Grenades Hailey Bigford

A grenade is a bomb normally thrown by hand. Many types of grenades exist, but most common hand grenades are made to explode on contact or after a certain amount of time. Grenadiers were soldiers who specialized in grenades. They are activated by either shooing it if it's a rifle grenade, or pulling the small metal pin and throwing it. There are many types of grenades. Such as: Fragmentation, stick, concussion, anti-tank, stun, sting, smoke, riot control, incendiary, and Molotov cocktail. Although there may be different types, they all have three things in common. First, it is hallowed out and stuffed with explosives, gun powder, or a chemical filler. Secondly, all grenades have a shell whether thick or thin and overt time, the materials have ranged from pottery to plastic. Third, there is a small hole drilled in the top used for stuffing a fuse or pin in.

Here is an example of some grenades used in WWI.

With the invention of numerous weapons in WWI, the use of grenades date back from over a hundred years. All the way to the fifteenth century to be exact. Grenade is a word taken from the French word for pomegranate. It reminded people of the seeds in the fruit and compared the powder to the seeds. Grenades were regarded as practical for siege operations since the Napoleonic time, but the Germans didn't come to attention until the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905.

As with most things at the start of the war August 1914, Germans were ahead in grenade production. Even when the war started, Germans had 70,000 hand grenades 106,000 rifle grenades. Later on in 1916, the British had started making 25,000 grenades a week, and luckily the French and Russian had been more prepared. Not all soldiers had grenades though. As stated above, grenadiers are the one who handled a huge portion of these grenades. The grenadiers' job was to run down the trenches and throw grenades in every dugout they seen. Bombing groups grew in number and frequency as the war progressed, and although the Germans used them a lot, America used them less due to supply shortages. The British also used bomb squads and it consisted of nine men: an NCO, two throwers, two carriers, two bayonet men, and two spares.

This is an example of a trench.

The men of all sides preferred time fused over impact grenades in case they nudged it in the trench. But, some people like the British ran out of grenades and had to make "homemade" or "jam-tin" ones. They were made with a jam tin and was stuffed with gun cotton or dynamite, along with scrap metal. They placed a fuse through the top and every inch of fuse gave 1.25 delay. Other types of homemade grenades were varied and shown at different fronts.

This is an example of jam-tin grenades.

Because of this development, grenade development took off -especially in the western front- and ad-hoc models dwindled as newer and better versions came out. Rifle grenades were simply put on a rod down the barrel, or instead, put in a cup and letting the blank cartridge's blast launch it. Such grenades were deemed inaccurate, so the Germans stopped using them but the British and French persisted. Even though the British made them, together they caused the distance -which was about 180 to 200 meters- to double to an impressive 400 meters using fun grenades. The Germans started reusing them in 1918.

This is an example of a rod rifle grenade.

Over the four year war, the Germans constructed many models of grenades .These included the Stielhandgranate (stick bomb), the Diskushandgranate (disc grenade), Eierhandgranate (hand grenade aka the egg grenade), and Kugelhandgranate (ball grenade, which included the grenade referred to by the British as the 'pineapple grenade'). Because the Germans disliked the impact grenades as much as the allies, all but the disc grenade had a time fuse. The stick grenade and egg grenade was very popular among soldiers. Many soldiers carried stick grenades in satchels around their necks, and many used the egg grenade for its distance which added up to 50 yards. Germans also came up with chemical grenades which blew poison into the air on impact.

This is an example of the grenades explained above.

One of the best grenades made during the war and is still used today is the Mills grenade. It was a main contributor to the "Best Grenade War in History", and is also known as No. 5. Weighing 1.25 pounds, its exterior was made so that when it detonated, it exploded into fragments. In order for it to work, you had to pull the pin, hold the trigger, and throw. Soldiers were taught to throw the grenade like cricket bowling, and there were classes on how to do so. The bomb was upgraded in 1917, with a shellac casing to help it from deterioration and a stronger base plug for rifle use. Over the course of the war, an average of 70 million Mill bombs were thrown, and a combination of 35 million other grenades were thrown for the allies as well.

This is an example of the interior of a mills bomb today.

Although they may not have been the best grenades, their creation left a big impact on armories around the world today. The grenade was rebuilt and remade ever since. It's a modest portion of many tactics of all nations and its legacy will not be forgotten. The grenade may be the best technical advancement of WWI.


Created with images by asecondhandconjecture - "explosion" • Michele Hubacek - "Grenade close ups" • otisarchives2 - "Reeve 039884"

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