A reader emailed us a photo of his grandfather practicing with a M2 Flamethrower …

It’s a far cry from the criteria, I know, but I thought this photo might be worth sharing of my mom’s late father training with the legendary M2 flamethrower circa 1951, Camp Pendleton. Thank you for your considerations.

According to Wikipedia, Flamethrowers have not been in the US military arsenal since 1978. They were deemed ineffective in modern combat as well as bad for public relations. They remain legal to use, along with other incendiary weapons, despite the widespread belief that they are banned.

Now, before I get too many photos military equipment submitted for the POTD, I will normally will only feature firearms. 

Submit photos you have taken to TFB’s Photo Of The Day.


  • Aaron E

    I believe the great comedian George Carlin said it best – “the existence of flamethrowers are proof that somewhere, someone thought to themselves, ‘I’d really like to set those people over there on fire, but they’re just a little too far away”!

  • Michael Bergeron

    Its only bureaucratic rules and regulations that keep something that literally shoots flames from being called a firearm.

  • Masoo2

    holy shit pat u got on TFB

  • Zachary marrs

    Awesome picture, thank you for sharing it.
    I like this feature, some really kick ass photos!

  • USMC03Vet

    Certified badass.

  • Ken

    While there are no federal laws against flamethrowers, there are a few states that insist on being weird and banning them. I know that the People’s Republik of Maryland (my state unfortunately) is one of them. I think Kommiefornia is the other.

  • mosinman

    i wonder how well a flamethrower would work in urban environments.

    • Just fine I bet!

      • hmm, I don’t know. If you want to destroy a building you can more easily do it with a thermobaric weapon, without having to get close to it. Also … I would not want to walk around with gas strapped to my back when people are shooting at me.

        • big daddy

          Fuel air explosives or thermobaric weapons would be a much better choice for that. For one I would not want to be the one carrying the flame thrower. It’s a bullet magnet and the old ones have been know to just blow up for whatever reason, like a hit from a bullet. The 40mm grenade launcher would be prefect for clearing rooms with themobaric rounds. I’m thinking right now it’s too indiscriminate for the USA/NATO doctrine.

    • Ken

      I believe one effective way a flamethrower worked was by consuming all of the oxygen in enclosed environments, such as caves. I suppose it could work for building clearing if all of the windows are intact and there aren’t giant holes in walls.

      Even so, its disadvantages probably outweigh it’s advantages, especially with explosives available.

      • MrDakka

        So just strap the flamethrower to an EOD robot and use that to clear rooms and other enclosed environments. Win-win.

        • dan citizen

          I so want to see this.

    • dan citizen

      pretty well historically. Urban environments are nicely flammable.

      • mosinman

        i imagine being attacked by a flamethrower isn’t good for morale either.

        • dan citizen

          I’ve never been flamethrowered, but the mere possibility would screw my morale.

      • Especially so in the Japanese cities and the type of construction they used for homes.

  • Thracian Beast

    Great photo!!!!

  • William Reeves

    The latest issue of small arms review, vol 18, number 5 has a excellent article on flamethrowers, covering a bit of history as well. Its a excellent read

  • SP mclaughlin

    Wow, a thousand thanks for the feature!
    There’s also this one war photograph of him with the “Burp Gun.”

  • Tyson chandler

    I love this pic also…it reminds me of the plastic army men I played with as a kid. I know there was a flame thrower one in exactly this same pose! As for modern applications, I would think that one mounted on a vehicle or tank would be more useful and potentially less hazardous to the user.

    • dan citizen

      Like the real soldiers, the plastic army men were definitely NOT fireproof.