Chilling Historical Photos That Will Blow Your Mind

Gas Masks During WWI

Photograph of German soldiers and their mule wearing gas masks.
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

Of the one million British horses enlisted in the war effort, only 62,000 returned home. Poisonous gases such as phosgene hurt the eyes and lungs of people and animals during the war, so soldiers did their best to protect the mules, horses, pigeons, dogs, and other animals that were used.

Although the use of poisonous gases was banned, 124,000 tons of gas were produced by the end of World War I. The French were the first to use chemical weapons during the Great War, using the tear gases, ethyl bromoacetate, and chloroacetone. The Germans fired back with army shells filled with a chemical irritant which caused uncontrolled sneezing. They also attacked the Russians with mustard gas, which was barely recognized by the human nose, but caused serious blisters both internally and externally.