Given that there ain’t that much going on here at the moment following our Boesinghe tour – at least above water – beneath I am paddling like crazy – here’s another in our sometime series of Great War Austro-Hungarian hand grenades. Which will interest at least one of you.
I don’t suppose it’s the correct terminology for a hand grenade, but this example is a beauty.
We’ve looked at three examples of Lakos hand grenades before (inset), and by comparison the Zylindergranate is a cut above. The Lakos grenade was an improvised weapon, simply a grooved – for better fragmentation – tube, filled with explosive, and plugged at the ends with blocks of wood. Add a fuse, and hope for the best.
Still basically a grooved steel cylinder,…
…the Zylindergranate has a welded head,…
…the arming lever, pin and handle attached just beneath. You could hardly find a better example of battlefield weapons’ improvisation, because, bearing in mind that this was probably made in a workshop not far behind the lines, the manufacturing quality is pretty damned good.
Remove the cap at the bottom and the spring is still retained inside,…
…recessed in what I think is a cardboard tube that runs the length of the grenade.
There were, as with many of the Austrian grenades we have looked at, variations on the basic theme, and I hope to be able to show you another example in the near future. In the meantime, the next post in this series will look at the first of three versions of what was known as the Zeitzunder grenade, and see how it changed as the war progressed.
With the lever, it looks more like modern hand grenades.
I suppose that you just had to pull the (safety) ring and then throw it. Then the lever would jump away, allowing a primer to start burning for a few seconds and then the grenade exploded.
And trust me; these fragmentation grenades can create havoc; I’ve personally seen what a modern fragmentation grenade can do to a human body…….
I do, and I have no doubt. Provided they work as intended. And I think these Lakos grenades were probably as dangerous to the thrower as the likely victim. Personally, and what do I know, I think I’d rather take my chances using this model than the earlier more basic ones.
Now, because I am an enthusiast, not an expert, you have done me a favour and explained how the mechanism works. Does the lever just come back as far as the handle, or literally jump away – looking at the actual grenade, it appears that it does actually jump away, ie detach from the grenade. Is that right?