The basic idea of a flamethrower is to spread fire by launching burning fuel.
Flamethrower in WWI
The first flamethrower in WWI was used in a surprise attack by Germany against Britain in Hooge, Belgium. The earliest flamethrowers date as far back as the 5th century B.C. But the flamethrower used in WWI was invented in the early 1900’s in Germany by Richard Fielder.
-It was invented to spread fire quickly and far by using a “gun”.
Impact and Consequences of the Flamethrower
A big influence that the flamethrower had was that it forced enemy troops to keep falling back and preparing second bases that they could go to after they lost their first.
Two types of the flamethrower were made one large and one small. The smaller, lighter flamethrower was designed for portable use carried by a single man. Using pressurized air and nitrogen it bleached forth a stream of burning oil that could reach 18 meters.
The larger model worked along the same lines but was not meant to be transported by one single man, It’s range was twice the smaller models and could also sustain flames for about forty seconds. It was really expensive though because of its fuel.
How would it affect the following:
Soldiers near the front line- The soldiers near the front line could protect themselves for a very short time but if a flamethrower got too close or if they were reloading then they would have to run.
Leaders of warring nations- They would have to decide if they wanted their men to get close or keep a distance, and also if they want to have a backup base.
Civilians near front line- The civilians had no chance to protect themselves against a flame thrower so they would have to run and get out of their town/village because it won’t be there much longer.
The French and the germans were the main countries using it against each other, Germans were the first to use it and the french shortly after made a modified version of the portable one which they used mainly for attacking trenches.