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The Flamethrower

By Hugo Pecos

Most of us are unlikely to have a flamethrower lying around the house. But the flamethrower actually has a long and distinguished history in undead combat. Should you have one handy and, better yet, have some training with it, you are in good hands—although it is far better as an offensive weapon than a defensive one.

While we think of the flamethrower as a weapon of modern warfare, it actually dates back as far as the 5th century BC. Early flamethrowers were long tubes filled with burning solids that were propelled at the enemy by having the operator blow into one end of the tube.

The FVZA began using flamethrowers in the early 1900s: the first version was a gas cylinder the operator would strap to his back, and ignition was supplied via a lit nozzle attached to the cylinder's hose. The technology improved over the years, eventually resulting in weapons that could fire streams of up to 50 yards.

The insignia of an
FVZA flamethrower
Modern flamethrowers contains three cylinder tanks: the two outer tanks hold liquid fuel, while the middle tank holds compressed gas fuel. Compressed air in a side tank helps drive the fuel out of the tanks, through a hose and into a reservoir in the gun. When the operator squeezes the trigger, a valve opens, allowing pressurized fuel to flow through the nozzle. As it exits the nozzle, the fuel flows past the ignition system, which could be a coil of high-resistance wire or spark plugs positioned in front of the nozzle.

Flamethrower operators had a dangerous job, even by FVZA standards. The weapon was heavy and cumbersome and made the operator vulnerable to counterattacks. On occasion, the cylinder carrying the fuel would unexpectedly explode. A flamethrower on an FVZA assault team would usually have one or two agents accompany him for protection.

As offensive weapons, flamethrowers have a powerful psychological impact, even against the undead. A flamethrower is capable of stopping a stagger of zombies in its tracks, and the weapon can suffocate vampires in caves and other confined spaces.

Vampires: Like Frankenstein's monster, vampires hate fire. Nevertheless, the idea of confronting a vampire pack out in the field with such a cumbersome weapon is worrisome, to say the least. Unless you're planning on carrying out an assault on a known pack hideout, you're better off with other weapons in the field.

Zombies: The flamethrower is slightly more effective against zombies, as they are less likely to outflank you. Keep your flame stream moving in an arc as you back away, and then hightail it to a safer area.

Overall Effectiveness:



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