Know Your Weapons: Grenades of WWII

Jumping on a Grenade? Make Sure It’s a German One!

 

Finally, we have the German Model 24, Steilhandgranate, or “stick handle grenade.” Also known as the “Potato Masher” by Allied forces. This grenade was an offensive type containing a charge between six and seven ounces for a large, concussive blast effect but its thin-walled canister produced very little shrapnel. This was in line with German infantry tactics at the time, which consisted of using these grenades to stun and shock enemy troops in a trench or emplacement until German troops could rush the position and overwhelm the defenders. Its very large size made it a bit unwieldy for an infantryman to carry but, among grenades of WWII, it was unmatched for throwing distance.

Gripping the bottom of its wooden handle and throwing it the grenade would spin in the air. With practice, the soldier could drop it on top of a target with great precision. There were several instances in WWII where German and American troops chucked grenades at each other at ranges under 50 yards. The Americans found that the Steilhandgranate’s concussion was indeed stunning while the Germans found the U.S. grenade was more lethal when it exploded. But the Potato Masher could be thrown farther and with better accuracy. In an enclosed space it was especially deadly with its whopping six-seven ounce charge, which could kill a man with the overpressure of the detonation. But there are numerous reports of the stick handle grenade going off just feet from U.S. troops in the open without them being seriously harmed. Outside of an enclosed space, its concussive power was mostly wasted.

The Steilhandgranate represented the operational philosophy of the German Army in the 1930s which held that the next war would also involve trench warfare and battles over towns and fixed fortifications. In such environments, an offensive grenade with a concussive punch would be useful. That was the war the Wehrmacht fought in France in 1940. But from there they went on to fight in the deserts of North Africa, the Italian mountains, and the vast steppes of Russia where this grenade was not very effective.

 

Know Your WW2 Weapons: M1 Garand’s Mysterious 7th Round Stoppage

The M1 Garand’s Mysterious 7th Round Stoppage

 

I’m a Gun Geek so stuff like this is fascinating to me. 😄

 

Know Your WW2 Weapons: Japanese Arisaka Type 99 Rifle

Really enjoyed this informative run through on this gun.

It’s funny, I had always heard negative things about the Arisaka but never owned one. Lesson learned: Never discount a weapon because of urban myth or cultural bias! You could be missing out!

 

Know Your WW2 History: Panzerturms: The Gothic Line

At the Hitler Line, a single Panzerturm had systematically knocked out thirteen North Irish Horse tanks in minutes. Fighting defensively, and sited to take best advantage of the terrain, a Pantherturm had several advantages over tanks, artillery or standard bunkers. It’s low silhouette made it easy to conceal and, once located, difficult to target from […]

Panzerturms: The Gothic Line — Weapons and Warfare

Military Weapons from the Past: Yugoslav 8mm Chaucat/M1915/26

Reader Mihajlo sent me a couple cool photos of Yugoslav troops with Chauchats converted to 8x57mm. Here’s his commentary:

Here’s a picture from WW2 Yugoslavia I’d like to share with you. The guy on the right is holding a Dutch M.20 6,5 mm Lewis gun and the other guy is holding a Yugoslav Chauchat CSRG M1915/26 modification in 7,92x57mm. There is an interesting story about these Dutch Lewis guns. After the fall of Kingdom of Yugoslavia in April 1941. and occupation of Serbia by the Germans, some collaborator units appeared (SDK-“Serbian Volunteer Corps” ; SDS-“Serbian State Guard”). These units were not very reliable and they often smuggled weapons to resistance groups (especially the Yugoslav Army in Fatherland). Germans responded by giving these quisling forces weapons in calibers that were very rare in Serbia at the time: French MAS 36 rifles, MAS 38 submachine guns, FM 24/29 lmg, 1921 and 1928 Thompsons, Dutch Lewis guns.

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Thanks, Mihajlo! This type of conversion is something we don’t get to see very often at all.

Read the Original Article at Forgotten Weapons