Grenade,rifle,practice M11A4 question

I got this at a garage sale. 2 questions:

  1. Why is the tail stabilizer travelling up’n’down with such an ease? There is no visible markings of welding or other attachment to the lower part of the propelling tube (sorry, know zilch of rocket technical terms).
  2. There is supposed to be a clamp in the middle of the tube (mine is lacking that clamp). What purpose does it serve?

The stabilizer was I think crimped on and probably has come loose with handling and the hole in the tube was for a safety pin (at least it was on the earlier models)

Thanks. It may be of importance: this one is made 7-52, lot CFQ1-18.

I have several of these, all from Lot KPM-1-45 6-52, and the stabilizer is free to move on the tube on all of them. They also all have the pins/clips on them.

Years ago, I saw a documentary on TV about the riots that occured at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Guards (Army troops?) were shown firing tear gas grenades from the shoulder into the prison. I thought I would try that with one of these from a M1 Garand. I can tell you I don’t have to try that again, what a recoil!!!

Phil–My Father was a Rifle Grenade and Bazooka Expert marksman in WW-II. He tells of firing a Rifle Grenade from his '03 Springfield from the shoulder. Like you, he only did that once. You are supposed to brace the butt of the gun on your leg while kneeling or, preferably, braced against the ground.

The M11A4 and others in that series were made with movable fins on the stabilizer tube for maintenance purposes. They were intended to be used over and over and the parts most likely to be damaged in use were the sheet metal nose cap and tail fins. Leaving off the spot welds allowed easier replacement if they couldn’t be straightened and reused. The nose caps were supposed to be repaired using a hardwood punch and die until they eventually needed to be replaced.

Regarding shooting from the shoulder, even though it was never popular, it was the required method for anti-tank fire. While smoke signals and flares that were intended to function in the air were generally supposed to be fired with the butt on the ground, that was appropriate because accurate sighting wasn’t necessary for indirect fire.

But the only way to accurately deliver a shaped charge rifle grenade to a tank or similar target was to shoulder the rifle, lead the vehicle (if moving), and use the sights to deliver the grenade in the correct place. I suppose some grenadiers could get good at “Kentucky windage” with enough practice, and deliver fairly accurate fire without sighting like M79 grenadiers did later in Vietnam, but it was generally impractical to do any anti-tank fire from the ground. And that was the primary reason the launchers and grenades were developed in the first place.

“AT” on this grenade, I assume, means “Anti-Tank”. Was it intended to hit a fuel tank or tracks because, I surmise, it cannot go through armour (too small a charge).

Having played around with various shaped charges in the past, I was always amazed by the effects of even the smallest charge. Newer armor aside, these “rounds” would have been fairly effective on most areas of '50s era armor for which they were designed, excluding frontal armor of T55s and such. Certainly would have caused a great deal of concern for the occupants of targeted vehicles.

This was the practice version of the M9 Anti-Tank Rifle Grenade, which was supposed to be able to penetrate armour up to 2" thick, and saw use up through Korea. The fuze assembly in these grenades was located in the tail, and an internal striker would fly forward to fire a cap on impact with the ground or target; the safety clip was to prevent that striker from moving until it was launched.

This is completely off the subject of the rifle gernades being discussed in this string, but just to provide some info on the question/answer as to the Alcatraz Riot and militarty involvement:

The USMC and the Coast Guard were the only military units active on May 2 & 3, 1946. A marine force from the Treasure Island Barracks, under the command of WO, C L Buckner, were actively engaged and is often seen in newsreels and newspaper accounts from that time.

Thanks for the info. It seemed to me that the men firing the rifle grenades were military but I could’t recall what branch they were from.

I watched the battle of Alcatraz, and it was that, from the corners of Filbert and Scott street in San Francisco, three blocks from our house, as a little boy. It was my first experience with the speed of sound as opposed to the speed of light. I asked my mother, who took us to a good point to overlook the bay and Alcatraz, why I saw flashes but didn’t hear the “boom” until seconds later! The Marines made a regular amphibious assault on the island, and we could hear the noise from grenades and, I suppose, morter rounds, as well as automatic weapons fire. Even at just under seven years old, it is still pretty much etched in my memory today, 62 years later.

Perhaps that’s why I have so much respect for the men who have lived that experience, sometimes for days, weeks and months at a time, in actual military combat. I can understand why it is something that never leaves them. Bless them all!