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Gas Mask Wz.24 popularly known as R.S.C. from the first letters of the names of three constructors - Robert, Saunier and Cantot. It was the first gas mask produced in Poland in the interwar period under French licence, modeled on the A.R.S. mask. These masks were produced in the Military Gas Equipment Factory in Radom. In the interwar period until 1939 this mask, apart from the wz. 32 mask, was the basic anti-chemical protection measure used to Polish Military units.
Masks of this type were produced until 1939.
Gas mask wz.24 consists of a face part with a harness and an absorber. The set also includes a metal cylindrical can for carrying the mask, spare glasses and glass powder. The facial area is anatomically shaped and made of two layers. The outer layer is a cotton fabric gummed on the inside of a protective color. The inner layer is also made of cotton fabric. It is impregnated with a mixture of linseed oil and talc. Eyeglass lenses are made in two variants - glass or celluloid (hydrocellulose, cellophane). They are framed with aluminum rings. These rings, in turn, are attached to a rubber frame glued between both layers of the face piece and additionally stitched. The headband of the mask is made of elastic bands (two frontal, two parietal, occipital and clasp). In addition, the mask is equipped with an inelastic strap that allows it to be hung around the neck during a gas emergency.
The wz.24 gas masks were produced in three sizes:
large - designation "D",
medium - marked "S",
small - designation "M".
In addition to the can, these markings are located on the face of the mask. Below is the manufacturer's signature (W.W.S.P. - Military Factory of Antigas Equipment or W.S.P. - Factory of Antigas Equipment) and the year of production.
The filter has a shape similar to a cylinder (it is a short truncated cone with a very small opening angle). The absorber housing is made of metal sheet. Its outer surface is painted with a protective color, while the inner surface is painted with anti-rust varnish. The main part of the canister cartridge is activated charcoal. It has the form of irregular grains of various sizes. The charcoal is sandwiched between two thin layers of cotton wool. The cotton wool is covered with a dense wire mesh adjacent to the perforated bottom of the housing. A cap screwed on the upper part of the absorber and wax paper glued to the lower part are used as transport protection for the absorber.
For this reason, there are several variants that differ in smaller or larger details:
- R.S.C. Produced since 1925. With a small canister. Transported in a 20 cm long metal can (so-called short, French).
- R.S.C. Produced since 1928. It has a modified headband that allows adjustment and a better fit to the head.
- R.S.C. Produced since 1931. It is carried in a new 23 cm long metal box (the so-called Polish long box) closed with a clamp.
- R.S.C./dł. With large canister and flexible tube connecting the face-piece to the canister. Carried in a canvas bag. The set also included a spare small absorber and an elbow-shaped connector to connect the face part to the absorber.
The transport box has the shape of a cylinder. It is made of steel sheet. The bottom and cover are flat. The cylindrical part has ribs stiffening the can. Three rectangular wire frames are hinged to the cylindrical part. Two are located on the top and are used to attach a webbing carrying strap with an adjustable length. The third frame is at the bottom. A short belt with a hole is attached to it. This strap attaches to a button on a uniform jacket during a gas emergency. The outer and inner surfaces of the box are painted with a protective color. The mask instruction manual is glued to the inside of the cover. On the other hand, on the top of the cover is a stamp with the size of the mask. Cans come in two varieties - short and long. The short can is 20 cm long. It is a can of the French pattern. The long can is 23 cm long. It is a Polish can. A feature which additionally distinguishes it is the lid clamp.
Factories for the production of masks
The first manufacturer was the company "PROTEKTA" Sp. z o.o. in Radom. These masks were of poor quality. This resulted in the order being canceled in February 1927 by the Ministry of Military Affairs. As a result, the company "PROTEKTA" collapsed. In 1928, the production of wz.24 gas masks was resumed. This time their producer was the Military Factory of Antigas Equipment in Radom (W.W.S.P).
After the introduction of the new Wz.32, the R.S.C. was gradually withdrawn from the line units of the Polish Army and transferred to paramilitary organizations. They were included in the equipment of the League of Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Gas Defense (LOPP), transformed from the League of State Anti-Aircraft Defense. LOPP masks can be recognized by additional stamping. However, despite the modernization of the Polish Army, the wz.24 masks were commonly used in cavalry, artillery and second-line units during the September campaign.