Chemical warfare ww2 alternate history discussion electricity 24 hours


Talking about gas, one thing I’ve allways wondered about. Considering how utterly insane old Adolf was, especially during the last two years of WWII, and how hard pressed the German Army was, why didn’t they use chemical weapons on the Eastern Front? The German troops were trained in its use, how to protect themselves etc etc, and Germany produced some rather nasty stuff (nerve agents among other things), and which perhaps is equally important, thought nothing of the Slavs they were fighting.

Well, one things for certain the Allies should be VERY hard pressed to use gas or other similar weapons. One scenario is the invasion of Britain, yes, but mustard gas isn’t all that effective, and as mentioned above the Germans knew how to handle that.

Mass gas bombings of cities? I can’t see the Allies involved in something like that. Burn cities down, yes! But plaster them with gas, no? If they did however, it wouldn’t be a nice experience, but he Germans would cope, I think. Mostly because ordinary gas (mustard etc etc) has very limited use and usually isn’t worth the trouble. Nerve agents however… well, as long as it didn’t rain to much or were very sunny…

WE should not forget the place that gas, and chemical warfare in general, occupied in the imagination of the people in a pre-nuclear world. HItler had been blinded in a gas attack himself, albeit temporarily, and hundreds of thousands of men throughout the world had similar experiences. To veterans of WWI, and a generation having grown up on their stories, gas was the weapon that crossed the limit. If you were going to use gas, you would do anything. Therefore, many decisionmakers were averse to its use out of all proportion to its effectiveness.

Secondly (and this was the case with a lot of developments in WWII) the Germans who had developed nerve agents were shocked by their lethality. Whether this could have been exploited in battlefield use is another question, but they were terrified by what they had created. And they were firmly convinced the Allies had it, too. A major cornerstone of German strategy was a no-first-strike-policy on gas. There was too much fear it would be used in retaliation. The Allies largely duplicated the policy, though there were incidents where they came very close to launching first strikes.

By the time the Third Reich had its back to the wall, the government was fairly sure thast any gas attack on any Allied force would be met with wholesale gassing of German cities. The Luftschutz did not have the capacity to protect the population at that point. Plus, and this is my personal guess, the military apparatus would not have carried out the order if it had come. By late 1944, German generals had largely converted to selective obedience.

On a different note, Ken Alibek (who is in a position to know) claims that biological warfare was initiated in WWII in 1942/3 – by the Red Army. He points to a severe Tularemia outbreak among German troops of the Heeresgruppe Sued. Tularemia was one of the earliest germs to be weaponised, so it would be plausible. What if the Germans had suspected…?