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the US Army in 1963 – 1964, and shipped it by rail in 16-gallon drums to Pine Bluff Arsenal for filling into munitions.
Given the Q
for BZ, this signified a quantity adequate for asingle action on a Brigade or town-sized target (15 km
).10,000 lbs of BZ would be used through the 1960s for weaponsdevelopment and field trials. There was consideration of numerous weapon systems, ranging from small-arm grenadesand MARS smoke generators to aerial spray tanks and ballisticmissile warheads (notably the Padeye and CBU-16A/Adispensers). However, only two weapon systems attainedsignificant standardization:
BZ was a complex agent to synthesize, and ratherexpensive. At $40/kg at the time of its manufacture, it wasprobably the single most expensive chemical agent standard-ized by the US.
The quantity purchased by the US indicatesthat large-area employment of BZ was not practical, and thatit was reserved for more-or-less critical point situations (i.e.landing zones, special operations, and fortified positions).Its weaponization also presented a manufacturing problem.BZ was to be disseminated by thermal munitions in a 50:50pyrotechnic mixture. Prior to the adoption of BZ, thermalmunitions were ‘dry-pressed’. Accidental ignition wouldoccasionally occur in production lines, but as with signalsmokes or tear agents, such accidents had only a transientimpact on productivity. With BZ, the potential casualty effectnecessitated the use of a ‘wet-pressed’ method to avoid thesesorts of mishaps. The solvent used (acetone) had a deleteriouseffect on many of the plastics used in standard weaponsystems.
The eventual doses for BZ were somewhat higher thanoriginally anticipated, after it was discerned that the lungsonly retained 45% of the inspired agent instead of the 50%originally believed.
For a person at rest, the ICt
. For mild activity this dosage drops to 110 mg
. In either case, the incapacitating doses are comparableto the lethal index of the G-series nerve agents. The LCt
isbelieved to be 200,000 mg
based on animal studies.Agent BZ was far superior to Agent SN in terms of casualtyeffect and safety margin.But the operational problems that BZ presented werenumerous. Its visible white agent cloud warned of its presence.Improvised masks, such as several layers of folded cloth overthe nose and mouth could defeat it.
Its envelope-of-actionwas less than ideal. The rate-of-action was delayed (5% within2 hours, 50% within 4.5 hours, and 95% within 9.5 hours),and the duration-of-action was variable from 36 to 96 hours.
Additionally, 50% to 80% of the casualties required restraintto prevent self-injury, and paranoia and mania were commonpersonality traits during recovery. These uncertainties madeBZ unattractive to military planners.
Doubling the dosage of BZ increased the duration-of-actionby an additional 40 hours. This meant burdening exploitationforces with restraining casualties well after employment.Towards the end of the 1960s Edgewood Arsenal startedconsidering 1-methyl-4-piperidyl isopropylphenylglycolate, orEA 3834, as a replacement for BZ.EA 3834A, a hydrochloride salt, had greater absorptionfor a lung effect than the base, with an ICt
of 73.4 mg
(mild activity). This was somewhat better than that forBZ. The envelope-of-action was also more predictable. Atthe ICt
the rate-of-action was 35 minutes, with duration-of-action of 10 to 15 hours. At three-times the ICt
, the rate-of-action dropped to 10 minutes, with a duration-of-action thatwas still under 24 hours. The superior envelope-of-action tothat of BZ meant that it would not be necessary for victims tobe interned for a week after a 1-day combat action.Concerns that EA3834 could produce hematuria delayedits adoption.
A human subject developed hematuria thatpersisted intermittently over a year. Subsequent animal studieswere conducted and concluded that hematuria was possiblefrom EA 3834, BZ, and atropine. The results were disputed
The 175-lb generator cluster (M44 or E154) - for deliveryby light aircraft used for observation and spotting in tacticalcombat. It was composed of three 50-lb thermal generators(M16) that resembled the standard US floating smoke potfilled with thermal canisters and a chute attachmentdropped from a hard-back assembly (figure 3).
Fig 3: 175-lb generator cluster (M44 or E154)Fig 4: 750-lb bomb cluster (M43 or E153)
The 750-lb bomb cluster (M43 or E153) - also for subsonicaircraft delivery, using a standard cluster adapter that couldbe adapted for high-speed delivery by adding aerodynamictail fairing. It was composed of 57 M138 thermal bombletsthat resembled the standard US 10-lb smoke bomblet(figure 4).These weapon systems were intended only to cover targetsof about 0.11 to 0.88 hectares respectively – used againstsquad- to company-sized targets; they were to be used forspecial operations against hard targets of intelligence value,hostage/prisoner rescue, or in cases where friendly and threatforces were intermingled.
Only about 1,500 of these munit-ions were stockpiled. There were also other employmentconcepts envisioned, based on the low-intensity conflictexperiences in Algeria and Berlin. But the Chemical Corpsformulated its employment doctrine in a vacuum; other militarybranches never furnished end-user requirements.