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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

rifles and machine-guns turned into flamethrowers


Tom W.
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"Automatic Fire-thrower," U.S. patent No. 1,304,710, filed on April 20, 1918. Patent granted May 27, 1919. Invented by Alexander E. Seidler.

The device was to be attached to the barrel of a rifle or machine gun that would be loaded with blanks. The threaded attachment point is on the right. On the bottom is the hose that was attached to the flame-oil tank. The flame tube and nozzle are on the left.

When the rifle or machine gun was fired, the pressure from the blank cartridge compressed an internal piston that drew the oil upward from the tank and sprayed it out the nozzle on the top of the device. The flame from the blank cartridge emerged from the tube beneath the nozzle and ignited the oil stream. The internal pressure of the device was set with the spoked wheel on the top.

The inventor, Mr. Seidler, was "a citizen of Russia, and a resident of the city of New York." According to the specifications of his patent:

Ordinarily several charges may be discharged from gun 24 before piston 21 has finished its stroke, but as soon as it has finished its stroke and is nearest to the end 25 the burning gases will pass out through the various discharge ports into the chamber 27 and thence into the flame pipe 15 and eventually out of the nozzle 16 so as to ignite the fluid passing through nozzle 14. In this way there will be provided a separate discharge flame for each impulse of fluid. However, usually the device is operated so rapidly as to provide what would be a substantially continuous discharge of fluid, said fluid, however, being discharged in separate impulses.

So, who'll be the first to convert his SMLE or Lewis gun into a flamethrower?

post-7020-1210907957.jpg

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Hello,

At first sight a touch of 'Heath Robinson'. A weighty item to be attached to a rifle. As to MGs; many will not operate with blank, although single shots are possible. The range and quantity of flame per shot are not quoted. Is there any evidence of one being made.

Old Tom

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Haven't seen any evidence that one was actually made. I'm sure the range and quality of the flame bursts would be pretty miserable.

It's like something "Q" in the James Bond movies might devise.

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Looks like one of those devices that would be more dangerous to the user than an enemy.

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Looks like one of those devices that would be more dangerous to the user than an enemy.

Definately!!

Neil

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A series of 'use once throw away' flamethrower devices were built in the US under the generic title 'flaming bayonet'. As the title suggests they clipped on in place of the bayonet. They seem to have been tubes of solid fuel and gave a burst of flame for about 15 -20 seconds. Once lit they could not be extinguished and seem but modern versions of the flaming trompe of the 1500s (which were atached to pikes). The flaming bayonets were used in trials/training but never in action.

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Just to add to my previous postings my notes tell me there were in fact four models of flaming bayonet developed

Flaming Bayonet Liquid type, Mark I

Flaming Bayonet Cartridge Type, Mark I

Flaming Bayonet pistol, Mark II

Flaming Bayonet pistol, Mark III

The diagram shown in my previous post appears to be of the FB Cartridge Type I, what the others looked like I don't know.

The photo enclosed shows a Flaming Bayonet just as it begins its flame burst

post-9885-1211051872.jpg

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