Tag Archives: CBW

Want some Mustard with that Shell?

For you CBRN/NBC/CBW fans, courtesy of High Caliber History: Drilling into a Mustard Gas Shell!

Filmed in 1918, soldiers in the AEF’s Chemical Warfare Service are taking apart a 155mm German shell filled with mustard gas by drilling into it.

The next time you think your job might be dangerous, be thankful that you’re not somewhere in France during World War I literally drilling into a poisonous mustard gas shell.

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…

Of (light) howitzers and (heavy) MOPP gear

Dig the CBW equipment and the 105mm.

Side note: can the M119 be used in direct-fire?

Members of the 101st Field Artillery, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Massachusetts National Guard, conduct live-fire artillery training with an M119A3 towed 105mm howitzer at Fort Drum, N.Y., June 12, during the unit’s annual training.

Of course, the cannon cocker without the gloves is running a blister risk in an actual NBC situation, but it is still a great pic

Just chillin with my .50 (and my M50)

U.S. Army Soldiers with 1st Brigade, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division conducting defensive operations during Swift Response 16 training exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area, a part of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, in Hohenfels, Germany, Jun. 20, 2016.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathaniel Nichols/Released)

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathaniel Nichols/Released)

Note there seems to be a good old fashioned CBRN drill going on, hence the paratrooper with his tripod mounted M2HB-QCB Browning heavy machine gun in 12.7mm (.50BMG) and his new-fangled M50 joint service general purpose mask, which replaced the older M40 a few years back.

The beercan-sized cage on the muzzle of ma deuce, held by a three-legged bracket is the blank firing adaptor. The adaptor reduces the muzzle size, slowing the escaping gasses and thus causing a recoil “kick” large enough to cycle the weapon. So if you ever see a M2 so equipped, the picture was taken during an exercise.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathaniel Nichols/Released)

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nathaniel Nichols/Released)

And, as this short-sleeved paratrooper above shows, Germany does get hot in June. Of course we can’t fault him for not being in a chem suit, but good luck getting a cheek-weld on that M4 (note yellow BFA) while wearing a mask. Still, it’s nice to see mono-pod grips being used more. They are hella useful.

See this is how its all going to end


The Kiss Your Ass Goodbye award of the month goes to the good people who found the Time Capsule left from the Bellvue Hospital Medical College that had been just chilling in a cornerstone since 1897.

Thats 114 years to you and me…..Back when they called cars horseless-buggies, there was no professional sports other than bareknuckle boxing, and no one had heard of social security.

Well boys and girls, inside the time capsule was various papers, trinkets etc. (Elect McKinley President!) which is groovy. Put it in a display somewhere and tell the locals all about it with a plaque in the lobby of the new building.

What was also in the capsule, was “a test tube that had some bacterial spores in it that were gotten and cultured from a patient in 1896″

and according to the article on NYC’s CBS affiliate :  http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/10/07/time-capsule-found-at-former-bellevue-hospital-medical-college/

A nice microbiologist is going to open it and check them out….and is ” is trying to wake up those spores and grow them so they can study the organisms.”




These things have been in exile for a century. How can this be good? What if they are for a common cold that was around in 1896 that everyone had the anti-body for and it died out quietly. This cold, reintroduced to a population six generations removed, may be our time’s new black death, ready to clean the slate.

Sure I am most likely over-reacting, but what if im not?

Why couldn’t the good people who found it just quietly slipped the test tube into a furnace somewhere.

Oh well, see you in the funny papers