M-5 Stuart, Satan Flamethrower Tank

The light M5 Stuart remained in use as a main battle tank for much longer in the Pacific than in other theaters. It was better than the Japanese Type 95 Ha-go light tank. The Type 97 Chi-ha medium tank had a more powerful 47mm gun, but much thinner armor (only 25mm at its thickest), so the M5 and M5A1 could fight it on at least equal terms.

Being outfitted with a Ronson flamethrower which replaced the main gun. 20 tanks were converted for US Marine Corps in 1943. They were used to great effect on Japanese strong points and caves that proved a tough nut to crack for the advancing Marines.

In Europe, Allied light tanks had to be given cavalry and infantry fire support roles since their main cannon armament could not compete with heavier enemy armored fighting vehicles.  However, the Stuart was still effective in combat in the Pacific, as Japanese tanks were both relatively rare and were lighter in armor than even Allied light tanks.  Japanese infantrymen were not well equipped with ant-tank weapons, and as such had to use close assault tactics.  In this environment, the Stuart was only moderately more vulnerable than medium tanks.

Crews of ‘flame’ tanks were not necessarily more vulnerable than those crews in the regular, standard version of the tank, but the crews of flamethrowing tanks were often treated differently should they be captured alive by enemy troops.

Due to the perceived inhumanity of the weapon itself, captured crews of such tanks were often treated much less humanely than crews of regular tanks. Instances of ‘flame tankers’ being executed by the opposite troops upon capture were not uncommon.

Flame tanks also suffered from the fact, along with flamethrower-armed troops, that all enemy within range would usually open up on them due to the fear of the weapon. (Wikipedia)

This tank is a super rare recreation of the infamous Satan Tank which now tours the show circuit in America.

 

 

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Military Tank Humor –

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Melton Brockman – Bainbridge Island, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO, 7th Service Regiment, mechanic

Robert Burke – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, WWII, CBI

Cornelius Duffy – Olean, NY; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, 2nd Lt.

Sol Grossman – Boyle Heights, CA; US Navy, WWII

William Harvey – McKees Rock, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/188th/11th Airborne Division

Nathan Keen Jr. – Lake City, FL; USMC, WWII, PTO / US Air Force, CMSgt. (Ret, 25 y.)

Albert Masserini – Trenton, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-7 gunner, Lt. Col. (Ret.)

Dean Smith – Bussey, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO, medic

Therese Thackray (100) – Yorkshire, ENG; Royal Navy WRNS, WWII, Code & Cypher Officer

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on February 18, 2019, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 125 Comments.

  1. An often-forgotten fact is that Winston Churchill was something of a “father” of the tank as he pushed for its development in WWI. He is also considered to be the “father” of the armored personnel carrier. When he was Minister of the Home Office (to whom the police report – unlike in the U.S. where the police are part of city government), Churchill personally went to supervise the routing of a group of Latvian (!) terrorists in East London by having steel plates attached to the sides of his Rolls-Royce and driving the car right into the house where the terrorists were holed up. Churchill was nothing if not fearless!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post gp, have never had much knowledge of tanks, apart from our Centurion and Leopard in Vietnam, the M5 Stuart certainly sounds vulnerable, and I can imagine why the enemy would take drastic action against those captured crews.
    Cheers mate.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ronson lights the first time every time.

    These tanks give that motto a whole new meaning

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After “Human body(Anatomy)dissections”, I could not eat “meat”for a while.
    “Odor”… became a trauma(T^T)…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My son was just in the Gunnery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So scary! I had never heard of this, before! 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Now I’m retired and don’t go to work, I see so many different vehicles I’d like to go to work in. Just a couple of hundred yards in that Satan tank. I’d pay money for that ! Good money!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Not to be a killjoy but if you blow the picture up you can see it is an M-4 Sherman not an M-5 Stuart. The rear of the hull slopes down to the back of the tank not flat like an M-5. Also the turret has a curve at the top not flat like a Stuart.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s interesting reading the comments above that “they are still legal”.

    I often ponder the ‘legality’ and the morality of weapons—why are some legal and approved, and others regarded as not nice?

    Could it be that the law-makers are a bit worried that the things may somehow be used against them, personally?
    So we should look at human nature more closely—in desperate situations absolutely anything goes regardless of what the book says. And no nation that has nukes with credible systems of delivery would ever permit a successful invasion by another, so outlawing nukes (napalm, gas, germs, etc) is ridiculous—nice, well-intentioned, but a bit silly. Naive enough to be culpable …

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It seems to me that it’s a staple of WW2 films that the flamer-thrower tank gets engulfed in flames or blown up. It’s very interesting that the crews of such vehicles were treated very differently when captured.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for this post; what a weapon. What horror is war though I can understand the need for such a weapon platform from a military and tactical perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wat een verschrikkelijk wapen.Stel je voor dat zoiets opduikt voor u.Dat overleeft toch niemand.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Wow! 😮 ! That is interesting, amazing, and quite terrifying (to be on the receiving end…AND even just to be inside of a tank!)!

    Love the cammo photo and message! 😀
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. And here I thought Ronson only made cigarette lighters.
    Two interesting FS today, GP. Cornelius Duffy was only 14 and tried to join the USn, too young so he went to war in the merchanr navy, and switched to the US Army as soon as he was able. Apparently he referred Florida to NY, and thats where he settled,

    The last one Theresa Thackery was one of those bright young things working out at Bletchley Park.

    Directly under the photo group of this lady on Google is a link to this very post, whether it’s still there if you go check it out I have no idea, but it looks like Google has linked this post to her pictures.
    Interesting

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for adding information about our Farewell Salutes, Beari, always appreciated. I do know that this blog has a Google page rating of 10, but I had no idea they were linking up. Thanks for telling me.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I wouldn’t want to be on the ‘receiving end’ of any flamethrower, GP. Originally used as long ago as Ancient Greece, it was perfected as a modern weapon by the Germans, who used them extensively in WW1. It really came into its own in the Pacific war during WW2, with proven effectiveness against Japanese prepared positions.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Great information, GP! Waiting on the first flame throwing drone. 😉 Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The story of the M3/M5 is fascinating, especially in the Pacific. Nice article.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Only if you want a punishmently strong light.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. The last place I would want to be is in a cave with a M5 Ronson equipped pulling up outside. Thanks for the coverage, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I don’t want to be in a submarine; I don’t want to be in a tank . It would take a definite courageous determination to be a tanker .

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Nasty little bugger. I’ve always liked the Stuart.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Interesting GP. I almost laughed at the part about treating the crew of flame-throwing tanks less humanely because their weapon was less humane. A distinction without a difference I suspect.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. It’s hard to imagine a more terrifying weapon being used between ground forces.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Can you imagine that thing coming at you?

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Flame throwers were/are one god-awful weapon.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Tanks alot for the interesting article on the Ronson lighter’s bulked up cousin. Fascinating article.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Interesting post. I always had very mixed feelings about the flame thrower being used as a weapon of war. While war is never humane, this would certainly be a particularly gruesome and painful way to go. It kind of ranks up there with chemical and biological weapons in my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I can think of a few uses on my darker days. Our human ingenuity never ceases to surprise me, this is another example, macabre as it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Thanks for the link. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Not being a veteran, I don’t often give military opinions. The Stuart light tank was ideal for the Pacific campaign, since the terrain involved (not to mention weather conditions) were not suitable for heavier and larger tanks. Island warfare had no “rear areas” which were safe; wounded men often became casualties before they could be evacuated.
    Considering the enemy’s overall treatment of prisoners, the flamethrower’s perceived “inhumanity” is hogwash.
    Great post, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I just saw my question about Ronson answered up above. It seems that the same company responsible for the tank managed to domesticate it for patio use. I see that tank crews named their machinery, too, just as pilots painted names on their planes. “Nasty Girl” made me laugh.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I can understand why the flamethrower tanks were used on caves and why the crews of the flamethrowers were treated differently once captured. That thing looks menacingly powerful.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. This is either here nor there, but for some reason I always remembered ‘flamethrower’ as being the final puzzle long ago on Wheel of Fortune, in the catagory of ‘It’s a thing !’… like who would ever think of that haha

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Now THAT’S a flame thrower!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. My dad served in the Navy, luckily stateside, in Charleston, SC, flying the blimps. He had no issue with doing his duty but was fearful of dying overseas, so enlisted in the Navy to avoid being drafted to the Army infantry, and lucked out with his assignment

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I’ll never look at my old Ronson lighter the same way again.

    Liked by 4 people

  37. I thought I’d subscribed a while back but I guess I messed up, so I’m a fresh subscriber now.. Is that you in the avatatar photo? did you serve in WW2 ??

    Liked by 2 people

  38. That thing would be a nightmare to see coming after you.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Interesting video.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: FEATURED BLOGGER REPORT: M-5 Stuart, Satan Flamethrower Tank By Pacific Paratrooper #AceHistoryDesk reports | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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