Canadian Flamethrower Blank

Just what do I have here?

Rim: 0.426" (10.75mm)
Base: 0.377" (9.65mm)
Case length: 0.358" (9.07mm)
Slight rolled crimp varnished tan wad

HS: DC 43 IC

Thanks Paul

If the base is exactly 9.65 as opposed to 9.63, then it would be either a 38S&W or 380 revolver blank. But both of those are supposed to have a rim diameter of 11.02 - according to the guide here:

I had one and I was told it was for a canadian flame thrower.


Russ is right, this is a Mk I Cordite igniter cartridge to be used with british “Flamethrower, Portable, No 2” used by canadian forces. Americans also produced a similar cartridge for the “Portable Flame Thrower M2-2” but was based on a shortened .38 Spl case.

Wow - neat stuff, and I had not heard of that one. Now I must find one!

So to all intents is it a “British” service revolver blank for the Enfield revolver or was there something extra added like incandecent material to aid ignition?

I don’t have any information about its charge of Cordite (and magnesium maybe?) but british .380 blanks approved as Cartridge, S.A., Blank, Revolver, .380 inch L Mark I.T (headstamp “ILT” or “LIT”) have a case with a rose crimped closure, are about 18.5-19.00 mm long and loaded with 5.5 grains of RFG.2 blackpowder or G.12 powder. I’m not sure if these were still in service during 1943-44.

I always wondered were is the british equivalent of this cartridge. It should exist but I’m not aware of any examples (probably due to wrong identification). Any ideas?

In my previous post I wrote “I’m not sure if these were still in service during 1943-44”. Well, during that period Argentina produced .380 blanks under british specifications and these were also rose crimped (headstamped ORBEA 43 .380 II). Some of these cases were also made as blanks with wad closures but these were loaded for our civil market to be used in .38 S&W revolvers.

The only british .380 blanks I have seen were star crimped but during WW2 the Canadians should have been “British” troops although how far down in detail the need for compatiblity extended is questionable. Certainly not to the extent of specifying the crimp on a blank.

This one really is one for Tony or DocAV because they are the only ones likely to know if they used standard blanks or specially made for purpose igniters.

This flamethrower igniter cartridge appears to be based upon a shortened .380" revolver cartridge. The revolver blanks used standard length cases. It may be that the flamethrower has a short chamber in order to prevent the use of a standard blank (or ball round!). It is unlikely that general issue blanks would use a short case as this would be a special production deviation and therefore be more expensive than using the standard case, they would also be a bit more fiddly to load into the chamber of the revolver.


A correction to my previous post:

According to document [i]Portable Flame Thrower Operations in World War II /i the igniter cartridge was only used in a modification of the “Flamethrower, Portable, No 2, Mark I” (nickmamed Lifebuoy) designated “Flamethrower, Portable, No 5, Mark I” (Ack-Pack).

Cartridges were not loaded in a magazine tube but in a revolving cylinder with ten chambers wich was placed around the nozzle.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I’m always amazed by all the knowledge out there. Forums like this sure make it easier to get these type of questions answered.

Thanks again,


A color plate dated 1936 showing L Mk I.T blank construction:

I know it is a stretch to make this ammo related but thought I would tack this picture onto the end of this flamethrower themed topic.

An Australian GELETROL tin I have had for a number of years and only just realised it is sort of ammo related. I have found out that this size tin was used as fuel thickener for back pack type flame throwers (the M2 family). It is actually the chemical Aluminium Oleate.
I got it from the forestry sector where its other use is as fuel thickener for fuel used in lighting planned burns in logging areas by helicopter.

AFAIK this type of igniter was not used by the British (although I know little about flamethrowers). The normal igniter for the British flamethrower was the Igniter No.1 which was not based on any other cartridge, being longer and thinner than the ,380 blank.

I have one and wil post pictures this evening.


The Normal Blank cartridges for Revolver ( Marked L I T) are simply that…Training Blanks,(“L” ) Mark I (I) and Black Powder load (“T”). They were made using a normal Ball case, crimped by a star crimp.

Igniter cartridges were a completely different matter. They needed a Hotter flash, to ignite the modified fuel mix — the Aluminium Oleate is a form of “Soap”, same as the Sodium( “Na”) Palmitate used in “NaPalm” ( hence the name). Oleaic and Palmitic acids are the base components of (Olive) and (Palm) oils used in soap manufacture by saponification with the relative Caustic Hydroxide. Use of soaps with Fuel causes the fuel to “stick together”, and not vaporise easily…allowing for a “Flame” effect rather than a Fuel explosion effect…it soap also causes the Fuel Mix to stick to the target ( Wood, skin, clothing, metal etc. for the maximum burning effect.

The Canadian Igniter is marked “I C” signifying Mark I, Cordite Load ( usually chopped cordite, to increase burning rate, otherwise very similar to a small grain tubular Single Base Powder).

The Cordite load burns much hotter, and relatively for Longer, than Black Powder).

The Particular shape ( length, roll over wad crimp) is unique to Flame Thrower Igniters…the roll-over wad crimp allows quicker dispersal of the complete flame from the charge into the dripping fulel Mix…a “star crimp” as used in "Training " Blanks serves to complete the combustion and make a loud noise. ( whether BP or Smokeless Charge).

Note the correct use of Miltary Terminology: Cartridges with-out ball, for training are “Blanks”, Flame Thrower cartridges are “Igniters” and of course, Grenade Launcher propellant cartridges are " Launcher" cartridges.

Thank-you for the call to speak on something that I have very little knowledge about, except from general knowledge.

Doc AV

As promised, here is a picture of the British No.1 Mark 1 Flamethrower igniter. Two examples are shown on the left are both made by Kynoch. The plain case is headstamped “K52 No.1 1” and the dark stained one “K53 No.1 1”. They are shown compared to a standard .380 L1T revolver blank. The round on the right is an oddball. It is a .380 blank of some kind, closed with a dark brown wax wad. Headstamp is “R^L 41 .380 IIZ” but whther this is an igniter or a blank I do not know.

I did say that I would post the drawing of the igniter but I appear to have misfiled it! However, I can tell you that it is Kynoch drawing No. BK217/144.


I have now found that drawing I was looking for!

Note that it actually contains a small copper detonator inside the brass case to ignite the fuel.