Defeating Invasion Fleets

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Peter89
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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Peter89 » 26 Feb 2023 11:49

T. A. Gardner wrote:
25 Feb 2023 15:22
glenn239 wrote:
25 Feb 2023 14:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2023 01:54
Mustard gas is far more nasty. Yes, Sarin and Soman are probably more deadly, but mustard gas is by far the hardest to defend against. It sticks around. Get it on you, your clothing, anything and you will regret it. You can easily track it into buildings a stuff. And, the British had stockpiles while the US had it by the shipload sitting in England and elsewhere just in case.
Right, but that might not help the Normandy beachhead. Also, wouldn't the fact that nerve gas disperses pretty quickly makes it easier to coordinate between a saturation attack and the followup offensive by the (now) concentrated German reserves?
Given the wind at Normandy, gas would have been nearly useless. The wind would have dissipated it far too quickly to make it effective.
This is the key problem with gas, any gas. It wouldn't work.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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wm
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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 12:17

Although persistent gas wouldn't evaporate:
Germany believed in using surprise and high concentrations of gas against the Allies. They also fired both chemical and high explosive shells during an attack so that the result was even more deadly than either of the attacks by themselves. Persistent agents often served as gas barriers in both the offense and the defense.

The use of gas barriers and gas pockets to limit the advance of troops through certain areas and channelize them into kill zones also changed the battlefield.
Brian Blodgett, Germany's Use of Chemical Warfare in World War I

Chemical warfare in World War I : the American experience, 1917-1918, by Charles E. Heller
gas1.jpg
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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by glenn239 » 26 Feb 2023 16:38

wm wrote:
25 Feb 2023 15:10
Although in this case, it's possible that not enough German artillery will survive the bombardment and counter-battery fire to be able to deliver gas in required quantities later.
How much nerve gas would be required?

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by glenn239 » 26 Feb 2023 16:45

T. A. Gardner wrote:
25 Feb 2023 15:22
Given the wind at Normandy, gas would have been nearly useless. The wind would have dissipated it far too quickly to make it effective.
Wouldn't the Germans pick the moment in time that the winds were as calm as possible and Allied troops were as unprepared and vulnerable as possible? The wind is calmer at night, and troops are probably their most vulnerable to nerve gas while sleeping. The counterattack probably wants to go in around dawn, but they'll want to give some time for the gas to disperse. Seems like we are talking for around, what, 3am?

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Orwell1984 » 26 Feb 2023 18:00

Article on US preparations for Gas Attack on D-day.
https://www.dday.org/2020/05/19/gas-masks-on-d-day/

As well there's this from the Wiki (sorry for using this) page of chemical warfare:
Stanley P. Lovell, deputy director for Research and Development of the Office of Strategic Services, reports in his book Of Spies and Stratagems that the Allies knew the Germans had quantities of Gas Blau available for use in the defense of the Atlantic Wall. The use of nerve gas on the Normandy beachhead would have seriously impeded the Allies and possibly caused the invasion to fail altogether. He submitted the question "Why was nerve gas not used in Normandy?" to be asked of Hermann Göring during his interrogation after the war had ended. Göring answered that the reason was that the Wehrmacht was dependent upon horse-drawn transport to move supplies to their combat units, and had never been able to devise a gas mask horses could tolerate; the versions they developed would not pass enough pure air to allow the horses to pull a cart. Thus, gas was of no use to the German Army under most conditions
Gives insight into another reason why the Germans hesitated in using chemical warfare in tactical situations. The risk of blowback to their own logistic train was an important consideration.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Feb 2023 18:15

glenn239 wrote:
26 Feb 2023 16:38
wm wrote:
25 Feb 2023 15:10
Although in this case, it's possible that not enough German artillery will survive the bombardment and counter-battery fire to be able to deliver gas in required quantities later.
How much nerve gas would be required?

I don't have the references to estimate that. There is the variable in that the scale of the attack or the targets affect the quantity needed. I can say in our target selection the infantry, weapons, and tank companies were a low priority target. We targeted the HQ, artillery, airfields, supply dumps first. Some specific points in the forward battle zone would be targeted, but we never considered mass attacks on the enemy maneuver units. The idea was to paralyze the enemy command and support echelon with chemical attacks. This was no different than with all our other long range weapons. field artillery HE fires, air strikes, nukes. In our training or planning aimed for the enemy support structure.

I don't know about the Germans targeting doctrine in 1944. The Allied doctrine was little different from ours 1970s - 1990s. Priority of fires went to HQ & the support echelon. What ever was not used for that went to ground battle targets. ie: When the Brits detected the HQ of Panzer Gruppe West 10th June they were dumping 350+ toons of bombs on it before sunset. A lot of other air missions were canceled or rescheduled to make that massed air attack.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 22:26

In order to definitely convince the objectors of the effectiveness of the new gas [mustard gas], a large-scale field experiment was made.
About 1,000 animals were exposed on a manoeuvering field (Warthe-Lager in Posen) to the effect of 500 mustard gas shells, fired from a 7.5 cm field battery.

The animals were placed in the field in little cages made of wire. The dogs were tied to pegs. Not one of the animals was injured by a splinter but all showed the toxic effects of the poisonous gas. Some to the direct effects of sprays and gas waves, others were only exposed after the shooting was over to the after-effect of the persistent gas in the field.
Chemical Warfare by Curt Wachtel
The manoeuvering field was somewhat comparable in size to a landing beach in Normandy, I suppose.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 22:31

This is from "Chemical Warfare" by Amos A. Fries and Clarence J. West
On account of its persistence it has been generally referred to as a defensive gas and for that purpose it is incomparable. The use of sufficient quantities of mustard gas will almost certainly stop the occupation of areas by the enemy and probably even stop his crossing them. It also enables strong points which it is not desired to attack to be completely neutralized,—that is, made so unhabitable that the area must be evacuated.
Since mustard gas has such a delay action and is effective in such small concentrations it can be used very effectively in small calibre guns, as the 75 mm. or 3-inch.
Furthermore, since it lasts for two or three days at the very least, a small number of guns can keep a very large area neutralized with the gas.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 22:33

And two ideas from the same book:
A use that was proposed toward the end of the war, and that will undoubtedly be made of the gas in the future, is to have it planted in drums in the ground and exploded when an enemy is attempting to advance.
This would be a highly economic way to distribute great quantities of the material at the moment and in the place most needed. It has even been proposed, and this would seem entirely feasible, to sprinkle certain of these areas with mustard gas by means of sprinklers attached to drums or even tanks mounted on trucks.
Just before the Armistice the German made another development in the use of mustard gas. Instead of the ordinary amount of explosive, which only fairly opened up the shell and allowed the liquid to escape, he filled nearly 30 per cent of the total space of the shell with high explosive.
This completely broke up the shell and distributed the greater part of the liquid mustard gas in the form of a fine spray. This spray, when breathed, proved extremely deadly, as might be expected from the fact that when in the form of minute particles one can draw into the lungs in a single breath one hundred times or more the amount that he would get of pure gas.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 22:42

From the same book:
Gas Against Landing Parties. The use of gas against landing parties or to aid landing parties has come up in many ways. Our studies to date indicate that gas is a greater advantage to the defense against landing parties than to the offense.
Mustard gas and the like may be sprinkled from aeroplanes, and while it will not float long on the water, it will float long enough to smear any small boats attempting to land. It can be sprinkled over all the areas that landing parties must occupy.
Mustard gas may be placed in bombs or drums around all areas that are apt to be used as landing places and exploded in the face of advancing troops.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Feb 2023 23:01

wm wrote:
26 Feb 2023 22:26
In order to definitely convince the objectors of the effectiveness of the new gas [mustard gas], a large-scale field experiment was made.
About 1,000 animals were exposed on a manoeuvering field (Warthe-Lager in Posen) to the effect of 500 mustard gas shells, fired from a 7.5 cm field battery.

The animals were placed in the field in little cages made of wire. The dogs were tied to pegs. Not one of the animals was injured by a splinter but all showed the toxic effects of the poisonous gas. Some to the direct effects of sprays and gas waves, others were only exposed after the shooting was over to the after-effect of the persistent gas in the field.
Chemical Warfare by Curt Wachtel
The manoeuvering field was somewhat comparable in size to a landing beach in Normandy, I suppose.

If the beach is 6000 meters long thats a single line of 15 meters per projectile. Land them in a triple line its 36 meters along each line.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 23:25

Certainly, but still, "not one of the animals was injured by a splinter".

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Feb 2023 00:15

You don't want projectiles that maximize fragmentation. One of the reactions that neutralizes both nerve and blister agents is high temperature. The more explosive packed into the projectile the smaller & more numerous fragments. But that also can incinerate a larger portion of the agent. Hence the projectiles can eject canisters or a chemical spray from a intact projectile case. Or the case splits into a few large fragments. For comparison the US 105mm howitzer projectile was expected or hoped to fragment into bits averaging two centimeters. The average velocity & fragment numbers were by the book to inflict 50% casualties at 25 meters from the point of detonation. Since we don't know the ammunition type, the actual density of projectile impacts or animal distribution, and wind or humidity/percepitation/temperture I cant sort it out much further than that.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Destroyer500 » 02 Mar 2023 02:03

I was talking about gas,with a friend,being used as means by the Germans to attack and clear cities in the USSR instead of killing the enemy building by building.Although Russian cities were already turned to ruble before an attack begun there were times where gas would do a superb job.On the latter stages of the battle of Stalingrad for example the Germans could have gased the opposite side of the river used by the Russians to reinforce the small patch of the city they held and thus stop the inflow of more men into it.The Germans could certainly equip their soldiers with gas masks but i dont know if the USSR could keep up.I also dont know how well the gas would have peformed but i think it would deliver.

Filling the beaches and in general possible landsites of the areas the Atlantic wall occupied with borrowed gas sparyers for defensive use was also something i had been discussing with a friend.Ill stay around and follow this conversation for as long as it goes.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 02 Mar 2023 02:09

wm wrote:
26 Feb 2023 12:17
Although persistent gas wouldn't evaporate:
Germany believed in using surprise and high concentrations of gas against the Allies. They also fired both chemical and high explosive shells during an attack so that the result was even more deadly than either of the attacks by themselves. Persistent agents often served as gas barriers in both the offense and the defense.

The use of gas barriers and gas pockets to limit the advance of troops through certain areas and channelize them into kill zones also changed the battlefield.
Brian Blodgett, Germany's Use of Chemical Warfare in World War I

Chemical warfare in World War I : the American experience, 1917-1918, by Charles E. Heller
gas1.jpg


All gasses eventually evaporate, its just that when in massive concentrations it has a habit of condensing into a liquid. Even then your source isn't an especially scientific one. Many soldiers report things that were either misunderstood or simply not true.

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