Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

gas attacks 1918


ludwig113

Recommended Posts

hi all,

i'm wondering if there is a list/record of all gas attacks during the war on a day to day basis(or for my research 1918)by both sides?

many thanks

paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best source that I can suggest is CHRONICLE OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR , published in two volumes, written by Randal Gray, with Christopher Argyle.

This gives a very comprehensive narrative of the war day by day, front by front, on land, sea and air.

Gas attacks, with nature of chemicals deployed, units of expenditure, casualties inflicted and fatalities resulting, are frequently mentioned.

Phil (PJA)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

I've not read the books Phil refers you to but to give an idea of 1918 fighting,from a British Pioneer Battalion History.

The Marne(July/August 1918)

"The fighting on the western edge of the Montagne de Rhiems was the Battalion's first experience of actual open fighting.The dense undergrowth of the Bois de Courton and Bois d'Espilly,and the fact that the fighting was over unknown country,dotted with small woods,farms,mills,and numerous banks and sunken roads,rendered the operation a peculiarly tough and difficult one.The enemy used gas shells and machine guns to a very great extent.The woods were permeated with gas,but it was noteworthy that few casualties were caused by it,and the most of the wounds were in the limbs."

Whether this describes a gas attack, within your definition,or merely gas being used in a defensive role I'll leave to you to decide. :D

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gas shells were frequently used to suppress or disrupt enemy artillery. (There is a proper term for that which slips my mind) These were uses of gas but are probably not classed as gas attacks.

Old Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gas shells were frequently used to suppress or disrupt enemy artillery. (There is a proper term for that which slips my mind) These were uses of gas but are probably not classed as gas attacks.

Old Tom

thanks for all the reply's and the book title.

old tom, thanks for that info, i never knew wether gas was used only in concentrated efforts or wether they lobbed a few in for good luck.....

many thanks paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

It would be well worth your while tracking down a copy of "Gas"; The story of the Special Brigade by C H Foulkes. It tells the story of the use of gas by the Allies during WW1. First published in 1934 it was reprinted in 2001. I'm not sure if it will tell you exactly what you want but it will undoubtedly provide some invaluable background.

There's a brief resume at http://www.naval-military-press.com/gas-the-story-of-the-special-brigade.html

My library found a copy for me but there are a number available on the web, including Amazon.

Brian

Edit. If you go to the Amazon site at http://www.amazon.co.uk/GAS-Story-Special-Brigade/dp/1843420880 you'll find at least three more books listed on the same subject.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

I've researched the gas attacks of late May 1918 on the Australian 11th Brigade at Villers-Bretonneux. Australian unit war diaries are very detailed and record that 23,000 (mainly) yellow cross fell in 24 hours on the Brigade rear areas, causing 620 casualties. Happy to send you the account and the links to the war diary where you can read the hostile shelling report, with the calibre (mainly 77mm), type of munition (mainly yellow cross with some green) and British trench map reference. The air was yellow, sugar cubes dissolved and potatoes shrivelled. There was a similar attack for the Australian brigade at Villers-Bretonneux in April, causing 1,000 casualties. A signaller eye witness account described the evacuation and it was just like that famous photo taken during the March 1918 offensives.

My account of my grandfather's service in 1918 has indexed entries for mustard, phosgene, chlorine and lachrymatory, so happy to send you a copy.

This will give you a very good insight into at least one specific area. PM for details.

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gas shells were frequently used to suppress or disrupt enemy artillery. (There is a proper term for that which slips my mind) These were uses of gas but are probably not classed as gas attacks.

Old Tom

Hi Tom,

The term used, I believe, was 'neutralization' - the aim being in counter-battery fire to make positions untenable and forcing the crews to withdraw to a flank / to cover; one way being by saturating them with gas (in this case delivered primarily by artillery shells). As artillery tactics developed during the war, both sides employed this measure. Note - the meaning of the artillery term 'neutralization' was quite different to the term 'destruction' - the aim of the latter, of course, being to actually destroy the enemy position and materiel.

cheers

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

I seem to remember before I really became intereseted in WW1 there was a site called ''trenches'' or something like that.

This site had a list of known gas attacks with dates and type of gas used. At the time I looked it was only out of interest and not as research.

Can anybody recall this site. When I enter ''trenches'' nothing realy comes up.

Regards John C

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul, for your 1918 focus you might look at the German attack on the Flesquieres Salient, held by the British and subjected to a sustained barrage of persistent gas that caused considerable casualties amongst the defenders. Details will be in the British Official History.

I'm also sure that I read in "Battle Tactics of the Western Front" (by the late Paddy Griffiths - a seminal work) about the ratio of British HE/smoke/chemical shells in late-war attacks. The principle was that the enemy didn't know how much, if any, poisonous chemicals were present in a barrage attack (smoke and gas looking much the same I presume), and would accordingly assume the worst - consequently, kitted-out in gasmasks, they would be at a severe tactical disadvantage.

You could probably divide gas warfare into two phases: the non-persistent and the persistent - but here I will allow wiser and better-informed counsel to take the fore -

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best books on the subject of the use of gas by the British is Seeking Victory on the Western Front; The British Army and Chemical Warfare in World War I By Albert Palazzo (several publishers but one ISBN is 0803287747). Very detailed overview on the "why, what was used when and by whom", how it was used, the changes in "mixes" of gases depending on mission, etc. Very good statistics on the production and consumpition of gas by nature and weapon over time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...