Gas Clouds Over Flanders - The Second Battle of Ypres, by Eddy Lambrecht
Book published by G.H. Smith in 2005, 88 pages. Paperback (N6354PE)
Brand New Book
This book was written by a Belgian Policeman, and examines how the German deployment of poison gas during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 changed the face of warfare on the western front. The book is illustrated throughout with lots of black and white photographs and maps.
From the opening paragraph: In Germany, military specialists and scientific organisations had been conducting experiments with gas since October 1914. With its potential, it could have ended the static trench warfare in 1915. When first used, the gas-filled shells (XYLYL bromide: tear gas) were not satisfactory and their use passed unnoticed. The T shells were named after their inventor, Hans Tappen, a chemist. He had been introduced by his brother, Colonel Gerhard Tappen, who worked at the War Ministry. Used against the Russians in January 1915, the liquid in the shells failed to vaporize because of the low temperatures. When used at Nieuport in March 1915, the shelling of French positions produced no visible results. The Germans also did not have enough 150 mm shells to fire the tear gas.
Professor Fritz Haber, the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin, proposed the use of chlorine gas as 'Kampf-gas'. Packed in cylinders, the liquid was turned into gas when released. Chlorine was available in large quantities in German industry. It was an acute lung irritant which damaged the lung tissues, and in later stages flooded the lungs with fluid, causing death. By using gas and counting on the surprise effect of the new weapon, the Germans hoped to eliminate the Ypres-Salient and destroy the British forces stationed in it. The Oberste Heeresleitung (Supreme Command) was optimistic about its military value, and thought that it could lead to a breakthrough on the Westen Front. The Salient would become untenable when the Ypres-Yzer Canal bank was occupied to the south, in the direction of Ypres....