Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 540: Soviet LPO-50 Flamethrower Unit

Auction Date: May 14, 2021

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $2,000 - $3,000

Soviet LPO-50 Flamethrower Unit

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Gauge: N/A
Finish: black/green
Grip: metal
Item Views: 3341
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 369
Class: Other

Developed in 1953, the LPO-50 was the Soviet Union's standard issue infantry flamethrower through the lion's share of the Cold War, as well as their final model of conventional flamethrower; much like in the West, the Soviets would retire their flamethrowers in favor of incendiary rockets, which gave greater range. Outside of the direct Soviet circle of influence, it was also produced by China and seen in the inventories of both North Vietnam and the Irish Republican Army. In design, the LPO-50 takes some notes from the preceding ROKS-2 and ROKS-3 units, with the flame wand unit designed with a rifle-like pistol grip, buttstock and bipod to let them blend in better with their host unit and reduce the chance of getting singled out as a high value target by enemy marksmen. Mechanically, the LPO-50 takes a very different tack then its predecessors and Western counterparts. Instead of using inert gas to propel incendiary material, the three individual tanks of the backpack unit each contain one "shot" worth of fuel and a tiny pyrotechnic cartridge. The trigger unit on the wand has a setting for each tank, plus a safe setting, and when pulled electrically fires the pyro cartridge in the selected tank as well as an electric igniter unit at the muzzle, the former generating the pressure to drive out the fuel and the latter lighting it up. Once a tank is lit, it goes until it's gone; you buy the ticket, and you take the ride for approximately 2-3 seconds. The unit here consists of the wand, the backpack tank unit, and a set of liquid and electric connection lines, with a pair of shoulder straps and a padded wire mesh back support on the tank unit. The wand is dated "1982".

Rating Definition:

Good. The wand and tank retain about half of their original paint finish, showing mild wear and handling marks overall, as well as mild spotting and brown patina on the exposed steel. While not function tested or guaranteed shootable, the connections between the wand and tanks are solid, and there are no obvious symptoms of deactivation/destruction.

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