Chemical war­fare:

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - INSIGHT -

Ar­guably the first mod­ern weapon of mass de­struc­tion, chem­i­cals were first used by Ger­many at the Sec­ond Bat­tle of Ypres, France, in 1915, when chlo­rine gas was re­leased over French trenches on April 22.

This was fol­lowed in that year by three more uses of chlo­rine, pro­duced as an in­dus­trial by-prod­uct by Ger­man chemical com­pa­nies BASF, Hoechst and Bayer: On April 24 against the 1st Cana­dian Di­vi­sion, on May 2 near Mouse Trap Farm, and on May 5 against the Bri­tish at Hill 60, lo­ca­tions in Western Bel­gium.

Chem­i­cals con­tin­ued to be used through­out the war, with the Bri­tish us­ing chlo­rine at the Bat­tle of Loos, France, on Sept 25, 1915 – here, though, the chlo­rine ei­ther pooled use­lessly in clouds be­tween the trenches, or, in places, blew back across Bri­tish lines.

Fur­ther de­vel­op­ments saw phos­gene gas be­ing used in 1915, and then mus­tard gas in 1917. The lat­ter caused in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal bleed­ing and at­tacked the bronchial tubes, strip­ping off the mu­cous mem­brane.


War Mu­seum

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