Grenades

The British army introduced the Grenade, Hand No.1 into service in June 1908. This was a stick type grenade not unlike the German ‘Potato masher’ but rather slimmer and with a longer throwing handle. It is not known whether these were much used during the mobile warfare in 1914 and had been generally replaced by the Grenade, Hand, No.5 from May 1915.

The Grenade, Hand No.5 was designed by a Mr. W. Mills of Birmingham and thus would become more commonly known as the `Mills bomb`. The Mills bomb was very much a Defensive Grenade (the lethal zone being greater than the distance it could be thrown), and thus the thrower needed to take shelter after throwing it. To achieve greater range a modified version (Grenade Hand and Rifle No.23) was produced from 1916. This model was a standard Mills bomb adapted to take a 5½-rifle rod so that it could be fired from the issue Lee Enfield Rifle. Later still an improved Rifle grenade (Grenade, Hand and Rifle, No 36) was introduced fitted with a 2½-inch diameter base- plate so that it could be fired by a cup-dispenser method.

The Mills bomb would be the British army's favoured hand thrown grenade throughout both world wars and would not be retired until the 1970s. In view of the need to counter armoured vehicles however, during the Second World War the Mills Rifle grenade was considered ineffective and was quickly replaced by more advanced types such as the Grenade, Rifle No68/AT

In contrast the main German Grenade of the Great War was the Steilhandgranate Stg24 stick grenade (better known to allied soldiers by the nickname-`The Stick Grenade` introduced into service in 1915. The Stg24 was from the start an Offensive Grenade, designed so that it could be safely thrown by an advancing soldier, without the need to take shelter (Its lethal zone being less than the distance it could be thrown). The Stick Grenade would remain in German service until 1945.

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