A Flamer is a flamethrower weapon, 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.
A Heavy Flamer is a larger versions of the weapon with two nozzles, which can unleash a deadlier inferno. Heavy Flamers are often used by specialists in dense conditions, such as during jungle or urban warfare, or by Space Marine Terminators, who make good use of them during cramped ship-boarding actions. The Sisters of Battle of the Adepta Sororitas' Orders Militant often carry Heavy Flamers in their squads. Heavy Flamers are also seen mounted on certain Imperial armored vehicles as secondary weapons, although the Sisters of Battle use twin-linked Heavy Flamers as primary weapons on the Immolator tank. More powerful Flamer-type weapons such as the Inferno Cannon, are available to the Imperial Guard and can be mounted upon the Warhound-class Titan.
Imperial Flamer Variants
- 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 standard pattern 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.
- Incinerator - Utilised by the mysterious Grey Knights Chapter, the Chamber Militant of the Inquisition's Ordo Malleus, Incinerators are actually Heavy Flamers that use a psychically impregnated form of Promethium that burns hotter and more fiercely and is particularly damaging to daemons. These weapons are fueled by the purest consecrated Prometheum, and, like Psycannons, are useful against Warp entities. These weapons are among the most effective in the imperial arsenal, forgoing the enemy's heretical armour, their cowardly cover, and their Warp-spawned magics.
- Flamestorm Cannon - Flamestorm Cannons are double-barreled Heavy Flamer weapons mounted upon the turrets of various Adeptus Astartes vehicles. These powerful weapons spout a billowing tide of burning Promethium into the thick of the foe.
- Inferno Cannon - Inferno Cannons are immense Flamer weapons used by Imperial and Traitor Titans. This weapon is commonly mounted on Warhound-class and Warlord-class Titans but they can also be mounted on the carapace hard points of an Imperator-class Titan. This weapon is also the primary weapon system of the Imperial Guard Malcador Infernus super-heavy tank and the Hellhound. The Inferno Cannon is composed of three linked barrels that propel the liquid incendiary chemical known as Promethium.
- Inferno Gun - Inferno Guns are large weapons that can be mounted on Warhound, Reaver or Warlord Titans. It is similar in effect to its cousin, the Inferno Cannon, which is used by Hellhound Flame Tanks. The Inferno Gun is most effective against hordes and swarms, where the weapon's superheated promethium fuel tears through the enemy's ranks with devastating effect.
Notable Imperial Flamer Patterns
- Hades Pattern Mark III Assault Flamer - The Hades Pattern Flamer features a long, narrow barrel and nozzle connected by a sturdy cable to a Promethium fuel canister worn on the user's back. This design grants an increased fuel reserve, while keeping the weapon itself light. This makes the Hades a perfect choice for squads of Imperial Guardsmen requiring high mobility. The Hades' simple construction has earned it a reputation for reliability and efficiency, and it is a favourite of many light infantry regiments that prefer the speed it allows to raw killing power.
- 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 enemy force.
- 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.
The Tau Empire's Earth Caste has developed Flamers designed for use as a weapon system for Tau XV8 Crisis Battlesuits. XV8 Crisis Battlesuits can also choose to use twin-linked Flamers, in which case it will take up two of their three available system hardpoints. Most often equipped when Battlesuit teams are expected to be fighting massed, lightly-armoured opponents, Tau Flamers are lethal weapons when used against foes in dense terrain.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), p. 158
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pg. 17
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition), pg. 26
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 148-149
- Only War: Hammer of the Emperor (RPG), pg. 113
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (4th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition)