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Report of the commander in chief of forces, West Front, to the chief of the General Staff of the Red Army concerning the employment by the enemy of a CW agent during a battle for the populated point Bolokhovka

For comrade SHAPOSHNIKOV

On 20.11.41, during street battles in Bolokhovka (17 km southeast of Tula), a group of commanders and soldiers of the 1322d Rifle Regiment, 413d Rifle Division, led by regiment commander Lieutenant Colonel Korneev and regiment chief of staff Captain Slepets, were taking cover in the basement of a stone building.

After a number of attempts to drive these men from the basement, at approximately 8:00 p.m. on 21.11 the enemy threw a pot of toxic smoke into the basement through a hole in the floor.

Of the 60 persons in the cellar, 46 put on their gas masks and 14 personnel did not have gas masks, resulting in their receiving lung injuries.

A group of five men led by the chief of staff of 1322nd Rifle Regiment, Captain Slepets, were delivered to the division hospital of 413rd Rifle Division with signs of injury. Another group of nine men were delivered to the 133rd Medical Battalion. The commander of 1322nd Rifle Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Korneev, was killed upon exiting the basement.

Altogether 14 men received lung injuries. All commanders and soldiers were taken under observation and control of doctors.

By means of medical inspection and questioning of the injured, a special commission established that a majority of the injured suffered from:

a) general weakness, shortness of breath, head congestion;

b) dry, painful coughing;

c) irritation of breathing passages; two soldiers exhibited swelling of the lungs. The general self-described condition of the injured was satisfactory. Despite the fact that the injured were taken to treatment facilities on 21.11, weak, tear-inducing odors emanated from their clothing and equipment.

CONCLUSION:

1. As a result of medical inspection of the injured and the conclusions of the doctors, the employment by the enemy of CW agent from the pot of toxic smoke must be considered as proved fact.

2. Because Bolokhovka is now in enemy hands, it is not possible to establish the presence of deadly traces of the substance.

3. During their exit from the cellar, none of the victims took samples of the smoke pot with them and it is impossible to determine the nature of the CW agent.

By signs of poisoning and indicators, the CW agent belongs to the category of irritants.


COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF FORCES OF WEST FRONT, ARMY GENERAL
/ZHUKOV/

MEMBER OF WEST FRONT MILITARY COUNCIL
/BULGANIN/


See also Order concerning the elimination of deficiencies in the chemical defense of the forces.



Translated by:
James F. Gebhardt
Sources:
TsAMO, collection 208, index 2524, item 15, sheets 34-5. True copy.

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