Hand grenades have been used on the battlefield for hundreds of years, and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon.
A hand grenade is a weapon used to destroy structures and trenches built by the enemy and to kill or injure its occupants. In close quarters, they can cause significant harm to unarmored opposing troops.
Poorly trained soldiers or new recruits may accidentally drop the grenade after throwing the pin. And if the enemy soldier has time to throw the grenade back, that poses a whole other set of problems.
To maximize maximum destruction, grenades are made to explode in every direction.
Grenades are devastating weapons that can maim or kill everyone they strike by hurling over 2,000 metal shards at high speeds.
Shrapnel from grenades is often referred to as “military confetti” by those who employ it.
Since their widespread employment in trench combat during World War One, grenades have gradually made their way into more significant wars. The risk of harm increases when you’re face to face with the enemy.
There are many kinds of grenades, including high-explosive fragmentation grenades, smoke screening grenades, stun grenades, infra-red marking grenades, and so on.
Using them in battle isn’t without its drawbacks, though. Accidents are possible and often do occur. The pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend,” trainees are regularly warned.
Where does the name ‘grenade’ originate?
Since the grenades used in the 16th century resembled pomegranate fruit, the word grenade is supposed to have been derived from the French word for pomegranate. They also had gunpowder in the form of big granules.
The French started by creating a group of soldiers known as Grenadiers, who were trained to hurl grenades long distances. They were picked because of their stature, muscle, and grenade-throwing prowess.
The British Grenadier Guards earned their name at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo when they decisively defeated their French counterparts.
Historically, Grenadiers were the tallest soldiers in their infantry regiment and were responsible for throwing grenades.
It is still the case that most of the men in The Queen’s Company Grenadier Guards are over 6 feet tall because of the importance of their height in ceremonial duties. But during wartime activities, this regulation is somewhat loosened, and people of lesser stature are allowed to serve inside the ranks if they have desirable qualifications.
Lethal killing distance of a grenade?
Without body armor or protection, a single grenade can kill an individual up to 10 meters away and cause serious injuries up to 20 meters away.
Shrapnel can reach as far as 200+ meters distance from the detonation point. However, it becomes much less effective.
The pineapple shape of some grenades begs the question: why?
Machined grooves give grenades a pineapple shape; this design was implemented so that a soldier with dirty hands may still have a firm grasp on the weapon.
Contrary to what some may think, it is not meant to promote division.
Components of a hand grenade?
The metal shell contains the RDX/TNT explosives, and the other key components are the Fuse – Trigger – Safety pin – Matt black safety clip – Fly-off lever.
Who invented the hand grenade?
In 1915, British engineer William Mills created the first safe to use a grenade, which he called the “Mills Bomb.”
Before this, grenades were notoriously dangerous, often injuring or killing individuals who were getting ready to throw them.
What types of hand grenades are used by the British military?
L109 HE (high-explosive) fragmentation grenade
Used in defence operations and can be used effectively in offensive operations if the user is well-trained.
The grenade of white phosphorus.
White phosphorus grenades are used to create quick smoke screens. In trench or bunker warfare, they can also be employed as anti-personnel grenades. As soon as they come into contact with air, their phosphorus will ignite and cause a rapid, intense fire.
Highway maintenance workers in Devon, England, uncovered a cache of up to eight World War II-era white phosphorus grenades in 2017.
For protection against a possible German invasion, it is believed that members of the Home Guard buried them. Their original position, however, was lost to time.
To gain an advantage in a non-lethal building or room clearance, they are employed to distract the occupants upon entry.
Signal smoke grenades
These grenades are produced to smoke and come in various bright colors, including red, yellow, purple, green, and blue. Troops typically use them to mark their location, so other friendly forces can easily identify them.
You can also use them to restrict helicopter landing sites (HLS) so that pilots know where to land.
What is the impact range of a hand grenade?
There is some variation in how close to the user a high-explosive hand grenade can be before it explodes. However, a grenade’s blast radius is typically 20 meters, meaning that everyone within that area is at risk of being injured or killed.
When one grenade isn’t enough, here’s another…
As a last resort, there’s always the grenade machine gun. It can launch grenades 2,200 meters out and has a 40-millimeter barrel.
The grenades are belt-fed and are packaged in 32-grenade belts.
These grenades are designed to explode upon impact, unlike the typical hand-thrown grenades, which have a delay.
How much time does it take a grenade to explode?
Pulling the pin and throwing a grenade usually takes between two to six seconds before detonation occurs.