Die Gasmaske and gas protection

With the horrors of gas used as weapon in the great war, the german soldier carried gas protection equipment troughout the war. The fear of gas weapons was always present. It was considered used (Churchil proposed to gas norwegian cities) but was never used by any sides of world war 2. The terrorbalance was present and working.

The development of gas as weapon generated the development of countermeasures and the main item was die gasmaske. The first was the M1924 Gasmaske used in the reichsweer period- It was separated betwen Filterbuchse36 and the mask with a hose and was carried in a bag with strap. In 1930 the first of the familiar cannisters was introduced. It featured the well known "rifled" cannister and is separated from the m30 and m38 with its high lid and different spare lens compartment.

The gasmask consisted of the mask, filter, cannister and carriyng straps. One loop went over the shoulder and the short hook on the bottom of the cannister was attached to the belt of the wearer. In addition the wearer had "gasplanentasche" often attached to the main strap of the canister acc to regulations. Often these were wrapped around the canister. 

The two main canisters

The masks Model30 and Model38


Chronological walktrough of gasmask & cannisters

Gas sheet/gasplanen mit tasche

The main types of cannisters

Thw two most encountered behalter fur die gasmaske is the short and long version. Special canisters exists, experimental of rubber and beutels for fallschirmjaeger, but this page does not go this deep. After the reichwehr cannisters the short cannisters were introduced around 1935/36 (ref needed). 

The short cannister of 1936 and the new elongated cannister pictured to show the change. It is plausible the longer canister was introduced to facilitate the new rubber M38 gasmask

The early short cannisters was always watertight an featured an aluminium insert to keep the gasmask in place. Later with resource management the aluminium insert was removed. On the later cannisters a marking underneatht the bottom can be found, "D" for "dicht" wich indicates the cannister was watertight. The first short cannister featured a lid clamp fastened to the lid, later, after 1937 the more common springloaded notch was introduced.

Pictures showing the two types of locking latches used on the canisters. The right picture shows latch introduced after 1937.

Inside the lid there was a compartment containing the "klarscheiben". First it was ordinary it one set, but later it was doublet. The klarscheiben was a insert to put on the lenses of the mask itself. Its purpose was to create a void between the klarscheiben and the glass to prevent fogging. Picture below showing short cannisters and their compartment for, and klarscheiben.

Left is an early canister dated 1936.  The height was appx 25cm. The dates can be found inside the on the klarscheiben compartment lid. The mask in this cannister is dated 1935. An early waa195 eagle stamp is found on the lid inside. It is marked OSN maker in a triangle. Until about 1942 the cannisters had leather supports on the straps around the fastening to the cannister. These are often worn off. As most field equipment the use of leather was reduced to save resources.  The cannisters were watertight and featured an aluminium insert. In the bottom as seen on below picture there was a cloth for cleaning fastened.

Another 36 produced cannister. It has the same locking latch as the one above but differs in some details on the straps. Straps are often replaced, changed or attached postwar.  Often found are the names of the owner on the lid. The production mark is hard to read, but seems to be "FBA 1936". The cannister lid is painted with "GR.II 122" and the name "W-Lehmann" stamped with ink.

Picture showing a kriegsmarine used gascanister. It is the year 1937 and the most significant change is the locking atch for the lid. It is now a snapon, springloaded latch. It stayed this way to the end in Berlin. The canister & mask was taken from a uboat pen by a relative after the liberation. It has original paint and straps and is a good reference. Se gasmask section for the KM mask inside.

Around 1938 the cannisters were ordered produced longer at the same time as the introduction of the M38 gasmaske. The elongated cannisters were used for both m30 and m38, but the shorter cannisters given to replacement and auxilirary forces (as the ziv lufschutz gasmask shows). Thi features leather reniforcement tabs and the newer waa387 acceptance stamp. This cannister is dated 1939, same as the mask inside. Often they do not match and the KM set on this page shows that was normal (it was a war suvenir). A short canister to the left for comparison. 

A 1941 cannister marked "Ae/Wf" probably. Not all canisters are in good shape and this is at the other end. It contains an M38 gasmask. It is painted with Lett/1469. Be aware som markings are postwar made, by collectors or other countries armed forces. The Norwegians used these gasmask & cannisters for several years. It can clearly be identified by the well known army green of Norway.  The cloth in the bottom is often missing. This cannister is original ww2 but not in prime condition. Found with a Model38 gasmaske from 1941 in it.

1942 dated canister. Inside of lid is marked "kgb" 42 in a triangle. "frn42" marking is found on the closing latch. Interestingly it stil has the leather supports on the straps wich apparently was discontinued in 1942. Inside was a model 30 "bmw" 1941 mask when found. The canister is marked "D" on the underside, menaing it was watertight, "Dicht"

1943 dated "frn" marked cannister. Note the maschine written nametag in the lid.

Skriv om maskene her

The 1935 gasmask marked "A2B" on the snout. Features the first modell of snout/Filter attachment.

Gasmask early and almost identical to the one above. It has a "fur den civilen lufschutz filter" attached. Often the older models of cannisters & mask was used behind the front. The glasses in this mask seems to be dated 1939.

Gasmask belonging to the kriegsmarine canister. It features a metal plug for communication on the right side. It is marked on the inside, top of the glasses with eagle an "M". Interestingly both the filter and the straps are marked with the same name "Brambora".

Gasmask from 1939 in the 1939 canister, It is marked on the snout with maker "N". Interesting it has a "D" marking on the inside at the same place as the KM mask. Picture showing the change in the filter insert snout. From the above models. The canisters was made to fit the M38, but the rubberized cloth is still in production.

1941 dated Model 38 gasmask. It is entirely made out of rubber wich is fastened to the snout with a metal band. The straps for wearing the mask has also changed. Simplified production. Often these masks are stiff in the rubber, a pictire on a sales webppage doesnt show the condition of the rubber. Production marked "N " i an triangle.The number on the front "2" indicates the size wich was 1,2 or 3.

model 30 gasmaske with 2 dates. Marked "BMW41" on the filter insert snout and 1941 inside the glasses. 

Model 38 gasmask dated 1943 marked with maker mark "byd". It is with blue hardware, this indicated it was made of non magnetic metal. For use with compasses and other equipment wich is affetcted by magnetism

Die gasplanen und tasche

Tasche fur die gasplanen is not a rare or expensive item to aquire and several versions exist. For some reason the gasplanen is much rarer, pouches are often encountered without it. The re-enactor marked produces planen fur tasche and collectors are often faced with original pouches containing reproduction gasplanen.

Oppanol gas sheet from 1944 in linen pouch. It is made of Oppanol and marked for use in tropical or arctic environments. A similiar Oppanol was grey for use in temperate climat and marked " 80 OP/ark

Die gasplane was a protective antigas sheet. IOt measured appx 2x1,2m. It was made of "Oppanol" or a kind of rubberized paper.  The above one is a late war pouch with sheet. After 1942 the pouches were mostly produced out of linen, prior ones were made of rubberized canvas. The one above is marked "PJP" for p√•roducer and 80op(tp.arK) indicating use in tropical and arctic climate.

The Nylon sheets often seen in light  brown was marked "oben" on the outer fold. Nylon sheets dark brown, blasck and blue doesnt have marking"oben". Under a little intro to types:

Waxed paper       80 squares folding, dyed  green or black with surface like "frotte" bedsheets

Oppanol(pictured above) Tan for tropivcal marked 80 Op (TP/Ark)

Oppanol grey marked "80 op/ark". Oppanol are heavy and thick

Nylon light brown same dimension as above, marked "oben" with big red letters on outside

Nylon Light or dark brown marked "80  LY WE(TP)" on reinforced corner

Nylon Blue or black are marked "80Ly" in yellow corner with reinforced nylon

Fakes, postwar and reproductions

Above is a "Lux" marked sheetfrom allegedly from 1940 folded 9 times. It was bought from a fellow collector breaking the golden rule of knowledge prior aquisition. The pouch is autentic period but the sheet is a reproduction. The black surface pictured in the middle are notr known to exist and there were holes easily seen as modern made, It was also put in a muddy puddly to make it look older. It does not fit any of the above descriptions. Inspecting a complete pouch the sheet needs to be taken out and inspected. Also known fakes are marked "D.W" or with the word wien printed somewhere on the label. These has been made for years for the re-enactor marked and often used with original pouches. Some combine original pouches with repro sheets to fetch higher prices. The afterwar sheets are similar to the black above but have a significant metal re-enforcement on one of the corners.