Casualty Report

As a result of the increased artillery fire, gas attacks, and frequent raids on the Ansauville front, the casualties between 18 January and 31 March, said the division history, were 6 officers and 137 men killed, 19 officers and 384 men wounded, and 3 men captured, for a total of 549 battle casualties. Gas cases were not distinguished.98

G - 3 records, which begin on 2 February, reveal a total of 385 casualties at Ansauville: 79 officers and men killed, 160 wounded, 123 gassed, and 23 accidentally wounded, and indicate that the greater number of the killed and wounded occurred during enemy or division raids, as a result of enemy snipers, or were occasioned by a series of unaccountable gun bursts among the batteries.99

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A postwar report, based on then available DGO records, showed 14 officers and 113 men gassed in the Ansauville sector.100 Greater either than the G - 3 total of 123 gas casualties or that of the DGO is the total of 221 officers and men evacuated as gas cases and 9 gas deaths, found by an actual count of gas casualties in the narrative. It is estimated that 163 or 70 percent of these gas casualties were artillerymen or service troops with the artillery.101

Still higher gas casualties appear in an undated document apparently prepared by the Division Surgeon, which reports a total of 327 gas cases admitted to the gas hospital at Menil la Tour, as well as 13 gas deaths, between 21 February and 4 April:102

Week ending Admissions Deaths
28 Feb 64 6
7 Mar 43 0
13 Mar 104 0
21 Mar 67 0
28 Mar 49 2
4 Apr 0 5
Total 327 13

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To this total of 340 should be added the 59 cases reported in this chart on 28 February as remaining in the hospital from gas attacks prior to that date. The resulting total of 399 represents a considerable increase over the 230 gas casualties found in the narrative. Furthermore, it is probably a minimum total since there is no medical record of gas cases between 18 January, when the division came into the line, and 28 February, except those remaining in the field gas hospital on the latter date.

Questionable, in comparison with the data of the division history, is the Division Surgeon's report of total casualties at Ansauville of 5 officers and 51 men killed, 12 officers and 138 men wounded, and 14 officers and 509 men gassed, for a total of 729 casualties. Yet that total of 729 (56 killed, 673 gassed and wounded) approximates the 674 gassed and wounded (323 gassed, 351 wounded) reported elsewhere by the Division Surgeon.103 In view of the report tabulating weekly admissions of gas casualties, there seems little doubt that gas cases exceeded wound cases at Ansauville.

For purposes of computation this study will accept 56 as the number killed, 351 (though unquestionably excessive) as the wounded, and the fairly certain figure of 399 as the number gassed. The enemy fired a minimum total of 67,190 artillery shells against the 1st Division, of which approximately 13,900 were gas shells. Although in one heavy bombardment followed by a raid, two-thirds of the killed and wounded resulted from the

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raid (narrative, p. 28), it is assumed here that all casualties were from artillery and not small arms fire. Thus the 407 killed and wounded would represent one casualty for every 130 HE shells, and the 399 gas casualties would represent one casualty for every 35 gas shells.

Seldom again during the war would so many gas shells be required to produce a gas casualty, least of all in the 1st Division.

More remarkable is a computation for the 78th Reserve Division, based on its admitted casualties of 30 killed and 175 wounded [and gassed?] in the month of March.104 That month the 1st Division artillery alone fired approximately 48,700 HE rounds, and with attached French artillery, fired 7,673 gas shells into the enemy sector. Assuming the "wounded" to include gas casualties, and none were small arms wounds, 275 shells were required for each German casualty.

One other computation, with probably more accurate data, may be made that for the projector attack of 26 February (narrative, pp. 22, 24). Of 900 projectors prepared, 849 were fired in two salvos. Since 80 were filled with high explosive, it mar be assumed that at least 780 of the phosgene-filled projectors were launched to achieve the crash concentration. No allowance will be made for the "half" of the bombs later reported by a prisoner to have fallen inside the German lines. 1st Division gas casualties as a result of this attack were 77 hospitalized and 8 dead, or 37 percent of the men exposed. They represent one casualty for every nine projector shells,

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a considerably higher ratio than had been achieved with artillery shells. This is not remarkable considering the proportion of gas to weight of vehicle in projector and artillery gas shells (approximately 50 percent and 10 percent respectively), but it is remarkable when compared with the effectiveness of artillery gas shells in later gas attacks, where but four or five shells were sufficient to produce a casualty.