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THE GAS WAR 1915-1918

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  • THE GAS WAR 1915-1918

    THE GAS WAR 1915-1918
    seen through the archives of ECPAD (Establishment of Communication and Audiovisual Production of Defense).
    Lieutenant David SBRAVA

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    Forest of Parroy (Meurthe-et-Moselle)… Artillerymen with their gas masks.

  • #2
    1. Combat gases during the Great War

    April 22, 1915, at 5 p.m., in the Ypres salient in Belgium, a heavy yellow and greenish cloud, pushed by a north-easterly wind, progressed rapidly towards the French lines located between the Yser canal and the village of Poelcappelle. Immediately seized with nausea and unable to breathe, the French soldiers, totally helpless in the face of this deadly cloud, collapsed in front of their comrades in the second line, thus spreading an effect of panic in the allied lines. On that day 5,000 soldiers were killed in the attack, while 15,000 were affected by the gas.

    This first attack, prepared for many months by German troops, marks the beginning of the massive use of chemical and toxic agents resulting from the progress of the industry. The use of these new substances for military purposes has raised hopes within staffs of a meteoric breakthrough on the front lines, allowing the conflict to regain its mobility lost in the bogged down of trench warfare.

    Initiated in Germany with the work of the chemical engineer Fritz Haber, of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut (KWI), and in France by the commission known as the Chemical Studies of War, with the work of professors André Kling and Charles Moureu, the manufacture of chemical agents enabled many German, French and British firms to considerably increase their industrial facilities. Thus, they will experience a rapid development after the war.

    Between 1915 and 1918, the tonnages produced daily by the factories to make phosgene or mustard shells became colossal. Between July 1917 and November 1918, Germany produced over 6 million mustard shells. Each month, a million arsine shells leave its factories, causing arsenic stocks to be completely depleted by the end of the conflict.

    On the side of the Entente, France and Great Britain are also mobilizing their industry. Several factories are emerging in France, particularly in the Rhône and Isère valleys, a basin of the French chemical industry since the 19th century. In March 1916, the Liquid Chlorine Company in Isère began producing chlorine, a substance necessary for the development of chemical shells, as well as chloride of lime intended for the decontamination of places infested by pernicious agents. After the appearance of German mustard on the front in July 1917, the French response began in October 1917, materializing in January 1918 with the making of an yperite, cheaper and faster to produce. The Chemical Company of the Rhône factories goes from a production of 7 tons in April 1918, to 500 tons in October of the same year, allowing the French army to supply the other allied nations, in particular the United States and Italy.

    Faced with the terrible effects of this new weapon, soldiers must live with the fear of chemical attack daily, forcing them to adopt new reflexes necessary for their survival on the battlefield. Launched with the help of shells or in concentrated waves, the combat gases become an instrument of terror, even reaching the civilian populations, who, sometimes living in the army zone, must protect themselves against their effects. Animals used in armies to deliver supplies also become victims of combat gas, and several types of protection are deployed to their attention.

    The belligerents then develop, often in an emergency, various means and procedures to protect their combatants, who over time are increasingly better equipped against the effects of combat gases.

    In the aftermath of the German chemical attack on Ypres in April 1915, the French and British authorities ordered thousands of rudimentary masks, which only formed a simple barrier before the respiratory tract. Over the months, several other types of protection appear, especially in the form of hoods or simple swabs impregnated with neutralizing solution. Summary and ineffective, they are then replaced by protections that cover the entire face.

    In the fall of 1915, Germany put the Gummimaske into service, which, with a filter cartridge screwed into the front of the mask, paved the way for modern protective devices. In 1917, due to a shortage of rubber, another model made of waterproof leather, called Lederschutzmaske, gradually replaced the first model put into service.

    In February 1916 France acquired a mask capable of stopping most chemical agents. Entirely sewn, made of an oilcloth that also encompasses the face of the combatants, this mask called M2 is manufactured in more than 29 million copies. It was replaced in February 1918 by the ARS (special breathing apparatus) copied from the German model. Towards the end of the war, with the use of mustard gas which attacks the skin, the teams responsible for decontaminating the infested places were given overalls canvases.

    Great Britain, which produces 50 million personal protective equipment, and the United States, which manufactures 5 million, equipped their armies with a mask called the Large box respirator, then Small box respirator.

    Strategies to deceive the opponent and intoxicate him without his knowledge are developed by each side. The most popular method is to mix conventional high explosive shells with chemical shells in an artillery salvo. Explosions from conventional shells must mask the arrival of gas ammunition, which, upon hitting the ground, produces a muffled sound that every fighter will quickly learn to recognize.

    Throughout the war, various means of warning emerged, from the most rudimentary to the most sophisticated. Ranging from the compressed air or crank siren, the recovered church bell, to the shell casing struck with a stick, they are deployed across the entire front, arranged at precise distances , and this on several areas going from the first line to the back of the front. All the instructions issued by the commands aim to prevent the effect of surprise and panic, so dreaded by the combatants.

    However, combat gas does not necessarily kill by striking down combatants in their position. Death caused by chemical agents is primarily determined by the length of time soldiers are exposed to harmful agents. During the war, the German chemist Fritz Haber quantified for each chemical body the lethal dose and the time required for exposure to them to act on organisms. In addition to these physical considerations, it is clear that the doses of chemical agents deployed in the field, to be lethal, must reach very high concentration thresholds per cubic meter, which encourages the belligerents to embark on a real race for production. British troops develop a radical method of launching their gas attacks. Called Projector Livens, named after their inventor, Lieutenant Livens, this weapon consists of projecting gas-filled bombs with mortars. Arriving in enemy lines, they release a large amount of chemicals in a specific area. Between April 1917, the date of the first use of this type of vector during the Battle of Arras, and the month of November 1918, more than 197,000 Liven bombs were fired, creating a feeling of insecurity in the German lines.

    The use of combat gases does not provide a decisive solution on the battlefield. The losses sustained during the war will be "minimal" compared to the 23 million wounded and 8 million fatalities mainly due to artillery or machine gun fire. Indeed, of the 495,000 French, British, German and American victims of combat gas, "only" 20,000 of them died as a result of inhaling chemical or toxic agents. Most of the soldiers killed by gas are those who did not wear masks, often inadvertently. The aftermath of the gas war will deeply mark the veterans, and will be widely highlighted in post-war stories, in literature, painting and cinema.


    • #3
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      Vendresse (Aisne) August 30, 1915, warning, gas masks

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      Septmonts (Aisne) military kennel

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      Provins (Seine-et-Marne) September 1, 1918 ... German pigeon service: cage used to protect pigeons during gas emissions


      • #4
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        Near La Renarde (Marne) November 30, 1915 ... A stretcher bearer poses for a photographer, equipped with a P2 gas mask, consisting of 3 compresses (left), then a pipe mask, fitted with a filter cartridge against asphyxiating gases (right)

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        Near Epinal (Vosges) May 21, 1918 ... Disinfection of a trench contaminated with mustard gas and cleaning of an artillery piece.

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        Fesches-la-Chapelle (Haut-Rhin) October 15, 1918 ... Recommendations in the event of a blistering gas alert: men must leave the shelter, equipped with masks and dressed.


        • #5
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          Ville-sur-Tourbe (Marne) May 1917 ... The church bell is transformed into a gas alarm

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          Mort-Homme (Meuse) August 25, 1917 ... a member of General Mathieu's Command Post, poses in front of the siren used to warn of gas attacks.

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          Near Aubvillers (Somme) July 28, 1918 ... German corpse out of a shelter, and still wearing a mask.

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          Vincennes (Val-de-Marne) April 4, 1916 ... Workers at the Pathé factory, making protective goggles against gas


          • #6
            2. How to show the gas war?

            In the large body of photographs and films produced by the Army Photographic and Cinematographic Section (SPCA) during the conflict, few address the issue of combat gases. Indeed, their presence is always treated indirectly, given the significant risks involved in taking images during a real gas attack. Two speeches disseminated within the filmed or photographed documents are set up. One presents gas warfare from an angle that minimizes the dangerousness of gas, sometimes with a light touch, reassuring the families of combatants on the front lines. The second speech strives, for its part, to denounce the "treachery" initiated by Germany during the attack of April 22, 1915 on Ypres, presenting the Allied soldiers and civilians as the victims of the procedures developed by the german laboratories. These speeches obviously appear completely out of step with the reality on the ground. The trainings showing the wearing of the gas mask are followed by the photographic operators, who constitute throughout the war a set of images showing the French and Allied fighters perfectly familiar with the wearing of protection.

            In the Verdun region, in December 1915, two months before the start of the German attack, French soldiers put in place, under the watchful eye of operator Bouchetal, their type P2 buffer masks. A few days earlier, near the locality of "La Placardelle" in the Marne, the operator Tétart followed another training session, entitled the cliché: "the review of the masks". This special mention, underlined by quotation marks, seems to refer to the idea of a "masquerade", where every soldier, wearing his protective mask as best he can, does not seem to fear the effects of the toxic clouds. These devices were replaced in February 1916 by the M2 mask, which covered the entire face of the combatants. In June 1916, in the village of Proyart in the Somme, Senegalese riflemen of a colonial infantry regiment tried on this new mask in front of their officers, who did not wear it.

            The belligerents relay, in their newsreels, the idea that gas is not so dangerous for soldiers. One issue of British Army filmed news, The Pictorial News, dated 1917, features soldiers playing cards during a gas scare. The card introducing the scene reads: “Who cares for Gaz! A quiet game of cards until the danger has passed. Officers in their respirators are cheated of a smoke. "

            However, the footage produced by military cameramen also denounces the "cowardice" of the german army, which uses combat gases in defiance of international conventions and the laws of war. Indeed, at the beginning of the use of chemical weapons in April 1915, a controversy broke out between France and Germany, in which each protagonist mutually rejects the fault of the use of chemical and toxic weapons, and this to rally to its cause the maximum number of countries that have remained neutral. In a film produced by the Cinematographic Section of the French Army, dated 1916, and entitled "The fight against asphyxiating gases", personnel from the Army Health Service expose viewers to the various German vectors used to propagate combat gases, thus alluding to the violation of the Hague Convention, signed in 1889, which prohibited the use of this type of weapon. The film then draws up an inventory of the means implemented by France since 1915 to protect its soldiers against the gas. Starting from the most rudimentary and going to the most sophisticated, the montage concludes with the use of gas masks by civilians, and in particular children, shown to be the innocent victims of chemical weapons.

            Many photographic reports focus on populations subject to the risks of chemical warfare. In the town of Pont-à-Mousson, operator Jacques Agié shows a child wearing his gas mask case slung over his shoulder, reading a municipal notice on wearing a mask. Indeed, located near the front, the city is often the object of fire by German artillery which sometimes launches chemical shells. In Reims, the children of a school pose together with their teacher, wearing their protection. Other images show Reims town hall staff in the gardens of the town hall with their gas masks.

            Another point relating to combat gases methodically approached by French military operators is the manufacture of chemical and toxic agents in French factories. At first, artisanal production of "special" shells quickly became industrial, and the personnel of the Army Photographic Section followed this development in workshops and weapons factories.

            In August 1915, near Fort de Vincennes, the operator Tétart assisted with loading operations for 75 mm shells in workshops made up of soldiers. The latter carry out the measurements and the filling of the phosphorus shells by hand. In September 1916, the operator Jacques Ridel photographed the Isère plant at Pont-de-Claix, which produced the lime chloride used for making smoke and, later, for the disinfection of land polluted by mustard gas. In May 1917, in the fort of Aubervilliers located north of Paris, military teams, assisted by civilian personnel, carried out loading operations for 75 mm shells loaded with Vincennite, a toxic agent. Their packaging in crates and their shipment to the front are monitored by the operator Bauche. Finally, in June 1917, near the town of Sorgues in the Vaucluse, workers worked in a lime chloride production plant, often in difficult conditions.

            The presence of gas at the front is felt by all combatants, weighing in their minds the fear of being exposed to the effects of the gas. In the first or second line, soldiers from each side are equipped with a mask, making use of it in many circumstances. This tension in the mind of every soldier, acting like a maelstrom, is reflected in the SPCA documents but perhaps even more so in the amateur images.

            Of course, photographs taken by military operators, around a command post, for example, can reveal the anguish of intoxication felt by all combatants.

            But the "official" photographs dealing with the use of the gas mask, most often show groups of soldiers, generally within the scope of their training, provided with their breathing apparatus, all united in the face of the risks imposed by chemical and toxic agents. Few of the images show a lone soldier with his mask on. They would risk showing the fear of the fighter isolated or helpless in the face of asphyxiating gases. On the contrary, it is about demonstrating through the image that the soldiers are not abandoned. The discourse presented to public opinion always tends, on the one hand, to minimize the risk incurred by the soldiers and, on the other hand, to present the gas war as the prerogative of the German army. Amateur photographic documents, produced in an unofficial setting, where we see the “masked” portrait of the husband, the father, the son, the brother… and that we send to his relatives, are more numerous to appear in personal souvenir albums. Many soldiers photograph themselves at the edge of the trench with gas masks outside of an alert phase. Can we see this act as a kind of exorcism? Would taking yourself with your mask on during a false alarm make it possible to make fun of or more easily accept the risks imposed using gas? However, this reflects the concern of these men.

            In the summer of 1915, Lieutenant Pron de l'Epinay Sainte Radegonde made several personal photographs of soldiers of the 279th Infantry Regiment, wearing their ricinated balaclavas, of British manufacture. In fact, from July 1915, the British government urgently provided numerous hoods called "Hypo", impregnated with hyposulphite, to prevent any intoxication in the face of the gas slicks released by the German sappers. These frightening portraits, while perhaps reassuring or ironic about the final protection being put in place, bear witness to the anguish soldiers felt in the face of the new danger of combat gas. The fear of gas is shared by each belligerent. In 1918, a German nurse poses in a communication trench, wearing her mask on her face, unrecognizable except by her relatives.


            • #7
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              Verdun (Meuse) December 31, 1915 ... Review of P2 masks, made by Captain Fournier

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              La Placardelle (Somme) December 5, 1915… “The review of the masks”.

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              Proyart (Somme) June 24, 1916 ... Senegalese infantrymen trying on their gas masks


              • #8
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                Film showing British troops at the front, notably playing cards during a gas alert. Afterwards, two officers exchanged cigarettes. These images bear witness to the discourse presented in the news, where soldiers do not fear the chemical risk and live perfectly accustomed to their gas masks.

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                Photograms of the film "The fight against asphyxiating gases, 1916". After having exposed the German means to propagate their combat gas, French laboratory technicians present the various breathing apparatuses put into service since 1915. The film ends with a panoramic shot, showing a nun teaching children to use the gas mask.

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                Pont-à-Mousson (Meurthe-et-Moselle) March 1, 1918 ... Child reading a notice on wearing gas masks.

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                Reims (Marne) January 11, 1916 … Masks against asphyxiating gases, at the municipal school


                • #9
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                  Vincennes (Val-de-Marne) August 6, 1915 ... Manufacture of chemical shells at the La Craponnière factory, showing the design and filling of toxic loads.

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                  Le Pont-de-Claix (Isère) September 23, 1916 ... Manufacture of asphyxiating gases in a war factory.

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                  Fort d'Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis) May 31, 1917 ... Loading of short 120mm shells

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                  Sorgues-sur-l’Ouvèze (Vaucluse) June 1917 ... Aquinite factory for asphyxiating gases; the mixers.


                  • #10
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                    Vendresse (Aisne) August 30, 1915 ... Command post of Colonel Sauvage, located in the basement of the castle.

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                    Location unknown, summer 1915 ... Soldiers of the 279th Infantry Regiment wear the "English hood" (gas mask) in the trenches.

                    France 1918 ... German nurse wearing a "lederschutzmaske" mask


                    • #11
                      3. Combat gases, typologies of a weapon of terror

                      3.1. The vectors of gas propagation.

                      To better understand the extent of the technical and industrial means implemented during the war by each belligerent, it seems opportune to present the main vectors of diffusion of chemical weapons and the different bodies that make up the panel of this weaponry available at the era of the First World War.

                      Each belligerent country can carry out two kinds of attack.

                      - the wave attacks. This process involves placing several hundred or even several thousand pressurized gas cylinders in deep shelters dug in front of the adversary's positions. Usually linked together by lead feeders, these bottles are opened before the onset of the ground assault, releasing a sheet of gas, which, carried by the wind, reaches enemy trenches. Implemented in Ypres in April 1915, this process was repeated until 1917. It was then considered too random, as it depended on favorable atmospheric conditions, and was abandoned in favor of shells loaded with combat gas.

                      - the shell attacks. Quickly adopted by French troops and then by all the belligerents, bombardment by gas shells offers the possibility of concentrating a large quantity of chemical agents on a specific area of ​​the front. The shells allow an army to be barred from an area by contaminating the surrounding atmosphere, which can delay the progress of the opponent or neutralize artillery or infantry positions. Medium and large caliber shells are used by each side to contaminate a larger portion of the land.

                      3.2. Types of gas

                      There are two types of combat gas, depending on whether they persist on the battlefield.

                      - The fleeting. With a low boiling point (between 8 ° and 25 °), fleeting combat gases quickly spread and dilute in the atmosphere. They have a limited action in time, that of an attack. Attackers can tackle enemy defenses and neutralize their occupants without being fully affected by the gas. Most fleeting gas are suffocating or toxic gases.

                      - The persistent ones. They have a higher boiling point (between 150 ° and 300 °), do not fully gasify, projecting droplets that take days or even weeks to evaporate into the atmosphere. The combatants must evacuate the position and implement means of decontamination. Most agents are tear-gas or blistering gas. This type of ammunition makes it possible to deny access to an area to the opposing army, embarrassing the latter in its movements, because the latter must ensure the complete elimination of these agents by disinfecting the ground.

                      3.3. Types of chemical or toxic agents

                      We can distinguish several types of chemical or toxic agents, depending on the effects they cause on the body.

                      - Suffocating. They attack the respiratory tracts and cause lung damage which leads to death. Most combat gas-related deaths during the Great War were attributable to suffocating gas. Chlorine, phosgene and chloropicrin are among these fleeting gases, very volatile, but very aggressive for the body. The first French shells containing phosgene were fired during the Battle of Verdun in February 1916. Chloropicrin also appears in the list of suffocating agents. Very volatile and sufficiently toxic at low doses, it can put a man out of action in seconds.

                      - Tear gas. Fleeting gases, they attack the eye and are often used to neutralize a line of defense by rendering fighters unable to don their gas masks. They are often used in combination with other combat gases to increase their density in the air, thereby giving them persistence in the atmosphere. Emitting a heavy white cloud, they can mask the progress of an assault wave, isolate defenders from a position by disrupting their orientation, and easily regulate artillery fire.

                      - Blistering. They cause burns on contact with the skin, eyes, and lungs. These are persistent fluids that cause different levels of tissue burning and often act several hours after the attack. Mustard gas remains the most significant gas of the war because, its inhalation causing no respiratory reflex reaction, it penetrates deep into the lung tissues, causing serious damage. First tested on July 12, 1917 at Ypres against British troops, then named mustard gas because of its strong odor, this gas also attacks the skin causing burns. German chemists later set about removing the odor to deceive the defenders who, failing to detect the presence of the gases, were slow to put on their masks. At the end of the war, mustard is used to slow the advance of the Allies, forcing them to advance cautiously, to decontaminate areas. Phenylarsine dichloride is also used as a blistering gas, especially as its action is more potent than mustard gas, causing permanent disabling damage to soldiers.

                      - Incendiary. As the name suggests, this type of ammunition is endowed with highly flammable substances, causing profoundly serious burns to the skin. As early as 1916, the British Army had used a type of hand grenade containing phosphorus. During the war, shells containing phosphorus were used by the belligerents.

                      - Sternutatory. These bodies cause vomiting and irritation of the nasal mucosa. They appeared on a massive scale during the year 1917 and were intended to prevent combatants from putting on their gas masks, like tear gas. Thus, their use is often associated with other gases, blistering or toxic, which cause serious injury to exposed soldiers.

                      - General toxic. Via the lungs or the skin, they contaminate the blood and cause death. Among them, hydrocyanic acid, which is very fleeting, gives off a bitter almond odor. After penetrating the skin, it reaches the blood and causes death by paralysis of the respiratory center. Mixed with other substances including arsenic chloride, it was commissioned in the French army under the name Vincennite. This gas caught the attention of the French command, which initially did not wish to use it, as it was considered too dangerous. The first shells loaded with this poison were fired on July 1, 1916, when the Battle of the Somme began. Cyanogen chloride, one of the most dangerous agents, has combined properties of hydrocyanic acid and phosgene and kills through edema of the lungs and general poisoning.


                      • #12
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                        Parroy Forest (Meurthe-et-Moselle) April 25, 1917 ... Shell fired by a 120mm short gun

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                        Near Belfort, April 17, 1918 ... Experience of protection against the new mustard gas, this one was made for officers, by Surgeon-Major Leclerc

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                        Near Epinal (Vosges) ... ARS (Special Respiratory Apparatus) masks distributed since April 1918, have been provided here to an infantry section. A mustard-contaminated trench can be disinfected using a Vermorel vaporizer. Lime chloride is used for disinfection.

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                        Arcy-le (Ponsart (Marne) August 8, 1917 ... Machine gunners of the 131st Infantry Regiment, executing a shot, equipped with the Tissot device against gas.

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                        Saint-Sauflieu (Somme) June 2, 1918 ... original sign: "DON'T GO THERE ... WITHOUT TAKING YOUR MASK"


                        • #13
                          4. The use of combat gases during war: chronology

                          - July 29, 1889: signing of the Hague Convention prohibiting the use of chemical agents as a weapon of war.

                          - April 22, 1915: first gas attack against the French and British positions of the Ypres salient in Belgium. The attack cost the French troops more than 5,000 men and 15,000 intoxicated.
                          - April 24: Second attack on the Ypres salient towards Canadian lines, causing fewer deaths as soldiers were instructed to protect themselves with handkerchiefs or socks soaked in water or urine.
                          - April 25: order by the Ministry of War of C1 compresses, copied from the German model.
                          - April 28: First meeting of the Commission on the Use of Gas, chaired by General Curmer, bringing together officers and scientists. Replaced in June by a commission known as Chemical Warfare Studies, headed by Professor André Kling.
                          - May 1915: several attacks continued during the month, causing losses on both camps.
                          - May 18, 1915: British government orders gas response against the German army.
                          - From May 15 to June 30: distribution of C1 compresses.
                          - May 8: British troops receive more than 250,000 protective compresses ordered by Lord Kitchener.
                          - June 1915: development of the first French suffocating shell with carbon tetrachlosulphide. Used on an experimental basis in Argonne, it was employed in Champagne in September 1915. But the low capacity of the 75 mm shell did not allow the air to be saturated with gas, not producing any major effect on the health of the soldiers. Germans.
                          - June 20: in Argonne, in the woods of La Gruerie, massive use of the chemical shell by German troops.
                          - July 6: Distribution of the Hypo balaclava, known as "P", throughout the British army.
                          - July 16: tear gas bombardment in the woods of Cholade in Argonne. 8,000 French are taken prisoner by German troops.
                          - August 16: manufacture of the French type P 1 tampon against phosgene.
                          - October 19: German troops launch a new attack in Champagne, causing the loss of 250 French soldiers and intoxicating 2,000 others.
                          - October 25, 1915: meeting of the protection commission and presentation of the new tampon called "T" (Tambuté), faster to put in place on the face.
                          First British attack with chlorine on the German positions of Loos (Nord).
                          -Autumn 1915: Arrival in the German army of the Gummimaske, consisting of a mask covering the face and a filter cartridge screwed onto the front of the mask.
                          - November 28: first German phosgene bombardment on the French lines at Chilly-Maucourt (Somme).

                          - February 1: first French attack with chlorine.
                          - March 1916: appearance of the first French protective masks covering the entire face, designated under the model name M2.
                          - From June 27 to July 6: use during the Battle of the Somme, by the French army, of hydrocyanic acid.
                          - July 22: use of disphosgene, a suffocating and persistent gas, by the German troops against Fort Souville, near Verdun.
                          - August 30: use of chlorine by the British troops between Arras and Bapaume.

                          - January 31: heavy German gas attack in Champagne, between Marquise and Aubérive, where 18,500 cylinders are used to deliver a cloud of gas, which reaches a depth of 28 km.
                          - April 9: British troops use Projector Livens in the Battle of Arras.
                          - July 12: German troops use mustard shells in the Ypres sector, on a line held by British troops of the 15th and 55th Divisions, between Saint Jean and Potijze.
                          - August 1917: last German attack attempt using the gas sheet technique, in Champagne, between the Navarin farm and the Mesnil hill.
                          - September 2: in Cusy (Meuse), German bus fire loaded with diphenylarsine, an arsenic derivative, causing vomiting and nasal discharge, which prevents any wearing of the mask.
                          - October 5: creation of the French mustard.
                          - October 24: Austro-Hungarian victory over the Italian army in Caporetto following a massive bombardment with combat gas.
                          - December 5: in Récicourt (Meuse), adoption of the British Projector tactics by the German troops, consisting of saturating an area with bombs filled with asphyxiating gases.

                          - February 1918: distribution of French ARS masks, 5,000,000 copies delivered.
                          - March 21: The Michael offensive in the Somme begins by the German army, where numerous gas attacks are launched.
                          - From April 7 to 9: German mustard bombardment at the site of the southern part of the canal from La Bassée to Armentière (Nord).
                          - April 25: German mustard bombardment at the site of Mont-Kemmel (Nord).


                          • #14
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                            Barleux (Somme) August 30, 1915 ... Gas school; inflation of the oxylite bag.

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                            Barleux (Somme) August 30, 1915 ... Gas school; entrance to the pit from which gas escapes.

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                            Lunéville (Meurthe-et-Moselle) March 1, 1918 ... American soldiers preparing gas masks.

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                            Near Epinal (Vosges) May 21, 1918 ... Parade of an Infantry Company, equipped with the new ARS mask.


                            • #15
                              Thanks for posting DR!

                              Its quite interesting seeing photos I hadn't seen before of that era.


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