A Heavy Flamer is a larger, more powerful version of the standard Flamer, capable of projecting hotter and denser flames. This means that Heavy Flamers possess better armour-piercing capabilities than standard Flamers. In the Imperial Guard, Heavy Flamers are often used by specialists in dense conditions, such as jungle warfare, urban warfare and close-quarters melee combat. It is, however, most commonly found mounted on vehicles, though it is just reasonable enough in size to be carried by a team of two human troopers or a single Space Marine. Any lack of accuracy is more than offset by the wide gouts of burning Promethium it fires that are almost impossible to dodge. Heavy Flamers must be fuelled by backpack fuel canisters -- a considerable weight is already part of the weapon profile and as such the canister must be worn on the back of one of the two normal wielders if they are unaugmented humans. Despite their cumbersome weight, these formidable weapons are a valuable addition to Space Marine Devastator Squads and Terminator-armoured veterans, who utilise them for clearing Space Hulks of any potential threats, or to provide a bulwark of defence against encroaching enemy forces. As such, Heavy Flamers are a favoured weapon of Deathwatch Terminators wherever the Tyranid threat swarms.
The origin of Flamer Weapons lay in Mankind's past, to at least the early 2nd Millennium, to its precursor, the flamethrower, a mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long controllable stream of fire. Since this bygone age, Flamer Weapons, in one form or another, have been a part of Humanity's wars. The origins of Heavy Flamers most likely lie in the Dark Age of Technology. By the late 30th Millennium, these deadly weapons were a valuable addition to the arsenal of the Legiones Astartes' Legion Heavy Support Squads. Heavy Flamers were also a common weapon amongst Legion Terminator Squads assigned to boarding actions and similar "Zone Mortalis" engagements, where contact with numerous enemies in confined battle zones was anticipated. In the modern 41st Millennium, these ancient and formidable weapons are often feared by the foe at close quarters, and still play a valuable role in the military forces of the Imperium.
Flame Weapons use a fuel generically referred to as Promethium. On worlds of lower technology, this could be home-brewed concoctions or other chemicals, but Astartes weapons use only the most concentrated and refined formulas, achieving consistently superior results. Most models carry mono-propellant fuel which ignites via a small pilot flame at the tip of the barrel, though self-igniting models utilising binary hypergolic fuels are not unheard of. Once produced, the intense jet that spurts from the barrel creates a torrent of liquid fire, which spreads out in an inferno that burns even underwater, leaving enemies hard-pressed to put out the fire. A savage weapon, a Heavy Flamer fires a stream of super-heated promethium, generating temperature in excess of 900°C, incinerating anything hit. Such is the weapon's fearsome reputation that many foes will flee rather than face the prospect of a terrible death.
As an infantry weapon, they are not as common as standard Flamers among the Imperial military forces and fewer units are capable of using them. The Sisters of Battle of the Adepta Sororitas are one of the few Imperial infantry units outside of the Adeptus Astartes who make use of Heavy Flamers because of the spiritually purgative associations made with the use of fire as a weapon. Among the Astartes, the Salamanders Chapter is most famous for its preferred use of Flamer weapons including the Heavy Flamer and the Heavy Flamer is a standard special weapon used by all Space Marine Terminators. Some Imperial Guard Regiments are capable of fielding Heavy Flamers in squads of infantry, such as the Catachan Jungle Fighters. Heavy Flamers are also encountered on Imperial armoured vehicles, such as the Sentinels and Chimeras of the Imperial Guard. They are possible secondary weapons for some Space Marine vehicles as well, such as Dreadnoughts and Land Speeder Tornadoes.
Known Imperial Heavy Flamer Patterns
- Anvilus Pattern Heavy Flamer - An ancient Heavy Flamer pattern utilsed by the ancient Space Marine Legions, this reliable weapon is still utilised in the modern 41st Millennium by such Chapters as the fearsome Minotaurs.
- 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. Their twin nozzles can produce huge gouts of fire, enough to purge the densest terrain of xenos.
- Astartes 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 Promethium, and, like Psycannons, are useful against Warp entities. These weapons are among the most effective in the Imperial arsenal, and are capable of forgoing the enemy's heretical armour, their cowardly cover, and their Warp-spawned magics.
- Heavy Flamer - Utilised by most Imperial forces, these standard weapons are large and heavy, thus requiring a crew of two men; one to aim and carry the barrel, and the other saddled with the delightful job of having a large tank of Promethium strapped to their back. Heavy Flamers are ideal for immolating entire swathes of enemy with each shot, and serve as an effective terror weapon.
- Locke-Pattern "Hellsent" - Heavy Flamers are large and cumbersome, normally only used on vehicles, Power Armoured users or teams of troopers. Like the basic flamer pattern, Locke Heavy Flamers use heavy tanks carried on a backpack (which also helps ensure they are not in the direct line of incoming shells). The twin nozzles produce huge gouts of fire, enough to purge the densest terrain of xenos taint.
- Mk III Pattern - A notable variant utilised by the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter, this Heavy Flamer pattern has an enlarged Promethium tank which allows for twelve large bursts of flame to be fired upon the enemy before being exhausted.
- Mk VI Pattern - Another common Heavy Flamer variant known to be utilised by the ferocious Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter.
- Phaestos Pattern Heavy Flamer - An ancient pattern of Heavy Flamer often utilised by Legion Terminator Squads during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras.
- Ultima Pattern - A common variant utilsed by Space Marine Terminator Squads as a standard support weapon. The Dark Angels Space Marine Chapter is known to favour this pattern of Heavy Flamer.
The Traitor Legions carry larger-bore flame weapons with greater fuel reserves. These weapons can spit out more Promethium at a time, and thus deal more damage. Heavy Flamers are widely used among the Chaos Space Marines with the same tactical use as the Loyalist Space Marine Chapters.
Xenos Heavy Flamers
- Dragon's Breath Flamer - Utilised by the deadly Fire Dragons Aspect Warriors, the Dragon's Breath Flamer can unleash a ranging inferno upon a nearby foe. They are similar to the Heavy Flamers employed by the military forces of the Imperium of Man.
- Skorcha - These Ork weapons are large custom built flamethrowers designed to hurl large gouts of flaming fuel. The fuel in question is a volatile mixture of gases and liquids and compressed into a cylinder. When a valve is opened the mixture is forced through the weapon's nozzle with a staccato gurgle, and directed over the target where it ignites with a loud audible noise that causes much hilarity for the Burna Boyz. Scorchas are dangerous, unreliable, spectacular and, as a consequence, highly popular. They are the equivalent to Imperial Heavy Flamers.
Notable Heavy Flamers
- Dreadfire Heavy Flamers - Primarch Vulkan of the Salamanders Legion designed these two unique arm weapons for the unique Dreadnought sarcophagus known as the Dracos Revenant, or the Iron Dragon. This Dreadnought chassis made use of Dreadfire Close Combat Arms, each of which had an in-built Dreadfire Heavy Flamer that represented the Dracos Revenant 's potent and unique armament. In the 41st Millennium, the current occupant of this ancient relic Mars Pattern Mark IV Venerable Dreadnought is Bray'arth Ashmantle.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 158
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 57, 59
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 49
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 34
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 32
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pp. 45, 89-90
- Codex: Orks (3rd Edition), pg. 36
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 98
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 57, 59
- Codex: Tau (6th Edition), pg. 79
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pg. 17
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pg. 115
- Dark Heresy: Daemon Hunter (RPG), pg. 132
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pg. 171
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 149
- Gorkamorka: Da Roolz (RPG), pg. 56
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 181
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks, Part One, pg. 148
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 32-33,
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 171-172
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 146
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 124
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Imperial Armour), pp. 77, 102, 248, 252
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 51, 56
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 157
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (2nd Edition), pg. 12, 14
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 36
- Forge World - Cataphractii Special Weapons Set
- Forge World - Legion Tartaros Terminator Special Weapons Set
- Games Workshop Online Catalog - Imperial Guard Catachan with Heavy Flamers
- Forge World - Death Korps of Krieg Heavy Flamer Team
- Games Workshop Online Catalog - Battle Sister with Heavy Flamer