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Did Any Nations Use Battlefield Chemical Weapons In Wwii?


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#21 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 0658 AM

There was a pretty fair documentary on about 15 years ago (probably about the time of the Iraq war starting) on the Australian trials. Supposedly it was something to do with testing efficacy of mustard in a jungle environment (I guess nobody had been really interested in finding out till that point). Seem to recall it was an Australian/American program, but likely it had some commonwealth input as well.

 

Probably a better poncho than NBC gear Im willing to bet. :)



#22 Markus Becker

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0215 AM

There was a pretty fair documentary on about 15 years ago (probably about the time of the Iraq war starting) on the Australian trials. Supposedly it was something to do with testing efficacy of mustard in a jungle environment (I guess nobody had been really interested in finding out till that point).


Ok but why did they test it on soldiers and not animals? Did the sheep die of heatstroke first or did the wool absorb the gas (actually an aerosol).

#23 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0224 AM

 

There was a pretty fair documentary on about 15 years ago (probably about the time of the Iraq war starting) on the Australian trials. Supposedly it was something to do with testing efficacy of mustard in a jungle environment (I guess nobody had been really interested in finding out till that point).


Ok but why did they test it on soldiers and not animals? Did the sheep die of heatstroke first or did the wool absorb the gas (actually an aerosol).

 

 

In this case, it was to test the effectiveness of chemical warfare gear in a jungle environment, which considering you sweat like a pig in the jungle without putting extra layers on was something of an issue. They were also 'damaging' the equpment, to see what effect it would have on mustard contamination of the skin. None of this you could have done easily with animals.

 

We did do tests with animals of course. There was the well known 'Anthrax island' where we test Anthrax bombs on sheep.

https://en.wikipedia...Gruinard_Island



#24 Roman Alymov

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0514 AM

 


 

Stalin approached it without the infrastructure, by starving Ukrainians.

 

I wonder if Putin will try the same?

It is mainly propaganda myth supported by modern Ukrainian ruling elite as part of “divide and rule” policy. And yes they have successfully managed to bring 60% of Ukraine population under poverty line, as Ukraine developed from Word #7 corrupt country in 2015 to Word#1 this year  (see Kiev burning thread for more about that) under "War against Putin" lable.
To bring it back to topic, Soviet survivors claimed Germans used some kind of poisoning gasses against Soviet partisans in places like catacombs etc. But not clear what it was.



#25 RETAC21

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0558 AM

 

Chemical weapons were also used by us in Morocco in the 20s against the Rif tribesmen, and by the RAF in the border with Afghanistan.

 

Have you got a source for that Retac? Im not saying I dont believe it, just that ive never heard of it before.

 

The RAF certainly DID use gas in Iraq against the Kurds, though im not sure what type. The following is interesting however.

http://en.internatio..._terror1920.htm

Geoff Simons (Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam, London, St. Martins Press, 1994, pp. 179-81) tells the story of British imperialism's capitalist barbarism against the Kurds and Iraqi Arabs:

"Winston Churchill, as colonial secretary, was sensitive to the cost of policing the Empire; and was in consequence keen to exploit the potential of modern technology. This strategy had particular relevance to operations in Iraq. On 19 February, 1920, before the start of the Arab uprising, Churchill (then Secretary for War and Air) wrote to Sir Hugh Trenchard, the pioneer of air warfare. Would it be possible for Trenchard to take control of Iraq? This would entail 'the provision of some kind of asphyxiating bombs calculated to cause disablement of some kind but not death � for use in preliminary operations against turbulent tribes.'

Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): 'I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.' Henry Wilson shared Churchill's enthusiasm for gas as an instrument of colonial control but the British cabinet was reluctant to sanction the use of a weapon that had caused such misery and revulsion in the First World War. Churchill himself was keen to argue that gas, fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause 'only discomfort or illness, but not death' to dissident tribespeople; but his optimistic view of the effects of gas were mistaken. It was likely that the suggested gas would permanently damage eyesight and 'kill children and sickly persons, more especially as the people against whom we intend to use it have no medical knowledge with which to supply antidotes.'

Churchill remained unimpressed by such considerations, arguing that the use of gas, a 'scientific expedient,' should not be prevented 'by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly'. In the event, gas was used against the Iraqi rebels with 'excellent moral effect' though gas shells were not dropped from aircraft because of practical difficulties�

 

 

Which leaves it rather confused whether we were using such things as mustard gas or worse, or something more mild. Im not aware we had anything like CS gas till the 1950s, so probably not.

 

 

I may be conflating the Iraq and Waziristan air policing in one bunch

 

http://www.airspacem...stan-162104725/



#26 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0638 AM

Cheers Retac.

 

Its interesting to note quite how many of the wartime Bomber command staff made their names in this kind of use of air-power. Which perhaps explains the somewhat unrealistic expectations of what airpower could do, at least initially.



#27 Roman Alymov

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0658 AM

Its interesting to note quite how many of the wartime Bomber command staff made their names in this kind of use of air-power. Which perhaps explains the somewhat unrealistic expectations of what airpower could do, at least initially.

Also used against Red Army in Northern Russia in 1919, with political support of young Churchill ( - probably most high-ranking Bomber command staff during WWII ). Still, even in that time need to use chemical weapons not in single bombs, but in large quantity was obvious  - so it was more then 50 bombs at time (small improvised Device-M) . 2,718 bombs dropped, another 47,282 unused and dumped at sea when British core moving out of Russia.

chur13.jpg

chur15.jpg

chur16.jpg



#28 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 0753 AM

Thats interesting, thanks Roman.



#29 Argus

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 2334 PM

There was a pretty fair documentary on about 15 years ago (probably about the time of the Iraq war starting) on the Australian trials. Supposedly it was something to do with testing efficacy of mustard in a jungle environment (I guess nobody had been really interested in finding out till that point). Seem to recall it was an Australian/American program, but likely it had some commonwealth input as well.

 

Probably a better poncho than NBC gear Im willing to bet.  :)

 

 

I have the book that was based on, signed by one of the key witnesses who contributed to it - and who actually lived over the back fence from my grandparents, lovely bloke still going strong in his late 90's as of a few months back. 

 

Australia was given responsibility for testing/R&D on 'Tropical Cw' (as in 'between the tropics' so hot dry as well as hot wet) for the Empire and then in turn the Allies in WWII. In addition to that we became the US's staging post in the Pacific for Cw. So we had a LOT of Cw sloshing about the place, mostly Mustard in both UK and US forms in bulk and packaged, with a fair bit of UK  Phosgene in 250lb LC bombs.

 

Take aways

 

# 1  Cw with mustard type agents is at least twice, if not three (or more) times as effective under tropical conditions (compared to European). Basically the more sweat going around the worse it is, hot dry isn't fun, jungle is hell 

# 2 Gasses (like Phosgene) are less effective, they lose their 'linger' the warmer it gets.

# 3 Storage of all types is harder as they out-gas more.

# 4 The addition of perspex turns mustard pink, and as a gelling agent also makes it about 1.5 times more effective. When dispersed from 'Smoke Laying Apparatus' it looks like god has sprayed the landscape with fairy/candy floss

# 5 There are real long term effects of skin contact mustard exposure, which are really hard to get addressed when 'everyone knows there was no gas in WWII'# 6 

# 6 always used steel bodied trucks for transporting Cw agents, it makes decontamination a lot easier, and avoids nasty surprises when the stuff leaches out later

 

shane :)


Edited by Argus, 20 April 2017 - 2336 PM.


#30 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 0149 AM

Thanks Argus, thats very interesting.

 

I seem to recall from the documentary they had cut away the protective gear around armpits and tights in order to expose the more sweaty parts of the body to see the effectiveness of the mustard gas, and that there were indeed improved effects in the jungle. The photographs of the resulting blisters looked horrific.



#31 Blunt Eversmoke

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 1542 PM

Roman or anyone else more knowledgeable than me please comment:

 

 

There was info going around that Hitler stopped use of gas weapons against SU when Guards Mortars (Katyushas) briefly used incendiary rockets to devastating effect, and there was supposedly something of a non-official treaty no to use either - so that's why use of either was limited to beginning of Barbarossa.

 

What's to think of this?



#32 Roman Alymov

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 0404 AM

Roman or anyone else more knowledgeable than me please comment:

 

There was info going around that Hitler stopped use of gas weapons against SU when Guards Mortars (Katyushas) briefly used incendiary rockets to devastating effect, and there was supposedly something of a non-official treaty no to use either - so that's why use of either was limited to beginning of Barbarossa.

 

What's to think of this?

I think it is some kind of urban legend. All Katyushas rockets were “incendiary” due to effect of rocket body steel tube heated to glowing red by burning solid rocket fuel and then blown into big fragments when warhead detonated, making any fragment able to ignite any flammable object hit by shrapnel – so there was no way to make them “briefly used”. I think explanation is way more simple: in first part of war, Germans did not need gas weapons – as they were reliably over performing Soviets due to many practical reasons, and when the tide changed – it was too late for it. There were no static fronts in WWI style to use chemical weapons with strategic effect.



#33 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 0409 AM

Hitler was always paranoid about chemical weapons, a result of his being injured at the end of the Great war, I forget what by, Mustard gas maybe? In fact one of the last additions to the Fuhrerbunker was filter towers, to ensure that he wouldn't be gassed in his hole like a rat by a last minute usage of chemical weapons.

 

Ironically the only person whom nearly did it was Speer, or at least, so he claimed.

 

 

So I dont think it as a result of any incident, real or imagined. He just didnt want to use them because he didnt want them used on him. Presumably it was the only thing that made him feel powerless.



#34 Manic Moran

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 2044 PM

And then, there was the Bari Raid, but that was more of an chemical accident.

 

https://infogalactic...ir_raid_on_Bari

 

I am intrigued by the commentary on Wiki that the incident was covered up until 1967. Crusade in Europe by Eisenhower mentions it, and to my knowledge it was never censored, was it?



#35 Mistral

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 1035 AM

 

And then, there was the Bari Raid, but that was more of an chemical accident.

 

https://infogalactic...ir_raid_on_Bari

 

I am intrigued by the commentary on Wiki that the incident was covered up until 1967. Crusade in Europe by Eisenhower mentions it, and to my knowledge it was never censored, was it?

 

 

Why did the allies felt the need to transfer them to Italy so close to the front?  They could be kept in the UK for a retaliatory strike in Germany.  



#36 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 1238 PM

 

 

And then, there was the Bari Raid, but that was more of an chemical accident.

 

https://infogalactic...ir_raid_on_Bari

 

I am intrigued by the commentary on Wiki that the incident was covered up until 1967. Crusade in Europe by Eisenhower mentions it, and to my knowledge it was never censored, was it?

 

 

Why did the allies felt the need to transfer them to Italy so close to the front?  They could be kept in the UK for a retaliatory strike in Germany.  

 

I don't think they were being transferred from England.  The Mediterranean Theater was supplied directly from the United States.  Only the original North African landings were based on the British Isles.  Subsequent resupply went direct.



#37 Ken Estes

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 1307 PM

A retaliatory strike on Germany? The strategic bombing campaign was already doing well for the Allies. The war gasses of the day were hardly suitable for strategic employment and no munitions were on hand for such use. They were assigned to the US Army Chemical Corps for planning and execution by field army commanders should the need be seen. Strictly tactical and operational in scope, not strategic. This practice remains to the present day, although most nations have disarmed in CW.



#38 Argus

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 0031 AM

Thanks Argus, thats very interesting.

 

I seem to recall from the documentary they had cut away the protective gear around armpits and tights in order to expose the more sweaty parts of the body to see the effectiveness of the mustard gas, and that there were indeed improved effects in the jungle. The photographs of the resulting blisters looked horrific.

 

Don't quote me, but I seem to remember they were the most exhaustive allied troop trials on mustard period. Given responsibility at the big boys table it seems we took it more seriously and put a lot of effort into it - and that included doing things to our people others simply had not been willing too. 



#39 DougRichards

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 0147 AM

 

Thanks Argus, thats very interesting.

 

I seem to recall from the documentary they had cut away the protective gear around armpits and tights in order to expose the more sweaty parts of the body to see the effectiveness of the mustard gas, and that there were indeed improved effects in the jungle. The photographs of the resulting blisters looked horrific.

 

Don't quote me, but I seem to remember they were the most exhaustive allied troop trials on mustard period. Given responsibility at the big boys table it seems we took it more seriously and put a lot of effort into it - and that included doing things to our people others simply had not been willing too. 

 

 

The same could be said about Bouganville and other late war operations that Australians were thrown into.  The war was ending and the Japanese were not going anywhere.  Theyy could have been just contained in what were the equivalent of self managing prisoner of war camps.  Instead the Australian government tried buying a seat at the victory table with the unneccessary shedding of Australian blood.

 

Of course MacArthur, by deliberately excluding Australian forces from the liberation of the Philippines, where they would have been very useful, must carry some of the blame.



#40 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 0453 AM

 

 

Thanks Argus, thats very interesting.

 

I seem to recall from the documentary they had cut away the protective gear around armpits and tights in order to expose the more sweaty parts of the body to see the effectiveness of the mustard gas, and that there were indeed improved effects in the jungle. The photographs of the resulting blisters looked horrific.

 

Don't quote me, but I seem to remember they were the most exhaustive allied troop trials on mustard period. Given responsibility at the big boys table it seems we took it more seriously and put a lot of effort into it - and that included doing things to our people others simply had not been willing too. 

 

 

The same could be said about Bouganville and other late war operations that Australians were thrown into.  The war was ending and the Japanese were not going anywhere.  Theyy could have been just contained in what were the equivalent of self managing prisoner of war camps.  Instead the Australian government tried buying a seat at the victory table with the unneccessary shedding of Australian blood.

 

Of course MacArthur, by deliberately excluding Australian forces from the liberation of the Philippines, where they would have been very useful, must carry some of the blame.

 

Why complicate logistics by having a multinational force for the Philippines?  Bougainville was a part of the Oz mandate to be recovered.






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