Hand grenade

Production of Hand grenade

Production of Hand grenade

A hand grenade (Army Group) is – as the name suggests – a hand on a target to throwing grenade. Grenades are filled with an explosive charge and provided with a time or impact fuse metal or plastic hollow body. To increase the fragmentation effect, the wall of the hollow body can be provided with predetermined breaking point or even more metal parts (e.g. balls) included. Some models act by the use of chemical weapons or incendiary.

Hand grenades are known since the Middle Ages in the older form of the grenade with Luntenzündung and were used as a weapon of the Grenadier s the end of the 17th Century’s used by almost all European armies. Later, hand grenades, especially with percussion fuses were used. In the newer form of eggs or stick grenade with lever igniter Abreißzünder or they have been part of the First World War the arsenal of all armies.


Past grenades were mostly made of metal, ceramic or glass, and contained several. Opponent depleting substances as poisons, corrosive liquids, sharp objects and various flammable substances.

First evidence of the use of the weapon dated from the Song DynastyChina. In the West, it was first applied detectable during the English Glorious Revolution. In the American FortTiconderogaspherical iron hand grenades were in the 18th Century found. After the mid-19th S century were the Crimean War and American Civil War hand grenades used intensively. In the Russo-Japanese War 1904/05 they came for the last time before the First World War more widely used.

Since 1914, the weapon was in the grave war during World War II for use. There the attacker the throw was possible without lifting the body from the cover. So you could avoid falling into the scope of enemy shooters or by grenades. At the beginning of the war had only the German and the Turkish army have sufficient quantities of hand grenades. The British Army had taken out their bombs in 1870 and now had to resort to the makeshift home-made grenades at the front handle (“potato masher”) introduce 1915 forced the Mills grenade.

Well-known models from the Second World War are the U.S. Mk 2 (“pineapple”), as well as the Soviet F1, from the Vietnam War, the American M61 and M67.


The hand grenade is used in tactical use normally to combat soldiers to the distance of about 40 meters, i.e. the achievable through human assets maximum throw distance. To use it is where the opponent, such as in urban warfare, with grave campaigns as well as attacks on bunkers, has a limited ability to move and to fight from cover targets, without having to expose through their own handguns used must. The explosion of a hand grenade in a confined space is usually fatal to all persons located in the area of effect.

Offensive and defensive use

When using weapons it requires different tactical situations different relations between throw and Splitter radius.
Offensive grenades have a relatively small, located below the throw danger zone and can therefore also be used without the cover of the aggressor. They are used for hacking into enemy positions, are usually equipped with only a thin metal shell or plastic housing and have virtually no fragmentation. They are restricted to the blast effect of their explosives.

Defensive frag grenades thrown by contrast, out of cover, such as from or into a ditch. The splitter radius is larger than comparable offensive grenades and larger than the throwing range, which means the pitcher has to go under cover. They are either provided with a thick coat or splinter the plastic housing contains additional splinter body. By postponing of rings can splinter offensive grenades (if it is provided) be turned into defensive.

Hand grenades are also often used for making improvised explosive device n.

Technical design

The essential elements of a hand grenade are:

  • The explosive filling.
  • Additional harmful elements such as splitters, toxins or incendiary.
  • The premium or time bombs.


The explosive components of a hand grenade were always the most far-reaching and explosive materials that were historically available. The conventional gunpowder, these were usually nitroglycerin, rare trinitrotoluene (TNT), tetryl, and PETN. Today’s standard filling consists of Composition B, a mixture of RDX and TNT. The principle used as hand grenades is Molotov cocktail, however, have flammable liquids as a filling. The secondary active constituents of the hand grenade are to achieve an optimal effect radius radially outside the explosive core.

Ignition mechanisms

Regardless of the mode of action are smechanismus grenades in relation to the detonation in Charge igniting (formerly also called percussion detonator), and time-divided brilliant weapons.

Igniting surcharge grenades explode the weapon at the ground contact through a variety of mechanisms. This technique has the advantage that the opponent can dodge the weapon nor hurl it back, and the risk of a rollback is excluded in sloping terrain.

Structure and function of the elements of a hand grenade

Reference to the schematic representation of the structure of the various components Stielhandgranate a typical hand grenade can be seen. First, the soldiers immediately before use of the grenade inside the grenade detonator head introduced to mention. This is to prevent accidental firings with explosive effect. A grenade was detonated without detonator, so stopped the chemical reaction without applying the necessary energy for ignition of the main charge. It was also the danger that would be caused by a fire or extreme heat development in their own ranks, decreased. Even when a grenade of this type would be exposed without detonator high temperatures (> 600° C), would run the explosive reaction of the main charge from delayed and less severe. This would give the soldiers the time necessary to take counter-measures to move away or so to extinguish the fire. Even with modern shells of this type and hand grenades is the insertion of an element common reaction before use.

Other security measures include lead and lead-sheathed pearl elements as the igniter. The lead bead, which divides the rip cord should prevent duds. Was the Stielhandgranate high temperatures (above 327 ° C, the melting point of lead) exposure, it was likely that the entire firing mechanism burned. This would not be detected from the outside, at the most about the resistance of the tensile cord when triggered. In this case, the bomb would have been done already but sharp. For safety reasons, the soldier had such a grenade so must discard anyway. The area in which this hand grenade was then, would have been jeopardized by the possibility of spontaneous ignition. So it was better to weed out duds from the outset.
Was the melted lead sheath, the ignition by friction energy was no longer possible. This should grenades, the temperatures were suspended shortly before the awakening of the ignition, preventing the dreaded ‘Schwelzündung’. At temperatures around 350° C, the primer had possibly already responded ‘still’, and then burned after ignition irregular and delayed (smoldering, therefore Schwelzündung) from. Such or similar security measures in virtually are all modern grenades use.

Special attention should find the time stamp. With him, it was possible to determine a time period between ignition and explosion of the hand grenade and also vary. However, this has generally been done in production. The common soldier, it was usually not possible to set the time stamp. The delay time up to the explosion of the grenade in the timestamp could both by means of the used reaction mixture (reaction rate) as well as the distribution and the amount of the reaction mixture can be adjusted. Timestamps in different variations necessarily all use hand grenades. In the exemplary model of a time stamp and the ignition unit is integrated. By jerky pulling the rip cord of the lead sheath was pulled over the grater hat. This resulted from the friction energy, similar to a commercial match for kindling of the primer in the delay tube. The reaction energy is thereby increased: from the burning of the grater Hütchens, about the use of the delay tube up to the explosion of the detonator, which caused the main charge.

Types of hand grenades

Middle Ages

TheByzantine Empiremade of ceramic hand grenades were filled with Greek fire. Arab ceramic grenades were filled with naphtha. Chinese soldiers filled gunpowder in her ceramic hand grenades.

Hand grenades of the American Civil War

The hand grenades that time had mostly percussion fuse (there were even older spherical models with a fuse).

Ketchum was the grenade (Ketchum’s Improved Hand Grenade) of the northern states in different sizes (1, 3 and 5 pounds). On oval iron body was behind a square wooden rod with stabilizing fins or tail as an accordion-like folded cardboard, so after throwing the grenade with the fuse opened ahead. The firing pin at its peak had a disc in order to increase the reliability of the ignition when hitting soft or irregular surfaces.

The Rain-grenade Confederate corresponded essentially the Ketchum Grenade, but had at the top of the fuze not flat. As tail was also a simple strip of cloth used.

The spherical Excelsior grenade was of the actual explosive and an outer hollow sphere, the two halves would be screwed together. The inner ball had on its outer side 14 primers, which gave her a hedgehog-like appearance. Upon impact the grenade these primers were banging on the outer edge and the grenade exploded. Through this all-arrangement of the grenade detonator needed no tail, making them smaller and easier. However, these shells were also very sensitive, and many exploded accidentally before the throw.


The stick grenade (commonly known because of their appearance by the Allies and “potato masher”) shall consist of a stem with a screwed it warhead. The handle extends the lever of the limb, allowing greater distance casting. Typically the time fuse is housed in the handle. At the lower end of the shaft is located, which is usually protected by a removable cap for the friction igniter Abreißschnur with the attached bead.

In its most common form it was first used in World War I, but then had another at the warhead attached handle, allowing a simple and relatively safe fastening his belt.

Even in World War II were mainly from the German side stick grenades used. These grenades had to handle no more and so the soldiers had the grenade often loosely clamped under her belt or put it in the boot.

The model 24 was constructed as described above. In March 1944 came the simplified model 43 to the troops. This Stielhandgranate corresponded in size and impact of the earlier grenade, although the igniter was now at the top. This production was simple, since the handle is no longer needed to be hollowed out and allows for the grenade could now be thrown without handle. However, the detonator was not as well protected against external influences.

For both models, there were attachable splinter coats of metal (reinforcement shell of cast iron) to increase the fragmentation effect.

Primarily for use against bunkers and other fortifications, the blast effect was through the so-called “Double Impact” reinforced. Here, by means of wire, six more warheads without detonators attached to the warhead of the grenade (this field is produced makeshift to be confused with the Swiss, mass-produced variant).

Until the 1990s, stick grenades were used under the name HG-43 inthe Swiss army. It was constructed as described above, and contained380gof TNT. As an additional element of the head contained the HG 43 two further thread: an external thread at the upper end and a subsequent matching internal thread at the lower, handle-side end. So you could as many grenades heads to a so-called extended cargo including screw together with barbed wire obstacles. Alternatively, there was a supplementary charge of1.5kgof TNT are available, in which you could screw in the HG-head with the external thread. Such so-called Double Impact had a bigger effect. Extended by up to three charges garnet heads can still be thrown by hand. Longer versions were usually mounted and detonated remotely using extended string. On the external thread of the HG-43 for defensive purposes could also be a splinter jacket screwed.

Another fast field assembled weapon was another variant of the extended charge. It consisted of several at a distance of about15cmfrom each other attached to the explosive charge en Stielhandgranate that such B. were mounted on a board with a wire. This was then mainly pushed under a barbed-wire fence and then detonated from a safe distance. The explosion and the considerable fragmentation of the barbed wire was usually cut so that infantry could cross the area.

A stick grenade typically has a delay of about three to five seconds. She is immediately thrown after stripping, combined with the typical warning call “Attention grenade” or as in the Wehrmacht usual “Burns”. The “boil” (or “Tempieren”) called short wait before throwing but is neither trained nor should it be used, as the risks are too high for the bowler. Knockback is virtually impossible for this is the time to short.

During World War II an estimated 75 million units by the German industry were produced during the First World War there were about 300 million units.

Hand grenade

The hand grenade has roughly the shape of an egg, an apple or a tangerine. It bears on the upper end a percussion primer having a delay rate of about 3 seconds. This percussion primer is held by a clip in its cocked position, which rests against the outer skin of the shell and is secured with a splint. When using the shell it is made with the yoke firmly in hand, wherein the bracket has to lie in the palm. Then the pin is pulled. Even now starts no ignition delay, the grenade can still be held in the hand. Only with the throw of the lever is released by opening the hand, the percussion primer ignites the delay charge, the charge explodes after about 3 seconds.
In addition, the bracket serving as identification means for the blasting mold. A partly red and partly blue color makes the clip visible in the dark. In the blue box, the name of the form of grenades was applied (for B. “E-Grenade “grenade or explosive =” S-Grenade “= smoke grenade, sometimes just the letters without” Grenade “). Most products made until mid-1943 hand grenades were often printed short statements (such B. “Pull the ring and throw “= pulling the ring and throw), but accounted for the later.

The original form of the hand grenade, comes equipped with Abreißzünder (friction igniter), from the time of the First World War. In World War II on the German side was again a special type of hand grenade produces a functionally identical Abreißzünder the stick grenade. The Eihandgranate 39 was compared to this but more compact, and could thus in greater numbers or be worn concealed.

InItalyduring World War II popular box-shaped hand grenade constitutes a special form. The actual explosive charge was separately in the interior of the outer shell, the ignition performed at load (impact detonator). By realized by different means igniter, the ignition is ensured in every service position. Similar fuses were produced simultaneously inEngland.

The English-Mills grenade similar to the current standard model, but the igniter is completely inside of the hand grenade. On later models, and the simultaneously produced German and American models, this was screwed. In the Russian model with a slightly different appearance, the mainspring piece was replaced by a coil spring. When Japanese bombs from the Second World War, the firing pin spring was missing entirely, the bomb had to be ignited before throwing by a blow to the firing pin. The later produced mechanical Abreißzünder with striker fromYugoslaviaappears more secure.

Today, the hand grenade is made in different outward forms, with said screw-impact fuse the predominant form of hand grenades. The splitter body may also be constructed as a cast metal or metal body, but also of plastic with molded notch wire or pellets. In some models the fragmentation casing is adaptive. The early models with internal fuse located, ignited by striking or Abreißzünder, ultimately, an adaptation of the original Grenadier grenade was later replaced by something more reliable pyrotechnic igniter.

The external shape of the hand grenade used in part as a synonym for the colloquial name (hand grenade, pineapple, potato mashers, etc.).

Antitank grenade

Early anti-tank hand grenades had only through its pressure wave. They were not thrown, but were placed on the turntable of the tower or on the chains of the tank to make him unfit for duty. Before use, they were partially (as the British No. HGR. 74) coated with a high-tack adhesive.
Swaffen with the development of shaped-charge in the Second World War anti-tank hand grenades with shaped charges were introduced. They are usually constructed as stick grenades. Since the jet only works in one direction, it must be ensured that the strike after throwing grenades at the front of the goal, where they detonated by impact ignition. The shells are therefore aerodynamically stabilized after the throw by screens or other stabilizing surfaces on the arm. The German tanks throw mine (L) had material surfaces, which were wrapped around the stem and are deployed after the throw as tail. In the Soviet RPG-43 after the throw pushed a spring a sheet metal shield at the end of the stem, the unfolded a narrow fabric shade along the stem.

Technical data of the grenade 85 (HG85) (CH)

  • Manufacturer RUAG
  • Total weight about465 g
  • Weight of explosives (TNT) approx155g
  • 3.5 to 4.5 of the detonator delay time s (at 20 ° C)
  • Splitter:
  • Overall about 2000
  • at5 mdistance from the shot point 4-5 per m²
  • Energy per splitter at5 mdistance from the shot point ca 80 J

This grenade is due to its specially designed packaging and igniter as particularly safe and therefore is used in some European armies.

Other forms

Hand grenades are available in different versions and forms. With and without a splitter, with additional fragmentation casing, in eggs, oranges, pineapple, canned and spherical shape, with steel and plastic outer shell (the plastic molded splitter)

In addition to regular hand grenade fuse, there are also (rare) premium and adjustable timers. The regular igniter is integrated in some models analogous to the older English-Mills grenade into the actual grenade. The percussion primer may have the regular striker spring or, in the Russian form of a coil spring. From German hand grenade existed a version whose detonator having a delay of one second or less, and was characterized by a red instead partly blue locking knob. These specimens have been left behind in abandoned positions as “prey.”

In addition to normal explosives (usually TNT) such grenades can also napalm, phosphorus, poison gas, thermite, tear gas or a mist forming mixture (the latter is more than 100 years as a rule of potassium chlorate and lactose). At the end of World War II partly used Nipolit could be done without an outer shell, the explosives had sufficient strength.

There are also the so-called “non-lethal” grenade “flash / bang” or “Stun” grenade (sometimes stun stun =) or even flash grenade. Such grenades produce an extremely bright flash that blinds the unprotected eye, temporarily or permanently, and a very loud bang, of the inner ear disturbs the balance and eventually ruptures the eardrums. Both together make the victim temporarily disoriented and unable to fight. These grenades are used as special guest unit of the police to stop a hostage situation, if possible without bloodshed.

Ancient ‘limpet mines’ on adhesive or magnetic base, with regular charge or shaped charge, may, for the anti-tank thought, represent a special type of hand grenade. The full load of a hand grenade with multiple warheads or affiliated a large main charge is another possibility. The combination of gas cans and hand grenade, a special form of Molotov’s, should be mentioned.

During World War I, there were functioning experiments with traps for hand grenades. In forts, there were special chutes for hand grenades. The rifle grenade goes back to designs for hand-grenade.

Some police forces, such Example, in the Bavarian, the Federal Police and Hessian police, hand grenades are approved as a means of direct force.

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