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Was a giagantic flamethrower really used by the British in WWI?

2 Comments

  1. Needful Sinner says:

    They were used, yes.

    The flamethrowers being placed under the front lines and no-mans land by the use of tunneling and miners; the propellant needing one room [bunker] for storage and the flamethrower itself needing another bunker. Given the signal by hydraulics the flamethrower would rise through an opening in the ground and the propellant discharged.

    It was only used in one offensive as it was cumbersome to built and it was at a point in the war the front lines weren’t as static as they were earlier so by the time you’ve mined and constructed the front line was elsewhere.

    "but no real evidence can be given of that."

    Your proof :)
    "Historian Peter Barton and archeologist Tony Pollard travel to northern France to find secret tunnels and a giant flamethrower lost for almost a century. Built for use during the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest clash of WW1, this 60 foot weapon of terror fired a blast of flaming oil over 100 yards long. Barton hopes to recover the machine and with the help of the British Royal Engineers, build a working replica at a specially built test site. For the first time in almost a century, this mechanical dragon will roar one more. "
    http://www.history.ca/ontv/titledetails.aspx?titleid=253912

  2. Jay says:

    Yes, it was used at the Somme with great success but only on a local scale.

    The link below is to a Time Team special programme on it which IIRC also included a reconstruction of the device to see how it may have worked in practice rather than in theory. For obvious reasons the Allies did not want to boast about this weapon. In the Time Team dig parts of it were dug up.

    The only youtube link I can find to the actual programme is blocked in my area for copyright, but I’m sure it’s on-line somewhere.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3Y-_zt4Qe8

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