Subject: Re: How to make sarin
From: email@example.com (Yogi Shan)
Date: Jul 21 1995
I tried to post yesterday, but the article seems
to have "gone south".
firstname.lastname@example.org (timoth3y) wrote:
**> Aum used a special method in which
**> phosphorus trichloride, instead of a
**> chloric chemical, was mixed with chlorine,
**> to produce sarin at the compound's
**> Satian No. 7 building.
Well, I don't know what you mean by "special"
method. The info you gave in your posting is
consistent with the DMHP Process (DiMethyl
Hydrogen Phosphite) used as a production
process in the early '50s by the U.S., and
later superceded by other processes (the
five others were HTM-Pyro, HTM-Cat, U.S. Salt,
APC/MAPC, and ASP Processes).
The Soviets also, no doubt, used the same
DMHP Process, as this was the one invented
and used by the Germans, and seized by U.S.
and Soviet intelligence after Germany fell
There is nothing special about this process,
and it is, in fact, the first one you will
come across if you do a cursory scan of
open source material. Looking in the
"Merck Index" gives you a BIOS [British
Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee]
report by Schrader that outlines the process.
The obsolete five-step DMHP Process begins with
an esterification of phosphorus trichloride,
conversion to the intermediate methyl
phosphonic dichloride ("dichlor" to those
in the know), and then final conversion
I don't know what you mean by a "chloric
chemical", and I don't see what relevance
whether this was used by the "Russian
military" has to anything other than
the ability of police and journalists to distort
technical data into oblivion.
**> Aum took the trouble to generate phosphorus
**> pentachloride by mixing chlorine with
**> phosphorus trichloride, instead of
**> a commonly used chloric chemical, such as
**> thionyl chloride, or less
**> commonly used phosphorus pentachloride.
Step three of the DMHP Process involves
chlorination of "pyromix" (the product
of Step 2) with Cl2 + PCl3 to form dichlor.
Sounds like they were just following the recipe.
Not very imaginative bunch.
Of course Cl2 + PCl3 react to form phosphorus
**> Police have now concluded that Aum started
**> with phosphorus trichloride, made an
**> intermediate substance by mixing it with methanol
Step 1 of DMHP Process.
**> and methyl iodide,
Methyl iodide is not used. Methyl halides can be
used in later part of the U.S. Salt/TIPP Processes
for sarin. Methyl *chloride* is a by-product of
Step 1 along with HCl, but these are waste products,
unless used in later steps, as in some methods.
**> In the next stage, Aum added sodium fluoride
**> and isopropyl alcohol in that order to
**> methylphosphon[ic] dichloride, the sources said
Steps 4 & 5 of the DMHP Process.
**> is exactly the way the Russian military
**> manufactures sarin as a chemical weapon.
Irrelevant for reasons stated above.
**> My questions are: would this process result
**> in a highly pure sarin,
The APC/MAPC (Aluminum Phosphorus Chloride &
Modified APC) Processes were reputedly better
(Reesor (1960)) on a lab-scale at least.
**> and does it require sophisticated facilities?
Sophisticated for an amateur. Not so sophisticated
for a chemist.
Much easier to breach the steel hull of a railway
tankcar loaded with chlorine gas. *Now* we're talking
"Well, if there's anyone that can look around
this demented slaughterhouse of a world we live
in, and tell me that man is a noble creature,
believe me, *that* man is full of Bullshit!"
-- Howard Beal
Subject: Re: How to make sarin
From: email@example.com (Yogi Shan)
Date: Jul 30 1995
firstname.lastname@example.org (timoth3y) wrote:
**> I haven't been able to find much out about
**> sarin. My English sources in Japan are
**> limited, and I haven't had any luck with
**> WAIS searches.
Not surprising, since this is all old technology,
mostly developed by the U.S., Canadians, and
SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute) has put out the best open source
stuff in this field. There's a monograph on
the U.S. Binary Chemical Warfare Programme by
J.P.P.Robinson (SIPRI's principle researcher
in the field) of the University of Sussex
that is quite good.
Other than that, my information comes from
searching the Chem. Abs. and the chemical
and patent literature, and numerous Freedom
of Information Act requests and law suits
I filed a decade ago.
Interestingly, if you search for dichlor -- methyl
phosphonic dichloride, (MeP(O)Cl2) -- in Chem.
Abs.,you won't find any references at all until
around the late '50s or so. You *will*
however find other alkyl phosphonic dichlorides.
**> ...does the process described use gaseous
**> chlorine? Another chemist was saying that
**> he doubted that Aum had the facilities to
**> handle this.
I reviewed my files, and this is what I came
The "auxillery chlorination" performed in Step
3 of the DMHP Process for Sarin may be performed
using a variety of chlorinating agents:
Cl2 + PCl3, PCl5, phosgene, or thionyl chloride.
The Cl2 + PCl3 was the one originally used by
the U.S. (taken from the German method, because,
of course, a proven method is the path of least
resistance) at the Phosphate Development Works
in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
It is basically just an in situ preparation
of PCl5. Phosgene and thionyl chloride were
later improvements in the process, and patents
were issued and later declassified in the
To answer the question, yes, it uses gaseous
chlorine. I don't see this as being any special
problem to handle on a lab scale.
**> ...he would be surprised if Aum could have
**> produced anything more than sarin of
**> about 5% purity.
Well, the lower the purity, the easier it is
to make, since you omit purification steps,
but with enough motivation, money, and
suitable equipment, it's quite feasible to far
exceed this purity level, particularly on a lab-scale.
I did a quick cigarette pack calculation, and
the way I see it, without purifying intermediates
one can get a sarin purity of 25% to up to 50%
without problem. Purifying the products of
the various steps would give you 80-90% purity,
without problem on a lab-scale, at least.
**> There are reports that the pipes in the
**> chemical factory leaked at the weld-joints
**> although they had received a fluorine treatment
**> designed to prevent this.
My education and experience is lab-scale chem, not
chemical engineering. Perhaps someone else can comment.
Leaking pipes would be no good, obviously. The Muscle
Shoals plant had this problem, too. Of course this
was a plant with a production rate on the order of
CW factory piping is typically corrosion-resistant alloys,
and double-walled for safety. "Fluorine treatment"
sounds to me like Teflon-lined, which sounds reasonable.
"Brave new bombs, brave new wars, brave new
hates! The beautifully purposeless process
of society's suicide."
-- Charly Gordon, on Man's future
Subject: Re: Secret Weapons of WWII
From: email@example.com (Carey Sublette)
Date: Oct 15 1996
In article <Dz39xu.3Kw@ranger.daytonoh.ncr.com>, "Larry J. Elmore"
> From "Larry J. Elmore" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Ironically, the reason the Germans thought we had discovered equivalent
> nerve agents was the tight security clampdown on research related to DDT
> (which *was* considered a 'secret weapon' of a sort, given its efficiency
> in killing bugs and limiting the spread of insect-borne contagion) which is
> chemically related. When they saw articles on this family of chemicals
> disappear from the journals, the Germans assumed the worst.
This story is sort of a WWII urban legend. It is has been often repeated,
and contains true statements, but as presented it is false (or at least
DDT is a chlorinated hydrocarbon, basically unrelated to the
organophosphates to which the nerve agents belong. DDT research per se had
nothing to do with the classification of organophosphate chemistry. The
organophosphates were of interest as pesticides, but the allies were
primarily pursuing them as possible war agents. In particular, the allies
synthesized and evaluated as a possible war agent the chemical DFP
(diisopropyl fluorophosphonate), also called isoflurophate (it is used
medically as an ocular agent today). The only difference between DFP and
the dramatically more toxic sarin is that sarin substitutes a methyl group
for one of the isopropyl groups. A slight change in synthesis procedure
would have produced sarin! It is remarkable that the allies got so close
to one of the most effective CW agents ever discovered, but didn't notice
In short- the Germans were not mistaken to believe the allies were hot on
the trail of nerve agents. It was reasonable for them to believe that the
allies would discover them.
Also, if the Germans had started using nerve agents (thus revealing their
existence and effectiveness in a dramatic fashion) it would have only
taken a matter of months for the allies to rush the into production. I
believe specific threats (or promises) were made by the allies that if CW
agents were used, the allies would begin chemical bombing. The Germans
were indeed well advised not to use nerve gas.
Subject: Allied Sarin (Was: Re: Secret Weapons of WWII
From:"yogi (y.) shan" <email@example.com>
Date: Oct 22 1996
I agree with Carey that DDT has nothing to do
with organophosphorus G-agents like sarin, however
much of the rest of his post I cordially dispute.
>The only difference between DFP and
>the dramatically more toxic sarin is
>that sarin substitutes a methyl group
>for one of the isopropyl groups.
Methyl for one of the isopropylOXY groups, which
is a bit different. ===
Having mixed alkyl/alkoxy substituents on the
phosphorus is a significant advance from the
relatively simple esterification that the British
used to produce the dialkoxy phosphonate.
In studying this area, it is important to remember
the commanding lead in technology (chemistry, as
well as industry, conventional armaments, and
rockets) possessed by the Germans. Their lead in
chemistry is well documented, and preceded the
Nazi period, a reign lasting from the mid-19th
Century until World War 2 devastated them).
Bayer, Merck, I.G. Farben, (not to mention
Krupp in conventional armaments mention their
rocket technology) provided the Germans with a
technological lead in chemistry (and many other
areas) that dwarfed anything that the Americans
and especially the British possessed.
[A digression on WWII British firearms technology:
as far as the Brits go, it is perhaps instructive to
examine the STEN, which was a cheap, low-tech
version of the Lanchester, which was an exact,
completely stolen copy of Hugo Schmeisser's
obsolete [German] MP28 design.]
Organophosphorus agents, the first synthetic
narcotic (methadone), synthetic rubber -- you
name it, the Germans were world leaders in
chemical technology, and together with their
other industrial and technological capabilities
were well prepared to attempt world conquest.
In hind sight, it may appear that sarin is not
much more complicated than DFP, but the extensive
data I have seen indicates that the German G-agent
work caught the Allies completely unprepared.
The first synthesis of DFP was in 1932, by a
German, Lange. The British only published their
DFP synthesis in '46. Whether this is a delay
due to security considerations is unknownst to
me. But based on other evidence, I doubt it:
there exists no declassified phosphorus
chemistry documents in this area earlier than
1944 that I have heard of.
Schrader discovered sarin in '38. The Allies
discovered it when the Soviets found (and took
home) the German factory making it; the
Americans & British when Schrader and company
surrendered to them.
This is detailed in a declassified BIOS
Intelligence report referenced in the "Merck
Index." which goes over the DMHP Process for
sarin that Schrader discovered, with the crucial
pyrolysis and extra esterification step that
the Allies missed and would have required
to get beyond DFP.
I wouldn't characterize these extra steps
as a mere "slight change", in that there
is no published record of anyone else
doing it. Or more importantly, the Sheldrake
Hypothesis notwithstanding, thinking to do
Since post-war development work by the
Americans is based totally on the German
DMHP process (4 other production processes
and numerous alternate lab scale process were
only developed starting in 1949), it tends to
confirm that the British and Americans were
merely aping the Germans, as opposed to
Zeffert (U.S., 1960) confirms that the DMHP
Process work was all post-war. There are other
Additionally, the Mussle Shoals, Alabama plant
(the PDW, Phosphate Development Works) using
this DMHP Process (the first 3 steps actually,
with the other two performed at the Rocky
Mountain Arsenal plant), never really met
expectations, as the Americans were never
able to work out the bugs for high throughput
or operate the plant at capacity (Hylton, 1972).
>if the Germans had started using nerve agents...
>it would have only taken a matter of months for
>the allies to rush the into production.
Based in part on the evidence referred to above,
I disagree strongly with this statement.
Resources are not unlimited during time of war, the
knowledge level and technology were simply not there,
and on top of that, even if you have the reaction
laid out for you, scale-up from lab to bench-scale
to factory is a non-trivial, expensive and time-consuming
procedure. I think you're over-simplifying again.
>In short- the Germans were not mistaken to believe
>the allies were hot on the trail of nerve agents.
Disagree, as stated above.
>It was reasonable for them to believe that the
>allies would discover [G-agents].
Agree, because it's always an error to under-
estimate your opponent. In this case, however,
they over-estimated. Knowing that there were
ample stocks of mustard for retaliatory strikes
possibly helped a great deal in making them tilt
the balance to over-estimation.
>...if CW agents were used, the allies would begin
>chemical bombing. The Germans were indeed well
>advised not to use nerve gas.
These statements I can live with.
"Say not 'This is the truth', but 'So
it seems to me to be, as I now see the
things I think I see.'"
-- inscription above entrance,
German Naval Officers' School,
Subject: Re: Allied Sarin (Was: Re: Secret Weapons of WWII
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carey Sublette)
Date: Oct 24 1996
In article <Dzor2t.email@example.com>, "yogi (y.) shan"
> From "yogi (y.) shan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> I agree with Carey that DDT has nothing to do
> with organophosphorus G-agents like sarin, however
> much of the rest of his post I cordially dispute.
> >The only difference between DFP and
> >the dramatically more toxic sarin is
> >that sarin substitutes a methyl group
> >for one of the isopropyl groups.
> Methyl for one of the isopropylOXY groups, which
> is a bit different. ===
Ooops... that is right of course, a methyl substituted for an isopropoxy,
not isopropyl, group. Post in haste, repent at leisure...
The story has two "urban legend" components which I was addressing.
The first - the spurious connection of DDT to nerve agent - we can all
agree is absurd under even casual inspection.
The second is actually the main thrust of the story which remains even if
reference to DDT is deleted - that Germany wrongly believed that the
Allies were pursuing nerve agents. The fact is, as I outline below,
Germany CORRECTLY believed that the Allies were pursuing nerve agents.
Further the German technical assessment that the U.S. had the technical
means and industrial capacity to produce nerve agents in bulk was also
correct. Now if they had assessed that the U.S. was actually STOCKPILING
these agents, that would have been wrong. But I have never heard of anyone
in Germany making that assessment.
> In studying this area, it is important to remember
> the commanding lead in technology (chemistry, as
> well as industry, conventional armaments, and
> rockets) possessed by the Germans. Their lead in
> chemistry is well documented, and preceded the
> Nazi period, a reign lasting from the mid-19th
> Century until World War 2 devastated them).
> Bayer, Merck, I.G. Farben, (not to mention
> Krupp in conventional armaments mention their
> rocket technology) provided the Germans with a
> technological lead in chemistry (and many other
> areas) that dwarfed anything that the Americans
> and especially the British possessed.
... unrelated digression deleted...
> Organophosphorus agents, the first synthetic
> narcotic (methadone), synthetic rubber -- you
> name it, the Germans were world leaders in
> chemical technology, and together with their
> other industrial and technological capabilities
> were well prepared to attempt world conquest.
> In hind sight, it may appear that sarin is not
> much more complicated than DFP, but the extensive
> data I have seen indicates that the German G-agent
> work caught the Allies completely unprepared.
> The first synthesis of DFP was in 1932, by a
> German, Lange. The British only published their
> DFP synthesis in '46. Whether this is a delay
> due to security considerations is unknownst to
> me. But based on other evidence, I doubt it:
> there exists no declassified phosphorus
> chemistry documents in this area earlier than
> 1944 that I have heard of.
So, your are claiming the allies did no work on nerve agents during the war?
If this is indeed what you are saying, then I must confess that I am a bit
puzzled about how you could have missed running across information to the
contrary. Information about wartime allied work has been readily available
since at least 1969. In popularly avialable work for example, _A Survey of
Chemical and Biological Warfare by Cookson and Nottingham, published in
1969, mentions the B.C. Saunders work that began in the UK in 1941. Also
the multi-volume _The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare_ by
SIPRI, published in 1972, breifly describes, and give bibliographical
references, to wartime work.
The allied wartime work on organophosphorus nerve poisons is nicely
summarized in _Chemical Warfare Agents, And Related Chemical Problems_,
Vol. 1, Parts I-II, Summary Technical Report of Division 9, NDRC; Office
of Scientific Research and Development, Washington, DC, 1946. It was
downgraded to unclassified on 18 March 1969. It contains a bibliography of
several dozen US and UK wartime reports on these agents. In addition, you
should might try to obtain NDRC (National Defense Research Committee)
Division 9 monthly progress reports.
The Summary Report describes the results of research in synthesizing and
evaluating around 200 different organophosphorus compounds. These included
both the dialkoxy and dialkyl phosphoryl fluoride series. The work began
in Britain in 1941 and was subsequently carried there and at NRDC Division
9 in the U.S. Now if they had gotten around to investigating the alkyl
alkoxy phosphoryl fluorides - a logical step - they might well have
discovered sarin. True, you cannot simply substitute one reagent for
another to do this (in being brief in the my original post I probably
understated the significance of the difference), but it was certainly
within the capability of allied chemists to do it.
Interest in organophosphorus nerve poisons was sufficiently strong for the
Chemical Warfare Service to contract with the Monsanto Phosphate Division
to build a pilot plant for DFP (US designation PF-3). Only 535 lb of agent
was produced in test runs though, since it was later decided not to
stockpile it as a standardized agent (the British operated a smaller scale
batch process pilot at Sutton Oak).
Regarding your lengthy exposition on the merits of the German chemical
industry - true, Germany had the most advanced chemical industry in the
world at the time (organic chemistry was basically a German invention in
the 19th century after all). But please do not sell the U.S. chemical
industry short. During the 1920s and 1930s the U.S. chemical industry was
developing rapidly, and by 1940, it was the largest in the world. In some
important areas, like polymer chemistry, it had actually taken the lead.
Also you under a misapprehension. When I referred to the allies rushing
nerve agents into production if Germany had initiated their use, I was not
referring to sarin. The Germans did not succeed in starting industrial
scale production of sarin during the war (most reports say that they
produced only 500 kg or so in a pilot plant).
The agent they would have used would have been tabun. The synthesis of
tabun (a rather direct two step process) is quite a bit easier than the
5-step DMHP sarin (in particular the troublesome fluorination needed by
any process is avoided). True, the allies would have had to develop a
synthesis to do this, and then set up a production system - but I see no
reason why this couldn't be done in substantially less than a year. They
were already familiar with related compounds - the diamidophosphoryl
fluorides. In fact they had already explored the first step in tabun
sythesis extensively as a result of this work - the reaction of phosphoryl
chloride with dialkylamines. The difference is that they went on to
fluorinate the intermediary, rather than the use the much easier EtOH +
NaCN reaction step which produces tabun. If the existence of, and
usefulness, of tabun had been brought forcefully to allied attention I do
not see why the labs already working with these compounds should have
taken more than a few weeks to discover this second synthesis step.
Setting up production of a known agent is much easier and quicker than
discovering the compound, screening the compound, evaluating its
properties for suitability as an agent - THEN setting up production.
I certainly don't want to understate the difficulties in scaling
laboratory processes up to commercial scale - but in a crash wartime
effort inefficiencies and costs can be tolerated that wouldn't fly in a
civilian commercial process. In a Manhattan-project spirited approach,
construction of full scale production facilities of the first step of
tabun synthesis could have been started immediately, before even the
second synthesis step had been confirmed.
> >if the Germans had started using nerve agents...
> >it would have only taken a matter of months for
> >the allies to rush the into production.
> Based in part on the evidence referred to above,
> I disagree strongly with this statement.
> Resources are not unlimited during time of war, the
> knowledge level and technology were simply not there,
> and on top of that, even if you have the reaction
> laid out for you, scale-up from lab to bench-scale
> to factory is a non-trivial, expensive and time-consuming
> procedure. I think you're over-simplifying again.
> >In short- the Germans were not mistaken to believe
> >the allies were hot on the trail of nerve agents.
> Disagree, as stated above.
With one correction, and minor clarifications, I stand by my original
Incidentally, the NDRC Summary Report also has some interesting discussion
of initial allied studies of tabun and sarin (at that time based only on
preliminary intelligence reports).
P.S. Also in defense of the wartime U.S. chemical industry, I would like
to point out such notable achievements as
* the development of successful techniques for handling large amounts of
strong fluorinating agents (using PTFE - teflon- and impermeable nickle
coatings), something the Germans failed at;
* the successful operation of the bismuth phosphate plutonium separation
and purification process, a one-billion fold scale-up done in a single
step, the largest chemical process scaleup in history.
From: email@example.com (Roger Fleming)
Subject: Re: Secret Weapons of WWII
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 17:38:07 GMT
firstname.lastname@example.org (Rusty Whitman) wrote:
> email@example.com (Carey Sublette) writes:
> > Also, if the Germans had started using nerve agents (thus revealing their
> > existence and effectiveness in a dramatic fashion) it would have only
> > taken a matter of months for the allies to rush the into production. I
There are two serious problems with this theory (apart from the
technological gap, see Yogi Shan's reasonably comprehensive "Allied
First, it simply wasn't that easy to get a full scale nerve agent plant
going. It took the Germans several years. Realize that at the time, this
was the most toxic material that had ever been mass-produced - most toxic
by orders of magnitude. All sorts of tiny fiddling details became
critically important. Accounts of the difficulties the Germans faced have
been published (alas, I cannot recall the book off the top of my head) and
are quite fascinating. For example, there simply wasn't a way to make a
serviceable protective suit for workers which was completely impervious to
vapours. The early attempts - which were thought to be "air tight" - were
lethally leaky if a worker was splashed with a good sized glob of liquid
Second, a truly effective use of these agents could have won the war in
much less than a matter of months. As one simple example, in Normandy, the
Germans had 14 tonnes of Tabun stockpiled. This wasn't because they were
expecting an invasion there (they weren't, remember); it was just a
typical theatre stockpile, available to retaliate with "in case" the
Allies used CW. 14 tonnes of Tabun, appropriately deployed, could have
annihilated the entire D-Day invasion force in an hour.
> > believe specific threats (or promises) were made by the allies that if CW
> > agents were used, the allies would begin chemical bombing. The Germans
> > were indeed well advised not to use nerve gas.
> In addition to the nerve agents there were several other chemical
> agents under development. Both the U.K. and the U.S. had produced
See Yogi Shan's post. The Allies did _not_ have nerve agent technology; we
did not even suspect that it existed. _All_ references to Allied CW
capability in WWII were to air-delivered aerosolized mustards; that was
the most effective CW agent we had in actual production.
> ricin (known as Agent W) and developed a delivery method using 500lb
> bombs to disperse it in an aerosol form. Pure ricin D has an LD of
> about 300 micrograms by inhalation. By comparison VX has an LD of 400
You miss a couple of critical factors when quoting these LD50s. First,
ricin is only toxic by inhalation or ingestion; nerve agents are also
toxic percutaneously. WWII era NBCD gear included a full face mask with
absorptive/mechanical filter, and a partial cape to protect from direct
splashes of mustard. Civvy gear was generally just the mask. It would
provide good protection against a (filterable, non-volatile) aerosol of
ricin, but almost none against nerve agents. Secondly, the toxic principle
of ricin is a protein (albumin, IIRC), and is denatured by all manner of
things, including exposure to UV light; it is not terribly effective for
contaminating areas. Tabun is.
>Only about a ton was produced during the war but it would
> have been a simple matter to start up full production.
The ease of scaling up to full-scale production from laboratory processes
often seems to be underestimated. For a start, how many tonnes of castor
beans were harvested to yield that 1 ton of ricin? Would 100,000 tonnes be
in the ball park?
> One wonders what might have happened had both sides not had the
> experience of CW use in WWI to restrain them.
It is impossible to say what would have happened, but, without an
immediate armistice from the Allies, the results would certainly have been
It has been claimed that Hitler's personal experience with CW in WWI was
an important factor in Germany's decision not to use it in WWII. OTOH,
experience with aerial bombarment in WWI lead to an absolute dread of it
between the wars; it was regarded very nearly as nuclear war is today.
Nevertheless, it was used.
(Aside: for a slightly different view of CW in WWI, read J. B. S.
Haldane's "Callinicus". He "had the dubious distinction of being wounded
with both British and German shrapnel, and with mustard gas. There was not
much difference between the British and German shrapnel; both were far
worse than the gas".)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bertil Jonell)
Subject: Re: A note on Sarin gas.....
Date: 11 Jun 1998 22:01:38 GMT
In article <01bd9363$236f8b40$4e289cd1@default>,
steven j forsberg <SFORSBERG@prodigy.net> wrote:
>Recall the Tokyo subway attack with Sarin --- hundreds of un-masked people
>trapped in a subway car but only 7 deaths versus hundreds of sick/injured
>(though naturally the dispersion paramaters would be different than the
>proposed Vietnam case). This is not as atypical for Sarin as people might
Supposedly (source: Janes Intelligence Review) improperly manufactured
nerve gas breaks down on its own relatively rapidly (days/weeks) because
of impurities left after the manufacturing process. While it is well known
how to make them, knowledge about how to remove the impurities is only
gained by trial & error, and closely held by those who have it.
One way of getting around this is to only manufacture the gas when
it is needed. Stockpiling is right out. Iraq is alleged to have done
this during their war against Iran, and the JIR article argued that
this was one of the reasons Iraq didn't use gas during DS. When they
started filling shells the logistical structure for moving the shells
to Kuwait was already gone.
The Tokyo attack is said to have used cans with water-sarin mix
in which (nitreous?) acid was poured to heat the mix and make the sarin
evaporate faster. Besides the possibility of the sarin being partially
decomposed already, it is possible that the water/acid mix also did things
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