By David Fletcher, Tony Bryan
A fire-breathing 'monster' at the battlefield, the Churchill Crocodile flamethrower was once the most devastating and awe-inspiring guns of the second one global conflict. Tank specialist David Fletcher chronicles the improvement of the flamethrower tank, detailing the versions of the Crocodile and studying the dramatic results of those tanks in conflict from D-Day to the dramatic flamethrower assault at the River Senio in Italy. Revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the flamethrower tanks, Fletcher investigates the post-war use of Crocodiles to burn down and sterilize the location of Belsen focus camp, in addition to their mobilization for the Korean struggle, and post-war advancements to the prototype Centurion Crocodile. as well as the position of the Churchill Crocodile at the battlefields of Western Europe, a number of the wheeled flamethrowers designed for domestic security in Britain in the course of global warfare II are tested. Researched utilizing the papers of Reginald Fraser- the genius in the back of the flamethrowers and dramatically illustrated with unique paintings and formerly unpublished modern photos, this ebook brings to lifestyles the real terror of those tanks.
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Additional info for Churchill Crocodile Flamethrower
As far as flame throwers were concerned, SAE, when it issued its final report in 1951, was trying out various improvements to the Crocodile. These included a remote-control method of pressuring up, a pressure gauge for the flame-gunner and an offset sighting telescope that would not be obscured by flame and smoke. The Sea Serpent flamethrowing amphibian was still being tested (now under the designation FV502) and attempts were being made to create a DD swimming version of the Sherman Crocodile (see New Vanguard 123: Swimming Shermans).
Only the US Army kept the faith and still had flamethrowing versions of the Ml13 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) operational in Vietnam at least up to 1969. Maybe, in peacetime, we find the idea of burning men alive a bit too unpleasant to contemplate, although if wartime evidence is any guide flame was more deterrent than killer, except in the case of the most fanatical resisters. Possibly it was simply more trouble and more risk than it was worth. Whatever the case, it had its day and is now gone.
To pick an extreme example, one gets the impression that 1st Fife & Forfar Yeomanry invariably had one squadron supporting elements of the US Army who, by now, seem to have become totally sold on flamethrowers. The Americans had shown a lot of interest in flame early in 1944, when a Committee on Special Equipment reported to General Eisenhower that Britain would be able to supply equipment to convert 100 Sherman tanks to the Crocodile role, starting in March 1944. It appears to have been an optimistic promise, for although a prototype was soon ready, on an M4A4 (Sherman V) tank, the supply of trailers alone was bound to interfere with 33 British requirements.
Churchill Crocodile Flamethrower by David Fletcher, Tony Bryan