Emergency responder and history buff Allan Newell and the guys talk about the types and reasons for chemical warfare, chemical weapons in history including soul-hunting gas, quicklime, hellebore roots, chlorine and phosgene gas. Plus what to do when you’ve been tear-gassed. Part 1 of 2.

Music: “Mustard Gas” by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets

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  • Andreas

    Great job maintaining the flawless release schedule with another abrasive and excellent episode with an always stellar guespert!

    One thought about the use case for chemical warfare though, hasn’t it also long been known that a wounded and/or disabled soldier is at least if not more costly for the enemy to care for (or dispose of as the case may be) then a dead one which would seem like a obvious bonus on top of the great (and horrifying) advantages that Alan mentioned?

    • Allan Newell

      You are right Andreas. It is generally believed to take 6 people to remove 1 injured soldier off the field as opposed to leaving a dead body for later retrieval. Additionally, the costs of fuel, medications and treatment programs makes injuring a soldier more cost effective (in many cases) than killing them.

      • Andreas

        Thanks for the swift reply Allan!

        In other news, not only did I manage (probably needlessly so) to nitpick a oversight, I also managed to misspell your name, sorry about that.

        Looking forward to part two as well as your (hopefully) continuing appearances on the show!

  • Geraard Spergen

    2002 – Russians used BZ on the Chechins that had taken over part of Moscow’s theater district. Also used by USA in Viet Nam, and Serbs in Kosovo against Albanians.

    >EFFECTS – Acts on the peripheral autonomic and central nervous systems resulting in loss of motor coordination, memory loss, fainting, dry mouth, irregular heartbeats, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations.

  • abusepuppy

    It wasn’t brought up during the episode, although it may have been one of the bits edited out, but the reason the early German chemical weapons deployed during WW1 were simply released from canisters was actually political more than technological; though delivery via artillery shell or bomb was still in its infancy, it was certainly feasible at the time and had been considered by many nations even prior to the war. However, the Hague treaty (equivalent to the Geneva Conventions of today in many ways) prohibited the use of “asphyxiating gasses”- but only when delivered by shelling. Thus, the German contention was that their use of such weapons was not a violation of the treaty, as they were simply releasing the agents from canisters. (There were also arguments that some of the agents used were not actually “asphyxiating gasses” and thus did not fall under the treaty’s limitations.)

    Of course, the Allied powers dismissed these claims as attempts to tiptoe around an atrocity and responded with weapons of their own, and it wasn’t long before both sides had essentially abandoned the strictures of the Hague treaty.

    • Christine1

      This is absolutely correct. The conversation simply didn’t go in the direction where it came-up, but it is fundamentally key in understanding the beginning of chem war in the Great War.

    • thickets

      Good stuff!

  • Derek

    Time for an anniversary. Perhaps not one to celebrate.

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/15/02/23/1533213/100-years-of-chemical-weapons