Italian "Carabinieri Reali" military police wearing gas masks.
We covered artillery support options in a previous dev blog, and the Chemical Regiment follows the same format with five choices, with later options having increasingly long cooldowns. The chemical warfare options have a slightly longer cooldown than the artillery and aviation call-ins, because gas and smoke remain on the battlefield for longer.
There are two smoke options available. The most basic Chemical Regiment call-in is a two shell small smoke barrage which will provide a small cloud of smoke that will stay in place for 80 seconds. This is most useful to blind specific enemy strongpoints or heavy weapons. Drop it in front of a machine gun or a bunker’s firing slot and you’ll effectively take them out of the fight for more than a minute!
Italian troops advancing under the cover of smoke.
The other smoke option is number three in the list of Chemical Regiment call-ins, and deploys a creeping smoke barrage. Ten shells in a row from the target, using the same aiming system as seen with the creeping artillery barrage. This smoke also lasts 80 seconds, so the advantage to this choice is that you can create a proper smokescreen across a wide area. When you need to cross open ground or could use some cover to destroy enemy obstacles, the creeping smoke barrage will give you the concealment you need.
While smoke must not be underestimated, we know that gas barrages are what comes to mind first when people think of the Chemical Regiment. There are three gas barrage options, each using a different form of gas. In reality of course there were a lot more than three types of gas, but for gameplay purposes we’ve labeled our three gas options based on some of the most common / notorious gasses used.
The second option in the chemical call-in list is the tear gas Xylyl bromide. First used in January 1915 by the Germans against the Russians (some say the French used it in 1914 against the Germans, but that was likely a somewhat different tear gas) it failed utterly due to cold conditions and wind blowing it back towards the German lines. Despite another failure near Nieuwpoort in Belgium, it was easy to manufacture and thus remained in use. You’ll also see it described in game as ‘White Cross’ - this is based on a German designation for any gas that affected eyes and mucous membranes. In Isonzo two shells are deployed, and the gas lingers for 80 seconds, the same duration as smoke. A gas mask provides complete protection.
Italian soldier using a rudimentary gas mask.
Classified as a ‘Green Cross’ gas in that it affected the lungs, phosgene was originally developed in 1812. It was an important part of the chemical industry during the 19th century, and so relatively easy for warring nations to produce. The first major use during the war was by the French in 1915, while the first use on the Italian front was 29 June 1916 when the Austro-Hungarians deployed it against Italian positions on Monte San Michele. It was often mixed with chlorine, because while phosgene was more potent than chlorine, it didn’t spread as well - a problem mitigated in a chlorine mix. In Isonzo the phosgene gas call-in deploys 4 shells leaving gas clouds that remain for 95 seconds. It has a stronger effect than the xylyl gas, and will incapacitate soldiers more quickly if they are not wearing their gas mask. Again, wearing a mask will completely protect you.
Austrians used phosgene gas on Monte San Michele in 1916.
Developed into a military form fairly late into the war (first used by the Germans at Ypres in 1917), mustard gas is so named because it has a strong odor resembling mustard plants or garlic. The gas itself is colorless, but tends to take on the brown-yellow color when mixed with other elements to be a more effective weapon. A particularly toxic compound, mustard gas causes burns to skin, with prolonged exposure leading to the equivalent of second or even third degree burns. Worse, a gas mask alone won’t provide full protection, since it can penetrate cotton and wool to burn covered skin.
Gas spreading after shells land.
In Isonzo, mustard gas is the fifth tier Chemical Regiment call-in, where it is deployed in a five shell barrage. The gas remains for 110 seconds. Wearing a gas mask will protect you (at least it can be considered to keep you able to fight despite any longer term effects) but otherwise mustard gas will incapacitate you very quickly indeed. You’ll have to drop what you’re doing and don a mask immediately!
Isonzo Intel complete
That’s all for this week! We have one more dev blog coming in the future about the Aviation Corps call-in options, and of course much more about the rest of the game. See you then, soldiers!