1. Think they filled with some type of riot control agent? The manuals for the US models of flamethrowers say “flamethrower and chemical dispenser”

  2. “Serious Riot Control”
    Remember that Freikorps also fought against Weimar Republic. Freikorps also fought outside territory of modern German state, for example Eiserne Division fought in modern Baltic States. Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIt78GF7rec to hear song of this unit and read English translation.
    For more information of events caused by German Empire loss in World War One google for:
    Stahlhelm (Bund der Frontsoldaten)
    Baltische Landeswehr – unit which fought against Bolshevik forces in Latvia
    Novemberrevolution (1918/1919)
    Bayerische Räterepublik – Bavarian Soviet Republic

  3. Daweo, you are absolutely correct. These troops usually consisted of the most battle hardened stosstuppen veterans. In those areas, supposedly post WW1, they truly fought TOUGH engagements. Those in Latvia fought most energetically. The battles may not be as well known or as large as those during what is called WW1, but on those smaller front in Latvia were just as fierce.

  4. The Spartakists were communists and this was not riot control either but saving your country from a communist revolution.

    • “The Spartakists were communists and this was not riot control either but saving your country from a communist revolution.”


      Freikorps saved germany from the horrors wwho happened in 1918 in Hungary:







      The Lenin Boys were used as an instrument to suppress opposition to the communist government.

      While it is not clear when and to what degree the Lenin Youth became executioners, contemporary media reports suggest there was an evolution from enforcers to killers. On May 18, 1919, almost two months into the four-month-long Hungarian revolution, the New York Times reported that:

      “ “The ‘Lenin Boys’… are well armed with rifles, hand grenades and machine guns. In an American city they would be called gangsters, but in the absence of a responsible Government they are able to act more freely. So far, according to people direct from Budapest, they have committed only robberies, but being of criminal instincts and having power, there is no telling when they may begin greater crimes.”

      and just imagine a communist germnany (with is heavy industry an military power !! ) allied with russia in 1918: communism can control europe in few years !!

      • “communism can control europe in few years”
        Very gruesome vision, if you know later history of Soviet Union, and if not just google Yezhov or Yezhovshchina or Kagonovich Lazar or Holodomor in Ukrainian SSR

        • “, if you know later history of Soviet Union, and if not just google Yezhov or Yezhovshchina or Kagonovich Lazar or Holodomor in Ukrainian SSR”

          yes, i know this story. 6-10 millions death, cannibalism ect…

          Joachim Hoffmann made a book “Stalin’s War of Extermination”

          According to the author, Stalin was preparing to launch a major offensive against Western Europe during the summer or fall of 1941. Only the invasion of the USSR, June 22, 1941, by German armies thwarted this plan of aggression. The author also brings many revelations about the conduct of this war and on how the Soviets led it: Stalin’s soldiers were often forced to fight by the weapon of terror, full surrender to the enemy is liable to the death penalty and ruthless reprisals being taken against the families of deserters. Reviewing the atrocities committed on both sides, Hoffmann reveals how a series of Soviet crimes were attributed to German military coldly by propaganda from Moscow. It also shows us, supporting documents, that German prisoners fell into the hands of the Red Army were massacred almost systematically throughout the conflict right from the first day of war. Many other topics are covered in this important work.

  5. “You don’t scare me, Fritz! I have a disintegrate-proof vest!”

    Doesn’t overkill for riot control make political movements and rioting get worse? Ferguson’s troubles from last year bring to mind the issue of police using excessive force against people who seem not to be fairly represented in their own local government.

    If I’m not mistaken about overkill, some British colonial police units got armored cars…

    Weapon of choice scenario:

    Given a choice in some outlandish scenario, how do you very quickly deal with a horde of knife-wielding terrorists disguised as legitimate political protesters? This isn’t a First Amendment thing, by the way. It’s NON-POLITICALLY MOTIVATED EVIL!!!!!!

    1. Regular riot gear (shields, tear gas, pepper spray, clubs)
    2. Electric riot gloves, stated to unleash 1500 volts of pain upon anybody who decides to get personal with you
    3. BA-6 heavy armored cars with tank cannons!!
    4. Microwave emitting “Pain Ray” on Humvee
    5. Row of MG08’s
    6. Ludicrously bright search lights (LAMP BURN!!!! NOOOOOOO!)
    7. Screw the budget! Add your favorite toys to this list!!!!!!

    I hope your wallets aren’t empty, readers. Why? Oh, no reason… Just don’t flak me, this activity is voluntary.

    Happy Halloween!!!!


    • A column of Vietnam-era Ontos AFVs with the six 106mm recoilless guns loaded with beehive rounds, or replace the 106s with Miniguns and add an ammo trailer. These would be backed up by a group of front-end loaders and dump trucks to harvest the Soylent Green.

      • Seems to me the Ontos was used during the fighting in Hue during Tet. An under-regarded weapon for certain purposes.

    • Knives?

      Oshkosh airport crash tender with foam and water cannon. Especially in a place with streets going up hills (i.e. San Francisco).

      “Holding the high ground” has a very important meaning in this context.

      “Slip-slidin’ away, slip-slidin’ awaay, heyy,

      “You know, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip-slidin’ awaay”



    • Grand and Revered Master Cherndog:
      Anti-Gravity Skateboards armed with Vulcan Cannons (the true original name of the Mini-Guns) chambered for 6.9″ 12 gauge 0000 Buckshot pulling a levitation trailers each carrying 1,237,539 rounds each. Oh yes, don’t forget the Liquid Nitrogen barrel quinch-coolers to keep the ceramic barrels from melting. A Bowie Knife as a back-up would be nice as well.

      • I can’t tell if the other team is entirely dead or just plain missing… Wait a minute. [uses shock gloves on a survivor] Now how to pay for the ammunition expenditure… How many wallets did you salvage, Bill?

    • “7. Screw the budget! Add your favorite toys to this list!!!!!!”
      C2H6S also known as ethyl mercaptan and sometimes ethanethiol. Very smelly.
      How to deliver it? I would chose drop from aeroplane, but if you want you might use chemical T-26 variant ХТ-134:
      (sometimes described as flamethrower tank, it was designed to be flamethrower aswell poison-gas-thrower tank hence ХТ – химический танк – chemical tank)

      • The trouble with that is that like gunfire, it creates martyrs. Which is more or less the point of mob action from the mob’s leaders’ POV.

        That’s why I prefer foam. The mob gets broken up, their Molotov cocktails don’t do them any good, and instead of being the “victims” they end up looking like extras in a Mack Sennett Keystone Kops comedy from a hundred years ago.

        Then you post the videos of them sliding around on the ground looking like doofuses on YouTube….



        • [evil laughter] That would have been a better thing to do during the Ferguson riots last year! Use the soap, not the shotguns. Let the rabble LOOK STUPID! But sadly, it turned out that the Ferguson Police was filled with corrupt hicks who allegedly loved to troll black people with arguably fictitious traffic tickets and oddly steep court fines and fees… Should the Missouri state police replace the local police and use the soap while they’re at it in lieu of the old “threaten all protesters with M4 carbines and German Shepherds” approach? And I don’t mean using the soap per the work-place cleanliness requirement.

  6. Evidently, this was a common device for of “crowd control” in post-WW1 Germany as I have seen other photos of similarly equipped Freikorps units. Notice how the guys with the fuel tanks are hanging back while the gunners haul the hoses forward. In another photo I saw recently, Freikorps volunteers are posing on what appears to be a captured or German copy of a British Mk. IV “Female” tank, equipped with MG 08/15s in place of the Vickers guns and Totenkopfs emblazoned on the hull. I doubt that those guys were using tear gas and rubber bullets. As LG states, a lot of fighting took place after the “hostilities” officially ended, but it tends to get overlooked as being in the aftermath of “the War to End All Wars.”

    • I doubt we’ll ever get the full history of the post war fighting and political maneuvering. So much was lost in the next war, and the… political situation afterwards didn’t lend itself to careful and unbiased research.

      Have to wonder how flamethrower units chose the man to hold the fuel. Short straw? Unpopular? Sergeant-owed-him-money?

      • “I doubt we’ll ever get the full history of the post war fighting and political maneuvering.”
        See for example Rudolf Berthold
        German flying ace, which downed 44 enemy planes, he fight even after his arm was paralyzed after his was wounded, managing to shot 16 enemy planes, after war he organized Freikorps which fought in Latvia. He was killed in political street fighting in Hamburg in 1920.
        Yes, he was killed by German citizens, despite he was known for their patriotism and was able to stay alive despite being several time wounded in aerial combat.

    • Doc, in both World Wars the Germans used and reused captured weapons and other war material. You probably saw a Beutepanzer. The Totenkopf emblem could have been from a Guards regiment, who used it as a badge. Many Stosstruppen or Sturmtruppen were assimilated as “Guards Truppen”. The Totenkopf emblem predates the SS. Many officers, NCOs, and Stosstruppen were told to keep their weapons, ammo, Stahlhelm, and a few grenades at home, off the “books”, in case the Freikorps could not contain the Spartacus Movement. There is little written in English,however the post WW1 fighting in the Baltic States is fascinating.

      • “The Totenkopf emblem predates the SS.”
        In fact Totenkopf emblem originates from 18th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totenkopf states that: “Use of the Totenkopf as a military insignia began under Frederick the Great, who formed a regiment of Hussar cavalry in the Prussian army commanded by Colonel von Ruesch(…)”

        • Also skullhead and bones was used by some units during Russian Civil War, namely Makhno’s Black Army [anarchist] and Kornilovtsy (Kornilov men, see Lavr Kornilov) [White Army]

    • Doc, Americans do not understand the TENSIONS inside Germany after the supposed armistice. Germany was teetering on civil was. The Spartacus Movement, communist, was firmly entrenched in the rear echelon troops. It was essential to eliminate the Spartacus Movement to restore any sort of semblance of order. The Kaiser was an integral part of the national identity, cohesion, and stability. One should read the Krown Prinz’s memoirs of these times and betrayals.

      • “TENSIONS inside Germany after the supposed armistice”
        For eye-witness perspective see Erich von Mainstein Aus einem Soldatenleben. 1887–1939. Athenäum, Bonn 1958. Sadly, I don’t know title of English language version.

  7. Patzenhofer was a big brewery in Berlin. Like Schultheiss today, you could find pubs offering it at every street corner.
    “Möbel Fabrik” (furniture factory) was used by many carpenter shops to enhance the appearence a little. (Same as Gewehr Fabrik in Suhl.) So this is no help in identification either.
    The arch-like structure in the middle of the square could probably be identified by someone knowing pre-war Berlin very well.

  8. 1. There’s a good Osprey (Man at Arms?) volume on the Freikorps.
    2. I’m told that in Kwangju in ’80, the ROK Army used 106mm RCLs loaded with cannister/beehive as “crowd control” devices.

  9. In the October 2015 issue of Man at Arms, the NRA collectors’ journal, the article “Employment of Rifle Grenades During the Mexican Revolution” (pp.25-26) by James B. Hughes states that in 1912, the Mexican government ordered 25,000 Hale No. 2-type fragmentation rifle grenades from the Cotton Powder Co. in Faversham, Kent, for “riot control”. This was followed in 1913 by an order for 80,000 more. The Hale No.2 was a rodded grenade, weighing roughly one pound, filled with 4 oz. of Tonite (a combination of guncotton and barium nitrate), having a brass body, an inertial detonator, and a cast-iron fragmentation ring;


    These grenades had an effective range of roughly 300 yards. They were indeed used to break up riots in Mexico City and elsewhere. As such, they were often referred to as the “Mexican Model” in their own time.

    Back then, rioting was treated a bit more emphatically than it is today.



    • [quote]Back then, rioting was treated a bit more emphatically than it is today. [/quote]

      Motto of the Texas Rangers: “One riot, one ranger.” Heh.

      Yeah, TX has a long history of being a “law and order” state. I kinda suspect they’d approve of the flamethrowers and grenades approach to quieting down a rioting mob! 😀

  10. Baron Kellermann ( re-constructor of Paris) made the Boulevards Long, wide and straight (Radiating from “l’Etoile”, where the “Arc de Triomphe” is), for the Purpose of being able to fire Grapeshot ( Mitraille) at any Rioters or “Barricaders”, with a clear field of Fire.

    “Give them a whiff of Grape” was the common saying in “Crowd Control” in the 18th and 19th Century in Europe.

    Doc AV

  11. They ain’t playing. They could have loaded the flamethrowers with water and made a water cannon but seeing the hand grenades out I don’t think so.

    • Not very effective, as the compressed-air pack wouldn’t have enough pressure to shoot the water out with enough velocity to hit very hard. A WW1 German Flammenwerfer 18 has about a much pressure as an average garden hose. Its job was just to get the flame fuel (Which wasn’t even jelled back then, just ordinary kerosene, IIRC) to the target, at which point the igniter was tripped. It did damage by flame, not pressure.

      To do serious damage with water, you at least need firehoses running from truck pumps and hooked through to hydrants. Water cannon are even more effective.

      If you’re feeling just homicidally nasty, a shipyard sandblaster, used to scour barnacles, etc., off ship’s hulls during overhauls, is about as emphatic as it gets, even without the sand mixed in the water.



      • Water is more dense than gasoline or kerosene, so it would even be significantly harder to propel for any distance with just a little compressed air.

    • Pressure of a garden hose? Wow what type of pump did they use to pressurize the tank? A bicycle pump? Bead blasting with high pressure water and sand, well your rioters will all come out the same color, RED. I vote for a flamethrower loaded with muratic acid.

    • Most RC methods are mainly great agitprop for the rioters. If you want to stop them, you can’t hurt them- that garners sympathy or their “cause”.

      It’s far better to humiliate them without hurting them. Making them look like dummies is always going to be more effective in the long run.



    • This was not riot control. This was removing a cancer from the body of society. It was necessary and had to be done. The country had to be saved. The gangrenous limb had to be amputated completely and immediatly or the patient, the country and its citizens, all would have become the living dead of unfettered communism.

      • Unfortunately, Germany killed itself with the “cure”.

        Fascism and Nazism “cure” communism… just as ebola “cures” cancer.

        Germany rejected not just communism, but parliamentary democracy as well.

        The result was complete and utter destruction.

        • Describing First World War also known as Great War as a “war to end all wars” is as far from truth as possible.
          Before war political situation in most of Europe was stable, new inventions were invented, life become easier, later it would be called La Belle Époque
          After war in German fights continues, nations earlier enslaved as parts of Russian Empire now fights for their independence (see: Finnish Civil War, Estonian War of Independence, Polish-Bolshevik War), all Russia is in flames of brutal civil war

          • Let me recommend to you the book “Savage Continent”.

            It’s mostly about Europe in the five years (a bit longer in the Baltic) AFTER WWII.

            If you remade “Mad Max” and set it in Poland and Ukraine, you’d have a pretty good picture of what Eastern Europe was all about after the war. The end of the war didn’t end “ethnic cleansing” and pogroms; it sent them into overdrive.

        • You are absolutely correct. but it is easy to see how Hitler rose to power with the populous facing the communists and the liberal democrats without any will or strength to rid them from the body politic.

          • +1 on Chris’ recommendation of “Savage Continent”. Conflict (rape, murder, mass executions, forced relocations) continued on a large ethnic scale for 5-7 yrs after the official end of hostilities. Central and Eastern Europe was not a safe place to live from 1945-1950. I’m sure similar things happened after WW1. Any time political maps are redrawn old grudges are brought to bear on those who were in power and no longer are.

  12. Hi ya’ll! Pictured are,of course, Nazis and the Spartacists were a group of communist insurgents named after the revolutionary Roman Republic slave Spartacus. They were sent by Lenin/Stalin et all to install a communist party in Germany. That in itself should explain the heavy artillery brought out for “Serious Riot Control”. Nothing excites Nazis more than reducing communists to a steaming pile of burning flesh. The Jewish people/state have sort of commandeered the interpretation of the Germany role in WW2 as a war on the Jews. In reality, close reading of the facts will point to Hitler’s main obsession which was the extermination of all Communists.

  13. If anyone is interested, there’s a very good article on the history, use, and possible future of the flamethrower here;


    October 22, 2015 post.

    I literally stumbled on the site by accident. all I can say is, wow, major time waster for any Military SF fan. Like me.



    • When classic flamethrower are extinct in modern military forces, Soviet Union and now Russian forces use wide range of thermobaric ammunition, following weapons simple are able to fire that ammunition:
      GM-94 hand-held grenade-launcher, fire its own 43mm grenades
      RPO-A Shmel and its variant, RPG-like weapon firing thermobaric, incendiary or smoke
      TOS-1 Buratino self-propelled heavy flamethrower on T-72 chassis, 24-tube launcher, 220mm caliber
      ОДАБ-500П aviation bomb
      АВБПМ aviation bomb (commonly known as “Father of All Bombs”) with blast yield = 44 tons TNT

  14. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong but I believe I read somewhere that the german 9th army on the eastern front was exempted by the allies from the verseilles treaty on disarmement
    This was in order that it could continue fighting the communists and protect europes eastern borders

  15. Okay, just in case anyone wanders by. This is Alexanderplatz in Berlin, probably 7th March 1919. The Spartacist Uprising was in January. The March Fights was a separate incident, best described as the pacification of Red Berlin. The guys are Freikorps (volunteers not conscripted men and not a militia) in the pay of the Social-Democrat government. They’re posing for pictures as the fighting, more a confused riot, was over by this point. The arch in the background is the entrance to the underground railway station. The opposition to the government, the sailors of the People’s Marine Division, held a strongpoint here. They put in an appearance to do crowd control on the 5th but got fired on by the garrison in the Police Headquarters off to the right and joined the crowd instead. Everyone got dispersed by reinforcements which turned up on the 6th. It’s said that flamethrowers were used on this occasion and a school burned down but I’ve not seen any pictures of that (and everything was extensively photographed). I suspect these backpack jobs were an experimental weapon that may never have been used. How much gas is in that tiny snail? Enough for a minute’s burn? Not long anyhow. Was the pacification of the people in 1919 a good deal? Depends if you like the Holocaust or not. One leads to the other.

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