The LPO-50 (Легкий Пехотный Огнемёт, Lyegkey Pyechotnie Ognyemyot, Russian for "light infantry flamethrower") is a Soviet-made flamethrower used during World War II. It can fire flesh-burning flames from over 200 feet away. It was the Mid-Range weapon of the IRA.
The LPO-50 used three fuel tanks carried on the back. Unlike other flamethrowers which use pressurized gas to project the fuel, the LPO-50 uses a black powder cartridge to empty each tank. Because of this, the weapon could be fired exactly three times, each shot completely emptying one of tanks.
- First Used: 1968
- Range: 70 yards
- 3x0.75 Gas tanks
- Ammo: Thickened diesel fuel
Although fire weapons existed since the stone age; the first flame throwers were recorded during the Battle of Delium of the Peloponnesian War. The Byzantines would improve the technology using hand-pumps, which could be placed on naval ships to burn enemy triremes and longships made out of flammable wood. Sail fibers were also targeted to further cripple enemy ships.
Like all major powers during World War II, the Soviets used flamethrowers sparingly during the war, and even less during later conflicts.
During a time known as "the Troubles" during the mid-1980's, the IRA smuggled a number of these flamethrowers into Ireland from Libya (as the controversial dictator Muammar Gaddafi openly supported the IRA terrorists). The most well known use was in an ambush against a British Army checkpoint on December 13, 1989, which was referenced during the IRA vs. Taliban episode. However while the episode depicts the flamethrower killing two British Army soldiers, in the actual attack it was used against a command post and the soldiers were killed by gunfire.
The Firearms Act of 1968, introduced primarily in response to The Troubles, outlawed several weapons within the UK (including firearms).
This weapon was paired against the RPG-7 Rocket Launcher. The LPO-50 (or rather, since the LPO-50 is banned in the US, a substitute flamethrower) burnt its targets at temperatures of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the effective range (920 meters), explosion radius, and killing power of the RPG-7 were unquestionable, giving it the edge in mid-range weapons.
The footage for season one reviewed the I.R.A.'s LPO-50 Flamethrower against the Spetsnaz's Saiga Shotgun. While the Saiga was quick and deadly, the LPO-50 Flamethrower brought a psychological advantage. Additionally, burn injuries were deemed to be far worse than gunshot wounds, giving the I.R.A. the edge.