Gas Attacks

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Chemical Weapons in WWI

The First World War accelerated the development of new technologies designed to improve the ability to kill an enemy: the machine gun, the tank, the airplane, the zeppelin, and gas to name a few.


Among these, gas was probably the crudest, certainly the French gas attack on German lines Belgium, 1916 most capricious - a change in wind direction could spell disaster. Initially, gas cylinders were simply placed along the front lines facing the enemy trenches. Once the wind was deemed favorable, the cylinders were opened and the gas floated with the breeze, carrying death to the enemy.


Later, gas was packed into artillery shells and delivered behind enemy lines. No matter the method of delivery, its impact could produce hell on earth. Chlorine and phosgene gases attacked the lungs ripping the very breath out of its victims. Mustard gas was worse. At least a respirator provided some defense against the chlorine and phosgene gases. Mustard gas attacked the skin - moist skin such as the eyes, armpits, and groin. It burned its way into its victim leaving searing blisters and unimaginable pain.

Types of Gas Grenade

Mustard Gas

A type of grenade developed and used in 1917 during WWI with the ability to form large blisters on the exposed skin and in the lungs. These grenades were commonly used by the Germans to clear large sections of soldiers from the front line of trenches it had the capability of killing 5000 troops at once.


Tear Gas

The earliest military uses of chemicals were tear-inducing irritants rather than fatal or disabling poisons. These grenades were first used in 1914 to distract opposing troops and to give way for weapons such as artilleries


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