Hand Grenades


#1

If torpedoes and 450 Revolver cartridges are OK for the Forum, then so should grenades be.

Everybody should have a couple of grenades in the bedside dresser drawer, just in case. Here are my two.

I’m not positive on the designations. Maybe someone can correct me? The spoons are dated 1953 and 1954.

I have them catloged as M21 Practice and Mk 2A1 Frag. Am I right?

Ray


#2

I don’t remember the designations, but I have thrown both those types. The OD is frag, and should have a screw in the bottom. Hope it is inert.
The blue one should have an unthreaded hole in the bottom, and is a practice grenade. We used to fish the little powder bags out of them and then just pop the fuze trains - the higher ups didn’t want the paper work of turning in live ordnance (and these are considered that) not used up in training. The “heroes” just held the hole pointed away from their face and popped the practice ones without taking out the powder bags. I nevr tried that - I am not adventuresome.

Of course, you see in “collections” the practice ones painted in all sorts of colors. OD is common, to represent frag grenades. No matter in California. I am sure you will be surprised to find out that both types are illegal here. In fact, as far as I know, even any given part, except maybe the pin, is illegal in California. But then, so is everything else. Soon it will be illegal in the “Golden State” to breathe without the legislature’s permission.

When they passed the law, I had a plaque on the wall with a totally inert (fired) practice grenade, still blue, not even repainte, with the saying on the plaque “To register your anti-gun vote, pull ring once.” I have to cut the thing up completely and throw it away. After all, we all know that plaque was a real danger to society - just short of a nuclear device!


#3

John

The story on how I acquired the frag grenade is best left untold since I’m not sure what the statute of limitation is.

But it is de-milled. I drilled a small hole in the bottom to satisfy anybody who may happen to own it after me. It is the Korean War variety which had a solid bottom as compared with the WWII which had the fill screw in the bottom. The M21 has the cork in the bottom.

The fuze train on both have been popped.

A funny story for those who may be interested. I used to put a live large rifle primer in the fuze, cock the firing pin, put the pin back in and put the grenade back on my book shelf. When a friend would come by they would look at it, ask if it was real, and ooh and ahh over it. My goal of course was to get somebody to pull the pin and crap their pants when the primer popped. But no one did. Then one day a good friend, ex Viet Nam vet, looked at it, looked at my big picture window, and asked how big a hole the grenade would make when it was tossed thru the window.

Hmmmm. Out came the primer, ;) ;)

Ray


#4

AHHHHH! Thanks Ray. Nothing spectacular here, but gurnades have always been a “collectible” for me. There are others in and around, but these got herded up for display and a photo-op. Never bothered with the details. Stories with each one tho. Got to chunk some concussion grenades off the flying bridge of the USS Luce back in the day. Helping the sonar find a Rooskie sub. Guessin’ only a few fish were harmed in the exercise. Don’t recall any beached whale headlines back then, tho.
[/img]
Some of our readers may recognize items in the assemblage.
Jack-Jack-No-Take-Back!


#5

Rick

Great photo of some interesting stuff.

What is the pinapple grenade in front of the blue practice? Is it painted red? I know that red means something but I’m not sure what. And the OD one on the left. Is that a Viet Nam era frag?

We need a grenade exspurt to chime in here.

Didn’t kill no fish huh? Whatever helps you sleep. Poor fish. :) :)

Edit - Did you see the movie “The Bedford Incident”? Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to flush out those Ruskie subs. :) :)

Ray


#6

Yes, have watched The Bedford Incident a few times. We weren’t quite as obsessed in our searching, even while hoping to earn a big E to paint on the stack if we could ping him (her?).

Answer to grenade questions:

  1. unpainted (aka rusty) practice
    Story: found it at a Fort Dix campground in 1962. As a Cub Scout. Added the handle some time after. Got a few hulls from those camping trips as well. Used to have a rifle grenade from there, but haven’t seen it in years.

  2. the green plastic one was given to me by the VP Sales of Kilgore Mfg. Thinkin’ its one of those prefrag or ballbearing types. Got it in the mid '90s, so fer sure not VN era. Maybe I need to section it!!! It was a sales sample. Marked INERT.


#7

That green one on the left looks like an illumination grenade. Mk-1 maybe? I forget… You set it on the ground, pull the pin and when it goes off, the top half pops off and the bottom remains with the illuminating element burning. Our drill instructor set one off during boot camp and man-oh-man was it bright!

Grenade stories:

I threw a bunch of M-67 frags over the years (almost better than you-know-what) and a bunch of the practice versions as well. I remember several times being “volunteered” to the “practice grenade reloading detail”. The grenade bodies were kept in old wooden grenade crates and we would assemble them with new fuzes. After 50 or so grenades were used, they were collected and then we would screw off the old fuze assembly and replace it with a new one while the rest of the grenaded were being used. As I recall, the replacement fuzes came in a flat, tray-like foil covered box with something like 50 pieces in each tray. The grenade bodys would get reused over and over again, but the pins, spoons and fuze “heads” just went into the garbage. After throwing live M-67s, the practice ones were kind of puny and anti-climactic. During my deployment for “Desert Storm” in 1990-1991, our platoon Sgt. kept our crate of M-67s in his truck because he was afraid someone would get hurt. I think he had seen too many Vietnam War movies and was worried someone would roll one into his tent at night. He was not a very popular person…
One time, a young Marine platoon commander was having his troops throw frags in volleys of three. The EOD Marine on duty, an enlisted man, came running over to the officer, screaming and yelling at him to stop. It seems that most of the greandes we were issued for training were Vietnam war vintage and sometimes had dud or very long delay fuzes. Throwing grenades in volley might be “in the book” or good on the battlefield, but not a good idea in training with old ordnance. Seems that when three are thrown and only two go off, the third grenade sometimes goes up in the air and lands where you dont want it to! Apparently this had happened before… I also once saw an EOD man walk into the impact area to retreive a dud frag grenade. After waiting a half hour to be sure it was not a delayed fuze, he went out and found it, screwed off the fuze and put it in a .50 cal ammo can and brought everything back in. You could not have paid me enough money to do that!

AKMS


#8

AKMS, Rick, John

Great reminicenses. Nothing better than telling war stories, is there? I’ll bet that all vets will be doing that until the day they die. It’s what makes us all brothers.

In the USN we couldn’t “roll one into his tent” at night but we had ways of getting even. Such as, “Hey Chief, let me go get you a cup of hot coffee.” On the way back we would add our own special flavoring. :) :) :)

There is only one word to describe EOD guys. Crazy.

Ray


#9

Oh boy, GRENADES! My favorite subject. I’ve always been somewhere on the fringes of cartridge collecting with an assortment of rifle grenade launching cartridges and larger artillery as my main holdings of cartridge ammo. There’s a few odd military rifle rounds and a .600 nitro or two just to help make me feel normal, but mainly hand and rifle grenades and 40mm cartridges. Here’s a shot of my “wanted” display cases that used to travel regularly to gun shows with me (but not so easily by air anymore)!

Regarding Rick’s green plastic grenade from the Kilgore rep, that’s actually a British Schermuly training grenade. I think Schermuly entered into a trade agreement with Kilgore for promotion and sales in the U.S. They were used as both a practice throwing grenade and as a tactical flash-bang device as well.

Ray, your designations for the grenades are correct for the given color codes, but I’ll bet the frag on the right is actually a re-painted practice body. I’ve never seen an original frag with the rounded frag segments and the RFX manufacturers mark on the body. The RFX mark has only been observed on 1950s vintage M21 bodies and later surplus store copies cast using originals as patterns.

But I certainly agree that every collector needs a couple around to keep things interesting, though I might defer on the side of safety if I lived in California. By the way, the reason my displays are full of cutaway grenades has to do with California law. I used to take them to the Great Western Show a couple times a year to act as bait to find new ordnance goodies. When California passed their stupid new grenade laws, I figured they couldn’t accuse me of having a reloadable item if half of it was missing and displayed under glass. And until the last Great Western in Pomona, I never had a problem with the local Police or Fire officials, even as they harassed and threatened the dealers with surplus store dummy grenades for sale.


#10

I could very easily get back into collecting grenades. At one time I had a pretty decent collection, including a bunch of 40mm. Then I got a disturbing phone call from a “fellow collector” (somebody who claimed he was referred by an honest collector, who later said he NEVER gave my phone number out). That was the end of that.

The sectioned stuff is what is really fascinating, for me anyway. Heh…who am I kidding…it’s ALL fascinating!

Recently I came across some photos of a grenade collection from Europe…I’ll scan them and post them later.


#11

If you like grenade collecting, you should take a look at this website:
lexpev.nl/grenades/index.html
And indeed, it’s fascinating stuff!


#12

Ray, TOTALLY AWESOME THREAD!~

I have never collected grenades, just like most here do not collect inert torpedo artifacts but find them beyond interesting. I saw an amazing video documenting their history and vast variety of grenades and was so fascinating. Of all the different types and styles of grenades, I did learn their were 2 basic kinds of grenades, Defensive & Offensive. I forgot what makes what what but I think it has something to do with the thickness of the walls which determine the effective blast zone??? I hope this thread blows the torpedo thread out of the water (pun intended) and people post pics of the numerous types and styles in their collections here.

Jason


#13

Very interesting thread… thanks all for the information and links.

Here are a few for your viewing pleasure…

2 - #36 Grenades

I have some more pictures… will have to dig them out…


#14

I have a significant number of less lethal (smoke and tear gas, rubber ball) rounds…not sure that is the course of this thread

if interested I could post some

Pepper


#15

Yes! Please post pics Pepper!!! Fired up to see them! All kinds of grenades would be great to see! Hand, LTL, Rifle, ect. IMHO :-) I bet this thread could grow to be the ALL ENCOMPASSING GRENADE PICTURE, HISTORY KNOWLEDGE DATA BASE OF THE WORLD, soon!

Jason


#16

you asked


#17

Swiss Mark HG 85 experimental Handgrenade

regards
gyrojet

and Dutch handgrenade NR 19c3/20c1 made at EMZ 88-12


#18

Good thread! This went by so fast I didn’t get a chance to answer Ray.

Most of our grenades had the screw. I only really saw them in training, both the regular grenade range and the scary close combat range. I guess they were using up old stock. That’s even scarier. I only ever threw one of the “baseball” grenades, and that was in basic training on the normal grenade range. They were fairly new then. I remember the flat based ones, but only because you reminded me.

I forgot all about the cork in the base of the blue ones. Thanks for reminding me. We took it out of so many of them to pull out the bags and pop them, that I got far more used to looking at a hole in the bottom than at the cork. They were kind of fun to throw - you didn’t worry if you didn’t throw them as far as you should have, or if you didn’t get your butt down far enough.

For those that never threw a grenade, the older “pineapple” grenades are not as easy to throw as they look. You think you are throwing one a very long way, and find out that it didn’t go as far as that baseball you were tossing around in High School. For their first throw from behind the wall on the grenade range, a lot of guys got showered with dirt, etc. I am not proud to say that I was one of them. I thought I threw it past the target - the smoke on the ground when I got up showed me it didn’t even get half way!! To this day, they scare the hell out of me!


#19

We the always best suppiled Marines in Korea used to get a lot of Willie Peter [white phosphorous] grenades without detonators. Just unscrewed them from frags and installed them in WP’s. All of a sudden we were warned NOT to use any sparkless smokeless denonators as they could be set off by removing them. Never saw anything in writing about this or heard anything different by the time I was discharged. Any truth to this? Willie Peter was fun many screams from our pajama clad friends after lobbing a few down the the hill! Not all EOD guys are crazy. Had a demolitions spec (as it was known in the OLD Marines) and survived digging some 82 mm Russian mortar shells that did not go off on impact. Turns out they did not have detonators installed!

Gourd


#20

Gourd

I did not mean that EOD guys are crazy, in a mean way. I meant crazy as in “you gotta be nuts to do that voluntarily”. I put them in the same category as tunnel rats, paratroopers, submariners, ball-turret gunners, and aircraft carrier pilots.

Ray