Video answer: First world war tech: chlorine gas & gas masks
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Several chemicals were weaponized in WWI and France actually was the first to use gas - they deployed tear gas in August 1914. The agent used was either xylyl bromide, which is described as smelling 'pleasant and aromatic', or ethyl bromoacetate, described as 'fruity and pungent.
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Masked soldiers charge through a cloud of gas. Several chemicals were weaponized in WWI and France actually was the first to use gas - they deployed tear gas in August 1914. The agent used was either xylyl bromide, which is described as smelling ‘pleasant and aromatic’, or ethyl bromoacetate, described as ‘fruity and pungent.’
The first British gas attack, at Loos in September 1915, failed when the wind blew much of the gas back over the British troops. By 1916 the British had devised a way of using gas in shells rather than canisters which meant it could be fired from a much greater range.
Chlorine gas, used on the infamous day of April 22, 1915, produces a greenish-yellow cloud that smells of bleach and immediately irritates the eyes, nose, lungs, and throat of those exposed to it. At high enough doses it kills by asphyxiation. Phosgene, which smells like moldy hay, is also an irritant but six times more deadly than chlorine gas.
The first of these was chlorine, first used on a large scale by the German forces at Ypres in April 1915. Chlorine is a diatomic gas, about two and a half times denser than air, with a pale green colour and a strong, bleach-like odour which soldier described as a ‘mix of pineapple and pepper’.
Poison gas (chlorine) was first used at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. The first sign that the gas was deployed was when French sentries noticed a cloud of yellow-green moving towards them at around 17:00 hrs on 22nd April.
Mustard gas was first used by the Germans against the Russians at Riga in September 1917. This gas caused both internal and external blisters on the victim within hours of being exposed to it. Such damage to the lungs and other internal organs were very painful and occasionally fatal. Many who did survive were blinded by the gas.
The first significant gas attack occurred at Ypres in April 1915, when the Germans released clouds of poisonous chlorine. The gas inflicted significant casualties among the British and Canadian forces at Ypres and caused widespread panic and confusion amongst the French colonial troops.
The Germans were the first to use gases on a large scale attack in January of 1915, when they dropped 18,000 chemical shells, loaded with xylyl bromide, on Russian lines near Rawka River west of Warsaw. This attack was a disappointment, however, as the chemical froze instead of vaporizing.
It was again used first at Ypres by the Germans in December 1915 (although some sources state the French were the first to employ it). Phosgene is a colourless gas, with an odour likened to that ...
The Battle of Bolimov fought on January 31, 1915 saw the first large-scale use of gas during World War One. The Germans fired artillery shells filled with tear gas at Russian positions near Warsaw. However; the freezing cold weather actually froze most of the gas making the attack ineffective.