It was created by the British army officer Captain William H. Livens, Royal Engineers. Later, in World War II he worked on petroleum warfare weapons such as the flame fougasse and various other flame throwing weapons.
Prior to the invention of the Livens Projector, chemical weapons had been delivered either by "cloud attacks" or chemical-filled shells fired from howitzers. Cloud attacks were made by burying gas filled cylinder tanks just beyond the parapet of the attacker's trenches, and then opening valves on the tanks when the wind was right. This allowed a significant amount of gas to be released, but there was a significant danger that the wind would change and the gas would drift back over the attacker's own troops. Chemical shells were much easier to direct at the enemy, but could not deliver nearly as much gas as could be contained in a cylinder tank.
The Livens Projector was designed to combine the advantages of both gas cylinders and shells by firing an actual cylinder tank at the enemy.
The Livens Projector was a simple 8 inch metal pipe that was set in a ground at a 45 degree angle. A 14 kilogram drum of gas was shot out with an electrically initiated charge, with a range of about 1500 meters. The drum would then blast open thanks to a second charge, and would cover the area with gas. It was a cheap and extremely effective chemical weapon.
- Palazzo, 2002, p103.
- LeFebure, 1926, p60
- Banks, 1946, p33
- LeFebure, 1926, p48-63
- United State Dept. of War, 1942
- LeFebure, 1926, p60
- Banks, Sir Donald. Flame Over Britain. Sampson Low, Marston and Co, 1946.
- LeFebure, Victor. The Riddle of the Rhine; chemical strategy in peace and war. The Chemical Foundation, Inc, 1923
- Palazzo, Albert. Seeking Victory on the Western Front: The British Army and Chemical Warfare in World War I. University of Nebraska Press, 2002 ISBN 0-8032-8774-7.
- United States Department of War. (1942) Livens Projector M1 TM 3-325
- Several barrels are displayed at Sanctuary Wood Museum Hill 62 Zillebeke, Belgium
Bernard Plumier : Link to his web page which has details and photograph Direct link to photograph
- Worldscapes : Chemical & Biological Warfare
- Royal Engineers Museum, First World War - Livens Projector