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 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).
Anyway, they are, I think, interesting additions…
…to the German egg grenade, introduced in early 1917 for use by assault troops, that I have owned for a long time now and which spawned my (little, very little) collection.