Gas mask

Among the many military innovations of the Great War, one of the most horrific was the use of chemical weapons (gas). The use of poisonous gases appeared on all fronts. It could be blown out of pre-installed tanks or fired with projectiles and used against the enemy’s forces located further away. The gas mask, a means of protection against gas attacks, soon appeared on the front lines.

Until 1916, only rudimentary textile masks covering the nose and mouth were used in the army of the Monarchy. This multi-layered textile was impregnated with gas-neutralizing liquid, its effective use was limited in time and it did not protect the eyes. In 1916, the more modern, full-face gas mask with a filter was introduced. During the war, the most modern leather gas mask of the 1917M pattern was developed. It was placed in a metal case and could be stored and carried around among the soldiers’ equipment. The filter of the gas mask consisted of a material (diatomite) impregnated with a liquid (calcium or potassium carbonate) that binds phosgene and chlorine and active carbon. The mask was first made of rubber material and later of leather. An important aspect was the tight fit on the skin of the face.

The attached picture shows the latter 1917M gas mask made of leather. Unfortunately, among the badges, I did not find one depicting the gas mask. However, many wearing photos show the mask. Therefore I chose the picture of a stormtrooper, with this gas mask hanging around his neck. And as supplementary cap badge, I have included a rarely seen stormtrooper badge.

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