HAND GRENADES

A grenade is in fact a small bomb . It is filled with an explosive charge or a chemical agent (or it may also be just an empty container, used for training and practice, containing a reduced charge or no explosive or chemical at all) . This grenade is used at short ranges against enemy personnel . It comes in different sizes, shapes and types, and since it is basically thrown by hand, it is called a Hand Grenade . Total WWII production would reach 87,320,000 Hand Grenades !

Grenade, Hand, Fragmentation, Mk II : type of grenade which contains an explosive charge in a body designed to fragment with the action of the bursting charge . This type of Hand Grenade originated in WWI (August 1918) and contained either 1.85 oz. of TNT, 1.85 oz. of Amatol 50/50, or a filler of Trojan powder . It was further used during WWII, be it with subsequent modifications . Various models of ’Mk II Defensive Hand Grenades’ were used, with different types of fuzes and fillers, i.e.

(1)           Grenade, Hand, Fragmentation, Mk II = igniting fuze M10 – EC blank fire powder filler – serrated cast iron body – 50 yards     range –delay time 5 seconds – yellow color – casualty use - approx. use 1920-1944

(2)           Grenade, Hand, Fragmentation, HE, Mk II = detonating fuze M5 – TNT filler – serrated cast iron body – 50 yards range – delay     time 5 seconds – yellow color – casualty use - approx. use 1925-1944

(3)           Grenade, Hand, Fragmentation, Mk II = igniting fuze M10A1 – EC blank fire powder filler – serrated cast iron body – 50 yards      nge – delay time 4­-4 ½ seconds – olive drab color with narrow yellow band – casualty use - approx. use 1942-1944

(4)           Grenade, Hand, Fragmentation, Mk IIA1 = igniting fuze M10A2 – EC blank fire powder filler – serrated cast iron body – 50      yards range – delay time 4-4 ½ seconds – olive drab color with narrow yellow band – casualty use - approx. use 1942-1944

(5)           Grenade, Hand, TNT, Fragmentation, Mk II, = detonating fuze M6A4C – TNT filler – serrated cast iron body – 50 yards range –     delay time 4-4 ½ seconds – olive drab color with narrow yellow band – casualty use - approx. use 1944-45

Grenade, Hand, Fragmentation, MKII & MKIIA1 with corresponding Fiber Containers M41 & M41A 

Wooden Packing Box (for 25 x MKII Fragmentation Hand Grenades w/ M6A4C Fuze)

Remarks : the first type of Fragmentation Hand Grenade (EC) was issued fuzed and ready for use; the second type (HE) was issued unfuzed and while the grenade body was loaded with the filler, the fuzes were issued and packed separately, they had to be assembled to the grenade prior to use (grenade bodies had shipping plugs screwed into fuze seats) . The third type (EC) was again issued fully fuzed . New and improved fuzes were introduced i.e. M10A1 (early 1942) M10A2 (mid 1942) and M10A3 (early 1943) . Course of 1942 the original WWI filling hole screws were at last removed, and the body was consequently slightly modified . The fourth frag grenade type (EC) was then designated Mk IIA1; while for the fifth type (TNT) the filler was again TNT in lieu of EC blank fire powder (TNT increased the number of fragments and caused more casualties) . The yellow color indicating HE substance (dating from WWI) was gradually changed into olive drab July 1942, since too conspicuous . The new fuze M6A4C was in fact a modified (M6A3) fuze and bent safety lever used for the Offensive Hand Grenade Mk IIIA1 . Fragmentation Hand Grenades can be used in both offensive and defensive combat roles; they are particularly effective for use from defensive positions because they cause multiple casualties without perfect aiming . Nice to know is that, by Dec 1918, the US Army had been supplied over 21 million Mk II Defensive Hand Grenades !


Grenade, Hand, Offensive, Mk III : type of grenade which consists of a threaded diecast top, and a body of laminated cartridge paper, which contains a high explosive charge . This type of Hand Grenade originated in WWI (March 1918) . There is no marked fragmentation. It was further used during WWII after some major changes, i.e. :

(1)                 Grenade, Hand, Offensive, Mk IIIA1 = detonating fuze M6A2 – TNT filler – laminated paper body – 50 yards range – delay time 5   seconds – black color with yellow label black markings – demolition use - approx. use 1942-1944

(2)                 Grenade, Hand, Offensive, Mk IIIA2 = detonating fuze M6A3 – TNT filler – asphalt impregnated fiber – 50 yards range – delay time 4 seconds – black color with yellow label black markings – demolition use - approx. use 1943-1944

Grenade, Hand, Offensive, MKIIIA2

Remarks : the first type started with using the M6A1 fuze, which was quickly replaced by the M6A2 version (to remove fuze sealer); further modified and replaced by the M6A3 type late 1942 and again to be followed by another type, the M6A4 version . The second type of grenade (Mk IIIA2) was entirely constructed of asphalt impregnated fiber and had no threaded metal top; the threaded part was directly encased in the fiber body . Since this grenade is more safe in the open (it does not fragmentize) it is often used for demolition; it should be noted that the ‘Mk III A1/A2 Offensive Hand Grenades’ were all issued unfuzed, whereby grenade bodies and fuzes were shipped separately . Offensive Hand Grenades are used to produce casualties on enemy personnel while minimizing danger of friendly casualties, attacking troops can use them effectively in final assault, they are particularly useful in build up areas and fortified positions (caves & bunkers) . It is nice to know that, by Dec 1918, the US Army had been supplied with more than 6 million Mk III Offensive Hand Grenades.


Grenade, Hand, Gas, Irritant, CN-DM, M6 : type of chemical grenade with a cylindrical tin body which contains perforations or vents covered with adhesive tape . When functioning, the patches are burnt off and the gas then escapes . This type of Hand Grenade originated after WWI (July 1925) and contained a chemical filler with a small amount of blank fire powder . Here follow main characteristics :

(1)                 Grenade, Hand, Gas, Irritant, CN-DM, M6 = igniting fuze M200A1 – Chloracetophenone-Dyphenylaminechlorarsine filler (or   Adamsite) – tinplate smooth cylindrical body – 50 yards range – fumes start in 2 seconds, full volume after 3 seconds – blue-gray   color with CN-DM, ½” central band, and GAS all in red color – harassing use - approx. use 1943-1945

Remarks : older type of M200 fuze, replaced by M200A1 version (w/o fuze sealer) . The chemical filler while essentially composed of a CN-DM mixture also contains a small amount of blank fire powder; the gas that is generated after the primer is fired has a pungent odor . This chemical Hand Grenade was never used in combat (although foreseen for use as a possible retaliatory measure); however widely in use at Training Centers, and stocked for possible application by MP units during riots, civil disorders etc . CN is a lachrymatory (or tear) gas that produces a severe burning sensation in the eyes, causing intense weeping . DM is a substance that causes a burning sensation in nose and throat and a heavy tight feeling in the chest, accompanied by a nauseating effect . The US Army had over 936,000 Tear Gas Grenades in stock by Dec 1918 . Chemical Hand Grenades can cause casualties, set fire to combustible objects, produce irritating and nauseating gas, and produce smoke for signalling or screening purposes . WWII production reached a total of 582,327 M6 Irritant Gas Hand Grenades of wich 252,348 were manufactured between March 10 1943 and May 23 1944.