Early Russian and Soviet Hand Grenades

Early Russian and Soviet Hand Grenades


A model 1914 hand grenade. Picture from Petrasevitsh's 1932 book.


This is my initial version of the Early Russian and Soviet Hand Grenades. If anyone has additions or comments, please let me know.

Bibliography:

  • -:Käsikranaatit ja kiväärikranaatit. Yliesikunnan julkaisuja. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, Helsinki 1926.
  • Barker and Walker:Russian Infantry Weapons of World War II. Arms and Armour Press, London 1971.
  • Petrasevitsh, P.: Aselajit ja sotatekniikka. Valtion kustannusliike Kirja, Petroskoi 1932.


    Data:

    Early Russian and Soviet Hand Grenades
    
                       M1912    M1914     M1915    M1914/30
                      --------------------------------------
    Type               Stick    Stick     Stick    Stick  
    Explosive         Ammonal   Picric    Favier   TNT
                                Acid or 
                                Favier 
    Weight             600 g    500 g    500 g     595 g
    Weight of frag j     ? g      ? g      ? g     227 g 
    Weight of expl     100 g*   100 g*   100 g*     96 g*
    Eff blast rad    13-15 m  13-15 m      ? m      25 m
    Number of fragments  ?       20        ?         ?  
    Fuse length        4-5 s    4-5 s    4-5 s   3.6-5 s
    Throwing range   20-35 m  20-40 m      ? m      40 m
    
     * Estimated
    


    Stats:

    Early Russian and Soviet Hand Grenades 
     Imperial Russia, Soviet Union
    
                       M1912    M1914     M1915    M1914/30
                      --------------------------------------
    Weight             1.3 lb   1.1 lb    1.1 lb   1.3 lb
    AT                   4        4        5         4
    Fuse                 2        2        2         2  
    Range               16       18       18        17  
    
    
    M1912:
          C   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8  10  
     PEN 8.5  8   8  7.9 7.8 7.6 7.4 7.2 7.0 6.9 6.5
      DC 10   7   7   6   6   6   6   6   5   5   4
    BSHC *6  15   4   1   0  -1
      BC 56h 398 111 34  18  11   7   6   4   3   1  
    
    M1914:
          C   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8  10  
     PEN 8.5  8   8  7.9 7.8 7.6 7.4 7.2 7.0 6.9 6.5
      DC 10   7   7   6   6   6   6   6   5   5   4
    BSHC *6  15   4   1   0  -1
      BC 60h 414 114 35  18  12   8   6   5   4   3   
    
    M1915 and M1914/30:
          C   0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8  10  
     PEN 8.5  8   8  7.9 7.8 7.6 7.4 7.2 7.0 6.9 6.5
      DC 10   7   7   6   6   6   6   6   5   5   4
    BSHC *6  15   4   1   0  -1
      BC 67h 445 121 37  19  12   8   6   5   4   3  
    
    
    
    Russia was one of the few nations to field hand grenades at the beginning of WWI. The country had both impact and time-fused grenades in its inventory when the war began but the impact-fused models were quickly withdrawn after their numerous shortcomings became known.

    The Hand Grenade Model 1912 was a stick grenade consisting of a sheet metal cylinder, filled with explosive and a sheet metal fragmentation jacket drilled with holes, attached to a wooden handle. A detonator was attached to the cover of the cylinder. A spring-loaded priming handle was attached and held fast to the wooden handle by a metal ring which served as the weapon's safety. A piece of string was tied around the handle at the factory in order to make sure the priming handle stayed in place.

    When the soldier grasped the grenade's wooden handle the priming handle was also depressed. The correct way of grasping the grenade was so that the safety ring went between the third and fourth finger of the hand. The soldier then armed the grenade by turning a safety catch away from the front of the hammer at the end of the priming handle. The next step was simply to throw the grenade - the safety ring was to slide off the handle as the grenade was thrown and remain in the thrower's hand.

    When the handle was released, the hammer at its end would strike the fuse, lighting up a small quantity of black powder in a copper tube. The resulting smoke would escape through small holes in the tube. When four or five seconds later the fire reached a primer set at the other end it blew up, detonating the grenade.

    There was a hook on the grenade so that it could easily be attached to a soldier's belt. Probably because ammonal is water soluble the Model 1912 hand grenades were packed into airtight zinc boxes at the factory. The fuses too had to be protected against humidity because of their black powder.


    The Model 1914 was an improvement over the original grenade. Now the whole grenade was made of welded sheet metal, resulting in a lighter weapon. Because of its appearance this grenade was commonly called the Bottle Grenade. The fuse was identical to that of the previous model in operation but the fuses were not interchangeable. The explosive was changed to picric acid which was somewhat more effective but which would become dangerous as it deteriorated. Picric acid explodes with a cloud of black smoke.

    There was no carrying hook on the Model 1914 so the grenade's Finnish manual from 1926 instructs troops to carry them in sacks, adding that "one may use ordinary sacks, for example those intended for use as sand bags".


    The Model 1915 did away with the complicated priming handle design. The soldier now rotated the lid of the grenade, removing both it and a clamp holding the fuse out of the way. He then pulled out a metal pin onto which was attached a piece of wire. The friction of this action lighted the fuse which in turn set off the primer and the explosive four or five seconds later. A similar friction system was used in German stick grenades. This grenade sported the belt hook for easier carrying.


    The Model 1914/30 was a modernized version of the priming handle equipped Model 1914. The explosive was now TNT which was even more effective than the older fillings. There was still no belt hook.

    The Model 1914/30 was replaced in production by the RDG33 and F1 grenades long before the war but was nevertheless widely used on the battlefields of the Winter War and in the early part of the Great Patriotic War. In addition to WWI, it is also very likely that the older models were used in the Spanish Civil War and later against the Finns and the Germans.





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