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.]



3. War Gases

a. GENERAL. German war gases, generally speaking, have retained their World War I classification. However, "crosses" are believed to have been superseded by the terms "rings" or "bands" for purposes of nomenclature. The appearance of the FE 42 canister suggests that the Germans are aware of the potentialities of hydrocyanic acid (AC), cyanogen chloride (CK) and arsine (SA). Tests show that this canister affords fair protection against these gases. The Germans are known to favor the combination of gases. Thus, a vesicant toxic smoke is a combination of "blue"- and "yellow"-band gases, and the nature of the chemical filling would be indicated by two bands of the corresponding colors. "Green" and "yellow" bands would indicate a choking gas with vesicant properties. A double "yellow" band would indicate a vesicant gas of enhanced persistence.

b. NITROGEN MUSTARDS. In addition to the more or less standard agents, there is documentary evidence to show that the Germans possess a nearly odorless gas designated as "Green Band I." It is only one of several gases with like characteristics that may be referred to as "nitrogen mustards."

Generally speaking, the nitrogen mustards are either liquids or low-melting solids, pale yellow to colorless, and are practically odorless. Their volatility varies, some being less volatile than mustard gas and some more volatile. They are fairly readily hydrolyzed by water, but the products of such hydrolysis are toxic.

Nitrogen mustard gas has a low freezing point. and might, therefore, be used for high-altitude bombing or spray (if thickened). It may be three or four times as volatile as mustard gas and therefore less persistent. Since higher concentrations are possible, it is more dangerous as a gas, though not so powerful in its vesicant effect. It would require special stabilization if used in hot climates.

The principal danger from the nitrogen mustards lies in the fact that their vapors are not easily detected by smell. Munitions which contain these gases and have a high bursting charge (20 to 30 per cent HE) are indistinguishable from HE on detonation. Under such conditions, reliance must be placed on the usual U.S. detector methods: that is, detector paint or paper and the vapor detector kit, M-9.

Nitrogen mustard is likely to be used to achieve surprise by being included in a normal HE bombardment in order to capture key positions. It is also possible that this gas would be used as a spray from airplanes, or in aerial bombs.

Common name   German name
Blister gases (Vesicants)"Yellow Cross"
Mustard (H)   . . . . .   Lost; Senf; Gelbkreuz
Lewisite (L)   . . . . .   Gelbkreuz II (?)
Ethyldichlorarsine (ED)   . . . . .   Dick; Gelbkreuz III
Nitrogen Mustard (HN)    . . . . .   Stickstofflost

(Mixtures of mustard gas and Lewisite may be used in cold weather to reduce the freezing point. A 50-per cent mixture of mustard and Lewisite is called Winterlost. The mustard gas is likely to be an improvement over that of World War I; it is probably more persistent, possibly more vesicant, and more difficult to decontaminate.)

Choking gases (Lung Irritants) — "Green Cross"
Phosgene (CG)   . . . . .   D-Stoff; Grünkreuz
Diphosgene (DP)   . . . . .   K-Stoff; Perstoff; Brunkreuz I,II
Chlorpicrin (PS)   . . . . .   Klop
Chlorine (Cl)   . . . . .   Chlor

(There have been frequent references to mixtures of these choking gases.)

Vomiting gases (Sternutators) — "Blue Cross"
Diphenylchlorarsine (DA)   . . . . .   Clark I; Blaukreuz
Diphenylcyanarsine (DC)   . . . . .   Clark II; Cyan Clark
Adamsite (DM)   . . . . .   D. M. Adamsit

  Tear gases (Lacrimators) — "White Cross"  
Chloracetophenone (CN)   . . . . .   T-Stoff
Brombenzylcyanide (BBC)    . . . . .   T-Stoff  

(Neither of these gases was used by the Germans in the last war. They relied upon a number of bromine compounds, which are less powerful than the two substances listed. It is thought that Germany attaches little importance to tear gases alone, but the possible use of other gases camouflaged by tear gases must not be overlooked.)


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