Germany planned bioattacks in WWII, documents reveal

Germany developed extensive plans to use chemical and biological attacks in its invasion of Britain during World War II, newly released documents reveal.

Documents from the British National Archives support the claim that the Nazi’s considered adapting aircraft to spray gas, foot-and-mouth disease or even shells filled with anthrax as possibilities, according to the BBC.

Attacks on troops using gas were viewed as likely, but the documents also predicted attacks on the British public that would cause a panic that would then block roads and prevent defending troops from reaching the coast.

Intelligence also indicated that the Nazi’s hoped to accuse Britain of using gas in order to justify its own attacks.

Evidence from witnesses and observers details the mass movement of chemicals from factories to the areas where German troops were stationed, according to the BBC. A Swedish army officer reported that he saw gas canisters ready to be loaded onto aircraft at German air bases, and a prisoner of war said that his squadron tested gas sprayers near Vienna.

The newly released papers, dated from 1939 to 1941, also mention the use of biological weaponry.

"The germs of foot-and-mouth disease are reputed to have been sprayed, experimentally, from aircraft," one report said, according to the BBC. "Tests are said to have been carried out with shells infected with anthrax... they are said to result in 95 percent mortality, death occurring in 10-12 days."

British experts were expecting an initial surprise bombardment of up to 2,500 airborne gas sorties during the first days of the invasion.

The planned German invasion was postponed in September 1940 and then canceled in January 1941 after the Luftwaffe was defeated by the Royal Air Force in what came to be known as the Battle of Britain. The Germans considered air superiority to be key in the event of a planned invasion.