Tuesday 11 September 2018

Flamethrower Tanks

To the People's Commissariat of Medium Machinebuilding
March 15th, 1941

In carrying out the decree of the Council of Commissars and the Central Committee of the VKP(b) issued on March 13th titled "On arming KV, T-34, and T-50 tanks with gunpowder flamethrowers", I order that:
  1. Deputy Chief of Special Industry comrade Hlamov, director of factory #174 comrade Markin, and Chief Engineer of factory #174 comrade Ginzburg must work alongside the GABTU, People's Commissariat of General Production (Lubertsy factory), and the designers of factory #183 and Kirov factory to:
    1. By March 25th, 1941, test a prototype of the 10 Litre gunpowder flamethrower and present blueprints and technical requirements for approval by the NKSM by April 2nd, 1941, matching tactical-technical requirements in attachment #1.
    2. By April 28th, 1941, complete all work on the four flamethrower mounts for the KV-1, KV-3, T-34, and T-50, as well as present technical requirements and blueprints to the NKSM, including corrections made as a result of the trials.
  2. Deputy Chief of Special Industry comrade Hlamov and directors of factories #174 (comrade Markin), #183 (comrade Maksarev), and ChTZ (comrade Solomonovich) must organize production of flamethrower tanks and produce the following amounts in 1941:
    1. ChTZ: 150 KV-1
    2. Factory #183: 300 T-34
    3. Factory #174: 100 T-50
      Directors of the aforementioned factories must arrange a deal with the Lubertsy factory of the NKOM to purchase gunpowder flamethrowers in the required quantities.
  3. The Chief of the Military Department of the NKSM, comrade Gnesin, must arrange for the supply of factory #174 with KV-1, KV-3, and T-34 tanks via the GABTU.
  4. Deputy People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, comrade Goreglyad, must work with the NKB and the GABTU and present the Committee of Defense of the Council of Commissars with the most effective fuel mixture for a gunpowder flamethrower by April 5th, 1941, and organize its production.
  5. The Chief of the Finance Department of the NKSM, comrade Shagalov, must arrange for the issue of 500,000 rubles from the Reserve Fund of the Council of Commissars to produce and test 4 flamethrower mounts and to award designers and workers for high quality and timely production of prototypes.
  6. The control for carrying out this order is the responsibility of the Chief of the Military Department, comrade Gnesin.
Deputy People's Commissar of Medium Machinebuilding, S. Akopov

Attachment #1

Tactical-technical requirements
  1. Name and type of flamethrower: 10 Litre gunpowder flamethrower
  2. Range: 90-100 meters
  3. Fuel capacity: 10-15 shots
  4. Volume of one shot: 10 Litres
  5. Location of installation in KV-1, KV-3, T-34, and T-50 tanks: in the front, to the right of the driver.
  6. Maximum elevation: 10 degrees
  7. Minimum depression: -2 degrees
  8. Horizontal arc: 10-15 degrees
  9. Rate of fire: 3 shots in 10 seconds."


  1. What is a gunpowder flamethrower? How does it work?

    I thought most flamethrowers were pressurized by compressed gas. Am I just confused?

    1. My thoughts as well. Google it and you find out they used to use gunpowder sort of like we build 4th of July fireworks. But I'm sure this must be something different. If you ask me the last thing I would be wanting my flamethrower to be doing while I fire it, would be popping and spattering back at me like a 4th of July fountain.

    2. Maybe term "gunpowder flamethrower" was used for flamethrower which work like FOG-2 or LPO-50 flamethrowers? This Soviet flamethrowers use special cartridge with gunpowder for ejecting flammable luqiud.

    3. Could also have been a scaling up of the ROKS infantry flamegun design which used special blank Tokarev cartridges for ignition and pressurized nitrogen for propellant.

    4. Unknown That sounds better than the Google Chinese definition. Bet getting fuel to ignite can be hard at 20 below zero in a snow storm.