Chemical Warfare in WWI
World War I was beginning of inventing new ways to produce more casualties to the enemy’s force and reduce the probability of losing Soldiers from their own line of defense or offense. They did this by conducting extensive research in chemical warfare. At the same time, it will motivate the troops and win the hearts and minds of the people from their country if they had new ways on ending the war quickly. Chemical warfare affected tactics and techniques of warfare and almost changed the outcome of World War I. (LTG Carl E. Vuono)
The French were the first to start experimenting on chemical agents in 1912. They first used it on their people as riot control to capture criminals that who had robbed a bank. They used 26 millimeter grenades filled with chemical agents into the center of the group criminals they were attempting to apprehend. It was not said if it was effective but continued to look into using it for other means. However, the Germans at this time had not been interested in producing any kinds of chemical weapons.
On 28 July 1914, the war began with the Allies and Central Powers in Europe. The Allied Powers primarily consisted of Britain, France, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and later the US and Italy. The Central Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.
No one in Europe wanted this war to last because they felt and shared a common belief that the economies of the European nations would not be able to survive a war of this scale. (MAJ (P) Charles E. Heller, USAR) Therefore, Germany started looking into using gas a weapon within keeping in mind of the Declaration on the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases; July 29, 1899 (Hague Conventions of 1899).
The French were still using the 26 millimeter grenades in 1914 but were having little to no effect because they were using it in an open area. Using it in the open area, the gas would soon dissipate into the air causing no effect on the enemies. The French soon discarded the grenades as worthless after August of 1914. (MAJ (P) Charles E. Heller, USAR)
On 31 of January 1915, the Germans fired over 18,000 15cm howitzer rounds (T-shells) filled with xylyl Bromide (Tear Gas) at the Russians at Bolimov, Russia. (Fries and West) However, the temperature was too cold, it did not cause vaporization when it exploded and had no effect on their enemy Soldiers. The Germans needed to find new ways utilize chemical weapons to defeat the Allies. They did not give up on making better and effective chemical weapons on the battlefield.
The use of chlorine gas was used at the Battle Ypres by the German Army against the British and French Forces. On 22 April 1915, the Germans released nearly 1,600 large and 4,130 small cylinders containing a total of 168 tons of chlorine that vaporized into a low laying gas that was yellow-green in color. The gas was pushed by the wind from the German lines into the...