The Grenade: Little Object, Big Effect

You have heard it said that “size does matter”.  In some cases this may be true, but something of small stature can also have gigantic effects.  A prime example to prove this point is the examination of the grenade.  Basically a small bomb, a grenade is essentially a piece of hollow metal that is filled with explosive or chemical filler, containing a threaded hole where a fuse can be inserted.  Though the grenade is small, its effects can be extremely damaging when the fuse is lit and it is released.


Originating in the late 15th century to the early 16th century, the first grenades were simply pieces of hollow metal filled with gunpowder.  They were ignited by a slow burning fuse with thrown distances of over 100 feet.  As firearms were improved upon, grenades bowed out during the 18th century and made a re-emergence in the trench warfare of World War I as part of the infantrymen’s equipment arsenal.  The popularity of these weapons escalated in World War II with over 50 million fragmentation grenades being produced in the United States alone.  Since that time, grenades have remained in common use with delivery options such as throwing, single shot launcher, or rapid fire cannon.  As opposed to a slow burning fuse, modern grenades are ignited by a timed fuse or impact fuse.

German WWII Stick Grenade:

German WWII Stick Grenade

There are five basic types of hand grenades commonly used.  The first is the offensive grenade which is designed for demolition effect to stun an enemy in an enclosed space.  This grenade is a body with sheet metal ends and fiber sides filled with a flaked TNT explosive charge filler.  The second type is the fragmentation grenades, designed to disperse into fragments on exploding.  Constructed of cast iron, this grenade has a metal body with an explosive charge, typically weighing around 21 ounces.  The third type is the chemical grenade which is designed to create a toxic effect, a signal smoke, or an incendiary action.  They sometimes come with metal straps to keep from rolling and contain a fuse that only has a 2 second delay.  The fourth type is the practice grenade containing a reduced charge for training safety.  And last but not least is the training grenade which is used only for throwing practice and thus has no explosive or chemical charge.

German WWII Stick Grenade Tan Finish:

German WWII Stick Grenade Tan Finish

WWII Weapons:—modern-world-war-2-weapons.html

In addition to the basic types of grenades listed above, there are specialty grenades that come in different forms.  Grenades continue to be in high demand today and go to show that big things often come in small packages.  To see our selection of grenades and other explosives, go to:


This entry was posted in World War II and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *