TM-E 30-451 Handbook on German Military Forces

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Technical Manual, TM-E 30-451: Handbook on German Military Forces published in March 1945. — Figures and illustrations are not reproduced, see source details. — As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. — Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



2. Defensive Equipment

a. GAS MASKS. (1) General. Most German gas masks are of the snout type, in which the canister is connected directly to the facepiece. Types GM 30 and GM 38 are in general use, and in addition to the standard masks there are several special types. Generally, German gas masks provide good protection against the common war gases, and fair protection against such gases as arsine, hydrocyanic acid, and cyanogen chloride. The Germans also have three types of gas masks for horses and one for dogs.

(2) Gas mask, GM 30. The facepiece is of four-layer, field gray fabric, with a suede leather fitting band, a leather chin support, and plastic eyepieces. The head harness has seven points of attachment. There is a cotton strap for suspending the mask from the neck in an alert position. Some GM 30 facepieces are fitted with an adapter for microphone.

Canisters normally used with this mask are the FE 41 and the FE 42. The FE 41 canister is drum-shaped and painted green. It measures 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches in diameter and weighs 11.9 ounces. It is being replaced by the FE 42, the canister of which is the newest and most efficient of the service canisters. Externally, it is similar to the FE 41, but is larger and heavier, measuring 3 1/2 inches high by 4 1/4 inches in diameter, and weighing 16.3 ounces.

The standard carrier is a corrugated cylindrical metal case with a hinged cover and cotton carrier straps. It is painted drab, field gray, or blue-gray. Parachutists are provided with a padded, canvas, satchel-type carrier, having a snap fastener at the top and a zipper along one side.

(3) Gas mask, GM 38. This mask began replacing the GM 30 in 1938. It is similar in design, but the facepiece, made of synthetic rubber has a rubber fitting band and a simpler head harness with only five points of attachment. The same canisters and carrier are used with this mask as with the GM 30.

(4) Gas mask, cavalry. The facepiece is of conventional German construction, similar in most respects to that of the GM 30. It has a hose-tube assembly, approximately 17 inches long, for connecting canister to facepiece. The brownish-gray canister has a generally elliptical cross-section, and measures 8 1/2 inches high by 4 7/8 inches by 2 11/16 inches. Its weight is 27.7 ounces. The facepiece carrier is lightweight duck, and measures 20 inches long by 8 inches wide at the upper end. Its sides are tapered to a width of about 3 inches throughout the 9-inch hose portion. The canister carrier, of dark brown saddle leather, fits snugly over the canister and is attached to the lower end of the facepiece carrier.

(5) Gas mask, optical. The facepiece, made of leather, has round, glass eyepieces, held in place by screw-type adapters. The interpupillary distances of eyepieces may be varied by means of an adjustable screw. A hose-tube connects the facepiece to the canister which is carried over the shoulder. In the left cheek of the facepiece is an adapter for a microphone. Standard canisters, as well as carbon monoxide canisters, may be used with this facepiece. The carrier is a rectangular metal box.

(6) Gas mask, oxygen breathing set. This is a self-contained, oxygen-breathing apparatus, effective for somewhat over an hour. The facepiece is of the usual service type. The carrier is a metal knapsack, designed to rest on the user's back. It contains an alkali canister, an oxygen bottle, a valve, and a breathing bag with two breathing tubes, an "in" and an "out". The mechanism operates automatically on breathing. The apparatus is designed for use in cellars, dug-outs, gun turrets, and ship holds in the presence of high concentrations of toxic gas, such as carbon monoxide.

(7) Plastic emergency breathing device. This is an emergency breathing device enabling a canister to be used without a facepiece. Made of either transparent or yellow plastic, it consists of a circular piece to which are attached a tube for mouthpiece and a T-bar for chin rest. The circular piece is threaded internally to receive standard German canisters. A nose clip is attached to the circular piece by a cord, which also may serve to hold the device in an alert position. Apparently intended for protection against rapidly acting gases in sudden concentration, it can be put into use in less than 5 seconds. Its existence may partly explain why the German soldier is supposed to carry a spare canister.

(8) Gas mask, combat engineers. This is a leather helmet, with a leather drop curtain fitted with eyepieces. The curtain normally is rolled up, but it may be dropped quickly over the face and held in place by a tape tied around the back of the head and neck. Flat filters cover the nose and mouth, possibly to provide limited, but speedy, protection against transient high gas concentrations. The face also would be protected against incendiary or corrosive materials.

(9) Gas mask, headwound. Designed for men with headwounds, this is a hood made of sheet rubber, with one oval window large enough to see out of with both eyes. It is provided with inlet and outlet valves and a fitting to receive the standard canisters. The carrier is a metal case.

(10) Gas mask, carbon monoxide. The Germans have several types of special canisters which provide very good protection against carbon monoxide. These canisters are attached to the normal facepieces by means of long hose-tubes. The canisters normally are larger and heavier than the standard canisters. An example is the CO FB 38 canister, measuring 11 inches high by 5 inches in diameter and weighing 5.2 pounds.

(11) Gas mask, horse. (a) Model 38. This is a black rubber facepiece which fits over the nostrils and upper jaw. The bottom of the facepiece is reinforced to provide a biting pad. On each side of the facepiece is a canister, and on the front is an outlet valve. Near the top of each side, in the rear of the facepiece, are two heavy metal buckles for attaching the head harness. The canister, drum-shaped and painted green, measures approximately 2.1 inches high by 5 inches in diameter.

(b) Model 41. This consists of a pair of hollow cones with large slots near the apex, each with an outlet valve in the base and a threaded side opening into which a flat canister is screwed. The cones are placed up the nostrils of the horse and held in place by a harness over the head.

(c) Damp mask, Model 41. This consists of a large paper-fabric bag with padded lip and biting pad to fit over the upper jaw. Before it is used, the mask must be impregnated with a special salt solution.

(12) Gas Mask 41, dog. The facepiece, of a black, rubber-like compound, is made in four sizes. It has circular eyepieces, a valve assembly in the nose, and a canister on each side. The head harness consists of a throat strap, a fastener strap, and four head straps. The valve assembly consists of an air inlet knob and an outlet valve. The canister of thin green-painted metal, is 2 inches high by 3 1/4 inches in diameter. The carrier is a brown canvas haversack with a shoulder sling.

b. PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. (1) General. For troops there are the impermeable light and heavy protective suits and several types of protective capes. No impregnated clothing has been reported. There are leggings and protective covers for horses, and leggings and gas clothing for dogs.

(2) Light protective suit. This suit consisting of boots, shorts, gloves, and a neck cover, is made of a fabric coated with a synthetic rubber (opanol). Components of the normal suit vary in color from grayish-green to dark blue-gray, with light tan or khaki for tropical use. Boots are rubber soled. The gloves are of either elbow or shoulder length. In some cases shorts have a bib in front. When deemed necessary, an extra pair of shorts may be used to protect the upper part of the body. The suit is carried in a small case of the same material.

(3) Heavy protective suit. This comprises a jacket with hood, pants of the over-all type, gloves, and boots. Jacket and pants are made of fabric coated on both sides with gray rubber. Boots of knee length, are of heavy black rubber. Gloves are of gray or black molded rubber.

(4) Protective sheet. This rectangular sheet is approximately 78 inches long and 48 inches wide. It may be made of paper, opanol-coated fabric, or nylon.

(5) Eyeshields. Made of celluloid-type material, these consist of four separate sections sewed together to form an eyeshield with side panels. The eyeshield—two amber or green and two colorless—are carried in a green fabric case.

(6) Horse cover. Made of an impermeable opanol-coated fabric, black inside and tan outside, this cover is in two halves, one for the right side and one for the left. Each half is rectangular, 62 inches long and 45 inches wide. On the front end is a sleeve-like projection of double thickness to fit over the leg. The cover is designed to protect the underbelly parts of the horse.

(7) Horse legging. Sleeve-like in shape, of gray or green rubberized fabric, it is made in two sizes to fit front and hind legs.

(8) Horse goggles. These comprise a pair of plastic eyepieces trimmed with leather, held together by an adjustable cloth strap, with another cloth strap attached to the outside of each eyepiece. A red line on one eyepiece, and a blue line on the other, apparently are to mark the right and left eyepieces.

(9) Gas Clothing 41 for dogs. This consists of a hood and suit, to which are sewed rubber footcovers. Suit and hood are made of thin, field-gray, impregnated fabric. The suit, made in three sizes, is carried inside the facepiece of the dog gas mask.

(10) Dog Legging 41. This is made of rubber in only one size and consists of foot and leg parts, fitted with fastening straps.

c. DECONTAMINATION. (1) Equipment. (a) Mobile decontamination plant. This plant for the decontamination of clothing and equipment may take the form of motor trucks mounting a water-tube boiler for the rapid generation of steam, a steam chamber, and a drying chamber.

(b) Vehicle for decontamination of personnel. A six-wheeled motor vehicle fitted with a large box body which contains bathing facilities for 150 men per hour. Completely equipped, it weighs about 9 tons.

(c) Vehicle for decontamination of clothing. A six-wheeled vehicle fitted with a large closed body which is equipped with a boiler, fans, and water tanks. Completely equipped, it weighs about 9.7 tons.

(d) Light decontamination vehicle. This open, semi-tracked, 1-ton motor vehicle, equipped with a distributing hopper on the rear, carries about 1,675 pounds of bulk decontaminant and 16 decontamination canisters (22 pounds) for use by hand.

(e) Filter for decontamination of water. The apparatus consists of two parts: the filter proper and a tank containing water for cleaning the filter. Both are of sheet iron covered with enamel. The filter proper is a tall, cylindrical tank filled with activated charcoal.

(f) Decontamination plow. This is a large, fish-hook-shaped, ditching plow, mounted on a two-wheeled carriage with pneumatic tires. Over-all length is 11 feet 6 inches; over-all width is 6 feet 1 inch. The plow produces a furrow 20 inches wide.

(g) Decontamination pump. This is a metal stirrup pump, approximately 24 inches in length, with about 9 inches of rubber hose.

(h) Decontamination canisters. These canisters consist of metal cylinders, 6.7 inches high by 3.3 inches in diameter, and a quadrangular metal or cardboard container, 14.6 inches high by 8.2 inches wide. Each has a perforated screen in the top for sprinkling the contents, normally Losantin, on a contaminated surface.

(2) Decontaminants. (a) Losantin. This high quality, stabilized, white bleach powder is used for decontamination of standard blister gases. It is packed in steel drums of 55 and 110 pounds capacity.

(b) Decontaminant 40. This is a fine white or pale cream powder, packed in steel drums holding 132 pounds. Especially designed for nitrogen mustards, it is also a powerful decontaminant for all blister gases.

(c) Decontaminant N. A powdered or flaked white solid, supplied in wooden boxes of 175 pounds capacity, this is a substitute for Decontaminant 40, which is difficult and expensive to produce.

(d) Weapon decontamination agent. This individual issue is a small bottle of liquid agent in a dark brown, Bakelite container. It is used for the decontamination of small arms and individual equipment.

(e) Weapon decontaminating agent set. This is a company issue. It consists of two bottles of liquid in a cardboard container 14 inches high by 4.7 inches in diameter. The red-capped bottle contains the decontaminating agent, and the blackcapped bottle contains a substance to counteract the corrosion caused by the agent.

(f) Horse decontamination canister. A quadrangular cardboard box, with a perforated screen at one end, type 40 holds about 20 ounces of decontaminant. It is intended for a team of horses; type 41 which holds only about 10 ounces is designed for an individual horse. The canister is carried in the horse gas-mask carrier.

(g) Dog decontamination canister 42. This is a quadrangular cardboard box holding about 10 ounces of decontaminant.

d. PROTECTIVE AGENTS. (1) Losantin. Ten tablets of Losantin are issued in plastic boxes for decontamination of the skin. Adhesive strips of different colors indicate the year of manufacture. The issue is four boxes to a soldier, but reports state that it is being replaced by Protective Ointment 41.

(2) Protective Ointment 41. This is issued in bottles, with six swabs in an orange bakelite container, for decontamination of the skin.

(3) Alkaline eye salve. This is a creamy white salve in either a metal foil tube or a white jar. It is used for the treatment of eyes contaminated with blister gases.

(4) Inhalant ampoules and swabs. Five inhalant ampoules and six swabs are packed in a green metal box. The ampoules are for inhalation upon exposure to toxic smokes, and the swabs are for wiping off liquid blister gases.

e. GAS DETECTORS. (1) Detector powder. This is ochre or pink powder which changes color in contact with certain war gases in liquid form. The pink powder is reported to be obsolescent. Either a detector canister or a detector pump is used to spread the powder.

(2) Carbon Monoxide Detector Paper 42. Two bottles of testing liquid, 400 detector papers, and one holder for the detector paper comprise this set. When moistened with the testing liquid, the paper changes color in the presence of carbon monoxide.

(3) Arsine detector paper. This equipment is packed in a cardboard box, containing 100 bottles of detector paper and 30 holders for the detector paper. Each booklet which holds 10 sheets is inclosed in airtight packing. Arsine in the air changes the color of the paper.

(4) Detector Canister 42. This metal cylinder, with a perforated screen in one end, holds about 4 pounds of detector powder.

(5) Gas detector. This is for detection of gas vapors. It comprises an air-sampling pump in a metal holder and five types of testing tubes in a metal carrier.

(6) Carbon monoxide detector set. (a) Army type. This consists of a field gray, wooden box, containing an air pump, 32 detector tubes, a tube holder, and accessories.

(b) Commercial type. Essentially, this consists of an air pump and detector tubes in a metal cylindrical carrier. Though a commercial detector, it is used in army fortifications. When air containing carbon monoxide is drawn through a tube from either set, the contents of the tube changes color.

(7) Gas detector equipment set. This consists of a metal carrier containing an air pump, a few detector tubes of each type, arsine detector paper, a small detector canister, and accessories.

(8) Spray detector cards. These stiff paper cards, packed 20 to a carton, are coated on both sides with a paint containing a dye which changes color in contact with liquid blister gases.

(9) Detector powder pump. This is a ribbed, sheet-metal box container having an internally built pump, with a handle on one end and an adjustable spray nozzle on the other.

(10) Gas detector and sampling kit. This aluminum chest contains six sample bottles, four small detector canisters, war gas warning cards, spray detector paper, and accessories.

(11) Detector paint. This paint contains a dye which changes color in contact with certain liquid war gases. It is used to make smears on surfaces for detection of war gas spray.

(12) Gas detector for fortifications. A metal case contains an electric motor, air pumps, six pairs of metal and glass detector tubes, seatings for the tubes, and necessary connections for drawing air through all of the tubes at the same time.

(13) Field laboratory. This laboratory includes equipment for testing for war gases, in addition to necessary equipment for accomplishing its main function of food and drug analysis.

(14) Gas detection vehicle. This is an open, semi-tracked, 1-ton vehicle used for carrying gas detection personnel and their equipment.

f. MISCELLANEOUS. (1) Ear plugs. These are square tablets of yellow wax, packed six in a metal box, for protection of men with damaged ear drums.

(2) Anti-dim disc. This occurs in sets of two. The disc, 2.3 inches in diameter, has one side coated with gelatin. It is fitted over the inside of the eyepieces, with the gelatin-coated side next to the wearer's eyes. The gelatin rapidly absorbs moisture and prevents fogging of the eyepieces.

(3) Anti-dim sheet. This is an oval celluloid-type disc to fit over the window of a headwound gas mask to prevent fogging. The disc is believed to have one side coated with gelatin. Ten discs are packed in a tin box.

(4) Gas mask tester. This includes a rectangular chest containing an electric motor, a pressure gage, a head-form for the gas mask face-piece, and accessories.

(5) Canister testing apparatus. This is a portable tester in a wooden case. The case contains a pump, a canister resistance gage, and accessories.

(6) Gas alarm device. This is a whistling cartridge which is fired from a signal pistol. It rises about 50 feet, giving off either a whitish or green light and emitting a high-pitched whistle audible for about 400 yards.

(7) Anti-gas pathway material. This strong paper, impregnated with a tar-like substance, is prepared in rolls, approximately 4 feet wide and 55 yards long. It is stated to be of sufficient strength to allow 200 men to cross a contaminated area in safety.

(8) Gas warning flag set. This is a pistol-shaped case containing 20 L-shaped iron rods. 20 warning flags (yellow with black skull and crossed bones imprinted), and a roll of yellow marking tape.

(9) Collective protector. This is installed in air raid shelters and other fixed installations. It consists of a pump, either electrically or hand driven, a mechanical canister, a chemical canister, and necessary connections for drawing outside air through the canisters.

(10) Gas protective case for pigeons. This is a case of four compartments, each with an inlet tube and filter.


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