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A Little History of Tear Gas in France

Since man has been man he does not stop, in certain particular cases, to use his knowledge to dominate, even to harm others. There are no good men without a good war !!!

In my time and to this day, a social movement of egalitarian demands of a people crushed by its elite finds itself almost solely confronted with a warlike violence by orders giving almost a “license to kill”. Outside, what all the protagonists do not know, or did not know, is that everyone suffers a poison whose production recipe is as well guarded as all war poisons.

To find out what this poison is, we are plunging back into the First World War, it was one of the innovative weapons, a chemical weapon that in particular was the “ancestor” of the current maintenance of order.

Is that not strange?

Moving from carnage such as the First World War to the current maintenance of order may seem shortened and yet we will trace this path together.

The context is 1914, the trenches, the battles, the gunfire, in short, butchery. It is there that our first born makes its appearance, the suffocating Grenade Model 1914:

Two tin-welded parts, made of brass sheets that were lined with iron and lead due to the corrosive effect of the tear gas contained inside. Its ignition system is friction with black powder action. Its weight was 450 grams including 250 grams of bromoacetic ether and chloroacetone.

This grenade was a great success and gave birth to the first protection for the eyes of others.

Then in 1915 a new creation was born, proposed by the director of the Pasteur Institute, Dr. Roux, a new grenade created by one of its department heads, Gabriel Bertrand, pharmacist and chemist – the Grenade Model 1915 “Bertrand No. 1”, then in 1916 Grenade Model 1916 “Bertrand No. 2”:

Consisting of 6 iron scales pierced with a central hole bound by wire and sealed by lead, the whole surrounding an ampoule of liquid tear gas composed of bromoacetic ether. Its weight was 200g including 25g of bromoacetic ether for No. 1 and 400 grams and 50 grams of chloroacetone or bromoacetic acid for No. 2.

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In view of the efficiency and great success of these grenades (10,000 model grenades sent to the front only just March 17th 1914 alone and 1,100,000 grenades model 1914 and 1916 produced between July 1st and November 17th 1918 [a coincidence of dates]), why stop in such good way? Thus the suffocating Grenada Model 1916 arrived:

With its all-metal body, this model derived from the Model 1914 receives a new percussion or automatic igniter pin and removes the need to rub it [to create a spark], which hindered manoeuvrability. Its weight is 400g including 200g of acrolein.

Between the two wars there were no new creations, nor during the Second World War either. There was the development and improvement of existing “tear gas” grenades and little information is available on their usage, however, we know that gases/liquids/toxic substances have never been stopped in their evolution, improvement, and production. The toxic CS (still used today) was developed in 1928 in England.

We will now continue the story arriving at the post-war period with the first tear gas Grenade Model 1951:

Made of steel, assembled by crimping, with a diameter of 59mm, its total weight is 315g with a loading composed of 80g of CN2D or CND tear-gas product and equipped with an automatic pin-igniter developed in 1935 with a detonator delay of 2 seconds, it was used during the Algerian war with its successor, the tear gas Grenade Model 1959:

Tinplate with a crimped bottom. Its total weight is 255g with a load consisting of 80g of CN2D or CND or CB tear gas. It is primed by means of an automatic pin-igniter Model 1935 with a detonator and delay of 2 seconds, and was also used during the Algerian war, the controversial CB gas is in fact the ancestor of the toxic CS that we know today.

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These grenades composed of tear gas were so effective during all these wars that their development continued still and always, the grenade above saw another model arrive after it, the tear gas Grenade Model 1964:

One of the first propelled grenades (propelling device – on the right). It was developed at the end of the Algerian war and was timely. For this time, a use against its own population, the “events of May 1968” (as Coluche would have said) it is composed of the toxic CB with a weight that is as unknown as the weight of the grenade as its content, the starting point of the state secret concerning this weapon of war.

Yet its evolution does not stop there, but these grenades found a very different function! They were used less and less in war, because they were considered to be too toxic, too insidious, too dangerous. It was much more interesting to use them on one’s own population. The continuation of its development gave birth to the tear gas Grenade F1 (Lac F1):

This grenade is starting to look more and more like what we know nowadays, consisting of a pin-igniter type F8/F10, weighing 380 grams including 170 grams of CB with efficiency due to its persistence and the displacement of the tear gas cloud produced, nevertheless dependent on atmospheric conditions, it became the weapon of choice with the “baton”! Used against social challenges including that of “May 1968”. Its continuity and adaptation for use against civilians became the tear gas grenade MF2:

This time, it produces only the toxic CS used today. The CS agent is still subject to great controversy and the weight charges of these grenades are not known. Over time we see the opacity of the information that appears about these weapons used once in the world war. Their development never stopped, but their use during war was banned in the 1990s by all the world authorities. It is not understandable that in 2019 these weapons are still in service against the French civilian population (and elsewhere). A study on the compound is necessary. It causes a lot of questions because there are many symptoms, sometimes very serious, in people exposed to this toxic substance via repeated exposure. The compound itself, 2-chlorobenzelidenmolononitrile, metabolises cyanide in the body, so it is necessary that information is made about this “poisoning” of the mass of the population, as much civilians as for law enforcement.

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The people are killing each other in front of the golden glittering eyes of the powerful.


Julien Chaize

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