Overview of Incapacitating Agents
This paper will identify and discuss what an incapacitating agent is. It will identify a few moments
in history where attempts to use Incapacitating methods succeeded and other moments when they failed. We will talk about the different “types” of incapacitating agents.
Incapacitating agents are methods used to debilitate an enemy force without causing permanent harm. These should not be lethal and should be easily recoverable or treatable. There are two basic types of incapacitating agents; non chemical and chemical. Within each type there are different methods or routes of exposure/effect used to incapacitate ones adversary. Non chemical are auditory and microwave devices. Chemical methods include: olfactory, nerve agents, vesicants, irritants, nausea producing agents, Indole-based Psychedelics, Phenethylamine-Based Psychedelics, Opioids, Dissociative Anesthetics, Tranquilizers, and Anticholinergic Deliriants. The majority of studies is focused in the chemical type as this shows the most promise for success.
Incapacitating agents, in some form, have been experimented with since as early as 600BC when Greek King Solon ordered his troops to throw Hellebore roots into streams that provided water for his enemies. King Solon’s goal was to incapacitate the enemy with diarrhea. Then in 200BC an officer in Hannibal’s army, Maharbal, poisoned wine with Mandragora and left if for the uprising tribes in Africa he was facing. The tribe greedily drank the wine and the Maharbal either killed or captured the disabled enemy soldiers. In one incident in 1672 the Bishop of Muenster used grenades filled with Belladonna; however the wind pushed the plume back having the opposite of his desired effect. This was one of the reasons the French and Germans agreed to no longer use chemical or incapacitating weapons against each other. Fast forward to World War I and we again see the use of chemical weapons on the battlefield. But these were not used to incapacitate. The international outcry over the use of these weapons prompted them to be banned by the Geneva Convention of 1925. Although Germany had stock piles of chemical weapons during WWII, they never used them for two reasons. First being that Hitler was a casualty of a chemical weapon attack during WWI and he was reluctant to order their use based on what happened to him. Second the Nazi party assumed the Allies had similar stock piles and that the Allies were thoroughly trained in chemical defense. An interesting point is that if Hitler had ordered the use of chemical weapons he could have potentially shifted the war in his favor. (Jonathon Tucker. 2006). This brings us to the modern era and the current types and trials in the use of incapacitating agents.
Recall that there are two types of incapacitating agents, chemical and non chemical. Under non chemical the first is Auditory. This is the use of concentrated sound waves to disorient an enemy force; however often this...