.
Tight corridors and sharp corners are going to be your playground. Avoid staying out in the open for too long, because if you give your enemy too much room to run around in, they suddenly become exponentially tougher to kill.
Smoke doesn't always have to follow fire. Toss a Smoke Grenade or Tabun Gas into a group of enemies and then run into the epicenter with your M2 ablaze. You may start choking on the fumes yourself, but your stream of fire should find the enemies with ease if you gently sweep in their general direction.
Now that you know the history of the flamethrower, it's time to see how you'll perform while strapped to this highly flammable backpack. Whether you are picking it up for the first time or are just looking to indulge your inner pyro, head on over to the Missions tab and enlist for the M2 Flamethrower challenge.