Grenades and Grenade Launchers

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Grenades and Grenade Launchers. Essentially small bombs, grenades contain two basic parts: a body and a fuse. A hollow container holds the explosive charge and provides the piercing shards of metal. Screwed into the grenade's body is a fuse that burns at a controlled rate, allowing the weapon time to reach its target before exploding. Besides such fragmentation grenades, smoke, chemical, and incendiary types are also produced. To increase range, the World War II service rifle was fitted with an adapter to fire grenades, but it proved unpopular because of recoil and the special blank cartridge required. After 1945, hand grenades were improved by making the body from sheet metal, but wrapping the explosive charge with pre‐notched wire, increasing the amount of fragmentation. During the Vietnam War, special grenade launchers resembled large, single‐barred shotguns that propelled a grenade almost 1,500 feet. Additionally, modifications were made to the service rifle's muzzle to accept a rifle‐projected grenade propelled by ball ammunition caught in a “bullet trap.”
[See also Weaponry, Army.]


S. L. A. Marshall , Infantry Weapons & Usage in Korea, 1952; rpt. 1988.
The Diagram Group , Weapons: An International Encyclopedia from 5000 B.C. to 2000 A.D., 1990.

William F. Atwater