The Mask Breaker

As a kid, I remember fishing with my grandpa in the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico and, as one does as a curious bespectacled boy with a thumb-eared copy of an Edward Beach paperback book in his pocket, spend half that time pouring over the NOAA charts in the cabin. My eyes would go wide at the markings in deep water for “mustard gas” and “munitions.” Of course, they were deep-sixed by the Army in the 1940s after WWII– keep in mind that Horn Island just visible off Pascagoula held a Chem Warfare facility during the war.

In a similar vein, I just caught the below interesting DW doc on the lingering chemical warfare agents in Germany. While the country never had the weapons used on its soil, it was a huge producer of them in both World Wars, and ghosts of hastily disposed of stocks Tabun, sarin, phosgene, and mustard gas are still around in surprisingly large numbers there.

Also– and I’ve sat through the CBW guy’s slideshow several times and read a bunch of tomes on the Great War– there was one I’ve never heard of: CLARK or the Maskenbrecher (mask breaker) a form of diphenylarsine chloride, derived from arsenic, believed to penetrate the gas masks of the time. Of note, the monthly production of CLARK I was 600 tons in the Reich in 1918.

The more you know…

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