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Canadians' Piss


Less than a year of fighting into WWI, the Western front was at a stalemate. The armies of France, the British Empire and Germany were unable to break through one another's trench defenses. The Germans, not a people exactly fond of "calling it a tie," decided to use a new weapon of war to break the standoff: Chlorine gas. They deployed the gas on the French territorial troops, and "the line quickly broke." Well, that's how the Germans phrased it, anyway.


Jolly-fun-time Germans, not scary Buchenwald Germans.

A more accurate way to put it would be to say that 6,000 soldiers died in the first 10 minutes of the battle from asphyxiation, many more were blinded and a four-mile gap of destruction was carved into the Allied lines. The only downside to this tactic was that the Germans had to wait to advance into that gap, seeing as how Chapter 1 of The Art of War is "Don't Run Into Your Own Poison, Fellas."


Chapter 2 is "Owe Your Artillerymen Money."

The Weirdness:

While the Germans waited for the gas to disperse, Canadian forces were sent in to fill the gap. A medical officer (there is some debate as to which one, exactly) saw the greenish cloud approaching and identified the weapon. Then, thinking quickly, he spread word to the troops, advising them to urinate in cloths and hold them up to their faces.


"Dulce et decorum est, eh buddy?"

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Whoever he was, we feel we can unequivocally state at this point that the medical officer in question was either the most beloved man on the battlefield or the most feared, because the troops quickly obeyed and basically pissed all over their own faces at just his say-so. And that's what saved all of their lives: The urea in urine reacted with the chlorine, effectively neutralizing the deadly gas. The Canadians were able to hold the Germans back until British reinforcements arrived. And though they suffered nearly 50 percent casualties defending Ypres, they successfully held the Germans off with the power of pee.




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