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Flame field expedient (FFE)

Definition A Flame Field Expedient (FFE) refers to any improvised device used by military personnel, often in wartime situations, to create a flame barrier for defensive purposes. It typically involves using available resources to ignite and sustain a field of fire. This technique helps to deter or delay enemy movement, providing a significant tactical advantage. […]


A Flame Field Expedient (FFE) refers to any improvised device used by military personnel, often in wartime situations, to create a flame barrier for defensive purposes. It typically involves using available resources to ignite and sustain a field of fire. This technique helps to deter or delay enemy movement, providing a significant tactical advantage.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Flame Field Expedient (FFE) is a term used in military operations that refers to an improvised incendiary weapon. It’s typically used in situations wherein standard weapons are unable for any reason.
  2. These types of weapons are often made with accessible resources from the field, including petrol, some type of cloth for a fuse, and a bottle or similar object to contain the flammable material.
  3. Though the FFE may be effectively used for the purpose of creating defensive perimeters, distracting enemies or clearing enclosed areas, their use is generally considered a last resort due to the potential for unintended damage and civilian casualties.


Flame Field Expedient (FFE) is a critical military term that denotes an impromptu method used in warfare, primarily for denying the enemy access to certain areas or equipment by setting it aflame.

Its importance lies in its versatility and unpredictability which can provide strategic advantages in various combat situations.

By employing substances at hand, like gasoline or oil, to create makeshift incendiary devices, troops can effectively disrupt enemy movements, destroy valuable resources, or create diversions.

Therefore, understanding and implementing FFE can be essential in determining the outcome of certain military operations, aiding in the preservation of protection, and pushing tactical boundaries.


The Flame Field Expedient (FFE) is a military tactic mainly used to create a quick, temporary barrier to restrict or halt the movement of enemy forces. This method is generally applied in battlefields where immediate action is needed to either disrupt incoming enemy vehicles or infantry, or obstruct enemy sight lines.

Pairing it with natural topographical features can exponentially increase its effectiveness and serve as a vital tool for time sensitive operations. In addition to its primary application as a barrier, an FFE can also be used as a diversionary tactic.

By diverting the attention or altering the path of enemy forces, it can open up opportunities for tactical advancement, retreat, or other strategic maneuvers. It’s important to note that an FFE is typically a last resort tactic, used only when other, less destructive options are not feasible or practical in the situation.

The creation and use of an FFE must be carefully weighed due to its potential for collateral damage and environmental impact.

Examples of Flame field expedient (FFE)

Flame Field Expedient (FFE) pertains to a makeshift flamethrowing mechanism, a type of weapon capable of throwing a stream of burning liquid, often used in warfare for both human and structural targets. Specific examples can be hard to track as formal armies seldom use ad-hoc weapons, preferring standardized equipment for logistical ease. Nevertheless, we can discuss scenarios where a makeshift flamethrower could be used:

The Battle of Kobani (2014): During the long siege in Kobani, Syria, the defenders, Syrian and Kurdish forces, were reported to have adapted agricultural pesticides devices into makeshift flamethrowers to stop ISIS fighters in urban warfare. Being heavily under-resourced compared to their opponents, these fighters had to adapt their equipment for survival.

Ukrainian Conflict (2014-Present): Various reports have emerged about activists and informal defense groups resorting to makeshift flamethrowers as force multipliers. Home-made Firebombs have been reportedly used, functioning similarly to Flame Field Expedient (FFE).

Protesting Groups: Street protests and urban civil unrest across the world present several cases in which flame-throwing devices are assembled. Protesters may use these makeshift weapons as a makeshift deterrent to ward off the opposing forces.Please note that the use of these devices are often controversial due to the severe, often lethal injuries they inflict. Many countries and international laws consider uses of such devices, especially against human targets, as a war crime.

FAQs for Flame Field Expedient (FFE)

What is Flame Field Expedient (FFE)?

Flame Field Expedient, or FFE, refers to an improvised incendiary weapon used by the military. It’s typically created in field conditions using available resources. While not a standard issue military item, it is often used when conventional weapons are inadequate or unavailable.

How is Flame Field Expedient (FFE) utilized in military operations?

FFE acts as an efficient improvisational tool designed to create barriers, deter enemies, and destroy key resources or structures. Its usage depends largely on the tactical situation and available resources.

What are the safety procedures in handling Flame Field Expedient (FFE)?

Given the potential hazard of FFE, basic safety procedures should be observed at all times. This includes maintaining a safe distance, using protective gear, and ensuring proper training for personnel. Every use should follow operational safety guidelines issued by the military.

Is Flame Field Expedient (FFE) legal to be used in military operations?

Its use is dependent on the laws of war applicable to the specific conflict and area of operations. International humanitarian law has restrictions on certain types of weapons, all of which would be considered when employing a device like the FFE.

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Sources for More Information

  • United States Army: The official website of the United States Army, where you can find a lot of reliable information about military strategies, operations, and tactics including FFE.
  • National Museum of the US Air Force: This is the official website of the National Museum of the US Air Force. It houses a vast array of information and artifacts related to the air force, including techniques like the Flame field expedient.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: While not exclusively on military operations, Britannica online encyclopedia provides in-depth, well-researched articles on a diverse range of topics, including Flame Field Expedients.
  • United States Marine Corps: The official website of the United States Marine Corps also includes a vast library of information on various tactics and procedures used by the Marine Corps, potentially including the FFE.

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