Remembered Today:

  • Announcements

    • spof

      Forum upgrade completed   27/03/17

      The forum upgrade has completed. While topics and posts are being re-indexed, the site may be slow and searching my not return all results. This should be finished in about 6 hours.

German flame thrower attacks

106 posts in this topic

ID: 101   Posted (edited)



Thanks, no worries.  It is interesting though as the Special Brigade had a number of FW teams formed for 1 July 1917, but were not used. For your information the officer concerned was Lt William Astley. Pre-war he was a railway engineer and had gained a BA in Engineering at Cambridge University. Prior to being transferred to the RE, He had  served in the ranks the Royal Naval Division and was commissioned into the RE on 10.5.1916.  He was wounded on 28.10.16 and returned to his unit on 21.11.16.  On  31.12.16 he was appointed as a Deputy Assistant Director Light Railways.




Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Skipman said:

This is from the 96th Infantry Brigade war diary 1/7/1916. Not exactly what you are after but may be of interest.



temp flammenwerfer.PNG


Tantalizing. I hoped that more was in the file, but I copied this to another space and the cropping is still there. 

I can talk about the British FGW effort and their use at 7/1/16 but I don't think that I know about this, as I think

you are saying that this is an attack that didn't happen. The British heavy FW weighed about 4000 lbs and

required 300 man carries to bring it forward, and one shell might lose a part or two and the monster could

not be used. Was this the light unit or the heavy one?


I don't think that Terry wants me pontificating about British FW

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have top burrow into my records, but I think that there was one or two British FW attempts at the opening day at the Somme,

one or two devices did work, I think one or two didn't.  The 4000 lb device was assembled underground, and I think a periscope type

nozzle emerged and a powerful stream of something I don't know what) emerged, perhaps causing casualties, but the defenders

could just move out of range, and continue the defense. At 4000 lbs and buried underground it would take days and weeks to move

the device forward. All of this is from memory  of ten years ago. But this is interesting to me, at least. Could we see the entire entry?


Thanks a lot.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 104   Posted (edited)

Is it too much to ask for contributors to stick to the original request? Please, do try your hardest.










Edited by Terry_Reeves

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry -  Looked in my material, and came across a lot of help you gave me on British FW and Z Company Special Brigade almost exactly 11 years ago. But you are right, we have dragged the discussion down another rabbit hole. I will attempt to only respond when someone drags up a British War Diary mentioning a German FW attack.


Mike -  Thanks for the full report; looks like the FW detachment was present but didn't actually do anything. I do have information on a couple of places

where the British attempted FW attacks at the Somme, on the 1st, the 3rd, the 7th, etc., but this is not the place to discuss them. Again, Terry wrote

11 years ago that the British probably did not try a FW attack after January 1917.  I do understand that Foulkes kept a 4000 lb monster operational at his base to impress visiting celebrities, such as Royals, but did not attempt to use them again in combat. If we want to look at any of this lets communicate off this thread.


Are you guys using 1/7/16 to indicate July 1, 1916? I am familiar with the use of 1. 7. 16. for July 1st, but with 1/7/16 for January seventh.


"The English and the Americans -  two peoples separated by a common language.".

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



Just read, in a different corner of the Forum, of a great project where a Pal who goes by QGE has digitized the war diaries of four battalions 

of the Grenadier Guards, some 2-3000 pages of material, which can be word searched. To further your project, you might consider doing a

word search on "Flammenwerfer", "flame thrower", "liquid fire", etc.That should lead you to some good examples. The diaries supposedly

are very good. Given a location and date, I can tell you what in in my 597 page FW timeline that covers most if not all German Great War 

flame attacks. With the exception of Hooge, we really have not struck "pay dirt". I have not put much time into Hooge lately (I have pressing

tax matters, our Federal taxes are due April 15th), and a long-term tenant of mine has died and I am unable to find her family. Sounds crazy

but a big problem.)  There seems to be a small up-front cost to using these diaries, perhaps someone working with these diaries could do such

a search for you. This gentleman seemingly is going ahead and digitizing more war diaries. This might be a really good and efficient way to

further your project. 


My background, leading to my attempt to quantify the impact of the FW on the war, is that I am a mathematical economist and an engineer, 

and have worked with computers for 56 years. Admittedly I am not doing a lot in these fields now, but that is my background, and helped form

my approach to these matters. I also was privately tutored by my intellectual mentor, a well-trained historian, in the methods of historical

research, first working on the Mexican War (1845-48) for several years at the "Public Library" in New York City, a private library (naturally) that is 

one of the best research libraries in the US.


This admirable project by QGE is probably where a lot of military historical research is headed.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now