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Thread: World War 2: Poison Gas

  1. #1
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    Default World War 2: Poison Gas

    I'm admittedly not up to par on ww2, but with all the other dispicable things the nazis did during the war does anyone know why they declined to use poison gas during battle? It's not like they cared about condemnation. And they certainly showed no qualms about using it during ww1. Any input to help me learn a thing or two?
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    As a first and quick respond I can tell that Hitler originally didn't want the use of toxic gas because of his own experiences in WW1.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Yes, I heard about that. He become blind for some weeks after a british gas attack in 1918.
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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    and so by him not wanting to use gas the allies were obligated to do the same




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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Quote Originally Posted by Moreheaddriller View Post
    and so by him not wanting to use gas the allies were obligated to do the same
    Well, there were some "minor" incidents in WW2 just mentioning an incident that occured on September 8th 1939 by the town of Jasło in Poland. Probably by decision of a single polish officer polish troops used mustard gas at a bridge near the town in question. Two german soldiers were killed and 12 wounded.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    It's worth noting here that the use of Poison Gas only gave Germany a temporary advantage in WW1, and after that the Allies were generally slighty better users of it. The General Staff were well aware of this.
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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    Well, there were some "minor" incidents in WW2 just mentioning an incident that occured on September 8th 1939 by the town of Jasło in Poland. Probably by decision of a single polish officer polish troops used mustard gas at a bridge near the town in question. Two german soldiers were killed and 12 wounded.
    I found something more info:
    In a book "Alpenkorps in Polen" issued by NS-Gauverlag Tirol in 1940 (!) there is some info about what happened. As far as I know there was an explosion of a mine installed at the bridge, when the german engineers were trying to disable it. Nobody was killed, but later few soldiers died by "poisoning".
    Germans asked a Swiss professor Rudolf Staechelin to investigate the case. Below is some part of his report (can anyone translate it into english):

    "Am 20. September habe ich in Jaslo 10 deutsche Soldaten untersucht, und
    bei 9 von ihnen mit Sicherheit die Folgen von Gelbkreuz-Vergiftung
    festgestellt, während beim zehnten die Rescheinungen nicht mehr so
    ausgesprochen waren, daß man hätte die Diagnose mit Sicherheit stellen
    können. Beim den 9 Erkrankenten mit sicheren Symptomen waren
    Veränderungen der Haut von so typischem Aussehen und solche
    Lokalisation, daß es sich unzweifelhaft um eine Vergiftung mit einem
    Gift aus der Gelbkreuz-Grupe handeln muß, die vor etwas mehr als einer
    Woche stattgefunden muß. (...) Das vorherrschen der Hautsymptome führt
    zu der Annahme, daß das Gift der sogenannte Lost-Kampfstoff
    (Dichlordiaethylsulfid - Yperit) sein muß."

    It was signed: Berlin, den 21 (!). September 1939".

    Source: http://forumt.thc.com.pl/6_22389_0.html

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    It's worth noting here that the use of Poison Gas only gave Germany a temporary advantage in WW1, and after that the Allies were generally slighty better users of it. The General Staff were well aware of this.
    It was actually an incredibly foolish thing for the Germans to start, the simple reason being that the prevailing winds in this corner of Europe blow from the South West, ensuring that the allies would be able to use poison gas for about 4/5 of the time, whereas the Germans could only use it 1/5 of the time.
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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Quote Originally Posted by Kovalski View Post
    Below is some part of his report (can anyone +translate it into english):

    "Am 20. September habe ich in Jaslo 10 deutsche Soldaten untersucht, und
    bei 9 von ihnen mit Sicherheit die Folgen von Gelbkreuz-Vergiftung
    festgestellt, während beim zehnten die Rescheinungen nicht mehr so
    ausgesprochen waren, daß man hätte die Diagnose mit Sicherheit stellen
    können. Beim den 9 Erkrankenten mit sicheren Symptomen waren
    Veränderungen der Haut von so typischem Aussehen und solche
    Lokalisation, daß es sich unzweifelhaft um eine Vergiftung mit einem
    Gift aus der Gelbkreuz-Grupe handeln muß, die vor etwas mehr als einer
    Woche stattgefunden muß. (...) Das vorherrschen der Hautsymptome führt
    zu der Annahme, daß das Gift der sogenannte Lost-Kampfstoff
    (Dichlordiaethylsulfid - Yperit) sein muß."

    It was signed: Berlin, den 21 (!). September 1939".

    Source: http://forumt.thc.com.pl/6_22389_0.html
    "On September 20th 1939 I examined 10 german soldiers in Jaslo and with 9 of them I diagnosed implications of toxication with mustard gas for sure. With the 10th soldier however the symptoms were not that downright to tell safely. With the 9 patients to show certain symptoms, changes of the skin with that typical appearance and site were that obvious that the toxication undoubtedly had to be the kind of such with a poison from the mustard gas group. The exposure to the gas should have occured a little more than a week ago. (...) The endemism of the main symptoms leads to the assumption that the poison had to be the so-called Lost warfare agent (Dichlordiaethylsulfid - Yperit)."
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    When the war started you can see that the german soldiers carried the gas mask canisters (don't know how long these were issued). So, do we think that they were thinking about use or concerned that others might use poison gas against them?
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    There were "incidents." I'm not aware of specifics, but it was used by IJA forces in China. Although it was never used during the main fighting of WWII as far as anyone can tell, both sides stockpiled chemical ordinance, in this case, on a ship off Italy that was hit by a Luftwaffe air strike that took place on December 2, 1943 on Bari Harbor.:

    From Wiki:

    John Harvey

    One of the destroyed vessels, the US Liberty ship John Harvey, had been carrying a secret cargo of 2,000 M47A1 World War I type mustard gas bombs, each of which held 60-70 lb of sulfur mustard. The destruction of the John Harvey caused liquid sulfur mustard from the bombs to spill into waters already contaminated by oil from the other damaged vessels. The many sailors who had abandoned their ships for the safety of the water became covered with this oily mixture which provided an ideal solvent for the sulfur mustard. Some mustard evaporated and mingled with the clouds of smoke and flame.[8] The casualties were pulled out of the water and sent to medical facilities which were completely unaware of what they carried with them. Medical personnel focused on personnel with blast or fire injuries.[9] Little attention was given to those merely covered with oil.[10] Many injuries caused by prolonged exposure to low concentrations of mustard might have been reduced by simple bathing or a change of clothes.[11]

    Within a day, the first symptoms of mustard poisoning had appeared in both casualties and medical personnel, 628 of them having become blind and started to develop chemical burns. This puzzling development was further complicated by the arrival of hundreds of Italian civilians also seeking treatment, who had been poisoned by a cloud of sulfur mustard vapor that had blown over the city when some of the John Harvey's cargo exploded. As the medical crisis worsened, little information was available about what was causing these symptoms, as the US military command wanted to keep the presence of chemical munitions secret from the Germans.[12] Nearly all crewmen of John Harvey had been killed, and were unavailable to explain the cause of the "garlic-like" odor noted by rescue personnel.[13]

    Informed about the mysterious symptoms, Deputy Surgeon General Fred Blesse sent Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Francis Alexander. an expert in chemical warfare. Carefully tallying the locations of the victims at the time of the attack, Alexander traced the epicenter to the John Harvey, and confirmed mustard gas as the responsible agent when he located a fragment of the casing of a US M47A1 bomb.[14]

    By the end of the month, 83 of the 628 hospitalized military victims had died. The number of civilian casualties, thought to have been even greater, could not be accurately gauged since most had left the city to seek shelter with relatives.[14]

    A USN destroyer, the USS Bistera, had picked up survivors from the water during the raid and put out to sea; during the night nearly the entire crew went blind and many developed chemical burns. The destroyer managed to limp into Taranto harbour only with great difficulty.[15]

    [edit] Cover up

    At first the Allied High Command tried to conceal the disaster, in case the Germans believed that the Allies were preparing to use chemical weapons, which might provoke them into preemptive use. However, there were too many witnesses to keep the secret, and in February the US Chiefs of Staff issued a statement admitting to the accident and emphasising that the US had no intention of using chemical weapons except in the case of retaliation.[15]

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, approved Dr. Alexander's report. Winston Churchill, however, ordered all British documents to be purged, listing mustard gas deaths as "burns due to enemy action".[14]

    US records of the attack were declassified in 1959, but the episode remained obscure until 1967. In 1986 the British government finally admitted to survivors of the Bari raid that they had been exposed to poison gas and amended their pension payments accordingly.[16]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Raid_on_Bari



  12. #12
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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Thanks nick! That was a great article!
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    This is detailed in Joseph Borkin's book The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben........

    ....Speer, who was strongly opposed to the introduction of tabun, flew Otto Ambros, I.G.'s authority on poison gas as well as synthetic rubber, to the meeting. Hitler asked Ambros, "What is the other side doing about poison gas?" Ambros explained that the enemy, because of its greater access to ethylene, probably had a greater capacity to produce mustard gas than Germany did. Hitler interrupted to explain that he was not referring to traditional poison gases: "I understand that the countries with petroleum are in a position to make more [mustard gas], but Germany has a special gas, tabun. In this we have a monopoly in Germany." He specifically wanted to know whether the enemy had access to such a gas and what it was doing in this area. To Hitler's disappointment Ambros replied, "I have justified reasons to assume that tabun, too, is known abroad. I know that tabun was publicized as early as 1902, that Sarin was patented, and that these substances appeared in patents. Ambros was informing Hitler of an extraordinary fact about one of Germany's most secret weapons. The essential nature of tabun and sarin had already been disclosed in the technical journals as far back as 1902, and I.G. had patented both products in 1937 and 1938. Ambros then warned Hitler that if Germany used tabun, it must face the possibility that the Allies could produce this gas in much larger quantities. Upon receiving this discouraging report, Hitler abruptly left the meeting. The nerve gases would not be used, for the time being at least, although they would continue to be produced and tested.......



    And in his book Reflections on Intelligence, the late Professor R.V. Jones, Churchill's wartime Head of Scientific Intelligence, confirmed the role of deterrence in averting a nerve gas attack. From decrypted Japanese signals, Jones had learned that "Hitler had told the Japanese ambassador in Berlin that he had some new and very effective gases, but that he was refraining from using them because he thought that we had equally deadly ones. Here he was wrong, because his chemists had discovered nerve gases and ours had not; that he thought that they had was in itself a deterrent, and neither side resorted to gas warfare".

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Mustard gas was contemplated and prepared for artillery and aerial use against the Japanese by the British, Americans and Australians.

    Fairly extensive tests were carried out over about six months in 1943-44, including mustard gas bombing of constructions resembling Japanese field fortifications.

    http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/australia/cw.html

    http://www.australiansatwar.gov.au/s...?war=W2&id=224

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-pa-http%252...252FP01831.027

    http://home.st.net.au/~dunn/brook%20island%20trial.htm

    Apparently the Yanks were still keen on using Australian troops as CW guinea pigs a couple of decades later, during the Vietnam era. http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/s...53-952,00.html

    Frankly, I'm surprised that an Australian conservative government didn't bend over and take a big one up the arse as it usually does when dealing with America, especially when the Prime Minister at the time, Harold Holt, caused a national cringe by sucking up to the Yanks with his 'All the way with LBJ' slogan. Still we got our revenge on him after he disappeared in office, presumed drowned. We named a swimming pool after him. http://www.theage.com.au/news/nation...988412479.html

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    Default Re: World War 2: Poison Gas

    Germany did develop the first nerve agent (Tabun) in WWII (don't even want to think how it was tested), but the British were also very close to having their own version. Which the Germans knew. I've read that the Brits leaked the info deliberately, sort of "If you use yours, we'll use ours kind of thing" but don't know for sure if this is true. Anyway, everybody remembered the horrific gas attacks of WWI and nobody wanted to repeat the experience.

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