The Flame Thrower in the Pacific:
Guadalcanal to the Marshall Islands

The U.S. Army in World War II used two types of flame throwers, the portable, carried on the soldier's back, and the mechanized, mounted on an armored vehicle, usually a tank. Because flame could penetrate ports and apertures and could be made to turn comers, these special-purpose weapons proved extremely useful in overcoming a determined enemy in strong, stubbornly held defensive positions, invulnerable in most cases to conventional weapons.

The prototype for the portable flame thrower was devised by German engineers sometime between 1900 and 1910. Introduced in World War I against the French at Malencourt, it saw some service on the Western Front where it proved to be a startling, if unreliable, assault weapon. The British and French developed flame throwers of their own by 1916, but the weapon, because of its short range, vulnerability, and lack of tactical doctrine, had limited combat success. It was never used by American troops.1

During the interwar period the United States devoted little attention to flame thrower research and development. Military men considered it the least valuable incendiary munition and regarded its World War I performance as a total failure, a fact which led the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service to remark: "In the Chemical Warfare Service it has been the habit for a long while not to mention the flame thrower at all, unless questions were asked about it."2

Other nations did not concur in this appraisal. The weapon reappeared in the Abyssinian war of 1935-36, when the Italians employed


the first tank-borne flame thrower. Then in 1937 the Italians demonstrated the use of flame throwers mounted in combat cars and other armored vehicles. The civil war in Spain produced a few German flame tanks. By mid-1940 intelligence reports revealed that the Germans had employed flame throwers in Poland, in their attack on the Belgian fort of Eben Emael, and in their drive across the Low Countries and France.3 As these reports were scattered, often undocumented, and usually highly colored, doubt remained as to the extent of Axis preparation for the employment of flame throwers. But that such weapons might be useful could no longer be denied by American planners.

In 1940 the United States Army took steps toward the development of a portable flame thrower. On 12 August 1940, the Secretary of War charged the Chief of the Chemical Warfare with the development, manufacture, storage, and issue of the weapon, and during the next year the CWS developed two experimental models.4 The first, the E1, was quickly discarded; the second, the E1R1, was tested and issued to troops. This model, with slight modifications, was standardized as the M1 portable flame thrower in August 1941. When certain basic deficiencies appeared in this weapon and in the M1A1, an improved version, CWS scientists produced an entirely new flame thrower, the M2-2. This was the group of portable flame weapons used by the U.S. Army in World War II. They were frequently ineffective and faulty, particularly in hands of troops ill trained in matters of operations and tactics. But with the development of a better flame thrower, and with the gradual improvement in tactics and training, this CWS weapon came to play an important part in coping with the unique conditions of the war against Japan.


The Portable Flame Thrower in the South Pacific


The American portable flame thrower made its first successful combat appearance on 15 January 1943 at Guadalcanal, five months after United States forces began the assault of this South Pacific island. Although the weapon was not available at first, its potentiality against enemy bunkers encountered on the islands—defenses which defied ordinary weapons—soon became apparent. In speaking of the fighting on nearby Tulagi, Maj. Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, commanding the 1st Marine Division, stated that flame throwers would have been "practical and effective" against the strong Japanese defenses.5

The fortifications encountered on Guadalcanal were typical of those to be found in subsequent fighting in the Pacific. These well camouflaged defenses were made of indigenous material reinforced by whatever metal was available. The compartment of a bunker could be from 4 to 5 feet high, from 6 to 30 feet long, and from 3 to 10 feet wide. Foot-thick coconut logs served as columns and crossbeams, the latter covered by several layers of logs and, later in the war, by quarter-inch sheets of steel. Walls were strengthened by iron or steel rails and sheeting, log pilings, or oil drums filled with sand. The whole elaborate framework was covered with earth and thoroughly camouflaged. Fire trenches, connected by shallow crawl tunnels, usually adjoined the bunker, and entrances were placed in the rear end in positions capable of being covered by other bunkers. Consequently, Japanese bunkers were mutually supporting and practically impervious to the effects of artillery and mortar fire. And they were manned by an enemy who refused to be driven out, but who chose instead to fight until death.6 There was an obvious and pressing need for a weapon which could reduce such positions instantly and effectively. The flame thrower offered a possible solution to the problem.

Late in 1942 the Americal and the 25th Infantry Divisions and the 2d Marine Division arrived on Guadalcanal to bolster the slackened pace of the American offensive. Each carried a limited number of flame throwers. Beginning in December 1942 a CWS officer conducted


on-the-spot training of flame thrower operators, and by mid-January 1943 the troops were ready to give the weapon its initial combat test.7

On 15 January 1943 combat engineers of the 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division, attacked enemy defenses surrounding a beach installation. Late in the afternoon they encountered a particularly stubborn Japanese pillbox, and 2 marines equipped with a flame thrower went forward to silence it. Covered by automatic rifles, they crawled to within 25 yards of the position and fired the flame thrower at the bunker. All resistance ceased, and the marines found 5 dead Japanese inside. Although 2 of the enemy had managed to get out, neither had escaped the effects of the flame. One lay 3 feet from the escape hatch, the other had run about 15 feet before collapsing. Encouraged by this result, Marine combat engineers went forward and within 20 minutes wiped out 2 more enemy strongpoints with flame throwers.8

The 25th Infantry Division used flame throwers on the same day with far less success. Employed by units of the 35th Infantry, the weapons failed to wipe out enemy pillboxes or to materially aid the assault. Since casualties were high, and malfunctions frequent, the regiment decided not to employ its flame throwers in future engagements.9 Nevertheless, the weapon was used throughout the mopping-up phase of the campaign by other units and often proved a quick and effective means of reducing difficult enemy positions.

If at the conclusion of the Guadalcanal operation the intrinsic merit of the flame thrower was still in doubt, this combat experience with the weapon did provide answers to several important tactical problems. Units discovered that the flame thrower, because of its limited range and short duration of fire, had to be used in conjunction with other weapons in order to be effective. A trained security detachment armed with rifles, automatic rifles, and smoke grenades was needed to keep the enemy under cover long enough for the flame thrower operator to approach and flame his target. Experience also showed that the engi-


neers were too busy with other jobs to handle the flame thrower; that the weapon would be better utilized in the hands of the infantry.10

To take advantage of these lessons, the division on Guadalcanal, under the direction of the recently activated XIV Corps, set up ambitious training programs. On 27 March 1943 the 25th Division published a training memorandum which withdrew the weapon from the combat engineers and gave it to the ammunition and pioneer platoon of the infantry battalion. The division then organized a series of one-day flame thrower schools to train eight men from each of these platoons to use the weapons.11 Other units, many of whose chemical and regimental gas officers had themselves been trained by the 25th Division Chemical Section, organized similar training programs. By mid-1943 the general state of flame thrower readiness of Army units on Guadalcanal was relatively good.

New Georgia

Unfortunately, the two divisions on Guadalcanal which had received the least amount of flame thrower training were to employ the weapon on New Georgia. As elements of the 37th and 43d Divisions attacked the western end of the island following their 30 June 1943 landings, they discovered an extensive series of small enemy fortifications similar to those encountered on Guadalcanal. Thoroughly camouflaged, these pillboxes were hard to locate, and once located, even more difficult to neutralize. Since they were organized in depth and mutually supporting, it was almost impossible to approach them from the rear.

On 26 July 1943 three such positions, barely visible in the deep jungle foliage, blocked the advance of the 103d Infantry, 43d Division, with deadly machine gun fire. Capt. James F. Olds, Jr., a XIV Corps CWS staff officer, suggested to the regimental commander the possibility of using flame throwers. The co-ordinated attack which followed began with a 30-minute artillery preparation. As this fire lifted, 6 flame thrower operators from Company C of the 118th Engineer Combat Battalion, supported by infantrymen, crawled toward the bunkers. Reaching a point twenty yards from their target, 2 operators opened fire, crisscrossing their streams of flame to burn off the covering


vegetation. The enemy positions for the first time became clearly visible and the 4 other operators discharged their flame directly on target. Resistance ceased in a matter of seconds, and the infantry resumed its advance.12

News of this success reached other units and they too began to employ their flame throwers. Two days later, Pvt. Frank Kordeleski of the 145th Infantry, 37th Division, burned out three Japanese pillboxes with a single flame thrower filling. The XIV Corps chemical officer, Col. Robert Gay, reported that during the first six weeks on New Georgia flame throwers had been employed against enemy positions on no fewer than fifty-four occasions.13

On New Georgia, as on Guadalcanal, the flame thrower's record was not one of uninterrupted success. Often the inherent weaknesses of the M1's and M1A1's were a source of considerable trouble to the troops who used them. Alike in basic design, these models had two major components, a fuel unit and a gun unit. The fuel unit, which was strapped to the operator's back, consisted of two storage tanks for fuel and one for compressed nitrogen. The nitrogen propelled the fuel from the storage tanks, through the gun unit, onto the target. The gun unit included a fuel tube, a long bent nozzle, a trigger, and a valve to regulate the flow of fuel. The compact electrical system included a battery, spark plug, and a small hydrogen cylinder. When the trigger was pressed, a stream of hydrogen was released, the spark plug ignited the hydrogen, and the resultant flame in turn ignited the fuel as it passed through the gun unit. The complete flame thrower weighed thirty-two pounds empty and seventy pounds filled. Since it held only 5 gallons of fuel, its duration of fire was a mere eight to ten seconds. The M1 had a range of 15 to 20 yards while the M1A1, using fuel thickened with napalm, was capable of firing 40 to 50 yards.14 The inefficiency of the ignition system was particularly bothersome. Operators found it expedient to carry thermite grenades for emer-


gency use, as these grenades when hurled forward on unignited flame thrower fuel would cause instantaneous ignition.15

Mechanical failure was not the sole factor contributing to unsatisfactory performance. Of even greater significance was the fact that neither the 37th nor the 43d Infantry Division had been extensively trained in the use of the flame thrower before it was committed on New Georgia. The operators in the 26 July attack, albeit successful, had received but one hour of instruction and this a scant three hours before the assault! Commanders and operators had little understanding of the proper tactical employment of the weapon. Adequate infantry support was not always provided; in some cases not a single rifleman was assigned as protection. Often there was no satisfactory reconnaissance before the mission, and operators who had been ordered to go forward and clean out a lone machine gun emplacement, on reaching a firing position, found several bunkers in front of them. In such situations a single flame thrower was useless. Many company commanders, ignorant of flame thrower tactics, selected untrained men and ordered them to take a flame thrower and "burn out the Japs," a mission which promised little chance of success. Chemical officers reported that the casualty rate among flame thrower operators was directly related to the inadequate infantry support and planning afforded flame thrower missions.16

It was apparent that further training of operators and infantry commanders in the tactical uses and limitations of the weapon was essential. Equally obvious was the need for co-ordinated flame thrower teams composed of operators and supporting riflemen.17


Though divisions soon began intensified flame thrower training programs designed to overcome the shortcomings revealed on Guadalcanal and New Georgia, few such projects were totally complete by 1 November 1943, the date of the Bougainville landings. But progress


had been made, and when Army and Marine units encountered formidable Japanese defensive installations on Bougainville improvised flame thrower teams generally were available.

On 11 December 1943 the forward advance of the 21st Regiment, 3d Marine Division, was halted by an enemy position on Hill 1000. One of the Marine Corps officers described the obstacle as follows:

The reverse slope position was encountered here, fox-holes at the foot of a knoll with a ten-yard field of fire to the top of the knoll. . . . Interlocking lines of grazing automatic fire were integrated such that approach to the knoll from any direction was cleverly and effectively covered. Little room existed for maneuver on the ridge and due to the height and number of trees 60 and 81 mm. mortars were relatively ineffective. The hill mass likewise constituted a partial mask to the supporting artillery.18

The marines hammered at this position for seven days without success. Finally, on 18 December 1943, Hill 1000 was hit by two heavy air strikes. Right after this, six flame throwers, their operators organized in teams, accompanied riflemen in a converging action on the position. The flame throwers supported the infantry advance and aided substantially in destroying enemy positions.19

Less successful was the experience during November and December of the 19th Marine Regiment, which found the weapon incapable of neutralizing enemy strongpoints because of its short range. Nevertheless, flame terrified the enemy and on several occasions caused him to flee from his defensive positions.20

The 37th Infantry Division found little use for flame throwers during its first two months on Bougainville. The division's 8-man flame thrower squads (one per battalion ammunition and pioneer platoon) suddenly became busy in March.21 In heavy action on Hill 700 eleven separate flame thrower attacks took place, each resulting in


the reduction of a pillbox. In one assault flame thrower teams reduced two adjacent pillboxes, killing 20 Japanese in one and 15 in the other.22

The Americal Division, also committed on Bougainville, set up an extensive organization for flame thrower operations. Recalling the haphazard organization on Guadalcanal, the division decided to build within each of its regiments a provisional flame thrower platoon. Under the supervision of the division chemical officer, Maj. Woodson C. Tucker, the first of these units was formed and assigned to the 132d Regiment Headquarters Company on 18 February 1944. The platoon had a 5-man headquarters and six 4-man squads, each allotted two flame throwers. Similar units were organized within the 182d and 164th Regiments, and all three underwent extensive training to develop squad and platoon teamwork and to familiarize individuals with all the weapons of the squad. Exercises stressed co-ordination of rifle units and flame thrower teams, since tacticians had decided that should flame thrower targets appear, squads from the platoon working in conjunction with the infantry units would be detailed to attack them.23

Only two of the three provisional flame thrower platoons, those of the 132d and the 182d Regiments, saw combat action on Bougainville. Both units took part in the bitter fighting in March 1944 on Hill 26o and during April in the battle of Mavavia in the eastern part of the island. The provisional flame thrower platoons were highly successful in each action. In its first commitment in combat on Hill 260 the 132d Regiment's flame unit reduced eight enemy pillboxes in one hundred seconds of actual firing. The platoon reduced two more on 11 March 1944 while supporting the assault of Company B, 182d Regiment, on an observation post on the same hill.24 From 7 to 9 April, the provisional flame thrower platoon of the 182d Infantry regiment supported troops of the 93d Division at Mavavia. Assigned primarily


to mopping-up activities, flame thrower operators followed tanks and fired into all pillboxes and suspicious holes. Later in April the platoon supported its parent unit, the 182d Regiment, this time during the fighting in the upper Laruma Valley.25

The portable flame thrower's highly impressive record on Bougainville, coupled with its earlier performance on Guadalcanal and New Georgia, clearly demonstrated the value of the weapon in jungle fighting. Despite its shortcomings the flame thrower had made a fairly auspicious beginning. Work remained to be done; as late as April 1944 the XIV Corps recognized that ". . . the tactical capabilities of this weapon have not yet been fully developed."26 In preparation for the move to the Philippines the XIV Corps and the four Army divisions in the South Pacific (the 25th, 37th, 43d, and Americal) intensified their training efforts and reorganized their flame thrower teams.27

The Southwest Pacific: The First Years

While the portable flame thrower was winning a good name in the South Pacific theater, it was getting a reputation of a wholly different sort in the Southwest Pacific. The origins of its notoriety go back to December 1942 and the Papua Campaign.


On 6 December Col. Clarence M. Tomlinson, commanding officer of the 126th Infantry, 32d Division, asked the 114th Engineer Combat Battalion for several flame throwers and operators to help overcome enemy machine gun emplacements near the village of Buna. The engineers, equipped with the E1R1 flame thrower, immediately set about testing and servicing these weapons. Although the inspections showed that several of the gas cylinders had developed leaks, some from rust, some from defective material, the flame throwers functioned reasonably well, if at a maximum range of only 20 yards.28 Five


operators with two weapons, two refill tanks, and 25 gallons of fuel, reported to the regiment on 7 December, and the next day the regimental operations officer ordered the flame throwers into action.29 The target was an enemy machine gun bunker ingeniously concealed at the edge of a kunai grass flat. While the flame throwers were being brought forward, M/Sgt. John K. King, of the division chemical section, and one of the company officers, Lieutenant Davidson, performed the necessary reconnaissance. They identified the bunker in the midst of its natural and artificial camouflage and exposed themselves in order to draw fire and pinpoint the location of its ports. A partially demolished breastwork about 35 yards from the bunker furnished cover for anyone approaching the position. It was possible to advance a bit farther toward the bunker in comparative safety through a shallow trench which extended 5 yards out from the breastwork. This would give the operator an attack position only 30 yards from his target.

After the reconnaissance Lieutenant Davidson went forward again, this time accompanied by Cpl. Wilber G. Tirrell, the engineer flame thrower operator. Once more he drew fire from the bunker so that the corporal could see the exact location of the ports.

The plan of operation was practicable and uncomplicated. Corporal Tirrell, his weapon concealed in a burlap sack, was to advance as far as possible in the shallow trench, thirty yards from his objective. As a diversion, three men with automatic weapons were to crawl around on the left flank and fire at the rear of the bunker. Lieutenant Davidson, Sergeant King, and four riflemen were to take positions behind the breastwork, ready to rush the bunker with rifle fire and grenades in the wake of the flame thrower. Corporal Tirrell was to advance at least five yards beyond the end of the trench before releasing the flame and was to keep advancing until the fuel was exhausted.

Before the men took their stations, they checked the flame thrower's ignition system. At the proper moment, the group on the left flank began its diverting fire. The enemy did not answer. Corporal Tirrell moved from his position at the end of the shallow trench and headed toward the bunker. Seven yards beyond the trench he released the initial burst of flame and immediately Lieutenant Davidson and his


party rushed out from behind the breastwork, only to find themselves in serious trouble. Instead of a powerful burst of flame, the flame thrower emitted a feeble 10-foot squirt, and the Japanese inside the emplacement began pouring machine gun fire into the advancing group. One of the riflemen was hit as soon as he left the cover of the breastwork, Lieutenant Davidson was killed, and the others withdrew. Corporal Tirrell continued to advance, trying vainly to get his weapon to function properly. When he was less than fifteen yards from the bunker he was stunned by a bullet which struck the front of his helmet and he fell to the ground out of sight. During the night he crawled back to safety.30 Two days later the infantry overcame the position by direct assault.31

The cause of the Buna fiasco was never absolutely determined, but its effect was immediate. The infantry's confidence in the flame thrower was shattered. In January 1943 Colonel Copthorne, Chief Chemical Officer, USAFFE, informed General Porter that "the way the flame throwers let the infantry down at a critical point brought them into such ill-repute that I am afraid that they may never want to use them again."32 In Washington Colonel Benner, chief of the CWS Field Requirements Branch, stated that a weapon such as the flame thrower with its "temperamental nature has no place in modern warfare where ruggedness and reliability are essential."33

But if the flame thrower was too temperamental to rely on, it was potentially too useful to abandon. Back on New Guinea, Sergeant King made one last effort to make flame throwers serviceable. New weapons were flown in from Port Moresby, across the mountains, but these, too, were unfit for use. They were checked and serviced and


parts interchanged in an attempt to get at least one weapon that would function properly, but all efforts were unsuccessful.34

Matters of Maintenance, Supply, and Training

During the first nine months of 1943 the 10th Chemical Maintenance Company at Brisbane, commanded by Capt. John J. Shaffer, conducted extensive flame thrower tests in order to locate the major sources of trouble, a project which included the thorough overhaul of all flame throwers in the Southwest Pacific Area. The unit discovered that most malfunctions resulted from deteriorated cylinders and batteries which had succumbed to the deleterious temperatures and humidity of the tropics. All flame throwers shipped to the Southwest Pacific or carried as equipment by units arriving in the area were thoroughly tested, repaired, and waterproofed by trained technicians under the direction of Colonel Copthorne and his staff. Though fundamental defects remained, the work of the SWPA Chemical Section went a long way in effectively preventing a repetition of the mishaps suffered on Buna.

Meanwhile, Sixth Army began a comprehensive analysis of the Papua Campaign in an attempt to discover an effective means of reducing Japanese bunkers. The experience of its subordinate units indicated that these fortifications generally could not be destroyed by artillery or mortar fire. Only the foot soldier armed with normal infantry weapons could do the job. Having located a bunker, infantrymen either had to outflank it or to launch repeated frontal assaults until the enemy was overcome. Either tactic normally resulted in heavy casualties.

Although the flame thrower had performed dismally at Buna, Sixth Army had received reports of the successful use of the weapon on Guadalcanal and New Georgia.35 On the basis of these reports it appeared that a dependable flame thrower could be the answer to the problem of pillbox destruction. By October 1943 the rigorous tests conducted by the 10th Chemical Maintenance Company demonstrated that the flame thrower could be made reliable. Sixth Army therefore decided to include the weapon in its future combat operations and asked that Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces Far East, increase the


allotment of flame throwers from twenty-four to sixty per infantry division. This request was approved on 19 October 1943.36

Welcome as these decisions were to the CWS, they raised serious problems for chemical officers in the Southwest Pacific. The first difficulty was related to supply. Flame throwers, spare parts, accessory kits, and fuel had become exceedingly scarce at the beginning of 1943 Colonel Morcock, Chemical Officer, USASOS SWPA, had requisitioned 308 M1A1 flame throwers from the United States in March 1943, and had repeated his plea two months later.37 In July the first shipment of M1A1's arrived to replace obsolete E1R1 and M1 models and by August supplies of M1A1's were sufficient to cover the authorized allowances of Sixth Army units.38 This balance of supply and demand was upset in October when, as just noted, General MacArthur's headquarters approved Sixth Army's request for the sixty flame thrower allotment for each infantry division. Not until the beginning of 1944 did enough M1A1's again become available to meet increasing combat and training needs. Supplies of spare parts and accessories never did catch up with requirements and both continued in critical demand for the duration of the war.39

Two additional factors complicated the supply picture. First, many of the new flame throwers were unusable because of missing or defective parts or because of improper packing or waterproofing.40 Upon arrival from the United States, these weapons had to be turned over to chemical units for inspection, servicing, and rewaterproofing. Second, it was exceedingly difficult to obtain needed quantities of compressed hydrogen and nitrogen. Because of the shipping shortage, these gases were not sent from the United States and had to be procured at great


expense and trouble either from naval or air units in the area or from Australian firms.41

Even more serious than the problem of supply was that of training. Since the flame thrower was a comparatively new weapon, and until 1943 one largely assigned to the engineers, few of the troops in the Southwest Pacific had been trained to use it. With the allotment in October 1943 of 12 flame throwers to each infantry regiment, it for the first time became necessary to extend flame thrower training to the infantry. The magnitude of the job can be judged by the Sixth Army requirement that each rifle company, cavalry troop, and ammunition and pioneer platoon have at least 4 trained flame thrower operators; this was to be in addition to the 4 trained men for each authorized flame thrower in each engineer company and battalion.42 Since most commanders wanted to train men in excess of these minimum requirements, the training burden on both the individual unit and the CWS was exceedingly heavy.

Because the dispersal of American units throughout Australia and New Guinea made a single flame thrower training center impracticable, schools were established in several different locations. Flame thrower operators for I Corps' 24th and 41st Infantry Divisions trained at a jungle assault school near Rockhampton, Queensland.43 The 10th Chemical Maintenance Company held classes for personnel of other units stationed in Australia at the Chemical Warfare Training Center at Brisbane.44 The Sixth Army Chemical Section provided several traveling teams to teach flame thrower operation to Marine and Army organizations in forward staging areas. These teams, made up of one officer and two enlisted men, conducted a series of three 2-day flame thrower schools for units in New Guinea and the Trobriand Islands.


Under the leadership of 1st Lt. Robert P. Rockway, the teams had trained 582 flame thrower operators by February 1944.45

The flame thrower schools stressed operation, maintenance, and servicing as well as tactics. Based upon past experience, current Sixth Army doctrine prescribed that the flame thrower be included as part of the arms and equipment of an organized assault party rather than be employed as an individual weapon. Sixth Army suggested that an assault party be made up of eighteen men, armed with demolition charges, bangalore torpedoes, rocket launchers, and signal projectors, in addition to regular infantry weapons. These groups were to be trained and readied in order to be immediately available when needed in combat. Three flame thrower teams, each consisting of an operator and assistant operator, were allotted to each assault party.46

Improving the flame thrower and training operators to employ it occupied most of 1943. Achievements in both fields were substantial, but since the weapon had not yet performed satisfactorily in the Southwest Pacific, lingering doubts remained as to the ultimate value of such efforts. Flame thrower successes in a variety of operations in the theater between December 1943 and July 1944 helped dispel such doubts.

New Britain and the Admiralties

The first combat use of the flame thrower in the Southwest Pacific after Buna occurred on 15 December 1943 at Pilelo, a tiny island off the coast of New Britain. Troop B of the 112th Cavalry RCT had landed and was moving inland when the leading platoon was halted by fire from two caves. A bazooka quickly silenced one, but the other was so protected by log pilings as to be impervious to both bazooka and machine gun fire. The troop commander then organized an assault party with a flame thrower as its principal weapon. While rifle and automatic weapons fire covered the cave, the flame thrower operator worked his way up and fired his entire charge into the entrance. The rest of the party then rushed the position with hand grenades. When


the party reached the cave, it found 5 dead and 2 wounded Japanese, all with their clothing ablaze.47

Marine units had less success with the flame thrower in the Cape Gloucester section of New Britain. Misfires and mechanical malfunctions were frequent. The M1A1's, despite their waterproofing, became damp and undependable from the incessant rain.48 The dense foliage and jungle growth on Cape Gloucester normally absorbed the first burst of flame thrower fuel, preventing the flame from reaching its target and further exposing an already vulnerable operator to enemy fire.49

Flame throwers made an equally inauspicious beginning in the Admiralties campaign. The 2d Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division landed on Manus Island on 15 March 1944 with sixteen flame throwers filled and ready for action. Since opposition to the landing was negligible and the first few days produced no suitable flame thrower targets, many units discarded these weapons. But on the fourth day after the landing, advancing troops were harassed by fire from a bunker which had been bypassed by assault troops. It was a perfect target for flame throwers, but none was available. They were found scattered along the route from the beach, and hydrogen and nitrogen cylinders were located near the airstrip, even farther from the front.50

The brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Verne D. Mudge, corrected the situation by ordering his chemical officer, Lt. Charles Land, to collect all flame throwers and equipment and take personal charge of flame thrower operations. From then on, the weapons were carried immediately behind the attacking troops. Lieutenant Land accompanied the forward elements, ready to organize and direct flame thrower assault groups against suitable targets. Such targets did not appear until the closing days of the Manus Island operation. It was discovered in


mopping up the island that numerous Japanese had quietly remained in their bunkers and allowed the leading elements of the attack to bypass them. Flame thrower teams and demolition squads eliminated these pockets by flaming and blasting every bunker they encountered.51

Wakde, Maffin Bay, and Biak

The flame thrower proved its effectiveness anew in May 1944 on Wakde Island, of the Wakde group, off the New Guinea coast. There, after two days of intense fighting, the 163d Infantry, 41st Division, managed to clear out most of the enemy forces. The remaining Japanese took refuge in a network of connecting tunnels and caves in a coral shelf which sloped up sharply from the northeast shore line. Company A of the 27th Engineer Combat Battalion was ordered to clean them out. To do the job the company used dynamite, bazookas, white phosphorus grenades, and flame throwers, but only the flame thrower proved successful against both caves and tunnels. On at least eight separate occasions flame thrower assaults either killed the Japanese defenders outright or drove them from their hiding places into the open, where they became easy targets for riflemen.52

Company B of the 27th Engineer Combat Battalion, attached to the 158th Infantry, did equally well with flame throwers in the Maffin Bay area of the New Guinea mainland, across from Wakde Island. On 24 May the engineers, supported by two tanks, destroyed a machine gun emplacement, which had pinned down an infantry company for over three hours.53 This was the first recorded instance of a co-ordinated tank-flame thrower attack in the Southwest Pacific. A month later, farther to the east at Lone Tree Hill, the pattern was repeated. On 18 June 2d Lt. Theodore Frankel, antitank platoon leader, 1st Infantry, 6th Division, supported by two tanks, knocked out three


enemy bunkers with a single flame thrower.54 Six days later Frankel used the flame thrower in an entirely different kind of attack. The target was an enemy 70-mm. artillery piece emplaced in a cave high on Rocky Point. Frankel organized an assault party consisting of an antitank grenadier, a TNT-armed demolitions man, and several riflemen; he himself carried a flame thrower. The party crawled to a shell hole about twenty yards in front of the cave, from which point Frankel fired several bursts from the weapon. Next the demolition man placed his charge, which knocked out the enemy field piece and buried its crew under the resulting debris. In a 2-day period, Lieutenant Frankel took part in nearly two dozen flame thrower assaults.55 But the lieutenant's record in this regard was not unique, since engineers of the 6th Engineer Combat Battalion and infantrymen of the 1st and 20th Infantry regiments of the 6th Division carried out scores of successful flame attacks in June 1944, especially in the Lone Tree Hill and Rocky Point sections of the front.56

While the battle for Maffin Bay was still in progress, elements of the 41st Infantry Division invaded Biak Island. This island, about 100 miles from New Guinea, was a mass of coral with a veneer of dense jungle vegetation. It abounded with caves ranging in size from shallow cavities just large enough to contain two or three men to networks of caverns capable of accommodating eight or nine hundred. Japanese ingenuity had turned this maze of natural cave and connecting tunnels into an extensive and formidable defensive installation, relatively impervious to the effects of air, naval, and artillery bombardment.57 The flame thrower played a vital role in the destruction of these powerful defenses. From 27 May to 19 August 1944 it was fired more often than in any other previous campaign in the Southwest Pacific. Fifty-nine flame throwers sprayed 236 gallons of fuel against enemy positions.


They, were used to burn combustible Japanese stores and against a variety of other targets.58

Introduction of the Portable Flame Thrower in the Central Pacific Area

Although it was in the South and Southwest Pacific that flame throwers were first employed, it remained for troops in the Central Pacific to demonstrate the full potential of the weapon. This they proceeded to do in a long series of amphibious assaults that, paralleling MacArthur's drive in the Southwest Pacific, carried Army and Marine units from the Gilberts and Marshalls to the very doorstep of Japan. From the start commanders in the Central Pacific, especially Marine leaders, showed an interest in and an enthusiasm for the flame thrower unmatched in other theaters. Forces in the area were also blessed with an adequate and sometimes overabundant supply of the weapon, a relative absence of technical problems that plagued the Southwest Pacific, and sufficient time between engagements to train operators and assault teams. These factors helped to produce the success achieved by the flame thrower in the Central Pacific.

During the last week in July 1943 the Hawaiian Department59 presented a portable flame thrower demonstration, based on an analysis of operations in the South Pacific, to approximately 1,400 Army, Navy, and Marine officers and enlisted men. The display, demonstrating how Japanese fortified defenses might be attacked and destroyed by assault parties armed with the flame thrower, generated considerable interest.60

Later, when plans were being made for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, the Hawaiian Department chemical office prepared detailed studies of types of Japanese defenses that might be encountered. An examination of these studies convinced planners that the flame thrower would be a desirable weapon in the coming operations; accordingly, the 27th Infantry Division received twenty-four and the 2d Marine Divi-


sion sixty.61 Members of the engineer battalion of each division underwent training in flame thrower operations, although even at this time there was some feeling that it might be wiser to assign the weapons to infantry rather than to engineer troops.

Portable throwers went into action on 20 November 1943 when the 165th RCT, 27th Division, landed on Makin Atoll and the 2d Marine Division attacked Betio Island of the Tarawa Atoll. On the former, enemy opposition was fortunately limited, for flame throwers, drenched in the landings, failed to function.62 On Betio marines faced strong Japanese positions. Here, enemy beach fortifications consisted of numerous concrete, steel, and sand and coconut log pillboxes, plus a number of excellent bombproof shelters. These emplacements were con-


nected by means of an intricate and highly developed trench and tunnel system.63

Flame throwers proved invaluable against these defenses. During the first three days of fighting, the weapon burned out a score of enemy pillboxes, and, surprisingly, permitted marines to take a number of frightened Japanese prisoners. On 22 November a large concrete bombproof shelter was assaulted by men of the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines. The marines, using flame throwers, overran the top of the shelter but the Japanese counterattacked within minutes. Flame throwers quickly drove back the enemy and inflicted heavy casualties.64 As at least two historians of the Pacific fighting have commented: "Perhaps the most valuable weapon on Tarawa proved to be the flame thrower."65

Although other units used these weapons with equal effectiveness, there were, unfortunately, far too few flame throwers available. The 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, which had been assigned six flame throwers, used two in close support of tanks and attached the remaining four to the rifle platoon engaged in mopping-up activities. The battalion recommended that it be allotted twelve for future engagements, a desire reflected in the reports of several other units.66

As a result of the Gilbert experience, the 7th Infantry Division's allotment of portable flame throwers for the Marshall operations was increased to 192; the 4th Marine Division's to 72.67 The 7th Division immediately began an intensive training program in these weapons. A squad of combat engineers armed with flame throwers, demolitions, wire cutters, and bangalore torpedoes was assigned to each rifle platoon. Realistic exercises were conducted in assaulting replicas of fortifications likely to be encountered in the Marshalls. The engineers soon learned to move freely under friendly fire and to depend on the infantrymen's


ability to cover them. The latter, in turn, acquired confidence in the engineer's competence in using flame throwers and in placing demolitions rapidly and effectively.68

The 4th Marine Division, also readying itself for the Marshall Islands campaign, placed emphasis on assault team training. Equipped with seventy-two portable flame throwers, the division faced the almost impossible task, suggested by higher headquarters, of training two men per infantry platoon,69 as well as the engineer personnel who normally operated the weapon.70 The division trained as many individuals as it could, but put its greatest emphasis on organizing assault parties within its combat teams. Typical of these units was the 19-man party organized by the 24th Marines. This team was led by an officer and consisted of a flame thrower group including a flame thrower operator, an assistant operator, and a fuel carrier; a 5-man demolition group; a 3-man bazooka group; and a support group of 7 riflemen and BAR men. Engineer troops comprised the flame thrower and bazooka groups.71

The inclusion of a fuel carrier in the assault team was an innovation. Formerly, a flame thrower operator had to leave the forward area and return to a servicing point to refill his weapon. This extra man in the assault team made it possible to insure more rapid weapon refueling. Chemical officers in the Marshalls also adopted the system of supplying additional flame thrower fuel in 5-gallon cans, with an extra pressure cylinder attached, instead of the normal 55-gallon drums, thus expediting the handling of fuel from transports to refilling points and permitting the weapons to be serviced much nearer the front lines.

The actual combat employment of the flame thrower in the Marshall Islands failed to justify fully the extensive preliminary training program. Happily, Japanese defenses on Roi, Namur, Kwajalein, and Eniwetok, pounded by a 3-day preinvasion bombardment, proved less formidable and Japanese resistance less stubborn than had been anticipated. As a consequence, the flame thrower was not needed in the assault phases of the amphibious landings, but was confined to mopping


up operations and to the elimination of enemy personnel from underground shelters and fortifications.72 The 4th Marine Division reported the weapon most effective in this work when used in combination with explosives. Flame was hurled at the embrasures and slits of the fortification forcing the occupants to take cover. Next, pole or shaped charges were used to breach the side of the structure, after which grenades, satchel charges, or more flame was used to destroy the occupants.73

Because operations in the Marshalls demonstrated that 192 flame throwers were more than an infantry division needed or could adequately handle, Army divisions slated for the Marianas campaign received 141 flame throwers and Marine divisions 81.74 An analysis of the Marshall campaign also indicated to Army and Marine leaders that trained infantrymen as well as engineer troops were required to operate the flame thrower. This conclusion, similar to that reached independently by commanders in the South and Southwest Pacific, was based on the realization that engineers were normally too busy with other essential duties to devote their full attention to the flame thrower. After the Marshall Islands operation infantrymen became the primary users of the weapon in the Central Pacific.


1. Capt. Henry Sorenson, "Flame Warfare," Canadian Army Journal, vol. 2, Nos. 5 & 6 (August and September. 1949), pp. 31-32.

2. Fries and West, Chemical Warfare, p. 401. Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries was Chief, CWS, from 1920 to 1929.

3. For reports of flame thrower employment from 1935 to 1940, see: (1) Sorenson, "Flame Warfare," Canadian Army Journal, vol. 2, Nos. 7 & 8 (October and November, 1948), pp. 18-19; (2) Dept of National Defense, Army (Canada), Cml Warfare Intell Summary, 3 Feb 42, sec. on Germany, pp. F1-F5; (3) British Hist Monograph, Special Weapons and Types of Warfare, pt. III, Finn Warfare Including Incendiaries, p. 110.

4. (1) Correspondence leading to the portable flame thrower directive is found in CWTC Item 221, 10 Sep 40. (2) For a full discussion of the development and manufacture of the various portable flame thrower models, see Brophy, Miles, and Cochrane, From Laboratory to Field, pp. 139-47.

5. Miller, Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, pp. 65n, 244, 279n.

6. (1) Ibid., pp. 243-44. (2) Milner, Victory in Papua, pp. 141-43. (3) Ltr, CmlO XIV Corp to CmlO USAFFE, 11 Aug 43, no sub. Sixth Army Cml Sec Rcds, 470.71, Portable Flame Throwers.

7. Lt Col Leonard L. McKinney, CmlC Hist Study 4, Portable Flame Thrower Opus in World War II, 1949, p. 39.

8. (1) Lt. Col. Orbie Bostick, "Mercy Killers," Chemical Warfare Bulletin, vol. 30, No. 1 (February-March, 44), 16-17. (2) Miller, Guadalcanal: The first Offensive, p. 179.

9. (1) Miller, Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, p. 195. (2) Rpt, Opns of the 25th Inf Div on Guadalcanal, 17 Dec 42-5 Feb 43, p. 81. 25th Div 325-11.5.

10. (1) Ltr, McKaig, to Hist Off, 26 Dec 56. Colonel McKaig was 25th Division chemical officer on Guadalcanal. (2) McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, p. 40.

11. 25th Inf Div Tog Memo No. 6, 27 Mar 43. Reproduced as App. 1 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, pp. 230-32.

12. (1) Opn Journal, 118th Engr Bn, 19 Jun-11 Aug 43, dated 10 Sep 43. 118th Engr Bn 20433, 343-43.3. (2) Capt. James F. Olds, Jr., "Flame Throwers Front and Center," Chemical Warfare Bulletin vol. 30, No. 3 (June-July, 1944), pp. 5-8. (3) Miller, CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul, p. 148.

13. Ltr, CmlO XIV Corps to CmlO USAFFE, 11 Aug 43.

14. TM 3-375, May 1943, Portable Flame Throwers M1 and M1A1.

15. (1) Ltr, CmlO XIV Corps to CmlO USAFFE 15 Sep 43, no sub. Sixth Army Cml Sec Rcds, 470.71 Portable Flame Throwers. (2) CmlO 25th Div to CCWS, 25 Apr 43, Rpt of Cml Warfare Activities on Guadalcanal Island. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

16. (1) Ltr, CmlO XIV Corps to CmlO USAFFE, 15 Sep 43, no sub. (2) Ltr, ACmlO XIV Corps to Cml XIV Corps, 30 Jul 43, sub: Rpt on Use of Flame Thrower. Sixth Amy Rcds, 470-71 Portable Flame Throwers.

17. CmlO 25th Div to CG 25th Div, 10 Nov 43, Rpt, Flame Thrower Opns During the New Georgia Campaign.

18. Lt Col Frank M. Reinecke, USMC, MS, Hellsapoppin Ridge, 8-18 December 1943, The Bougainville Campaign: A Study of Offensive Principles, 1947, p. 10. Marine Corps School, MOS LOG #208-48 (C).

19. (1) Ibid., pp. 17, 19-32. (1) CO 21st Marines to CG 3d Marine Div, 31 Jan 44, Rpt of Opn on Bougainville, in 3d Marine Div Combat Rpt, 1 Nov-28 Dec 43, dated 21 Mar 44. Marine Corps Archives, A5-2.

20. CO 19th Marine Regt to CG 3d Marine Div, n.d., Rpt of Opns, Nov-Dec 43. 3d Marine Div Combat Rpt, 1 Nov-18 Dec 43, dated 21 Mar 44. Marine Corps Archives, A5-2.

21. (1) Ltr, CmlO 37th Div to CmlO XIV Corps, 11 Jan 44, sub: Informal Combat Rpt of Lessons Learned in Combined New Georgia & Bougainville Opns. XIV Corps Rpts. (2) Maj Gen Oscar W. Griswold, Bougainville: An Experience in Jungle Warfare, pp. 37-44.

22. XIV Corps Rpt on Lessons Learned in the Bougainville Opns, n.d., pp. 4-5. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

23. (1) History, Flame Thrower Platoon of the 132d Inf Regt, Apr 44. CWS 314.7, Portable Flame Thrower File. (2) CmlO, Americal Div to ACofS G-3 Americal Div, 7 Nov 44, Rpt, Flame Thrower, and Incls. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

24. History, Flame Thrower Platoon of the 132d Infantry Regiment, Apr 44. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File. (2) Griswold, Bougainville: An Experience in Jungle Warfare, pp. 96-114. The Griswold account (pages 119-20) tells of another use of flame in the fierce fighting for Hill 260. Two Navy men got 100 feet of flexible pipe, connected it to a drum of gasoline, and used oxygen pressure to pump the liquid into Japanese pillboxes. The gasoline was ignited by white phosphorous grenades. See also Miller, CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul, p. 372. For further attempts at this type of improvisation, see below, pp. 567-68.

25. Ltr, CO 182d Inf Regt to CmlO Americal Div, 31 Oct 44, sub: Present Status of the Flame Thrower Platoon. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

26. An. No. 3 to XIV Corps Tng Memo No. 8, 19 Apr 44, sub: Tng in the Use of Flame Throwers. Reproduced as app. 3 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, p. 248.

27. (1) Ibid., pp. 251-52. (1) Incl 1 to 37th Div Tng Memo No. 7, 16 Sep 44, sub: Tng in the Use of Flame Throwers. Reproduced as app. 4 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, pp. 253-57.

28. (1) Ltr, CO 114th Engr Bn to CmlO MAPLE Base (Port Moresby), 19 Dec 42, sub: Malfunctioning of Flame Throwers. CWS SPECVI 470.71/92. (2) Ltr, Col Frank M. Arthur to Hist Off, 3 Mar 59.

29. The following account is based on: Ltr, Actg Div CmlO 31d Div to CG 32d Div, 18 Feb 43, sub: Rpt on the Activities of the 32d Inf Div Cml Sec During the Papuan Campaign. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

30. (1) Initial reports of the action listed Corporal Tirrell as having died in the encounter. He actually "played dead" after regaining consciousness and waited until dusk before returning to his position. He did suffer a leg wound inflicted by an enemy rifleman as he escaped, but contrary to early reports he survived and was recommended for citation for his valiant, though unsuccessful efforts. (2) Ltr, Actg Div CmlO 32d Div to CG 32d Div, 18 Feb 43, sub: Rpt on Activities of the 32d Inf Div Cml Sec During the Papuan Campaign. (3) Ltr, CO 114th Engr Bn to CmlO MAPLE Base APO 929, 19 Dec 42, sub: Malfunctioning of Flame Throwers. CWS SPECVI 470.71/92. (4) The account of the Buna flame thrower operation found in Milner, Victory in Papua, page 150, based on the earliest reports of the action, gives an incomplete account of the casualties.

31. On 15 December 1942 a flame thrower was employed against another enemy bunker near Buna. The result was the same as at Buna the week before: the flame thrower "fizzed out and the Japanese shot it up." Milner, Victory in Papua, p. 253.

32. Ltr, CCmlO USAFFE to CCWS, 6 Jan 43, no sub. CWS 319.1/101.

33. Ltr, Chief Field Rqmts Br to Chief War Plans and Theater Br, 18 Jan 43, sub: Malfunctioning of Flame Throwers. CWS SPCUR 470.71/91.

34. Ltr, Actg Div CmlO 32d Div to CG 32d Div, 18 Feb 43, sub: Rpt on the Activities of the 32d Inf Div Cml Sec During the Papuan Campaign.

35. (1) Ltr, CmlO XIV Corps to CmlO USAFFE, 11 Aug 43, no sub. (2) Ltr, CmlO XIV Corps to CmlO USAFFE, 15 Sep 43,, no sub. Both in Sixth Army Cml Sec Rcds, 470.71 Flame Thrower.

36. Ltr, CG Sixth Army to CG USAFFE, 4 Oct 43, sub: Portable Flame Throwers, and Inds. Sixth Army Rcds, 470.71 Flame Thrower.

37. Ltr, CmlO USASOS SWPA to SupO Cml Br Overseas Sup Div San Francisco Port of Embarkation, (Oakland, Calif.), 7 Jun 43, sub: Portable Flame Throwers, New M1A1, and Accessories. GSWC 470.7 in CWS SPCVO 470.71 APO 501.

38. Ltr, CG USAFFE to CG Sixth Army, it Aug 43, sub: Flame Throwers, Portable, M1A1, Sixth Army Rcds, 470.71 Flame Throwers.

39. See above, ch. VI.

40. (1) Ltr, CG 41st Inf Div to CG USASOS SWPA 27 Oct 43, sub: Condition of Flame Throwers. (2) Ltr, CmlO USASOS SWPA to CmlO's Intermediate and Adv Secs USASOS and CmlO's Bases A, B, D, E, and F, 15 Dec 4 3, sub: Flame Throwers. Both in Sixth Army Rcds, 470-71 Flame Thrower.

41. (1) Ltr, 1st Lt Robert P. Rockway to Col Carl L. Marriott, 11 Oct 43, no sub. (2) Memo, CmlO U.S. Adv Base A for CmlO ALAMO Force, 31 Oct 43, no sub. Both in Sixth Army Rcds, 470.71 Flame Thrower.

42. Sixth Army Tng Memo No. 8, 1 Oct 43, sub: Tug in the Use of Flame Throwers. Sixth Army Cml Sec Rcds, 470-71 Flame Thrower; reprinted as app. 5 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns.

43. Under the leadership of its chemical officer, Colonel Riegelman, I Corps had taken an early lead in the development of flame thrower doctrine and had been the first to issue a training publication on the employment of the weapon in the Southwest Pacific. See: (1) Incl 1 to Ltr, CG I Corps to CG's 14th, 41st, 32d Divs, 17 Sep 43, sub: Employ of Flame Throwers, CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File; (2) I Corps Tng Memo No. 17, 10 Dec 43, sub: Tng in the Use of Flame Throwers, CWS 314.7 File; also reprinted as app. 7 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, pp. 265-67; (3) Riegelman, Caves of Biak, pp. 73-75.

44. (1) 1st Ind on Ltr, 29 Aug 43, CG USAFFE to CG Sixth Army, 11 Aug 43, sub: Flame Thrower, Portable, M1A1. Sixth Army Rcds, Cml Sec Rcds, 470.71 Flame Thrower. (2) Shaffer Ltr, 19 Sep 56.

45. (1) Ltr, CmlO Hq ALAMO Forces to ACofS G-3, Sixth Army, 9 Feb 44, sub: Trained Flame Thrower Pers. (2) Ltr, ACmlO ALAMO Force to CmlO U.S. Forces, Unit 3, 4 Nov 43, sub: Flame Thrower School. (3) For detailed course of instruction at these mobile flame thrower schools, see 114th Engineer Battalion Training Memorandum No. 14, Annex 1, 6 October 1943, Flame Thrower School Schedule. All in Sixth Army Cml Sec Rcds, 353 Flame Thrower Tng.

46. Sixth Army Tng Memo No. 8, 1 Oct 43, sub: Tng in the Use of Flame Throwers.

47. (1) Ltr, CmlO Task Force (93d Cml Composite Co) to CmlO Sixth Army, 30 Dec 43, sub: Official Rpt on Tactical Use of Flame Thrower. Reprinted in CWS 314.7 Observers Rpts (Grothaus-Brady Rpt), SWPA, SOPAC, CENPAC, 29 Mar 44, as an. 4, sec. 5. (2) Miller, CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul, p. 285.

48. (1) Lt. Col. Frank O. Hough, USMCR, and Maj. John A. Crown, USMC, The Campaign on New Britain (Washington, 1952), p. 54. (2) 93d Cml Composite CO, 30 Dec 43, Official Rpt on Tactical Use of Flame Thrower. CWS SPCWS 5205 8-6. 1605/44.

49. (1) Ltr, Cml Warfare SupO BACKHANDER Force to Cml Warfare IntellO USASOS SWPA, 1 Jan 44, sub: Cml Intell. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File. (2) Memo, ACmlO ALAMO Force for G-3, G-4, 16 Feb 44, no sub. Sixth Army Rcds, 333 Inspection Rpts.

50. Rpt, CmlO 1st Cavalry Div, 3 Jul 44, sub: Use of Flame Throwers in the Admiralty Campaign. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

51. (1) Ibid. (2) Lt. Col. Kenneth W. Haas, "The Pacific Is Another War," Chemical Warfare Bulletin, vol. 30, No. 5 (November-December, 1944), p. 17.

52. (1) Ltr, CW Tech Intell Team 4 to Chief CmlO USASOS SWPA, 24 Jun 44, sub: Rpt on Use of Cml Warfare Weapons and Munitions. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File. (2) McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, pp. 69-70.

53. (1) Smith, Approach to the Philippines, p. 239. (2) Ltr, Cml Warfare Tech Intell Team 4 to Chief CmlO USASOS SWPA, 24 Jun 44, sub: Rpt on Use of Cml Warfare Weapons and Munitions. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File. (3) Ltr, CG Sixth Army to Corps and Divs et al., 6 Sep 44, sub: Cml Warfare Activities During Wakde-Maffin Bay Opns. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File.

54. (1) Ltr, Task Force CmlO U.S. Forces Unit 1 to CmlO Sixth Army, 21 Jun 44, no sub. Sixth Army Rcds, 470.7 Flame Throwers. (2) Frankel and 2d Lt James J. Harnes, 13 Jul 44, Rpt on Use of Flame Throwers in Maffin Bay Area, Dutch New Guinea. Sixth Army Rcds, 350.05-Wakde.

55. Frankel and Harnes, Rpt on Use of Flame Throwers in Maffin Bay Area, Dutch New Guinea.

56. Ltr, CG Sixth Army to Distr, 6 Sep 44, sub: Cml Warfare Activities During the Wakde Island-Maffin Bay Opns. Sixth Army Rcds, 415-3.

57. (1) Ltr, CG Sixth Army to Distr, 3 Sept 44, sub: Cml Warfare Activities During the Biak Opn. Sixth Army Rcds, 415.3. (2) Riegelman, Caves of Biak, pp. 145-47.

58. (1) CmlO 41st Inf Div, n.d., Rpt, Cml Phase and Sec Hist Rcd of HORLICKS Opn. CWS 314.7 Portable Flame Thrower File. (2) CmlO 41st Inf Div to CmlO ALAMO Force, 11 Aug 44, Preliminary Tech Rpt—Rpt No. 9. Sixth Army Rcds, 350.05 Biak.

59. The Hawaiian Department soon became U.S. Army Forces, Central Pacific Area, and later U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas, and U.S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific. Colonel Unmacht served as chemical officer of these headquarters throughout the war.

60. Memo, Quigley, OACofS G-3 Hawaiian Dept, for Keliher, ACofS G-3, 4 Aug 43, sub: Rpt on Dept Cml Field Exercise. History, CWS AFMIDPAC, vol. II, an. 1-c.

61. (1) History CWS AFMIDPAC, II, an. II-b, 3-5. (2) Ltr, Unmacht to Hist Off, 27 Jun 51. CWS 314.7.

62. Crowl and Love, Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls, p. 93.

63. CO 2d Marine Regt to CG 2d Marine Div, 17 Dec 43, Rpt of Opns GALVANIC. Combat Team 2 in 2d Marine Regt, Rpt of Opn-Tarawa, Marine Archives A8-1.

64. (1) CO 2d Bn 8th Marines 2d Marine Div to CO Combat Team 2, 13 Dec 43, Rpt of Tarawa Opns, 2d Marine Regt—Rpt of Opns Tarawa. Marine Corps Archives A8-1. (2) Stockman, Battle for Tarawa, p. 47.

65. Crowl and Love, Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls, p. 163.

66. (1) CO 1st Bn 6th Marines to CO 6th Marine Regt, 3 Dec 43, Special Action Rpt, 6th Marine Regt—Special Action Report—Tarawa. Marine Corps Archives A9-1. (2) CO 8th Marine Regt to CG 2d Mar Div, 1 Dec 43, Special Action Report—Tarawa. Marine Archives A10-1. (3) CO LT 3/2 3d Bn 2d Marine to CG V Amphib Corps, 20 Dec 43, Rpt of Opns GALVANIC. 2d Marine Regt—Rpt of Opns—Tarawa. Marine Archives A8-1.

67. (1) History, CWS AFMIDPAC, II, an. 1-d, 30. (2) CG 4th Marine Div to CG V Amphib Corps, 17 Mar 44, Final Rpt on FLINTLOCK Opn, incl J, p. 17, Final Rpt, Roi. Marine Corps Archives A22-1.

68. (1) Sixth Army Combat Notes No. 2 15 Aug 44, 106-11.6 (7076). (2) Rpt of the 7th Inf Div Participation in FLINTLOCK Opn, 8 Feb 44. 7th Inf Div, 307-0.3 (1037).

69. V Amphib Corps Tng Memo No. 13-43, 21 Dec 43, Demolition and Flame Thrower Tng. Reprinted as app. 13 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, pp. 284-95.

70. V Amphib Corps Tng Order No. 17-43, 21 Dec 43, Flame Throwers. Marine Corps School, Log 60-27, reprinted as app. 14 in McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opns, pp. 286-92.

71. CG 4th Marine Div to CG V Amphib Corps, 17 Mar 44, Final Rpt on FLINTLOCK Opn, Incl E, Rpt of Combat Team 24. Marine Corps Archives, A22-1.

72. (1) Rpt, Marshall Islands Japanese Defenses and Battle Damage, prepared by WD Mission for CG CENPAC, 1 Mar 44. 98-USF3-0.3. (2) Maj. Leonard D. Frescoln, "Post-Mortem on the Marshalls," Chemical Warfare Bulletin, vol. 30, No. 1 (April-May, 1944), pp. 33-34.

73. CG 4th Mar Div to CG V Amphib Corps, 17 Mar 44, Final Rpt on FLINTLOCK Opn. Marine Corps Archives A22-1, incl. 1, p. 17.

74. (1) History CWS AFMIDPAC, II, an. 1-D, 40. (2) CG 3d Marine Div to Comdt of the Marine Corps, 21 Aug 44, Special Action Rpt, FORAGER Opn (Guam), an. B to D-3 Rpt, Marine Corps Archives, A17-1.

page created 12 December 2001

Return to CMH Online