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Genesis: Historical research

Deployment of chemical defense system on the Western front of the Russian Army during the World War I

Sergushkin Sergey

PhD Candidate, Section of Russian History of the 19th - Early 20th Centuries, History Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University

119192, Russia, g. Moscow, pr. Lomonosovskii, 27, korp. 4

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Abstract: The subject of this research is the set of actions taken by command group of the Western front of the Russian Army as a defense against chemical warfare during the World War I. The author thoroughly examines such aspects of the topic as the supply of military staff with the personal chemical gear, training on how to use those, creation of the system of meteorological observation; as well as analyzes the combination of orders and instructions that regulated chemical defense on the front line. Special attention is given to cooperation of the various military administration bodies involved in the sphere of chemical defense. In the course of this research, the author applies systemic approach, method of systemic reconstruction, as well as follows the principles of historicism, scientific objectivity and verifiability. The conclusion is made that the Western front command group has done everything possible to minimize casualties in the conditions of chemical warfare by supplying the crew with the personal protection gear. The Western front used the Zelinsky-Kummant gas mask; as well as organized training of the crew by deploying mobile detachments. The established system also has a number of flaws, but yet allowed familiarizing the soldiers with the basics of defense against the new type of weapon. At the same time, some fatal mistakes were made in organization of the chemical defense. The front staff neglected the questions of chemical reconnaissance and gas warning, therefore, the corps and army command groups had to rectify such deficiencies, often at the cost of harrowing experience.

Keywords: Zelinsky-Kummant gas mask, Shilov, Evert, Western front, World War I, Химическое оружие, Chemical defense, Chemical attacks, Russian army, Troop training
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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