Why Germany did not use sarin gas in World War II

NY Times:

Riddle of Why Hitler Didn’t Use Sarin Gas Remains Unsolved

Theories abound as to why the deadly nerve agent was not used during World War II, which could have dealt a major blow to the Allies, who didn’t know about the lethal arms.
Sarin and other chemical warfare gasses were used in World War I to try to break a stalemate caused by the machinery of warfare overwhelming traditional tactics.  Light and heavy cavalry were no longer effective at breaking through enemy defenses because machine guns and repeating rifles would devastate the charge of men on horses.  This had been happening since the US Civil War and the war in the Crimean with Russia.  The devastation was immortalized by a Britsh poet and his "Charge of the Light Brigade."

Late in World War I more effective means for breaking the stalemate were developed with the introduction of the tank which replaced heavy cavalry and airplanes which replaced light cavalry.  Between the wars, Germany developed the effective use of combined arms operations utilizing more modern tanks, aircraft and rapidly moving mechanized units.  The blitzkrieg was far more effective than sarin gas would ever be.  Using gas would have only slowed the German attack and endangered its own troops.

Another consideration the Germans had to deal with was the primitive nature of their logistics in WW II.  They were still using horse drawn carts for supplying their troops and had no way to protect the animals from gas attacks.

Which brings us to why Syria is using sarin.  The Syrian government is again facing a stalemate and its military has been so depleted that it cannot effectively use combined arms operations to overwhelm its foes.  It is down to a few aircraft and a cobbled together Shia infantry provided by Iran and Hezballah.  It probably sees sarin as its best chance of breaking the will of its opponents.  The Russians are probably OK with it as their best chance of keeping their satrapy in Syria.


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