Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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Post by MausPanzer » 11 Feb 2003 01:01

i have heard that Hiter had chemical and biological weapons. people paint him as having been crazy. if he was, why didn't he use the weapons?

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Post by qdave » 11 Feb 2003 01:11

haha. i dont think he had any of those weapons. where did you read that.
though mustard gas were used sometimes.

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Post by Daniel L » 11 Feb 2003 01:17

Because he had been a soldier during the Great War and seen the effects of gas.

Best regards/ Daniel

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Post by Mike K. » 11 Feb 2003 01:29

However objectionable his actions may have been, he wasn't crazy.

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Adolf's Gas

Post by war_dog2 » 11 Feb 2003 01:35

Charlie don't surf is correct, Germany however did research Chemical weapons and nerve gas. Gas was as Nuclear weapons are now.. A detterent Adolf Hitler knew that if he initiated an attack with these weapons the retaliation would be massive. I think the nazi's researched/invented Sarin Gas,

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Post by Redbaron1908 » 11 Feb 2003 02:20

haha. i dont think he had any of those weapons. where did you read that.
though mustard gas were used sometimes
germany did have chemical weapons ecpecially an new type of gas at that time called tabun the reason i think hitler did not use chemical weapons is that he was afraid that the allies would retaliate, which they easily could have done mustard gas would have not been so hard to produce by the allies

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Post by qdave » 11 Feb 2003 03:46

thanks guys. didnt knew that!

also i have read somehwere that geneva's convetion didnt allowed use chemical at that time but i dont know how truthfull this is?

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Geneva Convention

Post by war_dog2 » 11 Feb 2003 08:04

This is true, the use of poison gas was against the Geneva convention, But I wouldn't have said this was a major factor in Hitler Abstaining from its use though.

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Chemical or gas

Post by Hanz-Muller » 11 Feb 2003 09:28

I read that in England we had millions of containers of gas ready to drop on all the cities in Germany if they started to use gas. So I think Hitler was not stupid in the fact that if he used gas then his cities not only would be bombed but gased as well

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Post by Phaethon » 11 Feb 2003 09:53

Here'san interesting snippet from an essay at:
Between World War I and World War II, debate on chemical warfare continued in the United States and in international forums. The wording of the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which all of the major powers except for the United States and Japan ratified, implied the prohibition of the first use (but not the possession) of chemical and biological weapons. The treaty preserved the right to use such weapons in retaliation for a chemical attack. Russia, which had suffered half a million chemical casualties during World War I, worked with Germany in chemical agent offensive and defensive programs from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s. In contrast, the United States Chemical Corps struggled to stay alive in the face of widespread sentiment against chemical warfare.

Evidence (not all of which is conclusive) suggests that the military use of chemical agents continued after the end of World War I. Following World War I, Great Britain allegedly used chemicals against the Russians and mustard against the Afghans north of the Khyber Pass, and Spain is said to have employed mustard shells and bombs against the Riff tribes of Morocco. During the next decade, the Soviet Union supposedly used lung irritants against tribesmen in Kurdistan; and Mussolini, who utilized tear gas during the war against Abyssinia in 1936 and 1937, also authorized massive aerial delivery of mustard (1) against Abyssinian tribesmen and (2) as an interdiction movement on Italian flanks. Immediately prior to World War II and during the early part of that war, Japan is supposed to have used chemical weapons against China.

In the late 1930s, a German industrial chemist, Dr. Gerhard Schrader, searching for more potent insecticides, synthesized tabun (GA), an extremely toxic organophosphorus compound. Two years later, he synthesized sarin (GB), a similar but even more toxic compound. During World War II, Nazi Germany weaponized thousands of tons of these potent organophosphorus compounds that came to be called nerve agents. Why they were not used during the war is a matter of continuing discussion. Hitler, himself a mustard casualty during World War I, did not favor their use; neither did his senior staff who had fought on chemical battlefields during that war. Wrongly concluding from trends in Allied scientific publications on insecticides that the Allies had their own nerve agent program, German leaders may have been afraid of retaliation in kind to any Axis use of nerve agents. (President Roosevelt had in fact announced a no-first-use policy, but had promised instant retaliation for any Axis use of chemical agents.) Finally, during the later stages of the war, Germany lacked the air of superiority needed for effective delivery of chemical weapons. The well-organized German nerve agent program thus remained a complete secret until its discovery by the Allies during the closing days of the war.

With the possible exception of Japan during attacks on China, no nation during World War II used chemical agents on the battlefield, although Germany employed cyanide and perhaps other chemical agents in its concentration camps. However, over 600 military casualties and an unknown number of civilian casualties resulted from the 1943 German bombing in Bari Harbor, Italy, of the S.S. John Harvey, an American ship loaded with two thousand 100-pound mustard bombs. The 14% fatality rate was due in large part to systemic poisoning following ingestion of and skin exposure to mustard-contaminated water by sailors attempting to keep afloat in the harbor following the attack. Civilian casualties, on the other hand, suffered more from the inhalation of mustard-laden smoke.
Ken Cocker, London

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Germ warfare

Post by don1 » 11 Feb 2003 11:26

This was an article in the Sunday paper about 18 months ago. There is also another article to confirm similar proposals to use 'Dirty Bombs' on Germany. So who say's it was just Hitler that was mad!!

UK planned to wipe out Germany with anthrax
Allies World War Two shame
By George Rosie
Glasgow, Sunday, October 14, 2001

AS THE world recoils at the horrific possibility of al-Qaeda terrorists waging anthrax war against United States citizens, the Sunday Herald can reveal that Britain manufactured five million anthrax cattle cakes during the second world war and planned to drop them on Germany in 1944.

The aim of Operation Vegetarian was to wipe out the German beef and dairy herds and then see the bacterium spread to the human population. With people then having no access to antibiotics, this would have caused many thousands -- perhaps even millions -- of German men, women and children to suffer awful deaths.

The anthrax cakes were tested on Gruinard Island, off Wester Ross, which was finally cleared of contamination in 1990. Operation VEGETARIAN was planned for the summer of 1944 but, in the event, it was abandoned as the Allies' Normandy invasion progressed successfully.

Details of the wartime secret operation are contained in a series of War Office files (WO 188) at the Public Record Office in Kew. Some of the files are still classified . The man whose task was to carry out Operation Vegetarian was Dr Paul Fildes, director of the biology department at Porton Down near Salisbury in Wiltshire. Fildes had previously been in charge of the Medical Research Council's bacterial chemistry unit at Middlesex Hospital.

In early 1942, Fildes began searching Britain for suppliers and manufacturers of linseed-oil cattle cake to make five million small cakes. Large quantities of the bacillus itself had to be produced, while special containers to carry the cattle cakes had to be designed and made. Some RAF bombers had to be modified to deliver the anthrax-infected payload. And all of it had to be done as cheaply as possible.

The raw material for the cake was provided by the Olympia Oil and Cake Company in Blackburn. The contract to cut the cattle cake into small pieces went to J & E Atkinson of Bond Street in London, perfumers and toilet-soap manufacturers and suppliers to the royal family. The Atkinsons calculated that they could produce 180,000 to 250,000 cakes, each 2.5cm in diameter and 10 grammes in weight, in a 44-hour week. The price was to be between 12 and 15 shillings per thousand. The firm pledged to deliver 5,273,400 cakes by April 1943. By the middle of July 1942, the Atkinsons informed Fildes that 'we are now producing at the rate of 40,000 per day'.

The anthrax was manufactured by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at its veterinary laboratory in Surrey. An Oxford academic named Dr E Schuster was set to work devising the pump to inject the bacilli into the cattle cakes. The Porton Down scientists settled on cube-shaped cardboard containers, 18cm square, to carry the infected foodstuff.

Each held 400 cakes. They would be fitted with a steel handle 'of a size which enables the operator to grasp the handle without difficulty when wearing thick leather or moleskin gloves ...' Thirteen women were then recruited from various soap-making firms, sworn to secrecy and given the job of injecting the cattle cakes with anthrax spores.

At the same time, Fildes and his team were working on the best way to deliver the diseased cattle feed to the German herds.

The RAF's research unit came up with a simple solution -- easily made wooden trays that fitted on to aircraft flare chutes. Their Bomber Command Lancasters, Halifaxes and Stirlings were chosen for the job.

By the beginning of 1944, Operation VEGETARIAN was ready to go. It was crucial to mount any attack in the summer months. Fildes said: 'The cattle must be caught in the open grazing fields when lush spring grass is on the wane.' 'Trials have shown that these tablets ... are found and consumed by the cattle in a very short time. 'Cattle are concentrated in the northern half of Oldenburg and northwest Hanover. Aircraft flying to and from Berlin will fly over 60 miles of grazing land.'

Fildes calculated that, at an average ground speed of 300mph, the distance would be covered in 18 minutes. 'If one box of tablets is dispersed every two minutes, then each aircraft will be required to carry and disperse nine, or say 10, boxes.'

One Lancaster bomber returning from a raid on Berlin would be able to scatter 4000 anthrax-infected cakes over a 60-mile swathe in less than 20 minutes. A dozen aircraft would have been enough to litter most of the north German countryside with anthrax spores. Operation VEGETARIAN was a seriously deadly project.

But, by the time Fildes's operation was ready to go in the summer of 1944, the Normandy invasion had taken place and Allied armies were crashing through northern France and up through Italy. The war against Nazi Germany was instead being won by conventional means. At the end of 1945, five million anthrax-infected cattle cakes were incinerated in one of Porton Down's furnaces.

© 2001 Sunday Herald.
Related file on this website:

Preview from David Irving, Churchill's War, vol. iii: Mr Churchill's 1944 Planning for Bacteriological Warfare against Germany Churchill's preparations for poison-gas and anthrax warfare against German cities. And the later controversies over this


CONCERN still existed that the Germans might have prepared extensively for bacteriological warfare; had they, for example, already inoculated their troops against any specific virus?
In August 1943 George Merck, director of the War Research Service (the controlling body for bacteriological warfare in the United States) had proposed to the British experts at Porton that RAMC medics and American medical officers collaborate in sampling the blood of German prisoners of war.
Britain's bacteriological warfare effort at Porton was advised that the appropriately-named Lieutenant-Colonel R S Muckenfuss had been ordered by the highest level to conduct such tests.
Dr Paul Fildes, the head of the Biology Section, Experimental Station, Porton, near Salisbury, who was almost entirely responsible for the work, replied on September 8 that he thought nothing useful would come of such an investigation. As Fildes pointed out, there were twenty-four possible microbes for use in such warfare; only very few could not be inoculated against, while 'N,' the one most likely to be used, had no known remedy; suppose the Nazis deliberately inoculated their troops with the wrong antidote, to deceive the Allies about which microbe they intended to use? The proposal did not die however.
Early in 1944 the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington stated a renewed requirement for sampling the blood of a cross-section of German prisoners captured in Commando raids.


'SIX CITIES selected - Aachen, Wilhelmshaven, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin . . .'

The British raised immediate legal objections. General Hawley, chief surgeon at ETOUSA, then wrote to Major-General Poole, agreeing to these niceties but pointing out that they could use the opportunity presented when prisoners of war consulted their medics for trivial complaints: 'These can well be hospitalised, and a sample of blood taken as a routine procedure in hospital. Hawley continued that 'a really ingenious medical officer' could always create a 'temporary medical disability' such as diarrhoea 'which will hospitalise any given number of patients.'
Dr Fildes, the head of Britain's bacteriological warfare effort at Porton, dismissed the idea as without merit.
On May 21, 1944 Churchill wrote to Ismay reminding him that great progress had been made in bacteriological warfare, and Britain had ordered half a million bombs from American for use should this mode of warfare be employed by the Germans.
'I think we should be in a position to make and fill these bombs here,' he suggested, but was concerned that putting this before the chiefs of staff would widen the circle of those in the know.
Ismay responded that so far the Joint Intelligence Staff had not been let into the secret. On April 21, 1944 Fildes submitted a report on the operational tests with the four-pound 'N' bomb. These trials had produced in part catastrophic results - 'Even in our operations with N,' he would report some months later, 'we did not succeed in keeping our agents within bounds and have created conditions which will require consideration after the war.'
The bomb would be scattered in clusters over a two hundred yard square patch releasing their toxin as an odourless aerosol cloud which would cause death by inhalation of half the human beings up to a mile downwind from it, or up to two miles if they were running (the risk increasing with exertion).
After only a few seconds, the unsuspecting victims would have inhaled a lethal dose and be beyond salvation. Since death would occur from two days to a week or so after the attack, it would have no immediate effect on combat: 'It should be applied to attacks on cities of areas remote from the site of direct hostilities,' recommended the scientist, 'or on lines of communication or areas of assembly closer to the scene of combat.'
He warned of possible political reactions in highly developed countries in Europe which were to be occupied by the Allies, though not in the relatively undeveloped localities in the Pacific.

* BW(P)(44)1: 'Proposals to take Samples of Blood from German Prisoners of War,' Mar 3, 1944 (PRO file CAB.121/103). It was subsequently denied that the CCS had authorised such an investigation.

He also recommended that BW attacks delivered with conventional air raids should wait until the HE bombing had ended - so that the cloud of anthrax spores was still airborne as the population was emerging from their shelters.
'As a bonus,' fresh clouds of anthrax spores would arise as bulldozers went in to clear up. 'In all cases the initial use of BW should be on an adequate scale and without warning.'
He recommended a daylight attack on an overcast summer's day.
Taking the city of Stuttgart as an example, the scientist assessed that a BW raid would need nearly two thousand clustered projectiles (each one being a five hundred pound container of the four-pound anthrax bombs); these could be carried by 83 Stirlings, 142 Lancasters, or 166 American B-17s and B-24s, and ideally be released simultaneously at the end of a conventional HE attack.
'An operation of this short,' promised Fildes, 'should kill a considerable number of people, either rapidly by inhalation or ore slowly by skin infection.'
The Americans were working on the toxins, X, N, W and yellow fever.
In late May 1944 the chiefs of staff expressed concern that stocks of the corresponding antidotes (toxoids) were not yet available apart from Toxoid X, of which small stocks were now on hand in England; but since X was only a small part of the potential threat the decision was taken to inoculate nobody at all at this stage.
In June 1944, the War Cabinet appointed an inter-Service sub-committee on Biological Warfare. They learned that no definite order had yet been placed in the United States for the manufacture of 'N' bombs; further trials were still being conducted on these frightful weapons. Churchill had however authorised top priority for all counter-measures to BW, and possible collaboration with SOE on BW operations.
It was no coincidence that the Cabinet's committee on BW met on July 6 (Bottomley as chairman) and resumed on July 8, 1944.
After reviewing the progress of Churchill's instruction that half a million 'N' bombs be ordered from the USA at once, they committee 'agreed that General Gubbins should be invited to the next meeting to explain what the relationship of SOE to BW work had been in the past, and what interest, if any, on this work they had as regards the future.'
Fildes now (July 21) reported again on BW. On August 14, he re-evaluated the half-million bomb order, and decided that the saturation figures needed revising.
At that time (January 6, 1944) they had believed that ten clusters would saturate one square mile, and that the six cities selected - Aachen, Wilhelmshaven, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin - would have 538 square miles of built up territories. This would require 570,280 anthrax bombs. The air flow conditions in built up areas had been re examined since then, and on April 21, 1944 the figure to achieve saturation was tripled.
Since then tests had shown that the bombs from clustered projectiles would fall vertically, instead of at the assumed angle of 15 ; this doubled the figure again, to three million, or say four million assuming a twenty-five percent failure rate.
The order should thus be increased to four million anthrax bombs.............

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Hitler and 'Giftgas'

Post by varjag » 11 Feb 2003 12:26

In his speech to the Reichstag on outbreak of war, Sept. 1st, 1939 - Hitler made a veiled promise NOT to use gas if the opposition did not;
'Wehr mit Giftgas kämpft - wird mit Giftgas bekämpft.....' The opposition did not - and he, kept his promise.

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Post by Phil V » 11 Feb 2003 12:44

Towards the end of WW2 Hitler was advised to use chemical weapons against the advancing Russian army.

Hitler refused citing personal experience of being "gassed" in WW1.

Germany's supply of chemical weapons were dumped at the end of WW2.

From memory I think the dumping site was in the Baltic Sea.

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Post by weiwensg » 11 Feb 2003 15:12

Isn't Xyklon B a gas?

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Post by tonyh » 11 Feb 2003 16:39

Zyklon B is a manufacturing brand name. The gas in it was HCN. I don't think cyanide be used in battlefield conditions like Sarin or Taubin or Anthrax. But I'm no chemist.


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