Chemical warfare in WWII


#1

c. The Japanese are fortunate that the Allies did
not choose to employ all-out gas warfare. Allied use of gas
would certainly have saved many .casualties and undoubtedly
shortened the war.

WOW! Looks like we may have come close in WW!!

cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/ … 071/rec/14


#2

Although there were no recorded Use of “Chemical” weapons against the Japanese, the US Military and the Australian Military did intensive and wide-ranging tests of Mustard Gas and other Vesicant/Irritant and Neuro-toxic gases during WW II, In tropical Australia.
Testing was done by Aussie “Volunteer” guinea pigs, in Northern Queensland, a tropical area much like the Pacific Islands, etc in Climate, Humidity, winds and rainfall, and Plant life.

The whole project was clothed in secrecy ( both from the Local Population (such as it was), the Rest of the Armed Forces and of course, Enemy intelligence.

The Volunteers , after the war, suffered from a Litany of ailments etc, most leading to a premature End by Respiratory and Cancerous Conditions. NO recognition was given to “Gas Testing Service”, although medical treatment was given through the Repatriation Dept (Now Veteran’s Affairs) to which all Servicemen were entitled.

Dumps of Mustard Gas shells etc. are still being unearthed in Rain Forest or found in Barrier Reef Waters, and certain Contaminated Firing Range areas are still “Off Limits” to Humans and Cattle.

Most (all?) of the Volunteers are now deceased, so the story has “died out”. Even Gov’t Archives on the project seem to be singularly devoid of significant content.

One significant finding was that gases developed for Northern Europe ( in WW I) were not suitable for safe use in a Jungle Environment, either because they became “uncontrollable” or they decayed too quickly.

Other Areas of “Chemical Warfare” ( Flame throwers, Illumination and Smoke shells and canisters, etc) did form a large part of “Chemical Warfare” during WW II.

Regards,
Doc AV
Down Under


#3

GOOD INFO! I know Winston Churchill was not against using it, if things took a turn for the worst.


#4

The big problem with mainland Europe is that there is no clear prevailing wind direction. Watch the weather satellite pctures every morning and you see a constant big swirl over Northern Europe as the warmer Atlantic sea and air currents coming up from the SW hits the colder waters and air from the North Sea and the Arctic and mix.
So anything involving gas could only only be very localised and not date specific. This would mean tying it in with bigger operations would be difficult.


#5

The US had no intention of using gas in WW2. We did make the appearance of the same by stocking large amounts of cylinders in areas where German spies would see them. This was so successful that the German handbook on US forces includes the LIVENS gas bomb projectors !
One of the effects of this was that German troops were issued with gas masks far in excess of the need.

Hitler was reluctant to use gas due to his experience of being gased in WW1. In the last days of the war he gave commanders the right to use gas shells but by that time the commanders knew what was coming and did not want to be held responsible for that.

BIO weapons research was very active in the UK and the USA. British officers came to the US to Ft. Detrick to help the US develope these weapons.


#6

If memory serves me,many years ago there was a book entitled " A Higher Form of Killing", that delt with this in some detail,and worth the time to read.

Charles.J.Wells (Jack)
Sgm. USA Ret


#7

[quote=“Jackwells”]If memory serves me,many years ago there was a book entitled " A Higher Form of Killing", that delt with this in some detail,and worth the time to read.

Charles.J.Wells (Jack)
Sgm. USA Ret[/quote]

Yes, that is a good one. There are several good books which I can mention if anyone is interested.


#8

I have read several stories about many German scientists being brought to the San Antonio military bases (and others) after WWII to perform (continue) research on chemical and biological agents (in the guise of “Medical Research”) under Operation Paperclip. Somewhat like bringing Von Braun’s rocket team to White Sands.

Anyone ever see the old movie “Fraulein Doktor”? Not a great movie, but fascinating to me in regard to chemical warfare, and also the assassination of Lord Kitchener.


#9

[quote=“DennisK”]I have read several stories about many German scientists being brought to the San Antonio military bases (and others) after WWII to perform (continue) research on chemical and biological agents (in the guise of “Medical Research”) under Operation Paperclip. Somewhat like bringing Von Braun’s rocket team to White Sands.

Anyone ever see the old movie “Fraulein Doktor”? Not a great movie, but fascinating to me in regard to chemical warfare, and also the assassination of Lord Kitchener.[/quote]

Most Governments still do research on chemical and biological agents under the guise of keeping abreast with developments so they can develop strategies to defend against them. This is entirely legal and sensible. However…


#10

Not to forget about the German chemical aircraft bombs in stock in the US inventory after 1945.


#11

Please tell more.


#12

The US stocked quite a lot of German chemical aircraft bombs for potential use. If I recall it right they got destroyed in the 1960’s then.


#13

I know that there were quite a few Nebelwerfer rockets but not familiar with the bombs.


#14

Tractor rockets come to mind. The US had a chemical presence in Europe. Reading the book, “Disaster at Bari”, was an enlightening experience. Cheers, Y’all, Bruce.


#15

Read Plunkett’s ‘Chemical Warfare in Australia: Australia’s Involvement in Chemical warfare 1914 to 1945’ for a good overview. ISBN 9781876439880. It’s an Army History Unit sponsored publication released in 2007.

I think Geoff Plunkett has done a good job of unearthing just about everything available on the subject from an Australian perspective, though there are a few things that I am aware of that he missed.

There was a series of 25-pdr trials of chemical gas projectiles in New Guinea, I think by 2/2 Fd Regt. Major Joe Strong was the Trails Officer. Makes interesting reading, and is available at the National archives.

Mike C


#16

bensix.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/ … the-devil/

Short page on Japanese unit 731


#17

Flechette 2
Small arms ammunition
Examples of various small arms flechettes. (Scale in
inches.)
Small arms makers are also attracted by the exterior ballistic
performance and armor piercing potential of flechettes, and a
number of attempts have been made to field flechette-firing small
arms.
The United States is not the only country to use a flechette weapon.
Though, during the Vietnam War, 12 gauge combat shotguns were
used with flechette loads, consisting of around 20 flechettes per
shell.[7] [8] The USSR/Russian federation had/has the AO-27 rifle,
and other countries have their own flechette rounds.
The US Biological Program also had a microflechette to deliver
either botulinum toxin A or saxitoxin, the M1 Biodart, which
resembled a 7.62 mm rifle cartridge.
A number of prototype flechette-firing weapons were developed as
part of the long-running Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) project. Some of these showed up as entries in
the Advanced Combat Rifle project as well.
An interesting variation of the flechette that addresses its difficulties is the SCMITR, developed as part of the Close
Assault Weapon System, or CAWS, project. This project involved selective-fire, flechette-firing shotguns. The
SCIMTR was designed to retain the exterior ballistics and penetration of the standard flechette, but increase
wounding ability by providing a wider wound path.
References
[1] CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapon (WCMD) - Global Security (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ systems/ munitions/ cbu-107. htm)
[2] Haaretz: Rights group: IDF must ban shell that killed cameraman in Gaza (http:/ / www. haaretz. com/ news/
rights-group-idf-must-ban-shell-that-killed-cameraman-in-gaza-1. 244165)
[3] B’Tselem: Flechette Shells: An illegal weapon (http:/ / www. btselem. org/ english/ firearms/ flechette. asp)
[4] News24: Israel to use flechette shells (http:/ / www. news24. com/ World/ News/ Israel-to-use-flechette-shells-20030414)
[5] Reuters cameraman killed in Gaza (http:/ / www. reuters. com/ news/ video?videoId=80475& videoChannel=1)
[6] http:/ / www. haaretz. co. il/ hasite/ pages/ ShArtPE. jhtml?itemNo=976038
[7] Franklin D. Margiotta (1996). Brassey’s Encyclopedia of Land Forces and Warfare. Brassey’s.
[8] Frank Barnaby, Ronald Huisken, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2nd Ed. (1975). Arms Uncontrolled. Harvard University
Press. p. 109. ISBN 0674046552.
External links
• How flechettes work (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ graphic/ 0,2274464,00. html) The Guardian newspaper.
• Pictures (http:/ / www. big-ordnance. com/ Flechettes/ Flechettes. htm) of air dropped flechette, from WWI
through the 1970s.


#18

Didn’t you dispose of a bunch of this stock ?


#19

[quote=“SteveF”]Flechette 2
Small arms ammunition
Examples of various small arms flechettes. (Scale in
inches.)
Small arms makers are also attracted by the exterior ballistic
performance and armor piercing potential of flechettes, and a
number of attempts have been made to field flechette-firing small
arms.
The United States is not the only country to use a flechette weapon.
Though, during the Vietnam War, 12 gauge combat shotguns were
used with flechette loads, consisting of around 20 flechettes per
shell.[7] [8] The USSR/Russian federation had/has the AO-27 rifle,
and other countries have their own flechette rounds.
The US Biological Program also had a microflechette to deliver
either botulinum toxin A or saxitoxin, the M1 Biodart, which
resembled a 7.62 mm rifle cartridge.
A number of prototype flechette-firing weapons were developed as
part of the long-running Special Purpose Individual Weapon (SPIW) project. Some of these showed up as entries in
the Advanced Combat Rifle project as well.
An interesting variation of the flechette that addresses its difficulties is the SCMITR, developed as part of the Close
Assault Weapon System, or CAWS, project. This project involved selective-fire, flechette-firing shotguns. The
SCIMTR was designed to retain the exterior ballistics and penetration of the standard flechette, but increase
wounding ability by providing a wider wound path.
References
[1] CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapon (WCMD) - Global Security (http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ systems/ munitions/ cbu-107. htm)
[2] Haaretz: Rights group: IDF must ban shell that killed cameraman in Gaza (http:/ / www. haaretz. com/ news/
rights-group-idf-must-ban-shell-that-killed-cameraman-in-gaza-1. 244165)
[3] B’Tselem: Flechette Shells: An illegal weapon (http:/ / www. btselem. org/ english/ firearms/ flechette. asp)
[4] News24: Israel to use flechette shells (http:/ / www. news24. com/ World/ News/ Israel-to-use-flechette-shells-20030414)
[5] Reuters cameraman killed in Gaza (http:/ / www. reuters. com/ news/ video?videoId=80475& videoChannel=1)
[6] http:/ / www. haaretz. co. il/ hasite/ pages/ ShArtPE. jhtml?itemNo=976038
[7] Franklin D. Margiotta (1996). Brassey’s Encyclopedia of Land Forces and Warfare. Brassey’s.
[8] Frank Barnaby, Ronald Huisken, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2nd Ed. (1975). Arms Uncontrolled. Harvard University
Press. p. 109. ISBN 0674046552.
External links
• How flechettes work (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ graphic/ 0,2274464,00. html) The Guardian newspaper.
• Pictures (http:/ / www. big-ordnance. com/ Flechettes/ Flechettes. htm) of air dropped flechette, from WWI
through the 1970s.[/quote]

That is quite an education. Thanks.

Who ever wrote this didn’t know anything about the M1 Biodart. It does not resemble the 7.62mm rifle cartridge. The design was tested in that case but it was found that the case was too short. The M1 bio was not type classified in that case.


#20

I know their was a pic with the article looked like a regular flechette to me.