Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Flamethrowers Work

        Science | Firearms

Tank-mounted Flamethrowers
Flame tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion attack No-name Village, in the Quang Ngai province of Vietnam, during Operation Doser.
Flame tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion attack No-name Village, in the Quang Ngai province of Vietnam, during Operation Doser.
Photo courtesy NARA

In World Wars I and II, as well as in the Vietnam war, flamethrower designs similar to the handheld models were mounted on tanks.

Typically, the fuel in these weapons was driven by rotary or piston pumps, powered directly by the tank engine. With greater pumping power, tank-mounted flamethrowers had better range, and with more fuel tank space, they had a larger ammunition supply.