Flamethrowers certainly rank up there with napalm as some of the grisliest weapons man has ever invented. They play on almost everyone's instinctive fear of fire, and, according to US Army psychological studies, even the flamethrower gunner is a little afraid of his weapon. They are devices to spray a burning liquid upon the enemy, whether it be fuel oil, gasoline, jellied fuel, or napalm. This results in the victim catching fire, and in all probability, burning to death in a matter of minutes.
Flamethrowers largely passed out of use by most countries in the late 1980s, replaced by weapons firing white phosphorus or fuel-air explosive. They came into use again in the Twilight War's "any weapon is a good one" mentality. Most common users were the French, who used them with great abandon against military and civilians alike, and by Russia, especially in China, and flamethrower use was also prevalent at the Battle of Czestochowa in early June of 1997. (There is a well-documented atrocity early in the invasion of China, where a Spetsnaz Starshina executed a large group of Chinese prisoners by emptying a flamethrower at them.)
USE OF FLAMETHROWERS
Flamethrowers are fired using Grenade Launcher skill. (Optionally, the GM may want to put flamethrowers in their own class of weapons, as a separate skill.) They are fired as other direct fire weapons, except that they spray in an arc of 15-45 degrees per phase, as chosen by the user. A roll to hit is made against every creature in the arc; a successful hit means that 1-8 body parts are set on fire and take damage as if caught in burning fuel (1d6 damage per second). The victims must immediately attempt to put out the flames. Attempts to put out the fire are made until all flames are put out, the victim is rendered unconscious, or the victim takes sufficient damage to reduce his Initiative Level to zero (at which point he is too badly hurt to effectively fight flames).
Assuming the victim puts out the flames and still has some fight left in him, he must make a panic roll. Failure means the victim immediately runs away until he is out of range or out of sight of the flamethrower wielder. If the victim is in a vehicle, he immediately ducks inside and closes all doors and hatches.
If the victim has the Willpower skill, and fails the panic roll, he may make a Formidable: Willpower roll to remain in the area and act freely.
Animals always run from the flamethrower wielder. They do not stop to put themselves out until they are out of range, even if this would result in them burning to death before they are out of range.
If the victims can tell that the flamethrower gunner is out of fuel, panic does not have to be rolled.
Flames from a flamethrower go right through open windows, firing slits on bunkers, open doors, etc.
Flammable objects may be set on fire by flamethrower blasts. The chance for this is a flat 50% per object, and does not include clothing on victims, but may include ammunition. If a magazine or container of small arms ammunition catches on fire, the magazine makes 1d6 hit rolls against the carrier at a hit roll of 5. Each roll that hits inflicts 2d6-2 damage upon the carrier of the ammunition. No more hits than there are rounds in the magazine/container may hit the victim, thus, if there are only 2 rounds in the magazine, but a 5 is rolled for number of hits, no more than two rounds may make hit rolls.
Explosive rounds like ATGM and rocket launcher rounds explode on a roll of 5 or less. Grenades explode on a roll of 1. If the victim is carrying a Molotov cocktail or container of fuel, it explodes on a roll of 10 or less, and covers the victim with even more burning fuel.
Wood-frame houses, trees, bushes, etc., may also be set on fire by flamethrower blasts. This has a flat 50% probability. If adjacent 10 meter squares also have flammable structures or objects, the flames spread to that square 25% of the time.
Soft-skinned vehicles are set on fire by flamethrower blasts on a roll of 5 or less on 1d20. If set on fire, they have a 5 in 20 chance of exploding.
BUT THERE'S A DOWNSIDE…
The flamethrower is vulnerable to exploding if hit by fire or exposed to flame. If the flamethrower wielder is hit by small arms fire or fragments in the back of the abdomen or chest, the flamethrower explodes on a roll equal to the damage dice of the round on 1d20 and ceases to operate due to leaks on further range equal to the damage dice on 1d20. Thus, if the damage dice of the weapon hitting the flamethrower is 6, the flamethrower explodes on a 1-6 on 1d20, and ceases to operate on a 7-12. Weapons that cause -1 or -2 are resolved as if they had a damage dice of 1. Weapons that do at least 20 dice will always cause the flamethrower to explode. This explosion is a C6 B24 blast, and the flamethrower wielder takes damage as if he is in direct contact with the explosion.
If the flamethrower wielder is in the burst radius of an explosion, there is a 1 in 20 chance per concussion value that the flamethrower explodes. Thus if in the same square as a grenade burst, the wielder has a 3 in 20 chance of his flamethrower exploding.
When a flamethrower explodes, all within the burst radius are covered with burning fuel in 1-8 hit locations.
If a flamethrower wielder is hit by flamethrower fire, incendiary fragments, napalm, or exposed to open flame, the chance of exploding is 10 in 20.
If Catastrophic Failure is rolled, there is a 50% chance that the pilot light at the end of the flame gun goes out, and a 50% chance that the flamethrower develops a leak that renders it inoperative until repaired by someone with Gunsmith or Combat Engineer skill. These repairs are a Difficult task, and take 8 phases. Relighting a pilot light takes 2 phases (no skill required), and the flamethrower cannot be fired until the pilot light is relit. (Fuel will still squirt out, but will not ignite.)
Flamethrowers require regular maintenance from someone with Gunsmith or Combat Engineer skill. 2 hours of maintenance are required per week. Failure to provide this maintenance changes the events caused by Catastrophic Failure to a 50% chance of the pilot light going out, 25% chance of the flamethrower becoming inoperative, and 25% chance of the flamethrower exploding spontaneously.