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Here's a link to an interesting weapon...

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by acker, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. acker

    acker Member

    Jan 19, 2008
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    Here's a link to an interesting weapon, even if it is a bit "nasty" it does show the extent to which the allies were willing to go to defeat the Nazis. Poison darts, whoda thunk it?


    BBC NEWS | UK | WWII poison darts secret emerges

    It would appear they just didn't get the delivery system down to a trustworthy model, or weren't desparate enough to continue their development. Looks like a nasty way to go, and if they could have covered an area like a modern cluster bomb, would have really been a battle changer.

    That article uses some rather odd, unrelated pictures in conjunction with the article. What does flour and bleach and food have to do with an article about poison darts? :confused:

    I wonder if they weren't trying to decide how the stuff would affect foodstuffs if those items were exposed to said chemicals?

    Well, the 'poison darts' would use Mustard Gas...not sure where Bleach comes into it? Would like to see an article pertaining to those food-stuffs pictures.

    Me too, that was rather "off subject" in the second article, but I hadn't seen that one so it was interesting in and of itself.

    I thought of something else overnight, and this may be the basis for the different tests mentioned. The Mustard Gas of the forties wasn't the Mustard Gas of WW1. In the past the gas chemical was sulfur based, in the "new and improved" version it was arsenic based.

    When released the old version smelled like rotten eggs, the new one smelled like garlic. That is also why any person who claimed to recognize the smell of the mustard gas released at Bari Italy when that Liberty ship was bombed, would be a fabricator of evidence. If he had been exposed to mustard gas in WW1 he would have smelled rotten eggs. The gas at Bari was the arsenic based version which had been developed in the late thirties.

    I wonder if the scientists weren't attempting to discover if the transfer of arsenic to foodstuffs would be detrimental to human consumption. Just a thought.

    Poison dart 'bombs' developed by Second World War scientists - Telegraph

    By Stephen Adams

    Published: 7:00AM BST 26 Jun 2009

    The scientists asked Singer Sewing Machine Company to provide needles to equip the darts, to be laced with a poison that could cause death "within 30 seconds".

    Military planners believed mass deployment of the darts, each weighing just 0.15 ounces (4g), could be more effective against troops on open ground or in trenches than bombs or mustard gas spray.

    In January 1942 Dr Paul Fildes, probably Britain's top bacteriologist, wrote to Singer asking for sewing machine needle samples.

    He stated it was "a little difficult to explain what I want sewing machine needles for" but wrote: "The knife-shaped point is definitely essential."
    The letter was also addressed from 'Biology Section, Experimental Section, Porton, Salisbury'.

    The files, held by the National Archives, show a coordinated project between Britain and Canada to develop millions of darts, to be dropped from aircraft in "500lb cluster projectiles" each containing 30,000 units.

    The "grooved zinc alloy dart" would contain a small poison deposit in the hollow needle section, kept in place by a cotton and wax seal, while a paper tail would keep it flying straight at up to 250ft per second.

    Under the heading "Lethality" the "Top Secret" note explained: "If penetrating into the flesh, will cause death if not plucked out within 30 seconds. If plucked out within this time will cause disablement by collapse. Collapse occurs within 1-5 minutes, and death within 30 minutes."

    Field trials were conducted at an experimental station in Suffield, Alberta, Canada.
    A number of poisons were trialled but planners decided against full-scale production, concluding that taking cover "affords almost complete protection" from the darts.

    the more you look the more you'll find....

    Yeah, that was weird. I posted a similar (perhaps the same) story back in June.


    That sort of showed the lengths we (allies) were willing to go in order to defeat the Nazis. I would think that something of the same nature would have had to be used by them first however. Wasn't the policy on both chemical and biologicals to only use them in retaliation if attacked with them?

    Well, just glad they didn't have to put them to use.

    So you did, Clint. I should have looked harder.

    It's heartening to think that, despite the sheer desperation of World War II, neither side resorted to chemical or biological weapons in practice -- though all the combatants were capable.

    Perhaps there is hope for the human race.

    ...White Phosphorus is a chemical weapon, I think. But it certainly isn't on the level of nerve gas or even chlorine.

    The Japanese did use biological warfare in China...I think they released a variant of the Black Death on a village once or twice, after experimentation involving Unit 731. The Japanese also used chemical weapons far more dangerous than WP in China hundreds of times, too. Some US ship bringing mustard gas to Italy got hit and killed quite a few people, then got covered up for a couple decades.

    Not a problem Michelle, it didn't get much response that time, good thing to have it out there again.

    On W.P, not really, while you can be killed by it, that isn't what it is designed to do (not really). The same could be said for any incindary (SP?) weapon, from NAPALM on down. They are chemicals as well. Not really "chemical weapons" though really. Don't ask me to explain that, I fail in some instances to see the defining line.

    The Chinese did suffer a great number of nasty weapons a'la Unit 731, and a variant of the Plague was only one of them. But, it wasn't widely known of at the time. It was suspected and rumored, but so was the extermination of the Jews and other "untermensch" by the Nazis. Until the allies walked into the camps there was debate and disbelief as to their veracity. I believe we also had gases stockpiled in the PTO "just in case" they were needed. The Luftwaffe bombing of Bari, Italy which set off the mustard gas cloud when the S.S. John Harvey exploded, might have been a deterent (unintended) forAdolf Hitler, and kept him from using his own gas stockpiles until it was too late.

    He didn't know how much was stockpiled, he didn't know if any had been in the Lend-Lease shipments to the USSR, he did know that the UK had huge stockpiles. As to the USSR's stocks I don't know that either, and it wasn't as if they would absolutely have to get it from the Lend-Lease supply. They had plenty of capable chemists of their own, and could have easily produced gases if they needed, the formulas weren't really secrets anymore.

    …Use of white phosphorus is not specifically banned by any treaty, however the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (Protocol III) prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations or by air attack against military forces that are located within concentrations of civilians. [2] The United States is among the nations that are parties to the convention but have not signed protocol III.



    Since White Phosphorus is also the active ingredient in "smoke grenades", which are non-lethal I would suppose that would move them out of the "Chemical Weapons" category.

    The needles were even less lethal than the little varmint round 5.56 bullet forced on NATO troops today, and thats pretty weak. Heck probably even rolling your shirt sleeves down would have stopped most of these little darts: no mass. You may already know that the idea has been developed in a different context, all sorts of weapons from artillery to the M-203 grenade launcher are capable of launching "flechettes" (heavy darts). The flechette rounds for artillery were widely used during the Vietnam war, in tanks and artillery for close-in defense against attacking enemy troops. The special rounds were commonly called "bee-hive" rounds.

    You miss the point "marc780", it wasn't the darts which would kill, it was the chemical they would deliver into the skin of the victims. Rolling up or down your sleeves wouldn't do the deed.

    If you have never "sheared" a sheep (which I suspect) you would know that there is about a 1/8 to a 1/4 inch of "fuzz" left afterwards. Much more dense than a shirt sleeve. That didn't stop the poison darts from being effective in the tests, so a shirt sleeve wouldn't have either.

    Read the article here:


    Since you might not have understood the concept.

    Clint and Michelle.... good find. I had no idea

    Great Stuff. The diagram of the needle shows an inertia pellet and looks to me as if the poision would have been injected on impact.

    I wonder why they didn't consider using a more humane poison?

    Alright i'll concede its possible the little darts may have penetrated in actual combat. Since the flechette concept was adopted shortly thereafter, the small darts idea was obviously continued in a different way using HEAVIER darts.
    I think the stumbling block was the poison part. If they had ever been actually used,when the enemy analyzed the darts and found poison - it could have infuriated Hitler and been the perfect excuse for him to order a nerve gas attack in retaliation.

    Sent ya a salute for that. It is entirely possible that the idea was a "hold back" position since both the Germans and the British had signed the Convention against chemical and biological weapon's use.

    The US never signed it, but had publically stated that we would follow the Convention rules and NOT USE THEM unless they were used by the enemy first.

    That was also the "stumbling block" for the Nazis using their gases (and they weren't all that far ahead of the allies in nerve gas either). If they used them, they would be retailiated upon. They knew it, they knew of the allies gas stockpiles (new version mustard gas, chlorine, and Lewisite), and DuPont and IG Farben had worked together pre-war when tabun was perfected. Sarin and Somun were later developments, and never over a few kilograms of material produced by wars end.

    Turns out the DuPont's internal files show we had about 12,000 tons of Tabun stockpiled at war's end, where the German's had about 17,000 tons of tabun in reserve and no way to deliver it.

    The German scientists knew how good the American's were in this area, and had developed tabun together looking for a "new and better" pest control gas. DuPont and Thyssen families owned stock in each other's companies pre-war, and they (Germans) knew full well our production ability in this area outstripped their own. Nobody could risk "using it first" (poisons) on the battlefield.

    Brutal... It's a good thing they didn't use these needles

    I believe the part where they had nerve gas stockpiled. You can see photos of German troops til the end of the war carrying that gas mask and its case (the finned shiny cylinder about as big as a rolled up newspaper that you see hanging off the belts of many soldaten in wartime photos. ) Gas attacks during WW2 were much feared and sometimes anticipated but fortunately, never used, no matter how desperate the situation got.

    Its odd that Hitler has never gone on record as every seriously considering using Chemical weapons, (if anyone has different information, i'd be interested in reading it.) Perhaps the fact that as a corporal in WW1, Hitler himself was gassed by the British near wars' end in 1918, was blinded for 3 days and almost died. This may have something to do with his decision not to use them.

    If he had, even til the end of the war the Germans could have deployed nerve gas if they had chosen - it would have been a simple matter to hollow out some artillery shells, modify aerial bombs, or even just attach a metal drum under each wing of just about any luftwaffe aircraft. In WW1 sometimes they just laid pipe or hose as close to the front as possible and waited for the wind to shift in the proper direction before unleashing the deadly chemicals. So actually using them was physically possible for the Germans right up until the plants and stockpiles were over-run by the allies - it was a matter of no one on the German side being willing to unleash the evil genie out of the bottle and then face the consequences.

    Tragically, the use of nerve gas has been continued by other continues since WW2. Mostly its use was limited to countries that had them using them against an enemy that did not. Iran-Iraq, the Soviets in Afganistan, and too many other places saw the use of chemical weapons of various kinds mainly against helpless and unprotected civilian populations.

    (One of the most infamous was the "Operation Anfal" campaign in Northern Iraq in 1989. Saddam ordered the use of nerve gas and mustard agents, dropped by aircraft and helicopters, against a Kurdish village filled with mostly civilians - 8,000 were estimated to have died. The UN and other agencies have iron-clad proof that this incident actually occurred and it may have been pivotal in President Bush's decision to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam in 2003.)

    The most horribly ironic thing that has ever struck me about ww2 is this: it is good that chemical weapons were never used in WW2 in more ways than one: If any of the WW2 population of any country had ever had to face the horrors of a major nerve gas attack, the dropping of the atom bomb would have seemed like comic relief in comparison....

    "marc780", here is some more stuff on the Nazis and their nerve agents. Many of tabun's chemical make-up are/were so corrosive that reaction chambers not lined with quartz or silver soon became useless. Tabun itself was so hazardous that the final processes had to be performed while enclosed in double glass-lined chambers with a stream of pressurized air circulating between the walls. It is NOT an easy chemical with which to work. And then there is this:

    Speer, who was strongly opposed to the introduction of tabun, flew Otto Ambros, I.G.'s authority on poison gas as well as synthetic rubber, to the meeting. Hitler asked Ambros, "What is the other side doing about poison gas?" Ambros explained that the enemy, because of its greater access to ethylene, probably had a greater capacity to produce mustard gas than Germany did. Hitler interrupted to explain that he was not referring to traditional poison gases: "I understand that the countries with petroleum are in a position to make more [mustard gas], but Germany has a special gas, tabun. In this we have a monopoly in Germany." He specifically wanted to know whether the enemy had access to such a gas and what it was doing in this area. To Hitler's disappointment Ambros replied, "I have justified reasons to assume that tabun, too, is known abroad. I know that tabun was publicized as early as 1902, that Sarin was patented and that these substances appeared in patents. (...) Ambros was informing Hitler of an extraordinary fact about one of Germany's most secret weapons. The essential nature of tabun and sarin had already been disclosed in the technical journals as far back as 1902 and I.G. had patented both products in 1937 and 1938. Ambros then warned Hitler that if Germany used tabun, it must face the possibility that the Allies could produce this gas in much larger quantities. Upon receiving this discouraging report, Hitler abruptly left the meeting. The nerve gases would not be used, for the time being at least, although they would continue to be produced and tested." (Joseph Borkin; The Crime and Punishment of IG Farben)

    From "Wiki…" (I know, bad source):

    Nerve agent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    But since it quotes the book, figured it was worth the adding.

    Top secret War Office papers have revealed a strange and macabre weapons project tested by the Allies during World War II. Lethal clouds of tiny poisoned darts were to be tipped with mustard gas to kill enemy troops without damaging nearby buildings or equipment.
    The file has been released by the National Archives.
    Test results were inconclusive and although the scientists remained enthusiastic, the project was shelved.
    The concept was developed between 1941 and 1945 at the Porton Down research base in Wiltshire.


    BBC NEWS | UK | WWII poison darts secret emerges

    This is hardly "new data". I posted the story a year ago come June.



    I don't feel like merging them really. I'm a little busy here this morning, got company and just checked in to take a quick peek around.

    I did a search and found nothing, The Article is 2009, not quite old news. You can Merge The Thread Or I'll Remove, no Point having Two Threads on same Topic. :D

    Gosh am I glad they guttered this horrific project . On the other hand it would have been easy to find a shelter from those in any building and it would probably have killed dogs and cats more than people
  2. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Sep 10, 2000
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    Festung Colorado
    Poor sheep...lol.
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Dec 19, 2000
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    Jefferson, OH
  4. fast1

    fast1 Member

    Mar 21, 2009
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    lol interesting, thanks[​IMG]
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Jul 7, 2008
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    I put them all into one file, so if somebody searches for "Poison Darts" the thread shows up in the WWII Today section.

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