Grenades fascinate me because it’s the technological advancement of going from throwing a rock and hitting your enemy, to hitting your enemy with a rock that explodes—and you don’t even have to hit them for it to be effective. They’re also pretty savage, and I don’t take the harm they have done to servicemen and women lightly.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the WW I museum in Kansas City where there is a really great display of early hand grenades. They had grenades in much earlier wars, of course, but WWI is where their use really came of age. They were pretty damn useful in trench warfare, and there was even a nighttime grenade battle July 26-27, 1916 on the Pozières Heights where, over a period of more than 12 hours, Australians and British exchanged grenades with Germans. Many types of grenades were reportedly thrown that night and to give you some idea of how many, I’ve read where the Allies threw 15,000 Mills bomb grenades alone and that soldiers who weren’t killed collapsed from exhaustion caused by throwing.
This is a Russian “stick grenade” that is pre-1944.
This odd-looking grenade is also Russian. It is Model 1912 high explosive and appropriately called a “lantern-type” grenade.
Russian Model 1914 grenade was made of sheet metal and called the “bottle-type” grenade. A fragmenting shroud was put over it.
This Serbian Model 1917 grenade is about the size of an egg.
Rifle grenades saw a lot of use during WWI as they could be fired hundreds of feet away. Some were fired out of muzzle cups while others were mounted on rods that went down the bore. This is a Belgian rifle grenade.
This is a French M1877 illumination grenade.
As far as grenades go, this one is kind of cute because it’s only about the size of a golf ball. This French Model 1915 Bertrand gas grenade contained liquid lacrymogene.
Look at the pride in workmanship near the top of this French Model 1914 1st Model gas grenade.
Even this 2nd Model French Model 1914 gas grenade has fine ribbing on the top assembly.
This one is a nasty. It’s a British #27 Mark I phosphorus incendiary grenade.
The early Type 1, 2 and 15 “zeitaunderhandgranates” were commonly referred to as “corncobs.”
One of the reasons the Germans lost is because of the way they name things with compound nouns. An American would say “Throw a grenade!,” while a German had to say “Throw a Zeitzunderleichthandgrante!” Left to right are a Rohrhandgranate, Type 1 Kugelrohrhandgranate and a Zeitzunderleichthandgrante.
Various German Schwerhandgranates.
This is a universal type grenade and the first factory-made one in Austria.
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.