M2 flamethrower

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M2 Flamethrower
A soldier from the 33rd Infantry Division uses an M2 flamethrower.
Type Flamethrower
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1943–1978
Used by See Users
Wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Production history
Designer US Army Chemical Warfare Service
Designed 1940–41
No. built 14,000 (M1A1)
Variants M2A1-2, M2A1-7
Weight 43 lb (19.5 kg) empty
68 lb (30.8 kg) filled
Crew 1

Rate of fire Around 0.5 US gal (1.9 l) a second
Effective firing range 65 12 ft (20.0 m)
Maximum firing range 132 ft (40 m)
Feed system Two, 2 US gal (7.6 l) Napalm/gasoline tanks (fuel)
One Nitrogen tank (propellant)
Sights None

The M2 flamethrower was an American man-portable backpack flamethrower that was used in World War II. It was the successor to the M1 and M1A1 flamethrowers. Although its burn time was only around 7 seconds and the flame was only effective out to around 20–40 meters, it was still a useful weapon. However, with the arrival of flamethrower tanks, the need for flamethrower-carrying infantrymen to expose themselves to enemy fire was greatly reduced.

Though some M2s were sold off, the majority were scrapped when they were declared obsolete.

Variants of the M2[edit]

The M2 was the WWII model had hexagonal gas caps and hourglass frames. It was also called the M2-2, M2 for the tank groups and -2 for the wand type.

The M2A1-2 is the variation of the M2 devised during the Korean War. These had straight sided backpack frames, vented gas caps, a cylinder sized regulator and a safety valve. These are much more common today than WWII models.

M2A1-7 was a flamethrower used by the American troops during the Vietnam War. It is the updated version of the M2A1-2 unit used during The Korean War.

It has four controls:

  • Back of the rear grip: firing safety catch.
  • Front of the rear grip: firing trigger.
  • On top of the front part: igniter safety catch
  • Under the front part: igniter trigger.

The M9A1-7 is the most common model used in Vietnam and is much lighter and easier to use. Tanks for this weapon are commonly found, but most wands were destroyed after the Vietnam war.

Some U.S. Army flamethrowers have a front handgrip with the same shape as the rear handgrip. In these models the igniter controls are on the front handgrip, arranged in the same way as the rear handgrip controls. The M2 was replaced by the M9A1-7 flamethrower which was used in Vietnam. The M9A1-7 was replaced by the M202A1 FLASH.


Map with former M2 flamethrower operators

Former operators[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Flamethrowers. Hated feared and used by all". diggerhistory.info. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  2. ^ "携帯放射機(火焔放射機)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 22 November 2015.

External links[edit]