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While reading 'Shock Troops' (Tim Cook) I was surprised by the wide spread use of poison gas and chemicals. I was under the impression that they were only used during major battles but it turns out, at least in 1917-18 there was an almost continuous use of poison gas/chemicals, not just on the front line trenches but also on artillery batteries, by both sides. The gas/chemicals shells would be included in the HE barrages. The popping of gas/chemical shells would not be heard in the explosion of the HE shells. There was a reason why the Tommies carried their gas masks on their chests.

 

But it did not end there. In the winter, the gas would sink into the ground only to be released later on unsuspecting soldiers with any temperature rise.

 

Real nasty stuff.

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And a fortunate wotld that hadn't discovered nuclear weapons. Just abou anything was thout legitimate to break the stalemate, and, after the casualties of 1914-16, who can blame them?

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Plan 1919 was even worse for gas employment. Of course, use continued after WWI, but only against 3rd world insurgents after being outlawed, 1936 in Ethiopia being the last until the Egyptians played around in Yemen. The last year of the Iraq-Iran War was the only use comparable to WWI levels.

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But it did not end there. In the winter, the gas would sink into the ground only to be released later on unsuspecting soldiers with any temperature rise.

 

Real nasty stuff.

 

One realizes how thoroughly both aides drenched the lines with gases and other agents when reading accounts from decades after the war, such a whole field suddenly blooming on a hot day with gas discharges from buried shells which finally rusted through, farmers choking when plowing new bottom lands decades later as the compacted leaves and soil out-gassed, and the apocryphal story of the woodsman clearing a woodlot and getting blistered as he sat on a tree stump while taking a break.

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These things stay dangerous for a long time...

 

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/article_d19c9f50-735c-11df-a4dd-001cc4c03286.html

 

 

BOSTON — Massachusetts and federal officials worked Tuesday to decontaminate an Atlantic City clam boat anchored in isolation off Massachusetts after it dredged up old munitions laced with mustard gas, severely sickening a crewman from Atlantic County.

 

The military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions after World War II through 1970 and tons of old chemical weapons beneath U.S. waters still present a danger to fishermen.

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Ill always remember reading the story of a miner (a welshman I think) who realised the man next to him had lost his protection hood and was scrabbling around in panic trying to find it as the gas came towards them.

He handed his own to him and said 'Here you are son, have mine. My lungs are shot anyway'.

He didnt die then, but expired many years later, a mixture of the coal dust he had inhaled in the mine, and the mustard gas he breathed in.

 

Finest generation? Well we have a lot of them, but they surely have to go near the top of the list.

I wonder if the coal dust acted as an activated carbon filter of sorts....

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These things stay dangerous for a long time...

 

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/article_d19c9f50-735c-11df-a4dd-001cc4c03286.html

 

 

BOSTON — Massachusetts and federal officials worked Tuesday to decontaminate an Atlantic City clam boat anchored in isolation off Massachusetts after it dredged up old munitions laced with mustard gas, severely sickening a crewman from Atlantic County.

 

The military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions after World War II through 1970 and tons of old chemical weapons beneath U.S. waters still present a danger to fishermen.

 

 

My fathers first job early 1960's was extracting Phosgene out of artillary shells to be used for dye manufacturing at the local chemical plant he says a lot of them were WW1 vintage.

Edited by Wobbly Head
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These things stay dangerous for a long time...

 

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/article_d19c9f50-735c-11df-a4dd-001cc4c03286.html

 

 

BOSTON — Massachusetts and federal officials worked Tuesday to decontaminate an Atlantic City clam boat anchored in isolation off Massachusetts after it dredged up old munitions laced with mustard gas, severely sickening a crewman from Atlantic County.

 

The military used the ocean as a dumping ground for munitions after World War II through 1970 and tons of old chemical weapons beneath U.S. waters still present a danger to fishermen.

 

A lot of the German WWII stockpile of chemical munitions (fortunately never used) was placed in U-boats being scuttled.

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Also light cruiser Leipzig Nuernberg was scuttled in the N Sea filled with nerve agent and the more normal stuff.

 

Catholic University's campus on Observatory Hill, Washington DC [near the VP residence] had to be deconned because it was a WWI training camp, and chlorine and mustard residues were detected in several building basements. This was about 6-8 years ago.

 

[Edit to correct, as Nuernberg was awarded to the USSR postwar.]

Edited by Ken Estes
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Also light cruiser Nuernberg was scuttled in the N Sea filled with nerve agent and the more normal stuff.

 

Catholic University's campus on Observatory Hill, Washington DC [near the VP residence] had to be deconned because it was a WWI training camp, and chlorine and mustard residues were detected in several building basements. This was about 6-8 years ago.

 

It was American University. The site of the founding of the US Army Chemical Corps and Camp American University, where they invented Lewisite, the ultimate mustard-type agent.

 

They used to shoot 4.2 mortars and trench projectors down the hillside with live chemical shells. That area is among the top 2-3 priciest jurisdictions nowadays (we're talking homes that start at $1.5-2MM).

 

Hell they had to excavate the entire South Korean ambassador's backyard to recover entire multi-gallon carboys still filled with noxious chemicals which were buried in trenches all over the perimeter of the camp after the Armistice. Somebody excavating for a pool in the early '90s had a backhoe pull up an entire bucket of live rounds.

 

As you said, not a mile from the Veeps crib, a mile or so north of Georgetown, and right at the edge of the modern city center.

 

Edit: I take it back. Lewisite WAS first formulated by a team including a priest (!) at Catholic U., produced in bulk and tested on animals and humans at American. The latest DC decon/remediation was as recently as 2012 up around AU.

Edited by BP
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Artillery field guns

  • QF 4.7-inch Mark I field gun. Range = 10,000-yards. Projectiles = Shrapnel, H.E. and gas.
  • QF 13-pdr Mark I and II field gun. Calibre = 3-inch. Range = 5,900-yards. Projectiles = Shrapnel and H.E.
  • QF 15-pdr Mark I field gun (The Ehrhardt). Calibre 3-inch. Range = 6,400- yards. Projectile = Shrapnel.
  • QF 18-pdr Mark I and II field gun. Calibre = 3.3-inch. Range = 6,535-yards. Projectile = Shrapnel, H.E., smoke, incendiary and gas
  • QF 18-pdr Mark IV field gun. Calibre = 3.3-inch. Range = 9,300-yards. Projectiles = Shrapnel, H.E. and smoke.
  • QF 4.5-inch Mark I field howitzer. Range = 7,300-yards. Projectiles = Shrapnel, H.E., smoke, incendiary, gas and star-shell.
  • BL 2.75-in Mark I mountain gun. Range = 5,600 - 5,800-yards. Projectiles = Shrapnel and H.E.
  • BL 60-pdr Mark I field gun. Calibre = 5-inch. Range = 10,300 -12,300- yards. Projectiles = Shrapnel, H.E., smoke and gas.
  • BL-C 15-pdr Mark I and II field gun. Calibre = 3-inch. Range = 5,750-yards. Projectile = Shrapnel.

Starting from 1915, poisonous gas shells were increasingly used on the Western Front. Initially, the Germans intended them as a replacement for H.E.shells and as a more efficient way of delivering gas than the weather sensitive gas cylinder system. The Germans introduced coded gas shells to deliver large volumes of several toxic gases with mustard gas taking a dominating role as the war progressed. Whole areas of the battle zone became literally drenched in this gas during 1917/18, making it virtually inhabitable without sophisticated protective clothing and gas-masks.

The British only retaliated with mustard gas shelling in September 1918, although they had previously used captured German mustard shells.

 

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/great-war-on-land/weapons-equipment-uniform/2562-artillery-and-the-british-expeditionary-force-on-the-western-front.html

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It was and still is messy work, not the least because one has to have the same level of protection to deliver as to receive chemical attack. The troops never liked it and everybody was glad to see it go. Hopefully, Iran-Iraq remains an exception in use.

 

One saving grace, I think, was that apparently nobody managed to reliably weaponize ballistic missiles for chem or bio. Then again, one was never sure about programs of the USSR.

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It was American University. The site of the founding of the US Army Chemical Corps and Camp American University, where they invented Lewisite, the ultimate mustard-type agent.

 

They used to shoot 4.2 mortars and trench projectors down the hillside with live chemical shells. That area is among the top 2-3 priciest jurisdictions nowadays (we're talking homes that start at $1.5-2MM).

 

Hell they had to excavate the entire South Korean ambassador's backyard to recover entire multi-gallon carboys still filled with noxious chemicals which were buried in trenches all over the perimeter of the camp after the Armistice. Somebody excavating for a pool in the early '90s had a backhoe pull up an entire bucket of live rounds.

 

As you said, not a mile from the Veeps crib, a mile or so north of Georgetown, and right at the edge of the modern city center.

 

Edit: I take it back. Lewisite WAS first formulated by a team including a priest (!) at Catholic U., produced in bulk and tested on animals and humans at American. The latest DC decon/remediation was as recently as 2012 up around AU.

 

 

Jesuits!!!

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My impression was that long-range missiles are not ideal for BC delivery - so not really worth the bother, too complicated, not good dispersion, so god only for terror attacks - and for those, HE is cheaper and good enough. If you need the missile for mass killing, nuke is the easier way.

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It was American University. The site of the founding of the US Army Chemical Corps and Camp American University, where they invented Lewisite, the ultimate mustard-type agent.

 

They used to shoot 4.2 mortars and trench projectors down the hillside with live chemical shells. That area is among the top 2-3 priciest jurisdictions nowadays (we're talking homes that start at $1.5-2MM).

 

Hell they had to excavate the entire South Korean ambassador's backyard to recover entire multi-gallon carboys still filled with noxious chemicals which were buried in trenches all over the perimeter of the camp after the Armistice. Somebody excavating for a pool in the early '90s had a backhoe pull up an entire bucket of live rounds.

 

As you said, not a mile from the Veeps crib, a mile or so north of Georgetown, and right at the edge of the modern city center.

 

Edit: I take it back. Lewisite WAS first formulated by a team including a priest (!) at Catholic U., produced in bulk and tested on animals and humans at American. The latest DC decon/remediation was as recently as 2012 up around AU.

 

 

Jesuits!!!

 

 

Nope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregation_of_Holy_Cross

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Just kidding, José!

 

Marek, that is true and I suspect the launch characteristics and trajectory conditions tend to mess things up, plus at the delivery end most bugs don't like most dispersal means. This is also why the WMD sobriquet is so useless, as chem, bio and nuc all have markedly different characteristics. I liken it to classifying knives, pistols and 155mm howitzers as “weapons of personal destruction.” But the uses, effects and dangers associated with such weapons remain totally disparate.

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