Three examples of what are known as Lakos hand grenades, named after the man who developed them, one Captain Róbert Lakos, pioneer officer of the Royal Hungarian 4th Honvéd Infantry Regiment.
The Lakos was basically an improvised grenade made in a variety of different sizes, but just one basic form.
Get hold of a steel cylinder, add grooves for better fragmentation,…
…seal one end,…
…and then fill with a charge bag full of explosives.
Add a wooden block at this end (I believe the really cheap ones had wooden blocks at both ends),…
…this one even having a small rim inside the cylinder for the block to rest on, and then, in these early examples, simply insert a fuse in the middle of the wooden block, light it and, after the requisite pause, throw it. And then duck.
The third example, probably a later version, is fitted with a cap. I doubt if the two other versions ever had caps, but as is the nature of improvised weapons, there were many variations on the basic theme to be found.
In this particular Lakos, though, the cap would have protected a percussion fuse embedded in the wooden block.
Remove the cap,…
…strike the fuse firmly on a hard surface (or perhaps use a specially devised igniter, which we shall at least see a diagram of in a future Lakos post – there’s a link at the end of this post), igniting the delay, and throw!
Seven-grooved Lakos, eight-grooved Lakos, and six-grooved Lakos (my nomenclature, but why not?). It seems that these grenades are not so hard to come by on the battlefields of the Italian front even today, mainly because they so often failed to explode, either the fuse failing, or the explosion simply blowing the wooden block out of the end at extremely high velocity. As with many Austro-Hungarian grenades, the Lakos grenade could be adapted for use as a rifle grenade, with a rod fitted to one end to slide down the rifle barrel. More about Lakos hand grenades here.
Next: the Schwere hand grenade.
Great memories MJS. “All is revealed as to our country life mis-spent youth”. Our “gum nut bombs” widely varied in design. The Lakos looks and reads very similar to our pipe bomb (made for sound) version. We made these using about a 10″ length of one and a half inch galvanized water piping crimped in a vice at one end – rag and rock added as sealing to that end. Filled with our home made low grade gun powder – top end crimped as best we could and a length of safety fuse inserted. Light the fuse and run for your life (throwing the “bomb” usually dislodged the fuse). Great fun. We were super cautious (as in safety) and never hurt anyone or ourselves – only the odd fish. I must add that the days of making this sort of fun are long past and what I have described is not recommended for anyone to try and copy today.
When the Lakos was used as a rifle grenade thrower – do you know if the rifle barrel was reinforced such as our Mills bomb throwing GF Lee Enfield 303s? See YouTube.
I don’t remember making bombs when I was a kid (whisper it, but it does sound like fun)!! – but then I was a city kid, and I guess there’s the difference. I can’t imagine that it would have been economically viable to reinforce rifle barrels – I must say it has never occurrd to me before you suggested it – and as far as I know they simply slipped a blank cartridge in and fired.
My YouTube link shows how the barrels were reinforced – nothing expensive, just wrapped in wire. This is exactly how ours were reinforced when we used GF 303s in my 1950s National Service days.
I’d imagine shoving a solid rod down the barrel with a Lakos on the end would create a tremendous pressure and risk the barrel bursting. Perhaps one of your other readers will know the answer for us both.
I take your point. I will check some photos at some point and see if I can get any clues. I wonder if Chris, being a military man, knows?
These grenades were developed by Captain Róbert Lakos, pioneer officer of the Royal Hungarian 4th Honvéd Infantry Regiment. This grenade wasn’t officially in service with the Austro-Hungarian army, these were just makeshift pieces made by the regiments on the Isonzo-front early in the war.
Indeed. Thanks for the info on Captain Lakos. I shall update the post accordingly next week. Lakos Hand Grenades Part Two (yes, I have even more!) coming at some point. Thanks for your comment Árpád.
Not exactly next week but better late than never. Post updated. Thanks again.