German Hand Grenades of the Great War Part One – The Stielhandgranate M1917 Part One

It sometimes amazes me what you can still find, even now, for just a few quid.

So, for less than three packets of fags, I picked up these two German grenade handles last week.  Now I am no expert, but I am pretty certain these are both examples of the Stielhandgranate M1917, the third and final model made during the Great War.

The operation of the handle mechanism of the grenade, in basic terms, was thus; a wire or cord went from the detonator in the cylindrical head (long gone) which screwed on (you can see the threads) to this end of the handle and which held the explosive, all the way down through a hole in the centre of the handle,…

…to emerge the other end where, in the M1915 model, a ring pull was simply pulled by the soldier before he threw the grenade.  Now, German stick grenades all had a hook attached to the cylinder head containing the explosives at the top end, allowing them to be hooked on to a soldier’s belt.  All very well to enable a man to carry a number of these grenades at a time; not so handy if the ring pull caught on a piece of barbed wire and pulled the cord.  Then you had, usually, between four and six seconds to find the offending grenade, detach it from your belt, and hurl it away.  Quite possibly in the dark.  Good luck.

The M1917 model solved this problem, again in basic terms, with this recess, at the bottom of the handle, that held the end of the string attached to a small porcelain ball, enclosed by a metal cap which screwed on the end (again you can see the thread),…

…and we shall take a look at the workings at the base of the stick in the next post in this series, which you can find by clicking here.

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7 Responses to German Hand Grenades of the Great War Part One – The Stielhandgranate M1917 Part One

  1. Marg Draycott says:

    Amazing how these bits and pieces still turn up after all these years. Loft clear outs?

    • Magicfingers says:

      Yes it is. And who knows the provenance – the Germans made millions of them – all slightly different depending on the manufacturer, but basically as my examples above. Loft clear out, unscrupulous metal detectorist, who knows?

  2. Heinz Werner Reibert says:

    I’ve been dealing with German hand grenades in World War I for many years. Since 2018 there is a book by me about this comprehensive topic with many illustrations. So you can find out all about it and the equipment. It costs 69 €.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Heinz. So, you’ve just apeared on my website, and already you are going to cost me money!! Lol! I have to ask, though, what language your book is in? Because it does rather sound like exactly the book I have been looking for for a while now – not that I knew it existed before your comment, for which many thanks. You may or may not have noticed that there is a Weaponry & Relics Category on the right of this page within which there are many more examples of German and Austrian hand grenades.

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