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1. "Rudnicki, Edward J Mr CIV USA AMC" <email@example.com> 2. H-Net LISTSERV Server (15.5) <LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU> 3. Marc Richard <firstname.lastname@example.org> 4. email@example.com -----Message from: "Rudnicki, Edward J Mr CIV USA AMC" <firstname.lastname@example.org>----- > From: CARL BARNA <email@example.com> Greetings: In the > Pacific war, one sees a lot of film footage where the Marines > used flamethrowers and Naplam against the Japanese. Why did > not the US use these against the Germans, especially in > Normady when such weapons could have knocked out the German > bunkers and other beach defenses? Why not at Monte Casino? > Why did not the Germans and the Russians use these on each > other? One never sees film footage of such weapons on the > Eastern front, no flame panzers or T-34s. Was this choice > something that was racially motivated, i.e. the US would use > such weapons against the 'Yellow Peril' but not against white > Germans or Italians, even if many US lives might have been > saved? In addition to the comprehensive responses given, one might point out that the manpack flamethrower remained a weapon of very short range. It was also a very heavy burden for the operator, and its distinctive appearance (note that some Russian manpack flamethrowers incorporated a flame gun that resembled a conventional carbine) made the operator a priority target. Especially after his first shot at the enemy! So it's only in the sort of fighting that occurred in the Pacific that the sort of environment and target set that called for _routine_ employment of flamethrowers were present. Even there the operator was vulnerable, and typically had one or two riflemen assigned for his protection. Note that unlike most infantry weapons, the flamethrower was one of the few that was dropped shortly after the war. Weapons like the US M202 "Flame LAW" and Russian RPO-A were fielded as replacements where the capability was still desired. Ed Rudnicki "Rudnicki, Edward J Mr CIV USA AMC" <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: Robert Slayton----- I had always heard thst flame was used extensively in the Pacific because it was effective against tunnels and caves. The flame, after all, is some form of burning liquid. As such, I was told, it would slither down tunnels much more effectively than bullets. Robert Slayton Department of History Chapman University -----Message from: Marc Richard <email@example.com>----- > Why did not the US use these against the Germans, especially > in Normady when such weapons could have knocked out the > German bunkers and other beach defenses? << Cornelius Ryan's book The Longest Day includes a section describing a U.S. flamethrower attack against a German bunker in Normandy, told from the point of view of the Germans in the bunker. Marc Richard Associate Librarian McGill University Library Marc Richard <firstname.lastname@example.org> -----Message from: email@example.com----- There has been an impressive number of excellent responses to the original question of flamethrower use, another example of how strong a tool this forum can be in clarifying historical matters. However, the question to be asked at this time is why, somehow, the use of napalm has become beyond the pale for the US military. Naturally antiwar thought is against the use of napalm, not to mention white phosphorous, minefields, and cluster bombs. None of these is really a weapon of mass and indiscriminate destruction, such as poison gas and bacteriological agents are, although certainly leftover minefields and unexploded cluster bomblets have taken their share of innocent victims. The primary argument I've heard against napalm is that it is an inhuman way to kill people. Of course, who would want to claim there are humanitarian ways to kill people in war? Perhaps the only thing that might pass strict criteria would be the extremely careful use of large caliber sniper rifles, that essentially guarantee the subject is an armed enemy combatant who will die instantly and painlessly when shot. Napalm does kill or wound everything in an area, but so does the explosion of shell or bomb, or even the spread of heavy automatic weapons fire. On the other hand, napalm is a highly effective weapon in some situations, and effective weapons mean you lose fewer of your own troops in battle, which is a very reasonable priority for any military. So... why is napalm now a forbidden weapon? R J Del Vecchio firstname.lastname@example.org ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----