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April 21, 1951


Author Affiliations

Medical Corps, United States Army

Chairman, Medical Research and Development Board, Office of the Surgeon General, United States Army; formerly, Chief, Medical Division, Army Chemical Center, Maryland.

JAMA. 1951;145(16):1264-1267. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.72920340001013

THE PROBLEMS  Civil defense agencies must be prepared to deal with all probable types of attack but must be especially alert to those types that are capable of inflicting heavy damage from long range. Among the latter are air attacks with the newer chemical warfare agents.I do not believe that any chemical warfare agents except the nerve gases are adequate for long range attack.1 The nerve gases were first developed by the Germans but are now well known in many countries. They are nearly colorless, essentially odorless liquids, which yield highly toxic vapors on evaporation. They range in volatility from nonpersistent to more persistent than mustard gas. They may be dispersed by mortar shells, artillery shells, rockets or aerial bombs; the persistent types may be sprayed from airplanes. The probable munition for long range attack is the aerial bomb, loaded with nonpersistent nerve gas and a burster charge