Portable Flame-Thrower M2-2
By mid-1943 the Chemical Warfare Service had a much better idea of what kind of portable flamethrower the troops required and set about designing a new weapon. From the experimental design known as the E3, the Portable Flame-Thrower M2-2 evolved, and featured many improvements over the old M1A1. The M2-2 continued to use the new thickened fuel (allowing it to shoot farther and “stick” to targets) but it was a more rugged weapon carried on a backpack frame; but the main improvement was to the ignition system. The ignition was changed to a cartridge system that used a revolver-type mechanism that allowed for up to six flame-shots before new cartridges had to be inserted. It proved much more reliable than the old electric spark methods.
The M2-2 was first used in action on Guam in July of 1944 and by the time the war ended almost 25,000 units had been produced. However production was not easy and some troops continued to use the older M1A1 until the war ended.
Americans were not the only ones to use the M2-2, some were passed to Austrian army, bringing to a halt the development of the “Ferret,” an Austrian flame weapon.
Although the M2-2 was an improvement over the M1 and M1A1, the US Army still thought that it was not what was really wanted, and development continued to find better and lighter weapon. Some work was carried out to develop a single-shot flamethrower that could be discarded after use. A model that used a combustible powder to produce pressure to eject two gallons (9 liters) of thickened gasoline-based fuel from a cylinder was under development as the war ended but the project was terminated soon afterwards. The disposable flamethrower would have had a range of 30 yards (27.4 m).
- Weight: 62 to 72 lb (28.1 to 32.7 kg)
- Fuel Capacity: 4 gal (18.2 liters)
- Range: 25 to 40 yd. (22.9 to 36.5 m)
- Duration of fire: 8 to 9 seconds
Source: The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II
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