<XMP><BODY></xmp>Grenade ideas.

Updated 11-9-16

Some thoughts on Hand Grenades, Trip Mines and Flare Guns.

        An interesting property of hand grenades is that they have no muzzle flash or retort and their trajectory is difficult to determine. This is particularly useful during night combat or any situation were visibility is limited.
        During World War One German Stormtroopers realised that enemy trenches were best attacked using just bayonets and grenades. During the approach firearms would often be carried unloaded to prevent accidental discharges or nervous Soldiers being spooked into losing fire-discipline. The absence of gunfire meant that neighbouring units or even those being attacked would assume that explosions were mortar or artillery fire. Often troops would take shelter rather than manning defensive positions. Not using firearms also reduced the risk of fratricide. Anyone who did fire could be assumed to be an enemy. In more open terrain the detonation of a grenade might be assumed to be a mine or booby trap.
        Offensive grenades were usually used in the above roles. These would either be concussion grenades or fragmentation grenades that produced a limited and predictable casualty area.
        In Vietnam many US troops found that trees prevented fragmentation grenades being thrown far enough for them to escape the danger area. Troops operating in jungle conditions should be issued with concussion grenades as standard, with a couple of “Fragmentation Sleeves” carried for if the grenade is used for a booby trap. The Fragmentation sleeve may just be a flexible wrap-around plastic pad containing steel shot that fastens around the grenade body. When not in use it would fold up at the bottom of a pocket or ammo pouch. A couple of grenades would be carried with sleeves fitted, the rest without.

        Because the concussion grenade has a smaller effect area than a Frag we tend to think of them as inferior. In reality this is the Concussion grenade's greatest strength. Since the Soldier can use the grenade when closer to his target, it has greater tactical flexibility and can be placed more accurately. While the close range use of a Fragmentation grenade often requires cover, use of a concussion grenade often only needs concealment.

        The current US concussion grenade, the MK3A2, resembles a smoke grenade and does not fit in the issue ammo pouch. The primary role for which the MK3A2 was originally developed was in fact as a demolition device. The use as a Offensive grenade developed once troops in the field began using them in this role.

MK3A2 Offensive Grenade
MK3A2 Grenade in Field Manual 3-23.30

        FM 3-21.30 barely covers the use of the Concussion grenade. For a better account of its tactical potential read “Phanton Soldier” by H. John Poole. This should be required reading for all Soldiers anyway.

        Equivalent foreign designs of Concussion grenade such as the Russian RGN and Dutch NR17 are more compact and more powerful than the MK3A2.
        A more effective concussion grenade could made by fitting the M217 fuse that was used for the M68 grenade on to a plastic body filled with suitable explosive. The grenade body would be constructed of black plastic, barrel-shaped and have “CONCUSSION” embossed on its surface. It would therefore be distinctive in colour, shape and touch, making it easy to identify even at night. Alternately the grenade body could be of polygonal section as has been described here. The M68 grenade closely resembled the M67 “Baseball” fragmentation grenade but used a different fuse. One to two seconds after the safety lever was released a mechanism was activated that would detonate the grenade on impact. As a backup there was also a self-destruct mechanism that would explode the grenade after three to seven seconds. The Russian RGN grenade has a shorter self-destruct time which permits the grenade to be thrown so that it air-bursts.
        An impact fuse is particularly suitable for a grenade that will be used for close range combat. Such a fuse may offer new roles for the grenade, such as door-busting.

        Since the concussion grenade will be used at close range an impact fuse with a shorter arming time would be desirable. If creating a new fuse then a useful feature to include would be the option of having the grenade explode half a second after impact, allowing it to be bounced off walls or rolled along the ground.

Multi-Option Grenade Fusing.
        An electronic grenade fuse is not only more reliable and consistent, it can also have several fusing options.
These may be: -
        For ease of use these options can be selected using just two tumbler-type controls:- one to select or switch off the impact mode, the other to set the time delay option. The Impact dial would have the options Impact, Impact + and Off. The time dial has options such as 4 sec, 7 sec and Instant.

        Fuses designed for fragmentation or concussion grenades should be designed so that they break into pieces that are unlikely to be thrown further than the intended casualty radius of the grenade. Certain components of the No36M Mills bomb and Russian F1 could be thrown more than 200yds. At least one design of modern grenade uses a fuse constructed mainly of Aluminium to avoid this. Some Anti-riot grenades have striker components that detach from the grenade after the delay element has been ignited.

Combined Rifle/Hand Grenades.
        This original article on which this page is based contained a section discussing
Mike Sparks' idea for a combined hand and rifle grenade

        This section has now been expanded and moved to the Rifle/Hand Grenade page.

        The Dutch Company of NWM had a Mini-hand grenade designated the V-40 that had a body about the same size as a golf ball. Body diameter was 37mm and weight only 120gm or 4.2oz. Five such grenades in a bandolier weighed 23oz/650gm and weighed less than two more conventional grenades. Casualty radius was about the same as that of a M203 round, i.e. 5 metres. Mini-grenades could be built by marrying M203 warheads with a different fuse. This may have been exactly how the Dutch grenade was created. 30mm rounds for the Russian AGL-17 type weapons have been used as the basis of at least one hand grenade design and there are several other designs of small grenade available such as the Austrian Arges HG86 (180gm, 43mm dia) and Chinese Norinco Type 82 (260gm, 48mm dia). A US M67 Grenade weighs 14oz/397gm.
        Fitted with a Rifle Adapter the V40 can be projected 225m at 75m/s by a 5.56mm round and 90m/s by a 7.62mm NATO round. Jane's Infantry Weapons 1976 shows a comparison of the V40 with another grenade “four times the weight”. The V40 was 60% effective at 5m radius while the heavier grenade showed the same performance at 6½-7m radius, an illustration of how performance cannot be simply judged by grenade size.
        Large numbers of the V40 mini-grenades could be carried by a Soldier and they could be thrown to a respectable distance. Another section in the above edition of Jane's shows that a grenade of around 150gm can be thrown 40m while more conventional heavier grenades of around 450gm only reach around 30m. Grenades such as the V40 are of the “controlled fragmentation” type that can be used as either offensive or defensive grenades. 50-100% casualties will be caused in a 3-5m radius around the grenade but a thrower 20m away will be safe. Mini-grenades such as this therefore potentially fill a similar tactical niche to concussion grenades with the advantage that more can be carried and fragments are more likely to cause wounds than shockwaves which may just stun. Such would benefit from the impact or multi-option fuses suggested above.

        Such mini-grenades provide a useful supplement to larger grenades such as the Rifle/Hand Grenade and may be useful for house clearing or covert operations. For the latter application mini-smoke bomb and tear gas variants would be useful too. The two chemical rounds would have cylindrical bodies rather than spherical and be textured so they could be distinguished by touch in the dark. I suggest a corrugated surface for Tear gas; smooth for smoke. “Pocket” tear gas grenades are available from some companies so the same technology could be used for non-irritant mini-smoke grenades. It is very likely that such grenades would see indoor use so desirable that their use produces little chance of causing secondary fires. Some riot-control grenades use pressurized containers similar to aerosols and this seems a good approach for chemical mini-grenades.

Rocket Assisted Hand Grenades.
        Defence Today 27th April 1988 reported that Norinco, China was offering a Type 79 “Rocket Assisted Hand Grenade”. This is best described as a small, cut-down Panzerfaust with a blind-ended launch tube. Calibre was 45mm, weight was 650gms and range was 400m. This weapon is shown in Jane's Infantry Weapons 2004-5 and casualty radius given as 8.65m. It appears to be a fragmentation grenade, but might be HEAT-MP. Exact information is thin on the ground
        This Role Playing Game page used to have an image of the Type 79, but currently doesn't.
Type 79 at www.sinodefence.com

Anti-Tank Hand Grenades.
        The hollow charge anti-tank hand grenade was first developed in WW2 by the Germans. The Russians have continued to manufacture and use such weapons.

German Anti-tank hand grenades
How to Throw the Panzerwurfmine
RKG-3M Anti-tank grenade
Diagrams of RKG-3M and similar grenades
RPG-43 Grenade
East German copy of RKG-3

        Allegedly using these grenades has hazards other than having to be in close proximity to a hostile tank. The radius of the fragments is not much less than the maximum throwing range.
        It's questionable as to whether such weapons are still useful.
        For normal infantry I'm inclined to answer no. Such forces usually have access to alternate systems such as rifle grenades and LAWs.
        Where they are useful is in the arsenals of covert and special forces. Such units may be using weapons that are incompatible with rifle grenades or be unable to conceal larger weapons. Since the targets these are used on are mainly soft skinned or lightly armoured such Hand Anti-Armour Grenades (HAAG) may prove very effective.

        Any new model of Anti-tank Hand Grenade should be mainly made of material that does not fragment and utilise a detachable fragmentation sleeve of pre-formed fragments arranged to spread in a cylindrical rather spherical pattern.
        Many armies that have used such grenades against tanks have made use of camouflaged “spider-holes”. The tanks were allowed to roll past and the Soldier has attacked once inside the vehicle's blind zone. The trajectory of such grenades often causes them to hit the thinner upper-decking of a vehicle. I expect that another effective tactic would be two grenadiers engaging a target simultaneously, supported by screening smoke. In an urban environment grenades could be thrown down from windows and roofs onto the top armour of vehicles.

        Recently I came across some information that in the 70s the US Army had considered a hand-thrown anti-tank grenade called the HAG. Some nice illustrations here and here.
        The terrorists of the IRA produced their own “drogue bombs” using tin cans, plastic pipe and polythene for the drogue (plastic carrier bags, perhaps?).
        Hand thrown anti-tank grenades such as the RKG-3 have seen considerable use in Iraq. As suggested above they are useful “street weapons” against light vehicles, being easy concealed under a jacket. The RKG-3 was intended as a defensive grenade since its fragmentation radius is about the same as its effective throwing distance. The intention is the user is in a slit trench or has a wall nearby. This probably does not matter to some of the more fanatical users. References will be encountered that suggest the RKG-3 is designed to descend on the thinner upper armour of a target. This may be true or may be journalists confusing the function of the drogue with a parachute. According to some webpages Iraqis remove the drogue so they can throw direct at the sides of faster moving targets. An older reference I have claims deployment of the drogue is a requirement to arm the mechanism.
        The Small Arms Defense Journal notes the RKG-3 has “a deserved reputation of being one of the world's worst designs” and there seem to be some improvements that can be made. The nose section that ensures stand-off distance should be made conical rather than a flat ended cylinder. To this would be added four fins or horns which would serve to move the weapon in to a perpendicular aspect as is described for “anti-windshield rounds”. Unless it really is intended to work as a parachute the drogue of the RKG-3 seems overly complicated. A number of ribbon-like streamers as used on earlier designs such as the RPG-43. Using the safety lever to help deploy the drag stabilization seems logical.

Reverse Hand Anti-Armour Grenade (RHAAG).
        The optimum stand-off distance for a shaped charge warhead is about 4-5x the charge diameter. A stick-type anti-armour grenade could be designed with the charge pointing towards the butt of the handle. Drogue streamers deploy from the “top” of grenade so that the grenade flips over like a throwing knife, turning the handle into a stand-off probe. The butt of grenade would resemble the head of a square crossbow bolt. In his book “The Crossbow” Payne Gallwey remarks
“Other bolts had square-faced heads with four small points, one at each corner of the head, so that they might not glance off armour, but give a straight and smashing blow to mounted men wearing breastplates and helmets, against which the end of a sharp projectile might break, bend, or turn aside.” I have seen whaling harpoon heads with the same feature.
        This proposal improves the stand-off distance and therefore the effectiveness of the warhead without increasing length or diameter. The design would use plastics to reduce the number and likelihood of dangerous fragments and hopefully allow the grenade to be thrown further and faster.
        The grenade would need a simple way to release the streamers once the grenade is thrown. The streamers would be packed coiled or folded (optimum method to be determined) on top of the grenade body, probably covered by a plastic cap. When thrown the streamers stream loose, perhaps in a bunch at the end of a drogue line for extra influence,so that they stabilize the grenade after one-half turn.
        It would be desirable for there to be some way to connect the release/ ejection of the cup and streamers to the release of a grip safety. The weapon should be as simple as possible to bring into action. Spitting distance of a tank is no place to start having to think about “Press button A, release clamp B, loosen cap C etc”. Preferable would be a method such as: “Grasp lever on handle. Pull pin on cup. Throw and duck!”
        Fitted with the correct fuze/influence device, this grenade could also be buried handle-up as an anti-track or anti-wheel mine, correct standoff distance built in.

Gammon Bombs.
        The Gammon Bomb was a WW2 grenade used by airborne forces, resistance fighters and special forces. Some sources attribute the name to a Lt. Gammon of the 1st Parachute battalion, others to the shape of the item.

Gammon Bomb
Gammon Bomb and other grenades
Gammon Bomb Photos

        It consisted of an All-ways impact fuse and a stockinette bag.
        The idea was that the user added a charge of plastic explosive to suit the intended use -half a stick for an anti-personnel concussion grenade; three or four for demolitions or anti-vehicular use. No doubt scraps of metal were sometimes added as fragments.
        Without explosive several grenades could be rolled up and fitted in the bottom of a pocket. Even when charged the grenade could be packed in various crannies since the only inflexible part was the fuse.
        One cannot help but wonder if this malleability gave the grenade a HESH effect on some targets.
        A modern Gammon bomb could use a programmable electronic fuse, allowing it to be placed as well as thrown. I also suggest that the bomb be given an integral charge of its own, so that it is always capable of being used as a weapon. Additional plastique would be packed around the outside of this charge.
        This last strategy will suggest to some readers that one can field improvise Gammon bombs by packing plastique around other hand grenades and maybe enclosing the charge in a plastic bag.

“Nice” WP.
        Phosphorus grenades have been described as the most versatile of all hand grenades. They can produce smoke that can be used for screening, obscuration and signaling and also have an anti-personnel, anti-material and incendiary applications. The smoke and fumes produced by burning phosphorus is acrid and an irritant so can be used to drive an enemy from enclosed spaces or reduce his combat effectiveness.
        Phosphorus is not without disadvantages, however. Because of the heat evolved during its generation the smoke produced has a tendency to rise. This is fine if a vertical screen or signaling is the intention but less useful for screening small units. The smoke and burning particles may also be a hazard to the unit using the grenades, particularly if they need to move through the screen they have created. In some environments causing secondary fires may be counter productive. Phosphorus, particularly White Phosphorus is very reactive and this may cause problems both for long term storage and in handling munitions in the field. White Phosphorus ignites at 30-40C so on a warm day will ignite spontaneously if oxygen is available. Red Phosphorus is more stable but still begins burning at only 260C.
        These considerations (among others) has caused many armies to phase out WP and RP hand grenades in favour of designs using cooler-burning chemicals. While these grenades produce safer and better smoke screens they are not as versatile.

        Many smoke grenade designs are of bursting type. A small charge breaks open the grenade body and scatters pellets of smoke-producing composition across a wide area. The heat produced by the bursting charge also helps speed the start of the smoke-producing reaction. Such a grenade could be given an additional antipersonnel capability if it also included a “mini-grenade” type sub-munition in the centre of the smoke pellets. Detonation of the bursting charge would rupture the grenade wall and scatter the smoke pellets but also ignite the fuse of the fragmentation charge. This would explode a second or so later so that the blast does not interfere with the distribution of the smoke pellets.

Foam grenades.
        I once came across an idea for a foam grenade. This had various applications as diverse as obscuring vehicle windscreens and extinguishing fires. This seemed like a good idea for police, particularly if it could be used as both a hand-spray or a grenade.
        It is possible such devices could be used in MOUT and may see offensive use too. After all, Dry ice (Carbon Dioxide) is used to produce smoke screens for TV.

Trip Mines.
        This is an explosive charge about the size and shape of a cigarette packet.
        It is fitted with either a motion detector, a laser tripwire or an infra-red sensor. An adhesive pad allows the mine to be stuck to walls or tree trunks as well as being placed on the ground. The glue used for adhesive mouse traps appears to be very strong but does not dry out quickly, allowing it to be used more than once if the backing is replaced.
        Trip mines could be quickly scattered behind a unit to hinder pursuit. This would be very useful for small raiding units.
        A variant that can be remotely deactivated can be used for perimeter defense.

        UPDATE This device nearly meets the criteria. Players of "Splinter Cell" will recognise it as the Wall Mine.

SLAM Wall Mine
Selectable Lightweight Attack Munition (SLAM)

        Another weapon along similar lines to the SLAM is the M86 Pursuit Denial Munition (PDM), am adaption of the M74 Bounding Anti-personnel mine. When activated this ejects seven 6 metre long trigger wires. When triggered it ejects a fragmentation up into the air.


        As well as acting as a trigger mechanism a motion detector or similar on an Claymore or Trip mine positioned on a perimeter could be used to alert a sentry that someone was close to the mine. Compact fibre-optic cameras could also be positioned near the mines, allowing a remote operator to trigger mines when they are likely to be most effective. This would feed into devices like a laptop computers or video mobile phones.

Flare Guns.
        Although an essential item of equipment, flare guns are often overlooked.
        Not only can they provide illumination, but they may also at times be a more useful signalling device than even radio.

        “Flares are terribly underused. They make excellent target identification aids at night when using air assets. Firing a flare at the enemy has a pretty good psychological impact and will destroy their night vision for quite a while as well.”
Light Infantry Page.

        Flares can also be useful incendiary projectiles.

        During WW2 the Germans developed at least two models of grenade throwing flare pistol.

Grenade round for Flare gun
German Signal Pistols
Grenades for Smooth Bore Signal Pistol (Leuchtpistole)
Grenades for Modified Rifled Grenade and Signal Pistol

        Hecker and Koch have continued this concept with a discharger cup and barrel insert that fits some models of their flare pistols.
There are, however, tactically more flexible ways to launch grenades:-
         An adapter could be made that allows grenade projection from unmodified flare guns.

Rifle launch adapters

        One end clips on to the grenade and safety lever while the other is inserted in the flaregun barrel.
        An interesting possibility is that the tail could contain a captive piston, making grenade use flashless and quiet. This would be useful during night combat and in close range operations.
        As well as the hand grenade adapter a supercalibre flare for large scale illumination could also be built.

        The other combat flare round that most suggests itself is a 1" calibre "Shotshell" -although the round could also contain a cloud of HC smoke or riot agent.

        Another idea for flare guns is to build a 12 gauge barrel insert that is longer than the flare gun's barrel. Such a device would convert the flare gun into a survival shotgun for aircrews.

        The Chinese have a selection of anti-riot grenades designed for fire from 7.62x25mm pistols and SMGs. A 35mm 80gm grenade can be projected 110m.
        During World War Two the Japanese issued a double barreled flare pistol, and a French company offers a LLW pistol with two 44mm OU barrels which weighs 1.55kg (3.4lb). This suggests a 37mm or 40mm weapon would be practical.

Further Ideas

        40x46mmSR grenades for the M203 could also be adapted for hand throwing. The nose of the grenade could be fitted with a flip-up cap to expose an manual actuator. Such "Pop-top" grenades would fill the mini-grenade role described in my previous article. I can't really claim any credit for this idea -the grenade rounds in the movie
“Aliens” had this feature.

        While on the subject of M203 grenades it is worth considering the idea that these rounds could have a composite casing :- brass around the propellant charge with an aluminum or polymer casing for the expansion chamber. This will lighten the soldier's load, as well as decreasing the chance of unpredictable fragmentation in the hand thrown mode.

        The disposable Grenade Launcher offers several advantages over both rifle grenades and grenade cartridges, but I was uncertain that it could be adapted to hand throwing. Large components such as parts of the trigger mechanism seemed likely to carry far enough to endanger the thrower. The obvious answer is to design the device so that the trigger unit needs to be detached to arm the weapon for hand throwing. This would just leave the grenade, the launching spigot and the outer case -something about the size of a tin can/offensive grenade.

        Following my mortar article there has also been interest in the idea of launching grenades from mortars.  A rifle-hand grenade as described above could easily be adapted to mortar launch by fitting it with a 60mm disc mounting a propellant charge. I doubt such projectiles would have sufficient range for company fire support missions, but for platoon support (in commando mortars) their use would conserve mortar bombs for longer range fire. Grenades adapted to mortar fire would be lighter than bombs, so less of a burden to the unit.

         An idea I forgot to put in the article was that of mounting a disposable launcher like the RPO on a bracket on the outside of a vehicle, maybe in an armoured box. This would be fired by cable or electrical circuit and form a sort of “One-shot Assault Gun”
         A variation of this as a light vehicle tank hunter role is shown at


        Other ideas about grenades can be found on these pages:-
Nipolit Grenades
Magbombs, Lantern Grenades and Doorknockers
Sticky Grenades
Grenade Launchers
DGLs as booby traps
Extended article on Disposable Grenade Launchers

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