In all encyclopedias it is written that chemical weapon It was created by the Germans in the First World War, and for the first time they used it on 22 June 1915 of the year, and then it became the most terrible weapon of world war.
However, in the course of working on me history Crimean War caught Sevastopol diary of Rear Admiral Mikhail Frantsevich Reineke, a friend of Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov. There, for 13 of May 1854, there is an entry: “... today (in Sevastopol. - A.Sh.) two stinking bombs brought from Odessa (11 apr (fir)) from English (Li) and French (French) steamships were brought from Odessa. One of them began to be opened in the courtyard of Menshikov in the presence of Kornilov, and before the perfect opening of the hub, the unbearable stench doused everyone so strongly that Kornilov felt sick; therefore, they ceased to unscrew the sleeve and sent both bombs to pharmacies for decomposition of their composition. The same bomb was opened in Odessa, and the gunner, who opened it, lost his senses, having received a strong vomiting; he was ill for two days and I don’t know if he recovered. ”
THAN DEADER - BETTER
So, it is reliably confirmed that the British were the first to use chemical projectiles in modern history, and against a peaceful city. Before 1854, there was neither a military port, nor coastal batteries in Odessa.
The chemical shells turned out to be rather weak, and the British chose not to use them anymore, and the Russian government did not want to use the fact of their use for the anti-British campaign in European newspapers.
In 1854, the famous English chemist and manufacturer Mackintosh proposed to capture special ships to the coastal fortifications of the city to seize Sevastopol. the formation of a thick black, suffocating mist or chad that embraces the fort or battery, penetrating the embrasures and casemates and driving the gunners and everyone inside. ”
McIntosh developed the use of his inventions against the enemy camped: "By firing my bombs and missiles, especially those that are filled with instantly burning composition, it is easy to produce a general fire and extermination of people and materials, turning the entire camp into a vast sea of fire."
The British military ministry conducted tests of the proposed shells, focusing on their use during operations on the ship, and granted McIntosh a patent for his invention.
After the Crimean War, cynically telling about these "plans", Mechanic's Magazine pointed out: "You can call the use of such shells inhuman and nasty customs of an enlightened war, but ... if, however, people want to fight, then the more deadly and destructive ways of war, all the better".
However, the British cabinet did not accept the use of toxic substances (OM) near Sevastopol.
In the annals of the history of Russian artillery, attempts to use "stinking" nuclei in the times of Ivan the Terrible are visible in some places. Thus, it is known for certain that among the munitions that were in the Kiev fortress in 1674, there were “fragrant fire cores”, which included ammonia, arsenic and “assa fatuda”. The latter may be distorted asa-fetipa - the name of a plant from the genus Ferule, which grows in Central Asia and has a strong garlic odor. It is possible that the composition of mixtures for incendiary nuclei was made by strongly smelling or toxic substances in order to prevent the extinguishing of the nuclei.
The first real attempt to use chemical munitions was made in Russia after the Crimean War. At the end of the 19th century 50, the Artillery Committee of the State Agrarian University proposed putting bombs filled with poisonous agents into the ammunition ammunition of unicorns. For one-pod (196-mm) fortress unicorns, they produced an experimental series of bombs filled with OM - cyanide Cacodyl (the modern name is Cacodilo-cyanide).
The bombing was carried out in an open wooden house like a large Russian izba without a roof. A dozen cats were placed in the log house, protecting them from shell fragments. A day after the explosion, members of a special commission of the GAU approached the house. All the cats were motionless on the floor, their eyes were very watery, but, alas, none of them died. On this occasion, Adjutant General Alexander Alekseevich Barantsev wrote a report to the tsar, where he categorically stated that the use of artillery shells with toxic substances in the present and the future is completely excluded.
From then until the 1915, the Russian military department made no further attempts to create chemical ammunition.
ATTACK ON IFRE AND RESPONSE OF RUSSIA
22 April 1915 on the Ypres River for the first time the Germans used poison gases. The launch of gases was carried out from cylinders, but soon artillery shells and mortar mines filled with poisonous agents appeared.
Chemical projectiles were divided into purely chemical, which were filled with liquid chemical and a small (up to 3% of the total weight) expelling charge of a conventional explosive, and fragmentation-chemical, which were equipped with a comparable amount of conventional explosives and solid OM.
When a chemical projectile was broken, the liquid OM mixed with air, and a cloud was formed moving in the wind. The fragmentation-chemical shells in the explosion hit the fragments almost like ordinary grenades, but at the same time did not allow the enemy to be without gas masks.
After the Germans made their first gas attack on the Eastern Front in 1915 for the first time, Russian generals in the GAU were forced to take retaliatory measures. However, it turned out that there is not only their own developments in the field of chemical weapons, but almost no plants that could produce its components. So, at first they wanted to produce liquid chlorine in Finland, and the Finnish Senate delayed the negotiations for a year - from August 1915 to 9 (22) August 1916.
In the end, the Special Meeting on Defense decided to transfer the billet of liquid chlorine to a special commission established under the Senate, and 3,2 million rubles were released to equip the two plants. The commission was formed on the model of Russian economic commissions with the participation of representatives from the Russian government - from the State Audit Office and from the Chemical Committee. Professor Lilin presided over the commission.
An attempt to obtain phosgene from private industry in Russia failed due to the appointment of extremely high prices for liquid phosgene and the lack of guarantees in the timely execution of orders. Therefore, the commission of the Supply Department at the State Agrarian University established the need to build a state-owned phosgene plant.
The plant was built in one of the cities of the Volga region and was put into operation at the end of 1916.
In July 1915, by order of the Chief Executive Officer in the South-Western Front, a military chemical plant was organized to produce chloroacetone, which causes tearing. Until November 1915, the plant was under the authority of the chief of engineering supplies for the front, and then entered into the disposal of the State Agrarian University, which expanded the plant, set up a laboratory there and established the production of chloropicrin.
For the first time the Russian army used poisonous substances from gas cylinders. Gas cylinders, as they were called in the service documentation, were hollow iron cylinders with rounded bottoms on both sides, one of which was welded tightly, and the other had a valve (tap) for gas start-up. A long rubber hose or a metal tube with a disc sprayer was attached to this tap. The cylinders were filled with liquefied gas. When the valve was opened at the cylinder, the poisonous liquid was thrown out, evaporating almost immediately.
Gas cylinders were divided into heavy, intended for positional warfare, and light - for a maneuverable war. The heavy bottle contained 28 kg of liquefied toxic agent, the weight of the cylinder in ready-to-use condition was about 60 kg. For the massed gas start-up, the cylinders were collected by several dozen pieces into “balloon batteries”. A light tank for "maneuver war" contained only 12 kg of agents.
The use of gas cylinders was complicated by many factors. Such, for example, as the wind, more precisely, its direction. Gas cylinders had to be delivered to the front line, often under intense artillery fire.
FROM CYLINDERS TO SHELLS
By the end of 1916, there was a tendency to reduce the use of gas bottles and the transition to artillery firing with chemical shells. When firing chemical shells, it is possible to form a cloud of poison gases in any desired direction and in any place within the range allowed by the artillery gun, and almost regardless of the direction and strength of the wind and other meteorological conditions. The firing of chemical shells could have been carried out from any artillery shells of caliber 75 mm and above that were in service without any constructive changes.
True, in order to inflict substantial losses on the enemy, a large expenditure of chemical projectiles was required, but also gas balloon attacks required a huge consumption of toxic agents.
The mass production of 76-mm chemical shells at Russian plants began at the end of 1915. Chemical shells began to enter the army in February 1916.
Since 1916, Russia began producing chemical 76-mm grenades of two types: choke (chloropicrin with sulfuryl chloride), which caused irritation of the respiratory organs and eyes to such an extent that it was impossible for people to stay in this atmosphere; and poisonous (phosgene with chlorine tin or Vensinit, consisting of hydrocyanic acid, chloroform, chloric arsenic and tin), the action of which caused a general damage to the body and in severe cases, death.
The gas cloud from the rupture of one 76-mm chemical projectile covered an area of about 5 square. The standard for calculating the number of chemical projectiles needed for shelling the area was the norm: one 76-mm chemical grenade per 40 square. m square and one 152-mm chemical projectile per 80 square. m square. Issued continuously in such a quantity of shells created a gas cloud of sufficient combat concentration. In the future, to maintain the concentration obtained, the number of shells produced is halved.
Such firing of chemical projectiles is advisable only in those conditions when the wind is less than 7 m / s (better than a complete calm), when there is no heavy rain and high heat in solid ground near the target that provides projectile rupture, and at a distance of no more than 5 km. Restriction of distances was caused by the assumption of the need to ensure the projectile from overturning during flight as a result of the transfusion of poisonous liquid, which does not fill the entire internal volume of the projectile in order to allow the liquid to expand when it is inevitably heated. The phenomenon of overturning a projectile could have an effect on large firing distances, especially at the highest point of the trajectory.
From the autumn of 1916, the requirements of the current Russian army for 76-mm chemical shells were fully met: the army received five parks of 15 thousand shells each each month, including one poisonous park and four stranglers.
A total of 1916 thousand poisonous and 95 thousand throttling shells were sent to the army before November 945.
RACE CHEMICAL ARMS
However, it should be noted that Russia compared to Germany and the Western allies used chemical weapons in 20, and even in 100 times less. For example, in France alone, during the war, about 17 million chemical shells were manufactured, including 13 million 75-mm and 4 million caliber from 105 to 155 mm. Edgewood's arsenal in America in the last year of the war produced up to 200 thousands of chemical shells per day. In Germany, the number of chemical shells in artillery ammunition was increased to 50%, and in July 1918, when they attacked the Marne, the Germans had in ammunition to 80% chemical shells. On the night of August 1 1917, on the front of 10 km, between Nevilli and the left bank of the river Meuse, 3,4 million worth of mustard shells were fired.
The Russians at the front used mainly choking shells, about the action of which received quite satisfactory reviews. The field inspector-general of artillery telegraphed to the head of the State Agrarian University that in the May and June offensive of 1916 (the so-called Brusilov breakthrough) the chemical 76-mm projectiles "did a great service to the army", since they had quickly silenced the enemy batteries.
Here is a typical example of the shelling of an enemy battery by Russian chemical shells. “On a clear, quiet day of 22 in August, 1916 was in position at Lopushana in Galicia (in the Lviv direction) one of the Russian batteries fired at the enemy’s trenches. The adversary 15-cm battery of howitzers with the help of a specially deported aircraft opened fire on the Russian battery, which soon became very valid. Careful observation has been found in the direction of the enemy rings of smoke, rising from one of the crests of heights.
In this direction, one platoon of the Russian battery opened fire, but it was not possible to weaken the fire of the enemy’s battery, despite, apparently, the correct direction of the platoon fire and the correctly defined elevation angle. Then the commander of the Russian battery decided to continue bombarding the enemy battery with chemical “choking” projectiles (the lower part of the 76-mm grenade corps, filled with the choking substance, was painted above the lead belt in red). Shooting chemical 76-mm grenades was conducted on the area behind the ridge, behind which the smoke from the shots of the enemy's battery was discovered, with a length of about 500 m, quick fire, 3 projectile at the gun, jumps through one division of the sight. Minutes through 7 – 8, firing chemical shells near 160, the commander of the Russian battery stopped shelling, as the enemy battery was silent and did not resume fire, despite the fact that the Russian battery transferred the fire to the enemy’s trenches and clearly showed itself with brilliant shots ” , - Yevgeny Z. Barsukov wrote in his book “Artillery of the Russian Army”.
At the end of 1915, chemical shells appeared in navy. It would seem, why? After all, warships traveled at a speed of 20-30 knots, that is, they could very quickly get through even the largest cloud of gas, and besides this, if necessary, the crew could quickly hide in airtight indoor rooms.
It is clear that shooting shrapnel, and even more chemical shells, at sea targets is meaningless. They were intended exclusively for shooting at the shore.
The fact is that in the 1915 – 1916 years, a landing in the Bosphorus was being prepared under the strictest secrecy. It is not difficult to imagine a plan of operation. Russian ships were supposed to literally throw chemical bombs at the fortifications of the Bosphorus. The silent batteries were captured by the landing force. And on the suitable field parts of the Turks, the ships were supposed to open fire with shrapnel.
In the summer of 1915, the Russian chief became interested in chemical weapons. aviation Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich.
In July, Colonel Hronov, 1915, and Lieutenant Krasheninnikov, seconded to the GAU, presented to the head of the GAU, General Manikovsky, drawings of “strangled bombs” equipped with special valves for the equipment and ensuring the necessary tightness. Equipped these bombs with liquid chlorine.
The drawings were submitted to the Executive Commission under the Minister of War, who on August 20 agreed to the production of such ammunition 500. In December of the same year, the Russian Society for the Production of Projectiles was manufactured at the chemical bomb bombs and in the city of Slavyansk at the factories of the Lyubimov, Solyev and Co. and Electron factories equipped them with chlorine.
At the end of December 1915, 483 chemical bombs were sent to the army. There, on 80 bombs, 2-I and 4-I aviation companies, 72 bombs - 8-I aviation company, 100 bombs - a squadron of Ilya Muromets aircrafts, and 50 bombs were sent to the Caucasian front. At that, the production of chemical bombs in pre-revolutionary Russia ceased.
Dry-chemical in civil war
At the end of 1917, the Civil War began. All sides of the conflict had chemical weapons - red, white, interventionists and even separatists. Naturally, in the 1918 — 1921 years, there have been dozens of cases of the use or attempted use of chemical weapons.
Already in June 1918, the ataman Krasnov addressed the population with an appeal: “Meet your Cossack brothers with a bell ringing ... If you resist, woe to you, here I come, and with me 200 000 selected troops and many hundreds of guns; I brought 3000 gas cylinders, suffocating the whole region, and then all life will perish in it. ”
In fact, Krasnov had all 257 cylinders with agents then.
By the way, I find it hard to imagine how to introduce Lieutenant General and Ataman Krasnov. Soviet historians considered him an inveterate White Guard, and Anton Ivanovich Denikin viewed the Don-Caucasian Union, a state formation created by him under the protectorate of the German Empire, as a "further dismemberment of Russia."
The interventionists systematically used chemical weapons. Thus, on April 12, the German armored train near Mitava (now Jelgava) fired more 1918 shells with phosgene in parts of the 300 brigade of the 3 Soviet Latvian division. As a result, they were poisoned, although in general the attack failed: the red ones had gas masks, and the wet weather weakened the effect of the gases.
In October, the artillery of the North-Western Army of General Prince Avalov 1919 bombarded Riga with chemical shells for several weeks. Later, an eyewitness wrote: “In places where such shells fell, the air was covered with wild black smoke, poisoned by which, people and horses on the street died. Where such shells were torn, the stones of the pavement and the walls of houses were painted with light green paint. ”
Alas, there is no reliable data on Riga residents who suffered from chemical attacks. And again I do not know how to introduce the North-Western Army and Prince Avalov. It’s hard to call him red, but he didn’t fight with the red ones, and only beat Latvian nationalists and Anglo-French interventionists. His real name and surname is Pavel (Pesach) Rafailovich Bermont, his father is a Jew, a Tiflis jeweler. In the Great War, Bermont reached the rank of captain, and then made the rank of lieutenant general himself. The title received only after adoption by some small-grained Georgian Prince Avalov. It is curious that in the army of Avalov, Captain Heinz von Guderian learned to fight.
October 5 1920, the Wrangel Caucasian Army, trying to break through to Astrakhan, used chemical shells against the Soviet 304 regiment in the area of the Salt Warlock. However, the battle ended with the retreat of the whites.
AND AGAIN THE CAREFUL ENGLISH
The most intensively chemical weapons were used by the British on the Northern Front. 7 February 1919 of the year, in his circular, the Minister of War, Winston Churchill, ordered "to use the chemical shells to the fullest extent, both by our troops and by the Russian troops that we supply."
On April 4, the Commander of the Royal Artillery, Major Delagues, distributed the ammunition received, including chemical equipment, to the guns. It was intended to have them on a light 18-pound gun - 200 pieces, on a 60-pound gun - from 100 to 500, depending on the area, on the 4,5-inch howitzer - 300, on two 6-inch howitzers in the Pinezhsky district, XNUM was released. .
1 – 2 June 1919, the British attacked the village of Ust-Poga with 6-inch and 18-pound guns. For three days it was released: 6-dm - 916 grenades and 157 gas projectiles; 18-fn - 994 frag grenades, 256 shrapnel and 100 gas shells. The result - the whites and the British were forced to retreat.
A curious summary of the 6 Army in the Shenkursky District: “Our losses in the 160 regiment were aided by the AIC, September 1, 5 Red Army, 28 Red Army, 5 Red Army, 50 Red Army, wounded 3 commandos, injured; missing xnumx. 15 captured prisoners, one of them is an Englishman ...
On September 3, the enemy fired at our left-bank outpost with artillery fire, firing chemical shells at 200. We have a poisoned 1 instructor and a Red Army 1. ”
Note, the British released hundreds of chemical shells, and the red ones - not a single death.
British officers proposed using 4-inch (102-mm) chemical mortars of the Stokes system in the North. However, Churchill forbade it to be done for reasons of secrecy, and thus slowed down the development of the mortar case in the USSR by 10 years.
Our engineers continued to remain in the dark about the Stokes mortar, created according to the imaginary triangle scheme (that is, the first modern type mortar in history) and continued to stamp mortars according to a blank scheme, that is, on a large support plate. It was only in December 1929 of the year that the first captured mortars of the Stokes – Brandt system, taken from the Chinese during the conflict on the CER, came to Moscow.
Naturally, chemical weapons tried to use the command of the Red Army.
For example, chemical weapons were used by sailors of the Upper Don Flotilla in May 1918. On May 28, a detachment of red ships in the Voronezh tugboat armed with one machine gun, barges with two 3-inch (76-mm) field guns of model 1900 of the year and a steam boat with two machine guns left Kotyaak and set off down the Don.
The detachment walked along the river and periodically fired upon Cossack villages and separate groups of Cossacks, who were supposed to belong to the rebels who had revolted against the Soviet regime. Both fragmentation and chemical projectiles were used. Thus, in the farms of Matyushensky and Rubizhny, fire was fired exclusively by chemical projectiles, as stated in the report, “in order to find the enemy's battery.” Alas, it was not possible to grope it.
In October, 1920, the plan was to use chemical weapons during the storming of Perekop. Himrota was formed, GAU began collecting balloons and shells left over from the Russian army, after which they were sent to the Southern Front.
However, the Soviet bureaucracy and White’s unwillingness to seriously defend Perekop destroyed this project. Chemical weapons were delivered a few days after the fall of the Crimea.
ANOTHER MYTH OR FORGOTTEN FACT
But over the past two decades, domestic media have been eagerly writing about the use of chemical weapons by Mikhail Tukhachevsky during the rebellion of Alexander Antonov in the Tambov region. Thousands and even tens of thousands of gas strangled peasants appear in the articles.
In parallel, dozens of researchers at the end of the twentieth century interviewed many old people who witnessed the suppression of the rebellion. But, alas, none of them heard anything about chemical weapons.
In the 1980s, I myself often talked with an old woman who was a 15-year-old girl in the midst of fighting in the Tambov region. She told a lot of curious details of the uprising, but also did not hear about chemical ammunition.
It is clear that in the works of fans of sensations, there is no data on the type or number of chemical munitions used in the Tambov region, nor about the losses of insurgents in the course of the use of chemical weapons anywhere.
I know 1920's military technical literature quite well. Then no one hesitated to recognize the use of chemical weapons in the Great and Civil Wars. And any case of serious use of poisonous substances in the Tambov region would have been taken apart in the military technical literature, and not necessarily in the closed one (I repeat, this concerns 1920-x, the beginning of 1930-s, later the complete classification of everything and everything associated with the weapons of the Red Army).
What was really? Tukhachevsky, who was little acquainted with the use of chemical ammunition, ordered several tens of 3-dm (76-mm) chemical grenades to be released by bandits in hundreds of hectares of territory, and those villains did not even notice anything.
A brief summary. The First World War showed the effectiveness of chemical weapons in a positional war, subject to massive use. We are talking about thousands and even tens of thousands of 76 – 152-mm caliber shells (the use of large caliber shells is unprofitable) or bombs (50 – 100-kg) on the front of 1 – 3 km.
Well, the Civil War showed the ineffectiveness of this weapon in a war of maneuver, where even technically it is impossible to ensure the massive use of chemical weapons.
In my opinion, chemical weapons in World War II did not have combat use solely because of their low effectiveness, and not because of humane considerations, prohibitions of the Geneva Convention, etc., and so on.