Fire is one of humanity’s most rudimentary tools, but also one of its oldest killers. This focus of this book is a weapon that has literally placed the power of fire in human hands – the man-portable flamethrower. From its very first use in World War I to its deployment in Vietnam, the weapon has proven to be devastatingly effective, not least because of its huge psychological impact on enemy troops – few other weapons in history have caused such terror. Yet despite this, the man-portable flamethrower has always been vulnerable, suffering from a very particular set of limitations, all of which are explored here, as are some lesser-known capabilities such as the ability to ‘bounce’ a stream of flammable liquid off the interior surfaces of fortified structures. Featuring expert analysis, first-hand accounts, and a startling array of illustrations and photographs, this book is the definitive guide to an extraordinary chapter in the history of military technology.