Mark Bacon

12-10-04

3-4

WEAPONS OF TERROR: GAS WARFARE

Gas warfare was one of the deadliest and most effective weapons of W.W.I It was first used January 3 1915 by the Germans on the Eastern front, and at the Battle of Langemarck on the western front on April 22, 1915. The Allies weren’t far behind though, and used their first batch of gas at Loos on September 25, 1915. The first gas used was xylyl bromide, or tear gas. The gas wasn’t used to kill, but to incapacitate the enemy before an offensive charge. Grenades expelled it first, but that proved to be insufficient due to the changing wind patterns blowing it back into their trenches. They then chose to use a football size projectile to propel it into their enemy trenches. This proved much more effective. The next gas to be developed was an asphyxiate like chlorine or phosgene. It would burn the nasal cavities and the lungs, but most gas masks prove effective to counter-act this weapon in its early stages. Soon the gasses became so concentrated that no gas mask could filter it properly. The project then turned to a more deadly gas called Dichlorethylsulphide or more commonly known as mustard gas. This would contact moisture on the body and instantly burn the flesh right off your bones. This gas would hang in the trenches and shell holes for a long period of time. A soldier would dive for cover in a shell hole not knowing it was still filled with gas and would instantly be burned before he could react to the situation. Gas was one of the most horrific weapons of the war and caused many casualties.

 

www.worldwar1.com/arm006.htm