Chemical Warfare Of WW I

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Social Studies
World War I

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Chemical Warfare Of WW I

Chemical Warfare of WWI

During WWI, chemicals and gases were first used as a weapon against the enemy.

Time Line


The earliest military uses of chemicals were tear-inducing irritants rather than fatal or disabling poisons.

By the end of the war, chemical weapons had lost much of their effectiveness against well trained and equipped troops. At that time, chemical weapon agents were used in one quarter of artillery shells fired but caused only 4% of casualties.

The killing capacity of gas was limited – only four percent of combat deaths were caused by gas.

Chlorine was, however, less effective as a weapon than other chemicals used.

The first killing agent employed by the German military was chlorine.


The first instance of large-scale use of gas as a weapon was on 31 January 1915, when Germany fired 18,000 artillery shells containing liquid xylyl bromide tear gas on Russian positions.

By 22 April 1915, the German Army had 168 tons of chlorine deployed in 5,730 cylinders opposite Langemark-Poelkapelle, north of Ypres.



The most widely reported and, perhaps, the most effective gas of the First World War was mustard gas.

Gas was unlike most other weapons of the period because it was possible to develop effective countermeasures, such as gas masks.

British gas bomb

British soccer game.

troops in gas masks

gas in trench warfare


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