[Lone Sentry: www.LoneSentry.com] [Lone Sentry: Photos, Articles, and Research on the European Theater in World War II]
Photos, Articles, & Research on the European Theater in World War II
"Flame-Throwing Pz. Kw. 3" from Intelligence Bulletin

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   An article on the WWII German Panzer III Flamethrower Tank from the July 1944 issue of the Intelligence Bulletin.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy equipment published for Allied soldiers. More accurate data on German weapons and equipment is available in postwar publications.]


The German flame-throwing Pz. Kw. 3 (see fig. 3) appeared for the first time during the early fighting in Italy. This tank is a standard Pz. Kw. 3, Model L or later, with a flame thrower mounted in the turret in place of the normal 50-mm Kw. K., Model 39, which it resembles outwardly (see fig. 4). [1]  The two machine guns, one coaxially mounted in the turret and the other in a ball mounting in the front of the superstructure, are retained.

The flame projector has a limited elevation (from -10° to 20°), while the turret has the full 360° traverse.

Fuel (225 gallons), contained in two tanks stowed internally, is propelled by a centrifugal pump driven by a small gasoline engine mounted in the engine compartment. Using fuel of the type thus far encountered, the flame thrower is believed to have a maximum range of about 55 yards and an effective range of about 40 yards. However, they have been used mainly at ranges of 20 to 30 yards.

In the flame-throwing tank, the crew is reduced from five to three. The flame thrower is aimed and operated by the tank commander, who has two pedals—the right controlling fuel emission and the left firing the coaxial machine gun. The gunner and loader are dispensed with, and their crew space is occupied by the flame throwers fuel tanks.

[Figure 3. -- Comparison of Flame-throwing Pz. Kw. 3 with Standard, Pz. Kw. 3.]
Figure 3.—Comparison of Flame-throwing Pz. Kw. 3 with
Standard, Pz. Kw. 3.

[Figure 4. -- Pz. Kw. 3, Model L, with Flame Thrower.]
Figure 4.—Pz. Kw. 3, Model L, with Flame Thrower.

As might be expected, the normal smoke equipment is retained—that is, triple smoke pot dischargers on each side of the turret.

The following is a recent instance of the tactics of German flame-throwing tanks against U.S. infantry:

Two German flame-throwing tanks, together with three other tanks, supported a German platoon in an attack on a forward position occupied by a platoon of U.S. infantry. The attack was preceded by an artillery and mortar barrage which continued for 1 hour.

The tanks moved forward, and shelled and machine-gunned the position at a range of 50 yards. When U.S. troops attempted to withdraw from the sector, the flame-throwing tanks then joined the action, using their primary weapon against the personnel. In this action the German infantrymen, equipped with machine pistols, moved forward with the armored vehicles. The flame throwers were used intermittently over a 30-minute period and were reported to have a range of 30 yards.

1 Kw. K. (Kampfwagenkanone) = tank gun.

[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

Copyright 2003-2005, LoneSentry.com. All Rights Reserved. Contact: info@lonesentry.com.  

Web LoneSentry.com