Flamers are flamethrower weapons, capable of unleashing a liquid incendiary chemical that bursts into flames as it leaves the weapon. Similar flame-based weapons are used by several of the intelligent races and their militaries across the Milky Way Galaxy. Flamers are valued for their ability to destroy many enemies at once, regardless of any protective cover they possess. Both Flamers and the more compact Hand Flamers are considered assault weapons due to their relatively short range. Loyalist Space Marine and Chaos Space Marine flamers fire a mix of highly volatile liquid chemicals which ignite with the use of a pilot light. The flaming chemical sticks to its target and continues burning on its own accord - those who are not killed instantly die horribly as the super-hot chemical continues to burn through their bodies. The most common flammable substance used as Flamer fuel is Promethium, which is a petroleum-like jelly that can stick to a target and is very similar to the twenty-first century incendiary called napalm. The flamer fires a burst of expanding flames, making the weapon effective at killing enemies in cover.
- Flamers - Flamers are the most basic and simple version of Flamer weapons. They are portable and hand-held.
- Hand Flamers - Hand Flamers (also called "Burners") are more compact pistol versions of the Flamer, requiring only one hand to wield. Along with possessing a lower-capacity fuel tank, a Hand Flamer has a much reduced range, which makes it suited for assault and close-combat purposes only, incinerating foes at short range. The weapon is used by Imperial assault squads, such as the Sisters of Battle's Seraphim units which employ them in pairs.
- Astartes Flamer - The Flamer is an ideal weapon for flushing out enemies in cover and cleansing areas with purifying flame. The typical pattern employed by the Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes accepts fuel through a pressure seal that can attach to a backpack feed for longer uninterrupted usage or a smaller canister for quick refuelling in bursts.
- Astartes Hand Flamer - The Astartes Hand Flamer is a smaller and more compact version of the Astartes Flamer that is still capable of unleashing large blasts of flame, but is good for only a few shots before the fuel canister must be swapped out.
- Astartes Heavy Flamer - While the size and weight of Heavy Flamers makes them an unpopular choice among many Imperial forces, these are hardly deterrents to a Space Marine in Power Armour. Terminator Squads and many vehicles make frequent use of the large saturation area of heavy flamers. The twin nozzles produce huge gouts of fire, enough to purge the densest terrain of xenos.
- Flamers are effective in breaking the cycle of Ork infestation of a world by destroying the fungal spores exuded by Orkoid corpses.
- Flamers are an invaluable tactical choice in conditions where spotting the enemy is difficult due to dense terrain (such as jungles), during urban fights and bunker assaults.
- Field commanders must always remember the devastating impression made by a well-used flamer - a single shot has the potential of destroying an entire enemy squad along with the morale of the whole army.
- The most fanatic adherents of the Imperial Cult employ Flamers against mutants and heretics as the weapon's flames are seen to cleanse sin and impurity from body and soul alike.
- The Flamer is the preferred weapon of the more fervent worshipers of the Emperor such as the fanatical Red Redemptionists and the associated Fanatics of the House of Cawdor of the hive world of Necromunda.
- Among the Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle), the Flamer is favoured as a purifying weapon, and for a Sister to be entrusted with one is a great honour.
- The Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines make wide use of Flamers and Melta weapons due to their preference for close-ranged combat.
- The Catachan Regiments of the Imperial Guard are often deployed to areas of heavy jungle, where enemies can make as much use of the ever-present cover as the Catachans themselves. Accordingly Flamers and Heavy Flamers are especially valued by the Catachans for their ability to rob the enemy of the benefit of the tropical terrain.
Chaos Space Marine Use
The Traitor Legions are able to carry larger-bore flame weapons with greater fuel reserves. These weapons can spit out more Promethium at a time, and thus deal more damage. Flamers and Heavy Flamers are widely used among the Chaos Space Marines with the same tactical use as the Loyalist Space Marines except in some notable cases:
- The Thousand Sons seem to fight only with the standard bolter, even in conditions where the wise use of Flamers and other weapons (such as heavy bolters) would be more effective.
- Among Khornate Berserkers, Chainaxes and other bloody melee weapons are preferred over Flamers.
- The Noise Marines of the Emperor's Children Traitor Legion often opt to use exotic weaponry (such as sonic devices), which share some of the Flamer's tactical advantages.
- In the Orks' warlike culture the Burna Boyz are seen as foolish but also really potent Greenskins, as only a very courageous Ork would carry into battle the large amount of highly flammable fuel needed to operate a Burna, the Greenskin Flamethrower that can spray a cloud of oily fire over everything the Ork sees. A Burna is also fitted with a special nozzle fed by valves that when activated unleashes a small blue arc of flame instead of the standard roaring orange conflagration. This small flame is similar to that produced by a Plasma Cutter and is hot enough to slice through even the thickest armour. However it has a much smaller range than the Burna's standard effects and to use it, the Burna Boy must get very close to the enemy.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), p. 158
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 148-149
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (4th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition)