Monday, April 11, 2011

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!

--Otto Dix Sturmtruppe geht unter Gas vor (1924)

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

The Germans first deployed 168 tons of chlorine gas against French troops on April 22, 1915, in what became known as the Battle of Ypres. Two days later they gassed British and Canadian troops. Retaliation occurred in kind.


  1. This book, written by Fritz Haber's son, looks interesting but too pricey.

  2. In much the same way that the "London Blitz" was paid back with "Nighttime area bombing of German cities" in WW2, the gas as a weapon in WWI backfired, which is why we didn't see it in the ensuing World War.

  3. Yperite, a contemporary gas war painting