Reference, Osprey Elite 150 World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipent
February 10 2007 at 10:37 PM
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Elite 150, World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipent. By Simon Jones with illustrations by Richard Hook. Soft cover, 7.25 x 9.75-inches, 64 pages. Contains 41 B&W photos, eight drawings, eight pages of color plates, index and bibliography. ISBN 978-1-84603-151-9. Price: $17.95 USD.
The Great War saw the widespread use of chemical weapons on both the Western Front and in the East; some use was also made against the Italians in the South. Each side saw the introduction of various means of dispersing gas as well as methods for defense against it. Likewise, each side sought to develop more lethal agents as time went by; one of these evolved into the infamous Zyklon B. Developed by a Nobel prize winner in the post-war era, this substance was responsible for the death of nearly one million victims of the Nazi death camp system in the Second World War.
The author, a former curator of the British Royal Engineers museum, has presented his text in a very readable and lively style; likewise, the reader will come away well-informed. He covers, in great detail, the factors that made gas effective as well as those that limited its effectiveness. In addition, he provides technical details on the various delivery systems and offensive tactics, as well as countermeasures and defensive tactics.
The photographic content of this book is really very good, as the images show in some detail the various masks worn by the protagonists and how they evolved. Delivery systems, such as gas cylinders, the Livens Projector (and its German counterpart), artillery shells and even the Stokes trench mortar are covered. The photos often show these items prior to being used, while there are several images showing the actual dispersion of gas clouds from a distance. Typically, the captions are detailed and in some cases extensive. The color plates by Mr. Hook are very well-rendered and quite detailed. While most illustrate typical scenarios (some of which graphically show the effects on troops caught unawares), one of the plates shows the variety of masks used by the combatants, to include those worn by draft animals. The plates are likewise accompanied by detailed and informative commentaries.
Those interested in modeling figures of the Great War will find this book very useful, while those who are more ambitious and wish to construct a full-scale diorama will find quite a bit of inspiration within these covers.
Frank V. “Curley Stooge” De Sisto
Osprey books are available from mail order and retail outlets. They can also be acquired direct through their web site at: www.ospreypublishing.com.