Concentrated in a big forest covering an area of four square miles is one of the greatest stocks of poison gas in Germany, wrote a Daily Telegraph special Correspondent with 21st Army Group on August 6, 1945. He tells of the fate intended for it, and of the chambers where it was housed.
I have just been to see it before it disappears from the world. The deadly cargo, carried in ships manned entirely by Germans, is to be thrown into the sea. There, 200 fathoms below the surface, near the Channel Islands, it may remain intact for as many years. It is all contained in shells and three-quarter-inch steel takes a long time to corrode. Even on land the poison has had been strictly isolated.
Dotted all over the forest which I visited were strongly built storage sheds, very commodious and all above ground. Many of them had thick concrete walls and mounds of earth with vegetation on them. Trees were growing from this protective cover to provide impenetrable camouflage. To guard against storms, each hut had a lightning conductor system of a most elaborate kind.
In each of these sheds thousands upon thousands of gas-filled shells were lying horizontally in wooden frames. There is ample evidence of Hitler's preparations to use gas. An important extension had just been completed. This was a tremendously strong structure consisting of a poison has filling station with ten enormous containers, each capable of holding many thousands of gallons.
Brand-new shell-filling apparatus, each vital part being distinctively coloured to guard against any dangerous mistake, was ready for operation in a long well-ventilated room. The numerous vacuum filling machines, with empty shells in position below, left one in no doubt of the high speed at which the work could be done. The plant looked as if it had just failed to come into use because of the war's end.
Allied troops arrived to find a goods train ready to leave with supplies of the newest poison has. This caused considerably excitement among our chemists. At once they probed the secret. They convinced themselves that the new has was exactly the same as one they evolved experimentally two years ago. It had been rejected because it was inferior to kinds already in manufacture.