A stream of flame is morally devastating on the battlefield, and of course, deadly too. Flamethrowers were fielded by the Axis and Allies during the Second World War. And while most were tank and backpack affairs, the need of a portable, disposable flamethrower for German paratroopers resulted in the Einstossflammenwerfer 46.
The throw-away flame thrower was equally simple in manufacture and operation. The tank and propellent would release and eject, ignited by a 9mm ignition cartridge upon the pull of the trigger.
The jet of flame would go as far as 40 meters, according to some reports, for between a half and one full second. When the canister emptied, the Einstossflammenwerfer 46 could be discarded. Versions were produced in the several thousands for German front line military and civilian forces during the final months of 1944.
The idea of a disposable flamethrower remained with the German army after the end of World War II. Until the early 21st century the Bundeswehr fielded the Handflammaptrone DM34. Where the '46' used a tank of flammable material, the DM34 shot a phosphorus cannister which ignited into a fiery cloud 15 meters in width and 50 meters in length.
The Einstossflammenwerfer 46 ancestors continue in the service of the Commonwealth of Independent States with the thermobaric line of weapons, like the disposable RPO-A Shmel which ignites in a cloud and creates crushing destructive shock.