As World World War 2 ground on and Germany's relentless advance ground to half, the German military started mass producing weapons of last resort that if mass produced could stop Allied forces in their tracks and once again turn the tide of the war. Weapons such as the larger panzerfausts, the MP 3008 (the German copy of the British Sten gun), and the first assault rifles (and their cheap knock offs) started being issued to civilians and front line units alike. One of these last ditch weapons followed in the philosophy of the panzerfaust. The cheap and easy to make panzerfaust gave lowly infantry a much needed anti-tank bite against allied armour. Hoping to give inexperienced troops a similar advantage against enemy forces (especially in urban environments) the Germans developed the einstossflammenwerfer.
According to the all knowing Wikipedia: "The Einstossflammenwerfer 46 was a flamethrower designed in Germany during the second half of World War II and introduced in 1944; it was engineered to be both cheap and easily mass-produced. The disposable weapon fired a half-second burst of flame of up to 27 metres (89 ft). It was issued to the Volkssturm or the Werwolf movement, but also used by the Fallschirmjäger and other frontline units."
In Bolt Action terms, Einstossflammenwerfers are a bit of a terror. You can take a flamethrower team (not Pioneers) and replace the one flamethrower bearer and his assistant with two soldiers, each carrying one, one shot flamer thrower. Both one shots must be fired at the same time. When they fire, each uses the rules for an infantry manned flame thrower so when they fire, combined they inflict 2D6 flamer hits with +2 penetration. If that is not bad enough, they also FAQ'ed the results recently to say that these weapons cause 2D3+1 pins before forcing the obligatory flame thrower fear test. So if you survive the hits, there is a good chance that you will fail your moral check and die (or pass and be massively pinned out). Brutal stuff.
To balance their bite though, they do have a down side. They are as disposable in the game as they were in real life. Normally infantry flamethrowers have to roll a dice after firing to see if they run out of fuel. These one shot flamers count as automatically failing this test. So once you fire them, they automatically die. The cheapest you can buy them is 50 points at regular (or 65 points at veteran). So they are not exactly cheap.
They are fantastic at killing those things that you have to deal with in your opponent's force but unlike most other infantry units, you can't count on later using them to help hold objectives because either they are going to shoot and remove themselves from the table or they are going to be targeted by just about every gun nearby. As such, they do make a great distraction unit that your opponent has to deal with or else. I like them a lot though I tend to use more durable units in my forces. I look forward to using a team of these guys this weekend at G Patrol in my Late-War German Army.
Look for my post G Patrol report to see how I went with my disposable flame throwers.
Til next time....