DoD Recovered Chemical Warfare Material (RCWM) Program

Chemical Agents and RCWM

Chemical agents are toxic compounds that may be determined to be present in munitions and certain materials of interest. Blister agents (e.g., mustard, lewisite) are the chemical agents most likely to be encountered. Chemical weapons include several types of munitions (e.g., rockets, land mines, projectiles, bombs) that may contain different chemical agent (e.g., mustard, phosgene). (See Figure 1)

Figure 1: Common Chemical Agents

Name

Military Code

Chemical Abstract Service Registry Number

Action

State

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) Link

 Blister Agents

 
 
 
 

Lewisite

L

541-25-3

Rapid

Liquid

ToxFAQs™ for Blister Agents: Lewisite (L), Mustard-Lewisite Mixture (HL).

Mustard Lewisite

HL

-

Delayed

Liquid

Sulfur mustard

H/HD

505-60-2

Delayed

Liquid

ToxFAQs™ for Blister Agents: Sulfur Mustard Agent H/HD, Sulfur Mustard Agent HT

Mustard-T mixture

HT

-

Delayed

Liquid

Nitrogen Mustards

HN-1

538-07-8

Delayed

Liquid

ToxFAQs™ for Blister Agents: HN-1, HN-2, HN-3 (Nitrogen Mustards)

HN-2

51-75-2

HN-3

555-77-1

 Blood Agents

 

 

 

 

Cyanogen Chloride

CK

506-77-4

Rapid

Gas

ToxFAQs™ for Cyanide

Hydrogen Cyanide

AC

74-90-8

Rapid

Gas

 Choking Agents

 

 

 

 

Phosgene

CG

75-44-5

Delayed

Gas

ToxFAQs™ for Phosgene

 Nerve Agents

 

 

 

 

Sarin

GB

107-44-8

Very Rapid

Liquid

ToxFAQs™ for Nerve Agents (GA, GB, GD, VX)

Tabun

GA

77-81-6

Very Rapid

Liquid

0-Ethyl S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methyl phosphonothiolate

VX

50782-69-9

Rapid

Liquid

This is not a list of all chemical agents or a list of all chemicals subject to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

The United States ceased open-air testing of lethal, unitary chemical agents in 1969. Disposal of chemical warfare materiel (CWM) (i.e., chemical munitions and bulk containers of chemical agents) by burial is believed to have also ended at that time. In 1970, DoD ceased sea disposal of CWM. (The RCWM Program does not address sea-disposed CWM, unless such is recovered and poses an unacceptable risk to the public or critical assets) 

RCWM found at burial sites and testing ranges dates back as far as 1915, when the U.S. Army began studying chemical warfare following the use of chlorine gas by the Imperial German Army at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium. Training with chemical agent identification sets (CAIS) began shortly after World War I and most kits were likely consumed in training. The use of CAIS largely ceased in the early 1970s with remaining stores being recalled to Rocky Mountain Arsenal in the late 1970s for destruction.Additional information on Chemical Munitions is provided in the Old Chemical Weapons and Related Materiel Reference Guide.

Figure 2 lists examples of the types of CAIS that may be recovered as the military investigates munitions response sites.

Figure 3 lists examples of the types of CWM that may be recovered as the military investigates munitions response sites. Please note, the information in both tables should not be used to make identification of any unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded military munitions (DMM), or CAIS encountered by the public.

Figure 2: Chemical Agent Identification Sets (CAIS) Typically Recovered at CWM Sites

Name

Description

Fill

Dimensions

Total Weight

Agent Weight

Illustration

CAIS, Toxic Gas Set, M1 (K941)

This CAIS consists of 24 screw top, glass bottles, each containing 3½ ounces of pure mustard (H or HD); packed 4 to a metal can within a metal shipping tube. Used WWII through the 1950s, and obsoleted in 1971.

 

H

HD

 

Bottles are 5 x 2 inch (approx.)

 

Total of 84 ounces of agent per kit.

 

CAIS, Toxic Gas Set, M1 (K941)

CAIS, War Gas Identification Set, M1 (K951/K952)

This CAIS includes 48 1.4-ounce glass ampoules packed in cardboard tubes, with 12 tubes to a sealed can within a metal shipping tube. These CAIS were shipped as both instructional (K952) and detonating (K951). The detonating kits shipped with an accessory kit containing blasting caps, a reel of wire and a blasting machine. Used from the 1930s through the late 1950s, and obsoleted in 1971.

 

HD (5% in chloroform)

L (5% in chloroform)

PS (50% in chloroform)

CG

 

Ampules are 7.5 x 1 inch (approx.)

 

Total fluid in the kit was about 67.2 ounces, of which, 26 ounces was agent per set.

CAIS, War Gas Identification Set, M1 (K951/K952)

CAIS, War Gas Identification Set, AN-M1A1 (K953/K954)

This CAIS includes 48 1.4-ounce glass ampoules packed in cardboard tubes, with 12 tubes to a sealed can within a metal shipping tube. The kit contained 8 tubes of each type. Used during the Korean Conflict Era, and obsoleted in 1971.

HD (5% in chloroform)

HN-1 (10% in chloroform)

L (5% in chloroform)

CG

CK

GA-simulant

 

Ampules are 7.5 x 1 inch (approx.)

 

Total fluid in the kit was about 67.2 ounces, of which, 23.8 ounces was agent

 

CAIS, War Gas Identification

 

Figure 3: Examples of Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel

Name

Description

Fill

Dimensions

Total Weight

Agent Weight

Illustration

Mortar, 8-inch, Livens

Projectile, MK1, MK2, MK2A1

MK1 made from lap-welded steel.

 

MK2, MK2A1 made from seamless drawn steel pipe; varied in assembly.

Blister

Choking

Explosive

Incendiary

Smoke

22 x 8 inches

 

60-61.5 pounds (lbs) gross weight

 

28-30 lbs fill

Livens Projectile, MK1, MK2, MK2A1

4-inch Stokes Mortar, MI

MK1 lap-welded or hot-drawn steel body. Separate endplates wider than body sealed the ends.

Blister

Choking

Explosive

Incendiary

Riot Control

Smoke

17.5-19.6 x 4.2 inch

 

24 lbs gross

 

6-9 lbs fill

4-inch Stokes Mortar

4.2-Inch Mortar, M1, M1A1, M2, M2A1

One-piece, forged-steel body, integral base and walls, casing swaged to form the ogive, a point detonating fuze with an integral burster, and a tail assembly.

Blister

Choking

Explosive

Incendiary

Riot control

Smoke

21 x 4.2 inch

 

22-26 lbs gross

 

5-8 lbs fill

4.2-Inch Mortar, M1, M2, M2A1

75 millimeters (mm) Projectile, MK2

Steel body containing the liquid; and an adapter and booster casing (gaine tube) screwed into the nose containing the bursting charge.

Blister

Choking

Riot control

Smoke

11 x 3 inch

 

11-13 lbs gross

 

1-2 lbs fill

75mm Projectile, MK2

105mm Projectile, M60 (4E1)

Forged steel body with threaded steel nose adapter for fill seal, boat-tail base, gilding metal rotating band, and streamlined ogive.

Blister

Smoke

19 x 4 inches

 

32-43 lbs gross

 

2.7-4.6 lbs fill

105mm Projectile, M60

155mm Projectile, M104

Hollow steel body with threaded adapter for central burster tube, and rotating band near base.

Blister

Smoke

27 x 6 inches

 

94-100 lbs

 

10-17 lbs

155mm Projectile, M104

155mm Projectile, M110

Forged steel body with full-length burster, metal rotating band near the base; threaded nose for lifting plug or fuze.

Blister

Riot Control

Smoke

28 x 6 inches

 

92.5-99.4 lbs gross

 

9.7 lbs-16.9 lbs fill

155mm Projectile, M110

100-pound Bomb, M47, M47A1, M47A2, M47A4

Thin-skinned bomb with a burster well extending its length. The bomb was equipped with box fins.

Blister

Incendiary

Smoke

40 (body) x 8 inches

 

60-131 lbs gross

 

40-103 lbs fill

100-pound Bomb, M47, M47A2

M70

Bomb

Fin-stabilized, cylindrical bomb with ogive nose and conical tail. Equipped with press-fit burster well running axially the length of the bomb.

Blister

Smoke

40 (body) x 8 inches

 

122-128 lbs

 

57-61 lbs

M70 Bomb

The CWM shown in this table may be similar to unused CWM declared under the CWC and destroyed under the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program; however, encounters at a CWM site require an item- and fact-specific evaluation to determine applicability of the CWC.