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Killer Chemistry: The Chemical Weapons of World War I (Photos)

Cavalryman

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty)

August 2, 1917: A German cavalryman wears a gas mask and carries a long spear or pole, representing two different eras of warfare.

Rising clouds

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: General Photographic Agency/Getty)

Circa 1916: A gas shell explodes. Gas used to be released directly from cylinders, but this method was replaced by exploding shells in 1916. 

Big guns

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Circa 1915: German artillerymen wear gas masks as they operate a heavy gun. 

Horse masks

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Jan. 1, 1914 in Unbekannt, France. A German propaganda photo shows German soldiers with gas masks on horses which are wearing feeding bags filled with wet hay as protection against gas attacks. Date and location is unknown (approximately 1914 to 1918).

In the trenches

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty)

German machine gunners wear gas masks during a gas attack. 

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Circa 1911:  German naval crew wear breathing apparatuses designed to protect them during gas attacks.

Phosgene cover

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: General Photographic Agency/Henry Guttmann/Hulton Archive/Getty)

A German officer leads his men toward the British trenches, running through a cloud of phosgene gas that they released themselves for cover. Circa 1916.

Temporarily blinded

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Three Lions/Getty)

Circa 1918: These American soldiers temporarily lost their eyesight in France as a consequence of poison gas attacks.

Victims of an attack

WWI chemical warfare

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty)

The bodies of hundreds of Italian soldiers, members of the Ninth Italian Regiment of the Queen's Brigade, lie dead on the battlefield, victims of a gas and flame attack during WWI, circa mid 1910s.