WORLD WAR I CHEMICAL WARFARE AGENTS
AND POSSIBLE USE BY IRAQ
July 3, 2002
The most noted WWI
chemical warfare agent Iraq uses is Mustard and its variants. (Many of
today's chemical agents are from WW I) But Iraq may be producing some
of the basic chemical WW I agents, and experimenting with them.
WWI basic chemical
warfare agents are more easily produced, and easily loaded into artillery
shells. Making them ideal for MLRS systems.
For example, some
of the causalities produced by Iraqi chemical warfare agents with the
Kurds /Iran Wars were attributed to CS, however the battlefield causalities
and deaths appeared more like Lachrymator, or Bromanacetone mixed with
other chemical warfare agents. (This would be consistent with Soviet Chemical
However UN Inspectors
in Iraq made no note of finding such substances as such, but many of the
precursory chemical compounds found attributed to modern chemical warfare
agent s could easily be for early WWI chemical agents as well.
Mixtures of World
War I chemical warfare agents would be more difficult to detect.
Listed are WW I Chemical
|Lachrymator (tearing agent)
|Much like today's tear gas and mace, this gas caused temporary blindness
and greatly inflamed the nose and throat of the victim. A gas mask
offered very good protection from this type of gas. xylyl bromide
was a popular tearing agent since it was easily brewed.
|These are the poisonous gases. This class includes chlorine, phosgene
and diphosgene. Chlorine inflicts damage by forming hydrochloric acid
when coming in contact with moisture such as found in the lungs and
eyes. It is lethal at a mix of 1:5000 (gas/air) whereas phosgene is
deadly at 1:10,000 (gas/air) - twice as toxic! Diphosgene, first used
by the Germans at Verdun on 22-Jun-1916, was deadlier still and could
not be effectively filtered by standard issue gas masks.
|Dichlorethylsulphide: the most dreaded of all chemical weapons in
World War I - mustard gas. Unlike the other gases, which attack the
respiratory system, this gas acts on any exposed, moist skin. This
includes, but is not limited to, the eyes, lungs, armpits and groin.
A gas mask could offer very little protection. The oily agent would
produce large burn-like blisters wherever it came in contact with
skin. It also had a nasty way of hanging about in low areas for hours,
even days, after being dispersed. A soldier jumping into a shell crater
to seek cover could find himself blinded, with skin blistering and
LIST OF CHEMICAL
WARFARE AGENTS USED IN WW I
|Benzyl bromide : German, tearing, first used 1915
|Bromacetone : Both sides, tearing/fatal in concentration, first
|Carbonyl chloride (phosgene) : both sides, asphyxiant, fatal with
delayed action, first used 1915
|Chlorine : both sides, asphyxiant, fatal in concentration, first
used in 1915, cylinder release only
|Chloromethyl chloroformate : both sides, tearing, first used in
1915, artillery shell
|Chloropircin :both sides, tearing, first used in 1916, artillery
shell (green cross I)
|Cyanogen (cyanide) compounds : allies/Austria, asphyxiant, fatal
in concentration, first used in 1916, artillery shell
|Dichlormethylether : German, tearing, first used 1918, artillery
|Dibrommethylethylketone : German, tearing, fatal in concentration,
first used in 1916
|Dichloroethylsulphide (mustard gas) : both sides, blistering, artillery
shell (yellow cross)
|Aiphenylchloroarsine : German, asphyxiate, fatal in concentration,
(dust - could not be filtered), first used in 1917, artillery shell
|Diphenylcyonoarsine : German, more powerful replacement for blue
cross, first used in 1918
|Ethyl iodoacetate : British, tearing, first used in 1916
|Monobrommethylethylketone : German, more powerful replacement for
bromacetone, first used 1916
|Trichloromethylchloroformate (diphosgene) : both sides, asphyxiate,
fatal with delayed action, first used 1916
|Xylyl bromide : German, tearing, first used 1915
|Ethyldichloroarsine : German, less powerful replacement for blue
cross, first used in 1918, artillery shell (yellow cross I, green
TABLE OF EXPORT-CONTROLLED
||CHEMICAL WARFARE UNITILY
||Convertible into mustard gas simply by contact with
||Essential to one of the ways for making thiodiglycol
|Phosphoryl chloride a,b
||Essential to tabun production. Can also be converted,
with some difficulty, into methylphosphonyl dichloride (see below).
||Like phosphoryl chloride (see above), essential to
tabun production, but much easier to make.
|Methylphosphonyl difluoride a,b
||Convertible into sarin-family nerve gases simply
by contact with any of' many alcohols.
|Methylphosphonyl dichloride b
||Convertible into sarin-family nerve gases by carefully
controlled reaction with an alcohol and a fluoride such as potassium
fluoride (see below). Convertible into methyl phosphonyl difluoride
(see above) by heating with a fluoride such as potassium fluoride.
|Dimethyl methylphosphonate a,b
||One of many methylphosphonyl compounds from which
methylphosphonyl dichloride (see above) can be made quite easily.
|Potassium fluoride a,b
||One of many fluorine compounds that could be used
in the production of sarin-family nerve gases. Insignificant in the
absence of a supply of methylphosphonyl or ethylphosphonyl compounds.
From The List
||A fluorinating agent more common than potassium fluoride.
||Essential precursor in most of the better routes of VX-family nerve
gases. Easily convertible into methylphosphonyl dichloride (see above.)
||Precursors for VX-family nerve gases, also convertible into satin-family
|Other methylphosphonyl compounds
||See dimethyl methylphosphonate above.
|P-ethyl homologues of all the methylphosphorus compounds above
||Precursors for ethylphosphonate-family nerve gases.