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Poison gas

A folding postcard from a pencil sketch of an unsuccessful Allied gas attack in Flanders.
Text:
Erfolgloser feindlicher Gasangriff in Flandern
Unsuccessful enemy gas attack in Flanders
Outside:
Feldpostkarte
Nachdruck verboten.
Field postcard
Reproduction prohibited.

A folding postcard from a pencil sketch of an unsuccessful Allied gas attack in Flanders.

Image text

Erfolgloser feindlicher Gasangriff in Flandern



Unsuccessful enemy gas attack in Flanders



Outside:

Feldpostkarte

Nachdruck verboten.



Field postcard

Reproduction prohibited.

Other views: Larger

Article 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907 outlawed the use of 'poison or poisoned weapons.'

The French may have used tear gas (ethyl bromoacetate) grenades in 1914, a charge Germany made in 1915 to justify its use of poison gas.

The Germans first used poison gas in the Battle of Bolimow that began January 31, 1915 against the Russians, firing 18,000 shells of xylyl bromide. The gas was limited in its effectiveness because of the cold. The Russians did not report its use to their Allies.

The first effective use of poison gas was in the Second Battle of Ypres which began on April 22, 1915. Although a German deserter had warned of it on April 13, even delivering a German gas-mask, the Allies were unprepared. The Germans released the gas from cylinders, attaching pipes to extend the release beyond their front lines, and a five-mile long cloud of greenish-yellow gas drifted to the Allied trenches held by newly-arrived Canadian troops and a French colonial division.

Chlorine gas killed by asphyxiating victims immediately, or by a lingering death due to damaged the bronchial tubes and lung tissues. Survivors could be permanently disabled.

Passive delivery from cylinders was problematic. On the Western Front, the prevailing winds favored the Allies, blowing to the Northeast, towards the German lines.

The British first used poison gas in the Battle of Loos beginning September 25, 1915. One British commander gassed his own men because he insisted on carry out his orders despite the wind blowing towards his men.

On June 20, 1916 the Germans first used diphosgene at Verdun. On October 19 Germans forces use chlorine and phosgene gas in Champagne. On December 19, They used phosgene gas against the British at Ypres. The colorless gas suffocates by disrupting the blood-air barrier.

Mustard gas, introduced later in the war, caused large, painful blisters of the skin, eyes, and mucous membrane.

Poison gas is a chemical weapons and defenses.