Strap on the gasoline tanks, stand firm, look straight ahead — and pull the trigger.
There’s not much you have to worry about regarding precision when you’re wielding a flamethrower, as demonstrated by Retired Gunnery Sgt. Thomas E. Williams, director of the United States Marine Corps Historical Company.
But you would want to make sure you’re protected from enemy gunfire — a shot to the gasoline tank on your back could mean getting wrapped in a blanket of white hot flames from which there is no escape.
“Flamethrower operators were extremely vulnerable to enemy fire since they effectively had a napalm bomb strapped to their back,” points out a historical site.
Note the heat of the outward blast drawing a grimace in the modern day picture below.
You may have seen this exact World War II era flamethrower in the movies Flags of Our Fathers and Windtalkers. The Marines recently brought out the weapon during a Marine Raiders reunion last year — the Raiders made up the first ground offenses against Japan in the second world war.
The M2 Flamethrower was first used in 1943 and relied on nitrogen as a propellant. It carried 4 gallons of gasoline and weight 70 pounds, filled and ready to go.
This photo was snapped by Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers at the reunion in Quantico, Virginia.
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