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The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat [Paperback]

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Item description for The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat by Brooks E. Kleber...

"Chemicals in Combat," the last of three volumes devoted to the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) in World War II, covers the overseas story of that technical service. The first six chapters concern planning, organization, and logistics in the major theaters of operations. Most of the remaining chapters describe the development and combat employment of smoke munitions and generators, the 4.2-inch mortar, the portable and mechanized flamethrowers, and incendiary munitions.

An underlying theme pervades this overseas story. The Chemical Warfare Service was organized in World War I as the vehicle for employing gas munitions and for defending against the use of gas by the enemy. It was thought that these would be the principal roles in World War II. But because gas was not used in the Second World War, the CWS men and units had to justify their presence by undertaking non-gas warfare missions. If there were two key words to describe the overseas CWS experience, they would be "preparedness" for the possible introduction of gas warfare and "improvisation" for the effective use of units in the absence of gas warfare. On top of all this the chemical service was operating in an Army that was not enamored with the traditional chemical mission, let alone the possibility of improvisation.

Had the Allied nations known with certainty what the intentions of the Axis powers were with regard to the use of gas warfare, the U.S. investment in time and materiel might not have been undertaken. On the other hand, had the Allies been any less prepared, one only can guess at what effect that a persistent agent might have had on the D-day landing or at Anzio. If the Japanese had not believed their home land vulnerable to gas they might have used mustard agents against the amphibious forces that slowly penetrated their vast defensive perimeter. The author argues that the U.S. preparedness from gas warfare was worth the effort. Like a "fleet in being," it countered a threat that could have been decisive to the Allied cause if gone unchallenged.

KEY TOPICS: 1. Origins of the Chemical Warfare Service in World War I (Ch. I). 2. Development of the Chemical Warfare Service between the two world wars (Chs. I, VII, XI). 3. Adapting a theater CWS staff to a nonchemical environment (Ch. II). 4. Evolution of a theater CWS supply system (Ch. IV). 5. Impact of a dynamic chemical officer in the Central Pacific theater (Chs. V, VI). 6. Diversity of duties of the CWS service units (Ch. VII). 7. The development of the large area smoke installation to conceal ports beachheads, and river crossings (Chs. VIII, XI). 8. War Department bureaucracy and recalcitrance as illustrated in its reluctance to authorize the 4.2-inch mortar to fire high explosives (Ch. XI). 9. Demand for portable and mechanized flamethrowers in the Pacific theaters (Chs. XIV, XV). 10. Why gas was not used during World War II (Ch. XVIII).

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Item Specifications...

Pages   716
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 6.06" Height: 1.69"
Weight:   2.28 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Ross & Perry,
ISBN  1931839492  
ISBN13  9781931839495  

Availability  131 units.
Availability accurate as of May 22, 2017 12:02.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Military > Weapons & Warfare > Biological & Chemical
3Books > Subjects > History > Military Science
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > Freedom & Security > Security

Reviews - What do customers think about The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat?

Essential Reference for Army Chemical Corps Leaders  Nov 13, 2006
This is the esssential reference for operations of the Chemical Corps in WWII. Not the kind of book that you pick up and read cover to cover, "Chemicals in Combat" is the "go-to" book to understand the key role that the Chemical Corps played in this conflict.
Think that because chemical weapons were not used in WWII that the Chemical Corps did not have a big role in WWII? Think again.
Chemical Mortar Units, Smoke Units, Flamethrowers, and the development of incendiaries all played key roles. There are two other books in this series--"Organizing for War," and "Laboratory to Field." This is the best of the three and the most recommended. Because it is official history, the authors are not disposed to find fault with certain actions, but by reading between the lines the reader can determine success and failures. Highly recommended.

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