U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History
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Camp Meade, Md., February 11, 1918.

First and foremost in gas defense is perfect familiarity with the prescribed box respirator and its use. Therefore we place the respirator in the hands of the student for examination and inspection. An explanation of its mechanism is in order.
1. What is the so-called small box respirator?
The so-called small box respirator is the only certain means of defense against toxic gases.
2. How does it function?
It acts as a chemical filter and neutralizing agent to gaseous contaminated air. All inspired air passes through this filter into the mouth and then into the lungs. By passing through this filtering medium the gas-laden air is freed from its poisonous qualities.
3. Of what does it consist?
It consists of the haversack with a sling arrangement (whereby it is carried), a whip cord, and a record card. Inside the haversack, right-hand compartment, the direction card and antidim compound; left-hand compartment, a spring rest and canister. The canister is connected to the trachea tube, the trachea tube to the angle tube, the angle tube to the saliva trap and gill valve, and the latter is connected to the face piece. Inside the facepiece the mouthpiece is connected to the angle tube. The nose clip and two eyepieces are also connected to the facepiece. There are also two elastics and a central tape which hold the facepiece in place.
4. What are its component parts?
Its component parts are the haversack with whip cord, record card, antidim compound, direction card, spring rest, canister, flutter valve, trachea tube, angle tube, gill valve, mouth- piece, nose clips, eyepieces, two elastics, and central tape.
5. Describe the haversack.
The haversack is a canvas bag in which the mask and canister are carried. The edges of the haversack are securely stitched and protects its contents. A ring is securely fastened at the top and each end of the haversack to which a sling is fastened; two buttons or studs on the sling; a leather tab on the left side of the haversack to receive the studs for adjustment from the "carry" to the "alert" position; a flap and two snap fasteners. The haversack is divided into two compartments--the right and left hand compartments. The partition which divides the haversack into two parts has an opening at the bottom which allows the air to pass freely from one compartment to the other. In the right-hand compartment are found the spring rest and canister. In the left-hand compartment the antidim compound, direction card, and the facepiece of the respirator are found. On the right side of the haversack a whip-cord is fastened. A record card is attached to the whipcord. The flap, at the opening of the haversack, is buttoned to the front of the haversack at the top.
6. Describe the spring rest.
The spring rest is a heavy wire spring, about 3 inches long and an inch high. It is fastened to the bottom of the right-hand compartment of the haversack. The canister rests on this wire spring, thereby leaving a space between the bottom of the canister and the bottom of the haversack. But for this space, water which may soak through the haversack would settle at the bottom and mix with the chemicals contained in the canister. This space, provided for by the spring rest, allows the air to enter the canister more freely.
7. Describe the record card and explain its use.
The record card is a small white card on the outside of which are strips of adhesive, which are used to repair respirators quickly. This card is attached to the whipcord and is kept clean by being placed in an envelope or pocket. On the record card is written the time the mask was issued; the date the mask, or respirator, was used for drilling purposes; the kind

aCopy on file, Historical Division. S. G. O.
b This illustrates what was done in the way of instruction in the home camps when this was under the Medical Department.- Ed.


of attack the mask was subjected to (whether shell or cloud); the length of time the mask was worn; the wearer's name and when and why the respirator was returned. The life of the respirator is about 24 hours.
8. Describe the canister.
The canister is a metal container about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide. A rounded projection is at the top of the canister to which the trachea tube is fastened. At the bottom is a small circular opening, inside of which the flutter valve is fitted. Eight concave ridges, arranged the same distance apart, encircle the inner walls of the canister, into which strips of fine wire gauze are fitted. The wire gauze separates layers of chemicals contained in the canister and also hold the chemicals in place, preventing the chemicals from rattling or moving when the canister is shaken.
9. Describe the flutter valve.
The flutter valve is a small circular disk fitted inside the opening at the bottom of the canister. This disk of rubber rises as you inhale, allowing air to enter the canister. After inhalation the valve drops and covers the opening at the bottom of the canister. The air which has been inhaled into the canister is filtered by the chemicals. The falling of the valve prevents the air from being forced, or escaping, through the bottom, or entrance of the canister.
10. What function does this valve perform?
This valve allows air to enter the canister at the bottom and prevents the air from escaping through the same opening.
11. Describe the trachea tube.
The trachea tube, which carries the purified air from the canister to the mouthpiece, is made of flexible, fabric-covered rubber. It has a circular corrugation, being similar in form to the windpipe of a person; hence the name. Due to its flexibility and currugated form, it can be turned and moved in any direction without danger of it becoming creased or impaired and thereby shutting out the pure air to the lungs.
12. What should be particularly noted relative to this tube?
The connections of the trachea tube to the top of the canister and the angle tube should be particularly noted. Both connections are tightly wired and then taped so that no air can enter this tube except through the flutter valve in the canister. Care must be taken that there are no holes or breaks in the tube so that no contaminated air can enter.
13. To what does the trachea tube connect?
The trachea tube connects the canister with the mouthpiece by means of the angle tube.
14. Describe the angle tube.
The angle tube, a small metal tube with the form of an obtuse angle, connects the trachea tube and gill valve with the mouthpiece, which is inside the facepiece of the respirator. The tube is so constructed that it contains a saliva trap.
15. Describe the gill valve.
The gill valve is a small sac of rubber with its two lower corners cut off. It is securely fastened to the angle tube by means of wire and also taped. The function of the gill valve is to allow the expired air to escape before it reaches the canister.
16. What is the function of the saliva trap?
The function of the saliva trap is to prevent the saliva from running into the trachea tube which would allow it to pass into the canister, thereby coming in contact with the chemicals, causing their disintegration and shortening their life. Due to this trap, the saliva finds its way out through the gill valve.
17. Describe the mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece, an oval disk of rubber with two projecting tabs, is the upper end of the angle tube inside the facepiece of the respirator, extending upward about 1 inch where it flares out, forming a half circle. The mouthpiece, when inserted in the mouth, the half circle fits between the teeth and the gums and lips. This half circle has inside, pointing inward and upward, two small rubber lugs which are grasped between the teeth; thus the mouthpiece is held firmly in the mouth by the teeth. An opening is provided in the rubber projection where it is fastened to the angle tube which expels the saliva into the saliva trap.
18. How is it placed in the mouth?
To insert mouthpiece, grasp angle tube outside facepiece with the hand, pushing entire mouthpiece into the mouth. Then draw it forward so that the rubber disk fits between the gums and lips, and grip the rubber tube firmly between the teeth.
19. Describe the nose clip.


Just beneath the eyepieces of the facepiece is a small circular wire spring, on the two ends of which are fastened rubber pads. This is the nose clip, and by pinching the spring from the outside these pads are separated, allowing the nose to be placed between them when it is held shut, due to the pressure by these pads.
20. What is its function?
The function of the nose clip is to close the nostrils, preventing the passage of air through them, either by inhalation or exhalation.
21. Why is it necessary to have this nose clip?
It is necessary to have this nose clip to prevent any inhalation through the nose, as the only air which is allowed to enter the lungs must first be purified by passing through the canister of chemicals and then be inhaled through the mouthpiece.
22. Describe the eyepieces.
The eyepieces, the means of vision when the respirator is worn, are two small circular windows of nonbreakable glass securely fastened to the facepiece inside and outside. The fabric is fitted tightly inside by a flat metal ring, and on the outside the metal protrudes enough that the fabric is fastened securely to it by wrapped string. These eyepieces must be tightly fastened to the fabric in order to exclude contaminated atmosphere from inside the facepiece.
23. Describe the facepiece of the mask.
The facepiece of the respirator, which serves to protect the face, is made of a rubberized fabric. The edges are folded in such a manner that we have a seam which lies flat and close fitting against the chin, cheek, and forehead. The stitches of the seams do not come through all layers of the fabric, and therefore no gas can enter the facepiece through them. Fastened to this fabric are two elastic tapes which are held apart at the proper distance by means of a small piece of nonelastic tape known as the metal central retaining tape.
24. What retains same in direct contact with the face?
The facepiece of the respirator is retained in direct contact with the face by means of the two elastics and the central retaining tape.
25. What should be particularly noted about the center head tape?
The central retaining tape should be pulled back smoothly and tightly over the center of the head. This draws the facepiece of the respirator tightly under the chin, causing it to fit close to the cheeks and forehead, thereby preventing the entrance of any gas.
26. How is the fabric of the respirator tested for holes?
To test the fabric of the respirator, hold it up before the light and if there are any pinholes they can be seen, due to the light shining through.
27. How is the flutter valve tested?
The flutter valve is tested by holding the gill valve between the first and second fingers of the hand and exhaling through the mouthpiece. If the valve is working properly no air can be exhaled.
28. Why is it necessary to test this valve?
It is necessary to test this valve, as it is through this valve that the air must enter the canister and also when it closes it prevents the exhaled air from passing through the canister, but forces it out through the gill valve.
29. How is the respirator tested for tight connections?
The respirator is tested for tight connections by a careful inspection of the various parts. This examination is verified by the following test: Close gill valve between the fingers and exhale through the mouthpiece, and if all connections are tight no air will escape.
30. How would loose connections interfere with the proper functions of the respirator?
Loose connections would interfere with the respirator by permitting gas-contaminated atmosphere to be breathed into the lungs without it passing through the canister first.
31. Would this be dangerous to life in a gas-contaminated atmosphere?
This would be very dangerous indeed to live in a gas-contaminated atmosphere.
32. What is particularly noted about the stitching of the fabric of the facepiece?
It should be particularly noted that the stitching of the fabric of the facepiece is secure and that no holes are produced by it inside the facepiece. This is accomplished by having the stitches covered over by strips of the fabric being cemented over them, and this strip should be tightly held in its proper place.


33. What should the haversack contain besides the respirator and its component parts?
The haversack should contain nothing else.
34. How are the eyepieces prevented from fogging?
The eyepieces are prevented from "fogging" by using the antidim compound. This compound is impervious to water or moisture. A thin film of this is placed on the inside of each eyepiece before the respirator is used.
35. How is the facepiece of the respirator cleaned, or cleared?
The facepiece is cleared of any gas which may have entered during the adjustment of the respirator by taking a deep breath, removing the mouthpiece and blowing into the facepiece, thereby ballooning it from the face. The mouthpiece is replaced and the facepiece pressed tightly against the face by the hands, which causes the contaminated atmosphere to be forced out at the sides. This is repeated several times and serves effectively to remove any poisonous gases which may have been in the facepiece.
36. How is the respirator worn in the carry position?
In the "carry" position, the respirator is worn suspended with the sling across the right shoulder, and the haversack resting against the left hip with clasped edge of flap next to the body.
37. How do you change from the "carry" to the "gas alert" position?
Pass the left arm backward and between the body and the sling, and by a twist of the body swing the haversack to a directly in front of the body position. With both hands open clasps on flap of haversack. Take leather tab (on upper left-hand corner of haversack) with right hand and raise the sack to a position in front of chest. At the same time clasp the buttons high up on the sling with the left hand. Engage the tab and button. Take whipcord from haversack, pass through the small ring on the right side of haversack, pass whipcord around body and through ring on left side of haversack and tie securely with "slip knot." Carefully close the flap on haversack to protect respirator from weather. Do not fasten the clasps on flap.
38. What are the two ways of adjusting the haversack in the "alert" position?
The haversack may be adjusted in the "alert" position, as described in No. 37, or as follows: Instead of engaging the leather tab and the button, raise the haversack to the position in front of the wearer's back. Pass the whipcord around the body and through the sling thus adjusted. Tie the whipcord as above.
39. Are they both practical at all times, and what advantages has one over the other?
The second method of adjusting the haversack is not practical when troops are wearing full equipment and heavy packs. When practicable, the second method has the advantage of relieving the "drag" upon the wearer's neck and is more comfortable for long periods of wear.
40. Enumerate the three positions for the respirator in zone of operation.
The three positions for the respirator in the zone of operations are as follows:
(a) The "alert" position.
(b) The "carry" position.
(c) The position which is regulated only in so far as the respirator must be near by, within easy reach of the owner, at all times.
41. At what points in the battle line are these positions authorized?
(a) Within 2 miles of the front line all respirators must be worn in the "alert" position.
(b) In the area between the 2 and 5 mile lines the respirator is worn in the "carry" position.
(c) In the area between the 5 and 12 mile lines the respirator may or may not be on the body, but must at all times be within easy reach of the owner.
42. Give the formation for the inspection of masks.
Each man removes the respirator from the haversack which is worn at the "alert." The canister is held under the left arm and the left forearm is extended, facepiece of the respirator held in the left hand, angle tube in the palm of the hand, with the facepiece opened When this position has been assumed stand at attention.
43. How often is this resorted to in France?
Standing orders in France require that at least one inspection of respirator be made by an officer each day. In many cases a second inspection by either the officer or the gas non-commissioned officer is required.
44. Why is respirator inspected?


Inspections are resorted to chiefly for the purpose of determining whether the men are individually inspecting their own respirators. Each man is made directly responsbile for the condition of his respirator, and any man found negligent is severely punished. When a man discovers any imperfection or defect in his respirator he must report the same without delay to the gas officer.
45. What takes place preparatory to mask drill "by the numbers." Preparatory to mask drill, the men are placed in the following formation: Form two sides of a square, with men in single rank and facing toward the inside of the square. The instructor takes position in the center of the square facing his men. Formation is best assumed by having them "fall in" in double rank facing the instructor. Give the following commands: "Rear rank, left face; column right; march." "Rear rank, halt." "Rear rank, right face."
46. What would you gain by having mask drill "by the numbers."
The chief element sought in mask drill by the numbers is "form." Correct form comes only with continuous practice, and in antigas training we strive to make the donning of the respirator a matter of second nature among the men. Frequent drills "by the numbers" will cause the donning of the respirator in the prescribed form to become almost automatic on the part of the men so trained.
47. What action takes place in No. 17.
With both hands open haversack by pulling the flap forward. Insert the right hand and grasp the facepiece of the respirator, holding the angle tube in the palm of the hand.
48. What action on No. 2?
Mask drill by the numbers, No. 2. Remove mask from sack and seize it with both hands. Grip the edge of the mask by the fingers with the thumbs pointing upward and inward under the elastics. Lean body forward and throw chin well forward.
49. What action on No. 3?
Dig the chin well into the mask and at the same time draw the elastics over the head as far as they will go, until the central retaining tape is stretched taut.
50. Give No. 4 of the mask drill by the numbers.
With the right hand seize the metal angle tube outside the facepiece and push the rubber mouthpiece well into the mouth. Draw mouthpiece forward so that rubber flange is between the lips and the teeth. Grip the two small rubber projections with the teeth.
51. Give No. 5 of the mask drill by the numbers.
Open the nose clip by pinching from the outside the circular wire spring below the goggles; push the slip pads on the lower part of the nose, and release spring. See that the nostrils are completely closed.
52. Give No. 6 of the mask drill by the numbers.
Make general adjustment. Smooth around the edges. See that the mask fits snugly around the jaws and forehead.
53. What do you always do after having the mask completely adjusted, without orders?
(a) Clear the mask of any gas that may have found lodgment within the facepiece during adjustment.
(b) Clean the eyepieces, which will have become "fogged."
54. How are the respirators cleared?
Take a deep breath through the mouthpiece; remove mouthpiece and exhale into face of respirator. Replace mouthpiece. By pressing with the hands on the outside of the respirator, force the air out under the edges of the respirator. If mask fits very tightly lift the edge of the facepiece and force air out. Repeat operation at least three times.
55. How are the eyepieces cleaned?
If the eyepieces become dull they are cleaned by inserting one or two fingers (on the outside of the mask) into the pockets of the fabric alongside the goggles and wiping the inside of the glasses. The eyepiece is held between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand while this is being done.
56. What is the standard adjustment test?
Donning the respirator from the "alert" position in six seconds is known as the standard adjustment test. This does not include the general adjustment cited under No. 6 in mask drill by the numbers.


57. What conclusions and lessons may be drawn from the British attack on the First Naval Brigade at Nieuport, in so far as training goes?
(a) Men near front lines must be constantly on the alert and prepared for gas attacks regardless of seemingly unfavorable weather conditions. (The Germans thought that their nearness to the sea was protection against attack, and on this particular day considered an attack impossible because of the high velocity of wind.)
(b) Men must be carefully trained before joining their units at the front. (In this case, the Germans had every reason to expect an attack after they had raided the British trenches on October 2 and discovered the preparations that were being made, yet on October 5, when the gas was sent over, their men were found to be inadequately trained and heavy casualties resulted.
(c) In general, it may be said that discipline, constant vigilance, and proficiency in the use of the respirator are the only means of safeguarding your lines against this weapon of warfare.
58. Tell something about the necessity for protection and the enormous casualties resulting from the use of gas. Also give some statistics relative to the return of wounded from the ordinary weapons of warfare as compared with gas.
The Medical Corps are making remarkable progress in their work of returning non-effectives to the lines as effectives. In a large proportion of cases, a man wounded by shell or bullet can be returned to the front. The Germans early in the war returned 69 percent of all wounded; the French returned 24 per cent. Later the French raised the percentage to 69 percent, while the Germans succeeded in raising their figures to the astounding mark of 91 percent. At present the Germans are able to return approximately 89 percent, and this percentage is slowly decreasing as men are being sent back to hospitals after being wounded numerous times and their vitality correspondingly sapped. The English are returning about 87 percent. Men who have been gassed seldom return. They are of practically no use to the army, and in a majority of the cases are of no use in a civil community. So pronounced is the effect of the poisonous gases used in warfare that there is practically no hope of returning them to the line. Hence, we must rely almost entirely upon the principles of prevention. It is to teach the principles and methods of prevention that this course has been instituted.
59. Give a brief outline of the use of gas in warfare.c

* * * * * * *

On April 22, 1915, the Germans sent dense clouds of chlorine against the unprepared British forces at Ypres. The British (principally Canadians) suffered enormous casualties, and only their ignorance of real conditions in the British lines prevented the Germans from breaking through to Calais. Four days later the Germans let out a similar attack against two French battalions who were making an attack on the German lines. The attack was quickly and completely broken up by the gas clouds. Within a few months gas shells made their appearance in continually increasing numbers, cloud attacks became numerous, both sides took up the new method, and gas became one of the recognized weapons in warfare.
60. Briefly outline the development of the respirator to its present stage of perfection.
The first masks consisted of patches of gauze saturated in sodium bicarbonate and sodium thiosulphate solution. Later, the black veil mask was used in conjunction with goggles, which protected the eyes against gas. Then came the baglike helmets which completely covered the head. These were saturated with phenolate and were called P helmets. Then hexamine was added to the solution to protect against phosgene, and the helmet was then known as the P H helmet. The goggles had given place to eyepieces in the helmet itself, and these eyepieces were further improved. Then came the box respirator developed from an apparatus produced as a filter for gas-contaminated atmosphere. This box respirator has been improved from time to time and is now used by England, America, and France.
61. Enumerate the various kinds of gas according to their effects upon the human economy.
(a) Lacrymatory.
(b) Asphyxiating.
(c) Suffocating.
(d) Paralyzant.
(e) Skin irritant.
cA brief outline of the earliest recorded use of gas in warfare omitted.


62. What effects do they produce and how is the man rendered unfit to hold his place in the fighting line?
(a) Lacrymatory gases cause intense inflammation of eyes and temporary inability to see.
(b) Asphyxiating gases affect the mucous linings of the breathing apparatus and thereby prevent air cells in lungs from taking up oxygen. In addition to immediate effects, secondary effects will develop and more or less permanently impair the lungs and breathing apparatus of any man who survives attack.
(c) Suffocating gases cause death by spasm of the glottis, completely stopping all entry of air into trachea tube and lungs.
(d) Paralyzant gases cause death by paralysis of the central nervous system.
(e) Skin irritants cause erosive burns of the skin. They cause death if the burns cover one-third of the surface of the body (first degree burns).
63. Enumerate the various ways of producing a gas attack.
(1) Cloud; (2) shell; (3) projector; (4) emanation.
64. Describe in detail how these methods are used effectively.
(a) Cloud method.- Bury cylinders of liquid gas under fire steps of front-line trench. Connect groups of cylinders to lead outlet pipe with nozzle in front of trench. When condi tions are favorable open tank outlets and gas rushes through pipe and forms cloud in front of outlet nozzle. The gas must be heavier than air and the cloud will be forced by the wind to the enemy trench. Hence, wind must be in a favorable direction and of such velocity that cloud will not be scattered before it reaches enemy line. A 3 to 15 mile per hour wind is most favorable. In this method we secure a strong concentration covering large area.
(b) Shell method.- Shells containing liquid gas and small charge of explosives are thrown into enemy lines. Shells burst and liberate small clouds of gas. This method is economical, requires little preparation, allows for surprise, and can be used effectively for counterbattery and barrage work. Shells may be dropped at any point within range.
(c) Projector method.- Consists of hurling large cylinders of liquid gas into enemy lines by means of improvised mortars. Cylinders burst in enemy line, thus insuring strongest concentration of gas at desired point. Allows for the element of surprise.
(d) Emanation method.- A possibility which has not been utilized consists of "planting" in a trench, about to be vacated, some chemicals which will give off toxic gas when the enemy occupies trench.
65. What method has the greatest military value and why?
The projector method has the greatest military value because it embodies all advantages of the cloud and shell attack; i. e., it allows for heavy concentration over large area and for the element of surprise. In addition, the method is economical, easily prepared, and results in the heaviest concentration at the desired point.
66. What properties must a gas possess to render it of service in warfare?
(a) Density. It must be heavier than air.
(b) Diffusion. Must be heavy so that it will diffuse away slowly.
(c) Toxicity. Must put a man out of action either permanently or temporarily.
(d) Vapor pressure. If chemical substance used in shell is a liquid it must give off enough vapor to produce the desired result.
(e) Liquefiable. Gas must be easily and safely liquefied.
(f) Availability. Gas must be obtainable in large quantities since tons of material are necessary for successful attack.
67. What conditions predispose to a successful attack?
(a) A wind blowing steadily in the direction of the enemy with a velocity of 3 to 15 miles per hour.
(b) There should be no rain, but should have moderate temperature and darkness. Fog serves to hid coining cloud and is considered an advantage.
In shell attack, weather conditions are of less importance, but wind should be moderate. A dead calm is also favorable since the gas is liberated at the desired point.
68. What caliber guns are gas shells used in?
Gas shells may be fired from all calibers of guns. The Germans use chiefly the Minenwerfer gun (5.9). The French use chiefly the 75's. The English use the 6-inch howitzers and some of their larger pieces.
69. Describe the different types of gas shells.


Gas shells may contain gas and high explosives, in which case a heavy plate is inserted between the gas and the charge to prevent the body of the shell from being shattered with too much force. Too violent explosion serves to scatter the gas and render the gas less effective. The ordinary shell contains a low-explosive charge which serves to lay the shell open and spray the gas over a limited area. Gas shells are made with blunt head, explode on contact, and are of all calibers. Any form of gas may be used in shells.
70. How are gas activities detected?
Preparations for gas cloud attacks are usually detected prior to the development of the attack. Listening posts should detect the unusual noises incident to burning cylinders. Observation posts may detect undue activities in enemy lines. Airplane observations frequently warn of attack. Raiding parties, sent out to determine meaning of unusual noises, should bring in desired information. Finally, sentries may learn of attack and must detect the coming cloud by its smell before it hits the men in your line.
71. What are the positive signs of a gas cloud attack?
1. The hissing sound resulting from the escape of gas through outlet nozzles.
2. Appearance of cloud over enemy line.
3. Odor of gas.
4. For the halogen gases the tobacco test is positive. Tobacco smoke loses its flavor in presence of these gases.
72. How are gas shells distinguished from ordinary shells?
(1) By a wabbling noise as shell comes through the air instead of a steady whine.
(2) By a dull thud as shell strikes ground instead of high, loud explosion.
(3) By puff of white smoke after the shell explodes.
(4) By the marking on shell or on fragments of the shell.
(5) By ogival shape of nose of shell instead of sharp, armor-piercing point.
73. What is the tobacco reaction?
Tobacco, when smoked in atmosphere containing gas, is said to lose its taste and the smoker loses his desire to smoke.
74. How are warnings conveyed in gas-cloud attacks?
In gas-cloud attacks, the warning must be general and is conveyed mainly by use of the strombos horns, also by beating on bells, sections of rails, steel triangles, and empty shell cases, and any instrument which will make a noise and does not require the use of a man's lungs.
75. Describe the strombos horn.
A strombos horn is an instrument blown by a small cylinder of compressed air joined to the horn proper by a heavy rubber tubing several feet long. The horn has a megaphone attachment from a small circular box where the air causes a circular metal disk to vibrate, giving off the sound. An extra cylinder of air is included in the apparatus and the whole is packed in a strong wooden box.
76. How are these horns operated? By whom and how are they arranged to convey the necessary warning?
These horns are operated by releasing the compressed air from a cylinder by means of a stopcock opened by hand or foot pedal. A sentry stands at each, ready to sound the horn when he smells or detects the presence of gas. They are arranged by the officer in cornmand of a sector so that there is one to every 400 yards along the front and another parallel row every 600 yards in rear. The horns of one row back of the interval of the row in front, checkerboard fashion.
77. What means of determining when wind and weather conditions predispose to an attack are used in the front-line trenches?
A simple wind vane and Beaufort flag, together with the observation of certain material objects, are used to determine wind and weather conditions in the front-line trenches. The Beaufort flag and natural objects are observed and results referred to the Beaufort scale which translates their behavior into velocity of the wind per hour.
78. What is a wind report? Who is charged with making same and where is it sent?
A wind report is a record of the results of the observations of weather condition made at prescribed intervals by the company gas officer's assistant, the company gas noncommissioned officer, and frequently (several times daily) sent to the division gas officer through military channels.
79. Prepare a typical wind report.



80. What scale is used in determining wind velocity?
The Beaufort scale is used in determining wind velocity.
81. Give this scale.


82. How often are these reports and observations made?
These reports are made at least every three hours if the wind is not from a dangerous direction, more often if near or approaching a dangerous direction, and every half hour if from a dangerous direction.
83. What precautions are necessary in setting up a weather vane?
Precautions necessary in setting up a wind vane are:
(1) That it is not observed by the enemy.
(2) That it be set high enough where an unobstructed wind can reach it.
(3) That it be set level and the supports oriented (north and south).
(4) That it be set in a representative section of the trench.
84. Describe in detail the ordinary vane and attached Beaufort flag used on a company front.
An ordinary weather vane has two horizontal light sticks about a foot and a half long crossed at right angles at their middles with a similar vertical stick rising about 18 inches from their intersection. This supports a light wire or wooden beam, balanced on a pivot, so that it can be swung in a horizontal plane by the force of the wind on a thin flat rudder on one end of the beam. The rudder must have an area of 5 or 6 square inches so that it will be swung in the direction of the wind and cause the beam to point directly into the wind. On a continuation of the upright and about 8 inches above the beam the Beaufort flag is attached. It is a triangular piece of bunting 5 inches long and three-fourths inch wide. The wide end is attached to the upright by a very short string.
85. Enumerate the several points of the mariner's compass as used in determining direction.
See chart in answer to question No. 79, sheet No. 11.
86. What velocity of wind do the Germans prefer in making a gas attack?
The Germans prefer an 8-miles-per-hour wind in making gas-cloud attacks.
87. What precautions should be taken when an attack is probable and the wind is in a dangerous direction?
When the wind is from a dangerous direction and an attack is probable, the following precautions are taken in addition to usual precautions:
(1) Wind observations are made every half hour.
(2) Frequent inspections are made of respirators, sentries for gas alarms, alarm devices, antigas trench stores, dugout entrances where gas-proof blankets are to be let down, and signals for warning artillery and for calling artillery support.
(3) Men sleep on fire step.


88. Enumerate and describe all the alarm devices used to sound warnings for attack by shell or cloud.
Bells (any ordinary loud bell).
Steel rails (straight or triangular, with only one point of support so they may vibrate when struck).
Empty shell cases (metal cylinder similar to bell).
Rattles (notched wheel turning with a handle causing a flat wooden strip to vibrate when turned against it).
For gas cloud: Same devices with the addition of the strombos horn (described above, answer No. 75). The telephone and buzzer are also used to warn troops in rear.
89. What precautions should be taken relative to sentries at night?
At night, sentries on the lookout for gas should have near them one man awake but resting and one man asleep who relieves the others every hour. They should have something (for example, buckets of water) to kick into dugouts to awaken men there while the sentry proceeded to put on his own mask with his hands. The sentry should have nothing to impede his sight or hearing.
90. When should men sleep on the fire step rather than in the provided dugouts?
Any men who sleep in any of the forward trenches at any time should do so on the fire step rather than in dugouts so that they may be easily roused in case of gas attack and be less liable to gas, due to their raised position.
91. What action should be taken in the trenches upon a gas alarm?
(1) All men should be roused and should put on their respirators, holding their breath until adjustment is effected.
(2) All officers, artillery, regimental and other headquarters, and troops in rear should be warned at once.
(3) All men to stand at arms where the situation demands troops in gas firing slowly; flanking (troops ready to pour a heavy fire on any advancing enemy).
(4) All blankets at gas-proof dugouts are let down and kept wet.
(5) All movement and unnecessary noise and talking ceases.
(6) The gas noncommissioned officers report at once to their company gas officers.
(7) The company commander calls for artillery support by prearranged signal.
92. What action does the artillery supports take upon the liberation of any enemy gas cloud?
The supporting artillery pours a heavy fire on the trenches where the gas is being liberated and the trenches in rear, and also puts down a light barrage in No Man's Land to scatter the gas as much as possible.
93. By what means are dugouts and bombproofs protected from the entrance of gas-contaminated air? Dugouts and bombproofs are protected from the gas-contaminated air by gas-proof blanket doors.
94. Describe in detail this construction.
Two frames are made to fit the passage to the dugout or bombproof of planed boards strapped with strips of blanket. The outer one leans toward the chamber and the inner one way from the chamber. These are set about a yard apart in the entrance. A blanket is hung over each so that when let down it will completely close each frame and form a small chamber between the frames. Light laths may be tacked to the blankets to make them fit the flat surfaces of the frames. These blankets are kept rolled up at the top of the frames and kept wet so that they will seal with the frames when let down and prevent gas reaching the dugout, the double door allowing a man to enter without bringing much gas into the shelter with him.
95. When is troop movement to stop during a gas attack?
Movement of troops is to stop during a gas attack if it is at all compatible with military necessity.
96. What action is to be taken in billets and in the rear areas during a cloud attack?
Troops in billets and rear areas during a gas-cloud attack are at once roused and put on respirators immediately the gas is apparent, let down blankets protecting cellars, etc., and keep these blankets wet. All movement ceased other than that which is of military necessity.


97. When is the most favorable time, wind and weather conditions being right, to launch a gas attack?
The most favorable time to release a gas attack (wind and weather conditions being favorable) is when a relief is in progress in the enemy trenches, crowding the trenches with men and equipment, especially if this relief is at night (always a good time for gas).
98. Who gives the command to remove respirators?
The company commander gives the command to remove respirators.
99. When is the command given, and how long after the attack?
When the trenches, etc., have been cleared of gas after the attack, and pronounced clear of gas, a half hour is allowed for safety, and then the command to remove respirators is given.
100. How are orders given when the gas respirator is being worn?
To give an order while wearing the respirator, take a long, deep breath through the mouthpiece, remove it from the mouth, give the command on this breath, replacing mouthpiece before another breath is taken. If command is too long for one breath, break it up into parts which can be given on one breath.
101. Who is responsible for taking over antigas trench stores, and when should this be performed? Give reasons.
The company gas officer is responsible through his gas noncommissioned officer for taking over the antigas trench stores when relieving a trench. This should be performed in the daytime previous to the actual relief, so that the stores may be properly inspected and their position made familiar to the gas noncommissioned officer in case they would be needed soon after his company comes in.
102. What duties are concerned preceding a gas attack?
Before an attack the company gas officer, assisted by the company gas noncommissioned officer, supervises the antigas training of the men in the company.
(1) Takes over the following trench stores:
(a) Strombos horns and other alarm devices.
(b) Antigas fans and fuel.
(c) Vermorel sprayer and antigas solution.
(d) Gas-sampling apparatus.
(e) Wind-observation apparatus.
(2) Takes the following precautions:
(a) Daily inspection of respirators, alarms, and trench stores.
(b) Respirators worn in "alert" within 2 miles of front, "carry" within 2-5 mile zone, near at hand within 5-12 mile zone.
(c) Inspects sentries posted at alarms, dugouts, headquarters, and with each separate body of men (each has one man watching for gas) as to position and knowledge of duties.
(d) Men sleep on fire step in forward trenches. At night each sentry has two men to spread the alarms.
(e) Dugouts properly made with well-fitting wet curtains, properly rolled up.
(f) Wind observations properly made.
103. What action takes place in the trenches during an attack?
Sound alarms and all men stand to arms. Send back "gas" to division headquarters, who order an 18-pound barrage on No Man's Land. Flanking troops get ready to fire. If the infantry attack follows, the S O S is sent which calls for heavy bombardment from all available guns and flanking troops.
104. What duty especially concerns the gas noncommissioned officer during an attack?
During a gas attack the gas noncommissioned officer records every observation concern, ing the conditions of the attack which he can make, and collects samples of the gas, shells-water, and ground which contain gas, times the attack, and includes all this in a report to the company gas officer.
105. Shelters, dugouts, and boinbproofs after an attack are protected by what methods?
Shelters, dugouts, and bombproofs are freed from gas after an attack by ventilation, fires, fans, or spraying with antigas solution in Vermorel sprayer.
106. Describe these various methods in detail considering shelters of all kinds.
All ventilators and entrances are opened to allow the circulating air to take out the gas; fires of split wood and coal oil are started where they will cause the best circulation of air


and allowed to burn on a small brazier for 5 or 10 minutes (1 pound of split wood to each 200 cubic feet of space). If no fuel is available, fans (Ayrton fans, sacks, etc.) are flapped to cause the draft. The spray is now only used to spray beneath floors or on floors where gas may be hidden. In a compartment with only one short opening the fire can be near the center of the compartment; if the opening is long the fire will have to be put near its inner end. If there are two openings the fire can be made in the inner end of one opening.
107. Describe the antigas fan.
The Ayrton fan consists of a canvas fanning surface mounted on a frame attached to a short, light, straight wooden handle (2 feet long). The fanning surface is stiff in the center--due to the frame edges-with the edges more pliable; these loose when fan not in use over the stiff center to form folding a compact square. When open the fanning surface is 24 inches long and 16 inches wide. It is 8 inches square when folded.
108. How long after a shelter has been cleared is it safe to occupy same without respirator? (Presuming both asphyxiating and lacrymatory gases have been used.) Dugouts and other shelters should not be entered without respirator until four hours after clearing.
109. When clearing a dugout by fire, how long should the fire be kept burning?
The fire should be kept burning for at least 10 minutes. Tests for gas should be made from time to time.
110. What is used for these fires, and what amount do you count upon doing efficient work?
The best fuel is dry wood, finely split, with a little kerosene (paraffin) for lighting purposes. One pound of wood will ordinarily clear of gas 200 cubic feet of air space.
111. How is the material kept and where?
This material is kept in a covered tin can in the dugout in which it is to be used.
112. What is a Vermorel sprayer?
A Vermorel spray is very much like the ordinary small tank (3-gallon) tree sprayer (the type which one can carry and operate).
113. What is its use?
It is used for keeping the blankets wet at the entrance of a gas-proof dugout. It may be used to spray the floor of a dugout after clearing with fans or fire. The alkaline solution used in it neutralizes any gas that may remain in the dugout.
114. What is the solution used therein?
The solution used in the Vermorel spray is as follows:
3 gallons water (one large bucket).
1½ pounds sodium thiosulphate (hypo).
3 pounds sodium carbonate (washing soda).
115. Where and how is it kept?
This solution is kept in corked demijohns or other closed vessels near the sprayer.
116. How many Vermorel sprayers are used or issued per company?
Sprayers are used on a basis of two per company.
117. How are shell holes treated?
Shell holes should be covered with at least 18 inches of earth, and all places around the hole where the liquid contents of the shell has spilled should be covered. The place should be marked, and should not be disturbed.
118. What disposition is made of blind shells?
"Blind shells" (i. e., shells which fail to burst) should be investigated, made safe, and sent back to the division gas officer along with the report of the attack.
119. What effect does gas have upon arms and ammunition?
Gas has a very injurious effect upon arms and ammunition. It rapidly corrodes and destroys exposed metal parts.
120. How are they protected from this effect?
Oil cleaning will prevent corrosion for about 12 hours. The first opportunity should be taken to dismantle the arms and clean the parts in boiling water containing a little washing soda (a teaspoonful to a quart of water). If this is not done corrosion continues slowly even after oil cleaning, and may render the arms useless. Ammunition should be cleaned and oiled after an attack and expended as soon as possible.
121. How are small arms cleaned after a gas attack?


Small arms are usually cleaned by taking the arms down and boiling or washing the parts in the soda solution.
122. What is done with the machine-gun cartridge belts, grenades, etc.?
Ammunition in machine-gun belts exposed to gas should be replaced by fresh ammunition, and after cleaning should be used by riflemen as soon as possible. Grenades should have safety pins and all working parts cleaned and reoiled.
123. Is food affected by gas?
Food may be contaminated by gas, and after being exposed to gas should be destroyed. Food in gas-proof containers would not be affected.
124. How are mortars and big guns protected?
All bright parts of mortars and big guns should be kept coated with oil and kept covered when not in use.
125. How are range finders and sights protected and cleaned?
Sights and all instruments should be smeared with oil, and protected with covers. Be careful that oil does not come in contact with any lens or get into the interior of the instrument.
126. How are instruments of precision, such as telephones, switchboards, electrical devices; and buzzers protected and cleaned?
Such instruments can only be fully protected by keeping them in dry gas-proof dugouts. As much as is consistent with proper use, they should be kept in leather cases or covered with cloths or blankets. After a gas attack, terminals and exposed metal parts should be scraped, cleaned with a cloth dampened in a soda solution, and then dried. If the internal portions of the instrument have suffered, it should be sent back to the rear to an instrument repairer.
127. Why is it necessary that line men should know something about the emergency treatment of gas cases?
Because in the field, and especially in the trenches, the Medical Department is frequently not available, and men of the line must give first aid.
128. How are toxic gases classified in so far as the emergency treatment goes?
(1) Irritants to lungs and breathing apparatus, generally.
(2) Eye irritants.
(3) Those which prevent the blood from taking oxygen.
(4) Poisons to the central nervous system.
(5) Skin irritants.
129. Give the emergency treatment of one overcome by the first group.
Move the patient out of gas. Separate severe from light cases. Watch for possible collapse. In case of collapse, or if patient has difficulty in breathing, give inhalations of ammonia, and give internally 15 to 60 drops of aromatic spirits of ammonia in water. Remove tight clothing and equipment. Evacuate lying down. Do not let patient walk or exert himself.
130. Give the emergency treatment of one overcome by the second group.
Place patient in dark dugout if possible. Apply wet compress to eyes (first-aid packet must not be used for this). Eye lotion made of equal parts of witch hazel and saturated solution of boracic acid should, if possible, be dropped in eyes.
131. By the third group.
Let patient out of gas. Use artificial respiration (Sylvester method). Stimulate with coffee or brandy. Douse head and chest with cold water. Elevate feet and lower head Induce vomiting. Keep warm.
132. By the fourth group.
Dash cold water in face. Break ampules of ammonia and hold under nose. There is little to be done here but get victim in fresh air.
 133. By the fifth group.
 Remove clothing which may have absorbed liquid from shell and apply wet compress of solution, used in Vermorel spray, 1 part to 8 of water, to burn. Use first-aid packet here.
 134. What concentration is chlorine fatal in at once?
 One part of chlorine to 10,000 parts of air.
 135. What concentration is hydrocyanic acid fatal in?
 One part of hydrocyanic acid to 100,000 parts of air.
 136. What concentration is phosgene fatal in at once?
 One part of phosgene to 25,000 parts of air.


137. Is there any record in which men have been gassed in lesser concentrations?
Men have been "gassed" by sleeping in blankets which have been exposed to gas.
138. What danger is particularly present in so far as gas is concerned in billeting in France?
Most of the billets in France are heated by charcoal braziers. As there are no chimneys or flues attached to these braziers, the products of combustion remain in the room. If ventilation is poor, the supply of oxygen is insufficient for complete combustion of the charcoal, and a very insidious and deadly gas, carbon monoxide, is formed. This gas is fatal if more than 0.5 per cent is present in the air. The small box respirator is no protection against this gas.
139. What symptoms would a man suffer from poisonous doses of the different classes of gas already mentioned?
Symptoms of poisoning by a lung irritant are that victim feels suffocated, coughs, and ray become blue from lack of air. There is great discomfort and pain in the chest. Victim tears at clothing, and after a time collapses and succumbs to heart failure. Some of the lung irritants have delayed action and do not cause much irritation or inconvenience immediately. Some hours after exposure to the gas the victim will collapse. Symptoms of Lacrymatory or tear-producing gases are a profuse flow of tears, acute inflammation and swelling of the lining of the eyelid, and finally total inability to see. Gases which prevent blood from taking up oxygen are insidious in their action, and produce a sense of weakness in the limbs. Victim may become excited, and shout, laugh, and sing like a drunken person. There may be violent headache. Apathy and complete helplessness follows and death soon ensues. Symptoms of poisoning by gases which act on central nervous system are vertigo and confusion, headache, blurring of vision, palpitation, pain over heart, and labored breathing. In a fatal dose there is immediate unconsciousness, dilatation of pupils, gasping respiration, and death, with or without convulsions. Symptoms of skin irritants would be inflammation and erosion of the skin, blistering, and swelling. The portion of the body covered by the clothing suffers most.
140. Are the effects of a lacrymatory gas permanent? If not, how does it possess military value?
The effects of a lacrymnatory gas upon the eyes are not permanent. The inability to see lasts only a short time. Its military value is due to the fact that it temporarily disables its victims and puts them out of action.
141. How can carbon monoxide be detected or suspected if 4l has no odor, color, taste, and is nonirritant? Carbon monoxide may be detected by its effects upon birds or animals exposed to it. A fraction of the percentage required to kill human beings is fatal to canary birds and mice.
142. If it possesses all these properties besides being toxic, why is it not used intentionally in warfare? It is not used intentionally in warfare because the only protection against it as vet devised is the oxygen-tank apparatus. The small box respirator is of no value here. Hence it would be impossible to follow the gas attack with an infantry attack. The wind might shift and carry the gas back over the persons liberating it. It is not advisable to use a gas that your own respirators or mask will not neutralize.
143. Why does not the respirator authorized and used by our own forces handle the carbon monoxide gas? This gas has an affinity for the hemoglobin of the blood 210 times greater than oxygen or air. It replaces the oxygen necessary to carry on metabolism or life. There is no Chemical substance known that will filter or neutralize this gas. It is necessary to utilize an apparatus which will supply the necessary oxygen.
144. What is the specific gravity or weight of hydrocyanic acid? Also chlorine?
Specific gravity of HCN, 0.96; specific gravity of CL, 2.46.
145. Could hydrocyanic acid be used in cloud attack? If not, why?
No. It is lighter than air, hence would not stay close to the ground.
146. Give the Sylvester method of artificial respiration.
Place patient on back; put something under small of back to expand chest. Push patient's hands in under ribs with pressure and draw them out sidewards until over head. Repeat 16 to 18 times a minute. Keep tongue from falling back in throat by pin or handkerchief, etc.
147. Give a brief summary of the organization of our antigas service.


The antigas service, which is in the hands of the Medical Corps, is divided into four branches, as follows: Field supply, which has to do with the manufacture of all respirators and furnishing of supplies; overseas repair, which has to do with keeping the respirators in repair behind the lines in France; field training, which has to do with the training of all the men, in the use of the respirators and antigas measures; chemical branch, which has charge of research work along chemical lines pertaining to gas warfare.
148. Enumerate the duties of a company gas noncommissioned officer.


Assists gas officer in supervision of training of men for gas defense. Takes over stores (gas defense) in trench during afternoon of day unit is to go into trenches.
Inspects masks and alarms daily.
Sees that masks are worn at "alert" 2 miles from front line
Sees that sentries know their duties and are familiar with use of Strombos horns.
Sees that all gas-defense appliances are in working order.
Wind observations are taken regularly.


Reports to gas officer immediately.
Sees that all men don their masks and that sleeping men are aroused.
Artillery is notified.
Blankets in dugouts are let down.
Movement ceases, all men standing to "arms," ready to repel attack.
Slow fires are kept up to keep rifles from backing.


Air tested and mask removed one-half hour after air is found clear.
Dugouts and trenches cleared and ventilated.
Sees that entries are made on cards, casualties separated and sent back.
Report of attack made in writing.
Shell holes covered.
Ordnance cleaned.

149. What is the most essential thing in teaching gas prevention?
Discipline. Training men so that they will adjust respirators when alarm is sounded, and not remove them until given proper authority to do so.
150. What is white star gas?
Combination of 65 percent chlorine, 35 percent phosgene.
151. What is the distinguishing color or odor of chlorine? Bromine? Phosgene? Hydrocyanic acid gas?
Chlorine (Cl2), greenish yellow.
Bromine (Br2), reddish brown.
Phosgene (COC12) smells like bad fish; no color.
Hydrocyanic acid gas (HCN) smells like almonds; no color.
152. Why was it found necessary to instruct all the officers and noncommissioned officers in gas defense? Gas officer may be killed or transferred, and company would have no one to take his place.
153. How far back has a gas cloud been known to extend, necessitating the wearing of the mask? Twenty-two miles.
154. How many rattles per mile of front are issued?
 Two hundred rattles per mile.
155. How are gas activities carried out against artillery positions?
First, high-explosive shells are fired, which drive men into bombproofs. Then a barrage of gas shells is thrown around battery, making it necessary for gunners to stay in their gas-proof dugouts or else wear their respirators. After several hours of shell it is sometimes followed by a cloud, if wind conditions are favorable.
156. If gas casualties can be largely prevented, why are these activities still resorted to so extensively?


Immense moral effect. Possible that opposing troops are poorly disciplined in gas defense, which means that casualties will surely result. Men can not eat unless taken to the rear and are extremely uncomfortable living in respirators.
157. Why, and for how long a term, is smoking prohibited in the trenches after an attack?
Smoking is not permitted for several hours after an attack because it would irritate the condition of men who might be gassed.
158. Why is it good policy to separate the serious and the slightly gassed?
So that light cases may be attended to first and returned as soon as possible. Also due to the mental effect the suffering of the serious cases would have on the men only slightly gassed.
159. What percentage of all gas cases are returned to the fiont lines again as effective fighting units, as seem to be shown by statistics?
Practically none, unless slightly gassed.
160. Why and for how long a time ale men relieved from duty during an attack?
Men are relieved as soon as possible after a gas attack so that they may clean their equipment in the rear. They are relieved for the regular length of time in force in that sector; usually 24 hours.
161. Describe the gas mask used on horses.
Fits over horse's nose very much like a feed bag. Soaked in chemicals, through which horse breathes and which neutralize gases. No covering for eyes.
162. What is the life of our mask in concentrated gas?
New respirator will last for about 30 to 36 hours.
163. Describe the French " M " type mask, and tell wherein our type is superior.
Layers of heavy gauze, fitting tightly over face, covered with a sort of oilcloth. Has two eyepieces. Gauze is soaked in chemicals, and has unpleasant odor. Breathing, both inhaling and exhaling, is done through fabric of mask, as a result of which the life of chemicals is shortened and respiration becomes extremely difficult, due to dead air space. Our type has no odor, and the intake only goes through chemicals. No dead air space between mask and face. Chemicals last longer due to outlet or gill valve. More comfortable.
164. What particular use has gas hand grenades?
Clearing men out of captured dugouts.
165. Does infantry ever attack during a gas cloud or shell bombardment? If not, why?
No. Life of respirator is conserved by no movement, and movement is difficult with respirator on. England recently sent over a cloud of smoke, and the Germans, thinking it gas, put on respirators, whereupon the English attacked without respirators, with great success.
166. Why is smoke used in connection with gas in clouds? Describe the method.
Can not be distinguished from gas by the eye. Enemy is made to keep respirator on. Smoke is sent over between gas waves, and sometimes mixed with gas.
167. How many masks are carried by each soldier in the field?
Two. One is a reserve mask.
168. What is the most important thing to be remembered at the beginning of a gas attack? Hold your breath and adjust your respirator.
169. Will our mask protect from gas found in mines, galleries, and in machine-gun emplacements? If not, why?
No. They are carbon monoxide and nitrous fumes, and our respirator is only a filter. Oxygen must be present. In above cases oxygen must be supplied or else life is impossible.
170. Describe the oxygen tank helmet used by the English for miners and sappers and machine gunners, working in inclosed compartments.
Apparatus with two small oxygen tanks strapped on back, and large bag in front containing some caustic soda. Two tubes run up from bag into mouth of wearer. Exhaled air is sent through caustic soda, purified, and rebreathed. Oxygen is fed in from tanks on back as it is needed. No breathing is done through nose, as it is closed by a small clip.
171. What action would you take if your trachea tube were severed during a gas attack?
Hold breath, remove defective respirator, and put on reserve one.
172. What military commands would be utilized to place your men in a two-side square formation?


"Rear rank, right face; column left; march." "Rear rank, halt; left face."
173. What percentage of shells used on the western front are gas shells?
Sixty-five per cent.
174. Why is it necessary to view the mask drill as a military maneuver?
To obtain discipline, which is essential in gas defense.

Major, M. R. C., Division Gas Offlcer.


Camp Meade, Md., February 9, 1918.

Recent reports and information from various sources disclose material changes and advance in the use of gas as a weapon in warfare.

It would seem that the Germans on the western front have recently used little gas in cloud attack. The fact that the wind is unfavorable as to direction a large portion of the time may have been conducive to the same, but not wholly so. The prevailing winds during the months of August and September were especially favorable for the enemy. During the month of August, the British forces made an average of 51 attacks per month. These were major cloud offensive operations and entirely separate and distinct for gas-shell usage.

The British are using large quantities of thermite bombs and projector drums filled with oil. These, of course, are incendiary in their effects. The Stokes mortar is being used largely for projecting gas in shells and drums also.

The British are also using a harmless aromatic gas, also smoke candles, and attacking, in infantry rushes, in the midst of the cloud thus created. The Germans are placed under the disadvantage of fighting under the mask. It is predicted that this practice will spread.
During the month of August an average in excess of the latest figures (65 percent) of gas shells were used by the British. By far the greater portion was used to neutralize enemy batteries. The tendency now is to mix high-explosive shells, which serve to drive the artillerymen into their dugouts. After this result is accomplished, gas shells are mixed in. The gas, being heavier than air, penetrates the stand of the battery, necessitating the wearing of their respirators or retiring to gas-proof shelters. Well-directed gas shells serve to silence artillery positions sooner or later. The wearing of the respirators serves to inhibit free movement, and the guns soon go out of action. On the night of August 21-22, the English fired with gas shells on 19 artillery positions, silencing 18 of them. On the 23d of the same month the Germans opened fire on several English artillery positions with gas shells, drawing a like fire from their opponents. The seeming superiority of the English fire and masks suddenly stopped the German bombardment.

The French are also taking to the use of large-caliber guns in projecting gas shells. Formerly they tended to use mostly the 75-mm. gun, from which a very rapid fire could be obtained.

The Germans have developed several new types of masks. The first one has a facepiece of leather, with the goggles set wide apart, somewhat preventing visual focus and interfering with sight. They are using a new type of antidim lens. It seems to be made of rather a gelatinous substance in disk form, with upturned edges, which tends to absorb moisture, thus preventing "fogging" of eyepieces. They dry out after use. This German mask has no mouthpiece or nose clip, depending entirely upon a close fit against the face. They prohibit wearing spectacles under the mask, claiming that the earpieces prevent the necessary close fit and give rise to "gassings." They recommend that the spectacles be fastened on with tape. The other mask that they have developed is really not a mask at all. It is a small canister, containing chemicals, to which they have recently added ground pumice stone, to which is fitted a metal mouth tube resembling largely our own rubber mouthpiece. Attached by a string is a nose clip. There is no facepiece or goggles; it being the intention to supply men with this apparatus whose free movement would be inhibited by goggles. It is carried in a specially constructed pocket of time coat. This is carried in addition to the regular issue mask.


The French have also developed a new box respirator especially to be used by the artillery. It is a wide departure from any yet in common use. The canister is attached on the wearer's back with tube leading over left shoulder to facepiece. It has no mouthpiece or nose clip. The connecting tube bifurcates, entering just below each eyepiece. This, it is hoped, will prevent "fogging." It is cumbersome and apparently heavy. The gill valve sticks straight up from the point at which the air tube enters the facepiece.

In the operations on the Austro-Italian front, the enemy has used gas in liberal quantities, in both cloud and shell. In fact, the Italian retreat was due to the use of poisonous gases.

The Germans are using high-explosive shell into which is incorporated a bottle (glass) containing a powder, which upon bursting disseminates this chemical, causing sneezing and coughing. The shell is a combination high explosive and chemical, or gas shell.

The Italians have improved their mask somewhat, it would seem. This mask resembles very closely the French " M " type.

The Russian respirator differs entirely from any other type. It has a rubber facepiece which fits tightly over the whole head, covering also the ears. To the front of this facepiece is attached the canister directly, resembling, in a way, the German mask. The canister is larger than our own and has an inlet and outlet valve in the bottom of can. These valve openings are about 11 inches in diameter, and have two tubes protruding from the lowest part of can, which when not in use are covered with rubber caps. The mask is said to be very uncomfortable.

The Germans, during the month of September, attempted to use gas in cloud against a sector of the French front. The French sent over a raiding party which was so fortunate as to entirely frustrate the attempt, destroying the cylinders.

The Germans are also using a new Flammenwerfer apparatus consisting of a nitrogen tank placed within a tank containing oil, the apparatus being carried on the back of the operator. This duty is so hazardous and so little sought that it is said the Germans are placing men on this duty as a punishment.

The Germans are also using a new deoderizing cartridge to clear out dugouts quickly. They are fired from a flare pistol. They contain dimethyl aniline. They also use this pistol for firing a cartridge into a dugout to test out the fit of masks. Here they use a bulb containing a lacrymator. This method of clearing dugouts is not satisfactory. It, in itself, creates an irritating gas. The Germans claim this gas to be nonpoisonous though.

In September the British carried out 51 major gas operations. The Germans also have a form of projector now. The reports from captured documents tend to show that the Germans are getting the worse of gas. They state that as many casualties are caused by gas as by artillery. Their losses seem to have been particularly heavy from this weapon during the summer months. They state that you may expect 15 percent of the total number of troops engaged to be gassed more or less severely. Their losses are probably due, it would seem, to the large influx of fresh troops and the character of their masks at this time. There seems to be a shortage of rubber from which to manufacture efficient protectors. They say that not more than 3 per cent of your moderate and severe cases return to the fighting troops. The 14th Bavarian Regiment lost 204 men killed and 554 casualties during August, it is reported. Some companies' losses ran all the way to 80 percent. In one hospital, out of 2,000 cases, 986 were the result of gas. Prisoners report much malingering among the enemy troops.

In October the standing orders within the theater of operations was changed, in so far as wearing the masks was concerned. The new positions areas follows: Alert, from the front line to 2 miles to the rear; ready (carry), from 2 miles to the 5-mile limit; precautionary, from 5 to 12 miles. This position consists in having the mask off the person but in the near vicinity, so that a speedy adjustment is made.

During this month (October) the British liberated 260 tons of gas in 40 clouds attacks. Incendiary bombs were also used successfully.

The British are still using the P H helmet outside of the first 5 miles. The British do not enter time on the record card for drill any more, except in the following way: They record one hour's time per week for mask drill, figuring on two hours of drill, but one hour of actual wear.

In July the Germans are reported to have pulled off more cloud attacks than for months; the reason being, apparently, that the wind was most favorable from their viewpoint. During the Italian drive they also used it in considerable quantities, as previously stated.


The English are issuing 200 rattlers to the mile of front. The fact that the noise created by these instruments so closely resembled machine-gun fire had for a time placed them in discard, save for artillery. The above would seem to indicate that they are coming into vogue again.

The British permit the chinstrap to be used under point of chin now. Heretofore, this was only permitted among the bombers. They also advise adjusting the respirator when gas shells are detected, and when this operation is completed to shout "Gas shells."

The British advocate knocking the helmet or hat off with the left hand prior to adjusting the mask. The French, on the other hand, advocate that the hat be held between the knees or, if armed with a rifle, that this weapon be held thus, placing the hat or helmet thereon on the muzzle. Hats or helmets when thrown off in the trenches or on the ground are frequently rendered unserviceable on account of the mud, etc. We will teach in this division the French method, and all classes and individuals will conform to this order. The drill must be made uniform and executed as a military maneuver, at strict attention.

Major, M. R. C., Division Gas Officer.