Breath of the Dragon: Homebuilt Flamethrowers by Ragnar Benson

By Ragnar Benson

Do you've gotten a weapon on your arsenal that may carry off tanks or a small military of adversarial humans? What you wish is a flamethrower. they're reasonable; effortless to construct and retain; and use universal, low-cost gasoline. A recipe for napalm is integrated. One whiff of the dragon"s breath will placed attackers at your mercy.

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Despite Conrad von Hötzendorff ’s demands for greater spending for military aviation and the threats raised by the outbreak of the First Balkan War in 1912, however, Austria-Hungary continued to lag behind the other great powers in aviation spending with just $472,244 spent in 1912, 1913, and 1914. 8 As a result, Austria-Hungary would be ill-prepared for the First World War. The United States, which ironically had given birth to heavierthan-air flight in 1903 and had purchased the first military airplane in 1909, did little to advance its air power compared with the European great powers.

The following year tire manufactures André and Edouard Michelin, acting with the full support of the French War Ministry, funded an international competition in order to spur aviation development. In a series of aerial games held between January and September 1912, aircraft demonstrated their usefulness for artillery spotting. S. War Department, demonstrated that aerial bombardment was also feasible, winning a large cash prize for bomb-dropping. By 1912 the other European great powers, and even smaller states like Greece and Romania, were following the French example, purchasing or developing aircraft of their own and training pilots.

This was soon followed in 1908 by the revolutionary Gnôme Omega (an air-cooled 7 cylinder rotary engine that provided 50 hp but weighed less than half that of the Antoinette). Its unique design featured a fixed crankshaft, which the engine spun around, cooling itself in the air, and moving in conjunction with the propeller. The Gnôme Omega truly revolutionized the aircraft industry as newer, larger versions would offer greater power with a low weight-to-power ratio. It is not surprising that rotary engines were one of the most popular power plants for early WWI aircraft, as will be noted in Chapter Two.

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