History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk > Military (and other) History

WW2 mustard gas disaster

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I came upon this surprising and little known (at least to me) incident while reading The Emperor of All Maladies. There were more than 2000 civilian and military casualties when a mustard gas-laden ship exploded at Bari (Italy) as the result of a German air raid.


Wow. That was an interesting read. I wonder if that event had any ramifications for the transportation and/or storage of chemical weapons during the remainder of WW II.

I had not known about this thanks for the link.

I was just checking into mustard gas on Wiki and here are a few interesting facts:

he sulfur mustards, or sulphur mustards,[2] commonly known as mustard gas, are a class of related cytotoxic and vesicant chemical warfare agents with the ability to form large blisters on the exposed skin and in the lungs. Pure sulfur mustards are colorless, viscous liquids at room temperature. When used in impure form, such as warfare agents, they are usually yellow-brown in color and have an odor resembling mustard plants, garlic or horseradish, hence the name. Mustard gas was originally assigned the name LOST, after the scientists Wilhelm Lommell and Wilhelm Steinkopf, who developed a method for the large-scale production of mustard gas for the Imperial German Army in 1916.[3]

Mustard agents are regulated under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Three classes of chemicals are monitored under this Convention, with sulfur and nitrogen mustard grouped in Schedule 1, as substances with no use other than in chemical warfare. Mustard agents could be deployed on the battlefield by means of artillery shells, aerial bombs, rockets, or by spraying from warplanes.

I'm really glad they didn't call it Horseradish Gas - what an undignified way to go !

Or Ketchup clouds. It's nearly impossible to catch up in a ketchup arms race.


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