Italian Grenades of the Great War Part Two – The Carbone Type C Hand Grenade

Those of you with good memories might be thinking that I’ve shown you this type of wire-handled grenade before. 

Well, I have, and then again, I haven’t.  You see, both the Austro-Hungarians and the Italians used a very similar type of grenade,…

…this being the Austrian Zeitzünder hand grenade that you’ve seen previously,…

…and this being the Italian Carbone Tipo* C hand grenade.  The Austrian version was the first, coming into service in late 1914 or early 1915, the Italians not entering the war, of course, until May 1915.


Now you might be wondering how you identify which is which,…

…and, personally, I find the fact that the Italians stamped the head of their version of the grenade with the words ‘Granata Carbone’, as seen here, comes in most useful.

Removing the screw cap…

…reveals the fragmentation segments inside.  This was designed as a defensive grenade, to be used from cover, thus, theoretically, ensuring the survival of the thrower.

The grenade consists of two sections, the cast iron casing and attached wire handle, and the screw cap, which contained the ignition system.

This diagram shows the relative simplicity of its use.  After removing the coppiglia di sicurezza (safety pin, which holds the fettuccia di strappo (tear-off tape) safely in place) from its hole in the screw cap (see inset photo), a sharp tug on the tear-off tape would create friction between the chemically-soaked end of the tape within the cap, and the phosphorous head of the miccia (fuse), giving the thrower six seconds before the detonator would explode, followed by the carica (charge).

There were numerous different versions of the Carbone – the Type A, for example, had the handle attached to the cap of the grenade – although most differences concerned the fuse placement within the cap,…

…which necessitated slight differences to the cap itself, as seen here.

Strangely, I can find no photographs of this grenade in use, which seems a little odd as there are, and I have, dozens of examples of the Austro-Hungarian version in action.

So if anyone can find one that can be used here, do let me know.  In the meantime, here are some Italian Arditi looking mean and moody……

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4 Responses to Italian Grenades of the Great War Part Two – The Carbone Type C Hand Grenade

  1. Walter Cornelissen says:

    I ‘m a grenade colector and i’ m learning alway’s something new from your artikles
    Kind regards Walter

  2. It strikes me – do you see what I did there? – that if you emptied out the explosive filling of a Carbone and substituted sand/lead/clay, it would make a pretty decent trench cosh. And if you were losing your trench squabble, just hurl it at the opposition whilst counting down from six.

  3. Magicfingers says:

    Hey hey! I saw what you did there Robert! And would you believe I do happen to own a grenade stuck on a stick which was actually used as a trench cosh. Really and truly! Although unlike your suggestion, the grenade (British) is just the empty head glued to the stick (a German stick grenade stick), but you really wouldn’t want to be clouted around the head with it, trust me!

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