Gas Mask

The gas mask has a long history, but modern use started in World War I. Since that time, the gas mask has been seldom needed in combat but has been part of the training and equipment of virtually everyone in the U.S. military. In recent years, the threat of terrorism and unconventional attacks has renewed interest in gas masks for soldiers as well as for the general population.

M40A1 gas mask, worn by a Marine assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, during Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) training at Camp Fuji, Japan, 16 July 2004
M40A1 gas mask, worn by a Marine assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, during Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) training at Camp Fuji, Japan, 16 July 2004.

Today in WW II: 8 Sep 1940 Edward R. Murrow broadcasts from London with live reports of the Blitz, increasing America's understanding of the war between Hitler and isolated Britain.  More 
8 Sep 1941 After string of German victories in Russian cities, the 900 day Seige of Leningrad begins [8 Sep 1941 - 27 Jan 1944].
8 Sep 1943 Italian army surrenders, German army in Italy takes control and fights on.
8 Sep 1944 Bulgaria surrenders to Soviet Union as Communist-led coup takes over; declares war on Nazi Germany.
8 Sep 1944 First German V-2 rocket combat launch, fired against Paris. Later the same day first V-2 struck London suburb of Chiswick, destroying 19 homes and killing scores of people.
8 Sep 1945 Gen. Douglas MacArthur enters Tokyo, Japan.
8 Sep 1945 Japanese forces in China surrender.
8 Sep 1945 Japanese in Korea surrender.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Gas Masks: Early History in the U.S. Military

Although protective masks were known as early as the 16th Century, poison gas use in warfare was first a major factor in World War I. The U.S. had no gas equipment at that time so designs were borrowed from the French and English armies until the U.S. Training Mask was developed in July 1917. The Training Mask was followed by the Corrected English Mask in October 1917 and the Richardson Floy Kops Mask in early 1918. These designs, and a few other low volume attempts at improvement, served the Army's needs for WW I and also showed that significant further development was required.

An experimental design from WW I, known as the Kops Tissot Monro (KTM), was standardized as the Model 1919 and later renamed the M-1, the first of a long line of standardized gas masks used by the U.S. military.

U.S. Military Gas Masks: WW II and Later

U.S. Army personnel fitting gas mask spectacles before D-Day, 1944
U.S. Army personnel fitting gas mask spectacles before D-Day, 1944.

This section of Olive-Drab.com reviews U.S. military gas masks from World War II through the 2006 deployment of the Joint Service General Purpose Mask (JSGPM). Although the U.S. Army masks were most widely used (by the Army and other services), there were a number of important masks developed for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force as well.

Here is a list of the most significant of the U.S. military gasmasks (or masks procured by the U.S. Government for civilian use) with links to Olive-Drab.com pages with photos and further information on the individual models and their variants:

Recommended Book about Chemical Warfare and Masks

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

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