CHEMICAL WARFARE PLAN
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (SWPA)
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII
NOTE:- There are a number of typing mistakes in the original document which I have left uncorrected below.
CHEMICAL WARFARE PLAN
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA 1 December 1943.
1. The term Chemical Warfare, as used herein, applies to the employment of toxic chemicals as contemplated by the Geneva Prorocal, and does not include the employment of screening smoke or incendiaries, which are already in general use.
2. This plan applies to the Allied Land, Air and Naval Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area and the United States Army Forces in the Far East.
3. Reports of the initial use of gas by the enemy will be forwarded with all information immediately available, to the Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, by the quickest means. Further reports by Allied Land, Naval Air Force or separate Task Force Commanders in the fullest detail will be forwarded when confirmation or denial is definite.
11. Offensive Plan, Based on Material and Troops Available, 1 November,1943.
1. Control. The use of toxic Chemicals will be iniated only on the direct orders of the Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pacific Area. Until so ordered, chemical munitions will be held in ready reserve, but will not be stocked outside continental Australia or issued to combat units, except as authorized by the Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pacific Area.
2. Object. When Chemical Warfare commences, the enemy will be attacked in maximum force with chemicals and the initiative regained and retained.
3. Required Action. The following action will be taken upon receipt of orders for the use of chemicals:
(a) An immediate punitive attack by air, with the maximum weight of mustard gas bombs, against the most critical enemy objectives. These objectives to be such as are determined upon in current plans based on the latest intelligence.
(b) Chemical Munitions will be moved into forward areas for action by ground troops, in accordance with the tactical situation.
(c) Following the initial attack, preparations will be provided for continuing attacks, by air, with mustard, lewisite, phosgene, and mustard -lewisite mixture against enemy personnel and installations for harassing and casualty effect, hindering shipping and movement of supplies, and under appropriate conditions the softening of areas to be attacked.
(d) Quantities, types, and present location of chemical munitions are contained in Annex No. 1 to this plan.
4. When effective. This offensive plan becomes effective immediately on orders from the Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pacific Area.
111. DEFENSIVE Plan Based on Material and Troops Available, 1 November,1943.
1. Preparations. The period prior to the opening of chemical warfare will be devoted to improving the supply status and attaining proficiency in the employment of defensive means and methods for individual and collective protection, first aid, medical treatment of gas casualties,
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and in developing effective chemical intelligence.
(a) On the moving of chemical warfare, all units, ships, and installations within the radius of enemy land based aviation, will be placed and maintained in an immediate state of rediness for protection against gas.
(b) The state or degree of readiness for gas defense ordered in any area, prior to the opening of chemical warfare will be definied from time to time by Allied Land, Naval, Air Force and separate Task Force Commanders and will be based on:
3. Supply. Protective supllies, equipment and clothing will be made available to units, according to the degree of readiness ordered, to cover immediate needs, with additional stocks sufficiently near, considering difficulties of transportation, to permit continuous resupply.
4. Training. The required objective will be attained by execution of current directives concerning preparations to meet chemical attack.
5. Precautions against Surprise.
(a) Every appropriate Intelligence means will be employed to anticipate the probable use of gas by the enemy and prevent surprise. The effectiveness of initial protective measures is largely dependent upon this intelligence.
(b) Personnel, specially trained in Chemical Warfare Technical Intelligence, will be attached to forces in contact with the enemy, with the specific mission of securing enemy chemical warfare data and equipment.
1V. Projected Plan.
1. Object. The projected plan for adequate defensive and offensive gas warfare involves amplification of existing means and personnel; with the object of providing:
(a) Adequate reserve stocks of defensive supplies.
(b) Greater diversity and efficiency in the means, methods, and agents used in attack and defense.
(c) Augmented training in both tactics and technique of offensive and defensive chemical warfare, including organization and training of adequate numbers of troops in decontamination and in handling chemical weapons and war gases.
(d) Increased emphasis on the development of prompt and accurate chemical intelligence.
2. Tactical Plans. Preparations will be made to meet the following requirements when indicated by the tactical situation:
(a) Interript activities at enemy airdromes, installations, and ports, with persistent gas.
(b) Attack enemy personnel on loaded transports or concentrated in lend areas, with chemical spray.
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(c) Attack concentrations of enemy personnel with phosgene or harassing agents prior to ground attack.
(d) Neutralize areas, roads, and trails, and force the evacuation of areas, and service installations and abandonment of supplies, with persistent gas.
(f) Contaminate demolitions and obstacles with persistent gas to make them more effective.
(g) Gain surprise by varying the form of attack and by useing a diversity of agents.
3. Supply. Offensive supplies and munitions will be assembled in ready reserve and moved to advance depots when required by the situation and when authorized by the Commander-in-Chief, Southwest Pacific Area.
4. Training. The requirement of greatly expanded and refresher training an the outbreak of chemical warfare will be anticipated.
5. Intelligence. Development of intelligence channels with Washington and London and between areas facing Japanese forces, will be continued, to assure that important information is transmitted promptly to all forces in contact with the Japanese.
ANNEXES: No. 1 - Stockage of Chemical munitions, 1 November, 1943.
No. 2 - Estimates pertaining to current plan for Chemical Warfare Southwest Pacific Area.
No. 3 - Estimates based on Projected Plans for Chemical Warfare.
ANNEX NO. 1 TO CHEMICAL
WARFARE PLAN, SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA.
U. S. MUNITIONS
ADVANCE CHEMICAL DEPOT, AVIATION, CHARTERS TOWERS, QLD.
KANGAROO (SOS DUMP) (26 Miles North of Townsville).
DARRA (near Brisbane O(ld).
COLUMBOOLA (200 Miles west of Brisbane).
GEELONG (40 miles SW of Melbourne)
KINGSWOOD (25 miles west of Sydney).
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DOBODURA. New Guinea.
PORT MORESBY, New Guinea.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY MUNITIONS.
92,000 gallons bulk mustard for charging empty bombs.
24,000 bombs, 65-lb L.C. being locally manufactured.
ANNEX NO. 2.
ESTIMATES PERTAINING TO
CURRENT PLAN FOR CHEMICAL WARFARE,
1. THE STATUS OF OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE TRAINING.
(a) Constant improvement is being made in the training for offensive use of chemicals by the Air Forces. The R.A.A.F. has given practical training to personnel in handling, transport, maintenance and preparation for immediate use, of R.A.A.F. types of chemical weapons. Additional personnel in U.S. Chemical Companies, Air Operations, have been trained and these companies are qualified to meet requirements of offensive chemical warfare. Both components of the Allied Air Force have personnel qualified to fly chemical spray missions. Additional experience is being gained through increased training in and employment of aircraft smoke spray.
(b) Training of ground troops in offensive chemical warfare has been limited to that theoretical training given to unit gas officers and gas N.C.O's in various schools. This has been supplemented by one conference course of officers of the CWA assisgned as advisors to tactical commanders, in which the tactical employment of chemical agents was studied.
(c) Naval forces are not provided with offensive chemical munitions.
(a) Individual and organizational defensive training is considered satisfactory but capable of being greatly improved upon and open to continuous repition.
(b) The general standard of training in all components, has become more uniform due to special measures taken by the R.A.A.F. to organize and expand chemical warfare training. In this unit, the standard of theoretical instruction is good, but owing to the difficulties under which gas training establishments operate, real and practical training with actual chemical agents cannot be given. It is expected that this situation will be remedied in December.
(c) One Australian Army Gas School is operated with an annual capacity to train:
This school includes a Mobile Wing employed in conducting courses for senior officers. It is estimated that 75% of the Unit Gas Officers and N.C.O's have not been suitably trained.
(d) Assistance in chemical warfare defensive training is furnished all U.S. Forces by the Chemical Warfare Service Training Center, which operates a school at Brisbane and four (4) mobile training teams. Field demands show a need for additional schools in New Guinea.
11. AN ESTIMATE OF PROTECTION NOW AFFORDED TROOPS.
1. All troops are now reasonably protected against chemical agents with the exception of impregnated protective clothing.
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(a) U.S. Forces have sufficient impregnated clothing to meet the needs of all troops on the outbreak of chemical warfare. One plant for impregnation of clothing by the solvent process was assembled locally, and is in operation in Sydney. Its capacity is approximately 2,000 suits per day. A small plant employing the water emulsion process, having a capacity of 600 suits per day, has been installed in Brisbane, by the U.S. Navy. Two (2) M2 process plants are held crated in Brisbane pending decision by the War Department on the practicability of wearing clothing impregnated by this process, in tropical areas. The maintenance problem, involving the requirements for reimpregnation of clothing, has not yet been solved. The technical problems involved are undergoing current investigation.
(b) Australian Forces are not provided with impregnated clothing for protection against vesicant vapors, but the matter is currently under investigation and test.
(c) Protection for the R.A.A.F. is not fully adequate, although the position has vastly improved since February by the supply of most essential items of personal anti-gas equipment- capes, eyeshields, ointment, respirators. There has been improvement in supply of other essential items - steel helmet curtains, light anti!gas suits, anti-gas gloves, anti-gas overboots and decontamination equipment. .Supply is continuing.
The need for provisioning the R.A.A.F. in operational areas with protection against vapor not afforded by impervious clothing, has led to efforts being made to obtain sets of impregnated clothing of American type and pattern. This clothing, if obtained, will fill the gap until present research has devised satisfactory impregnating process for Australian type clothing.
111. AN ESTIMATE OF DEFENSIVE AND. OFFENSIVE CAPABILITIES WITH MATERIALS AND TROOPS ON HAND, IN THE EVENT OF THE IMMEDIATE OPENING OF GAS WARFARE.
1. Offensive capabilities:
(a) Bombs are immediately available to U.S. Air Forces at the Advance Chemical Depot, Aviation, Townsville, and at Garbutt Field, Townsville, for retaliatory missions. Ample spray tanks and accessories are at hand, adaptable to various types of bombers, distributed so as to be readily available at points required. At this time filling facilities and bulk agents are available at Charters Towers only. It will be necessary for chemical missions to stage in forward areas until such time as the depot and stocks of bombs are moved forward.
(b) At present, missions with chemical munitions of the R.A.A.F. will be delayed pending delivery of the munitions to airdromes from reserve storage near Sydney. Upon completion of storage depots now being prepared dispersal will be made of reserves, as follows:
(c) The use of chemicals by ground forces will be delayed, pending the delivery of munitions from the point of reserve storage, to the combat area. No offensive chemical warfare troops exist in the U.S. or Australian Forces in this theater.
(d) Chemical attacks will fall short of full effectiveness until present bursters in U.S. chemical bombs are replaced by bursters with a reduced charge.
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2. Defensive Capabilities.
(a) Supplies and equipment for gas defense are generally available in sufficient quantities for immediate needs in emergency, with the exception of impregnated protective clothing for Australian Forces.
(b) Defensive gas training, which is generally theoretical, is fair, and improving.
(c) Australian hospital facilities are considered adequate to meet a reasonable increased flow of casualties due to gas. U.S. hospital facilities are temporalily inadequate to meet a heavy flow of casualties resulting from the use of gas.
(d) In general, defensive capabilities at this time are such that chemical warfare may be met with reasonable casualties, after probable large initial casualties, due to a transition from a theoretical to a practical situation, and time required to build up an effective gas discipline.
ANNEX NO. 3.
ESTIMATES BASED ON PROJECTED PLANS FOR CHEMICAL WARFARE.
ESTIMATE OF ADDITIONAL MATERIAL AND TROOPS CONSIDERED
1. Combat Troops:
(a) No chemical combat troops exist in the Australian Forces.
(b) For U.S. Forces, one chemical battalion, motorized, per Army Corps, is estimated as a minimum requirement, to be increased to one battalion per division on the opening of Chemical Warfare.
2. Service Troops:
(a) Special chemical service troops are not provided in Australian Forces.
(b) Chemical service troops, as provided for present U.S. Forces, with appropriate increases for corresponding increases in overall troop, strength, are estimated to meet minimum requirements. Two Chemical Processing Companies for the impregnation of clothing are on hand or enroute, with two processing plants for each company. These plants may meet the need for reimpregnation and maintenance of protective clothing. The adequacy of these units to meet the full need will be determined by tests now planned.
3. U.S. Personal Requirements: The need for additional personnel under gas warfare includes staff and training personnel primarily, estimated as follows :
Headquarters, USAFFE and USASOS 11 officers 16 EM
4. Additional Material Requirements:
(a) In general, chemical munitions have been supplied in quantities sufficient for existing forces. The effectiveness of US chemical artillery shell remains in doubt, pending reports on test firings in the United States. Bombs have been proved to be of limited efficiency because of the Heavy M-4 bursters provided, and reasonable effectiveness cannot be expected pending their replacement by a more suitable burster.
(b) Offensive Materials, U.S. Forces.
(c) Defensive Materials, Equipment and Supplies. Consummation of present plans will meet the requirements of all forces for defensive materials and supplies, as they can be foreseen at this time. There are no critical shortages.
"Chemical Warfare in Australia"
"Australia's Involvement if Chemical Warfare 1914-1945"
by Geoff Plunkett
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