Model 24 grenade

From Academic Kids

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Grenade_m24pm.png
German stick grenade

The Model 24 Stielhandgranate was the standard hand grenade of the German Army from the end of World War I until the end of World War II. The very distinctive appearance led to it being called the stick grenade, or "Potato masher" in British trench language.

Designed in 1915 it used a friction igniter - uncommon in other countries but widely used for German grenades. The handle was hollow and a string ran from the detonator within the explosive head down through the handle to terminate in a porcelain ball in the base closing cap. For operation the base cap was unscrewed, the ball and string fell out, and pulling the string dragged a roughened steel rod through the ignitor causing it to flare-up and start the ten second fuse burning.

As a fragmentation grenade, it was a very useful and powerful anti-personnel device. The high explosive charge reduced the thin steel casing to flying fragments, causing considerable blast damage. The handle meant this grenade could be thrown further than its own lethal radius which was good for the user and put it in the classification of offensive grenades.

Though they were virtually ineffective against armoured vehicles, they were extremely useful for clearing out entrenched infantry positions. Against armour the grenade could be used in an improvised 'bundle' style with a number of unscrewed warheads taped around a central grenade.

The grenade went through numerous variants, ten versions being deployed in WW I before a settled design emerged in 1917. Into WW II the grenade had a slightly smaller head and the un-needed belt clip was removed. Two casing sleeves were also issued, a 'smooth' and a square-grooved fragmentation sleeve. Each change was essentially a move towards a lighter device which was easier and less costly to manufacture. The final war-time variant was the Model 43, in which the handle was solid with the fuze mounted at the top of the warhead.

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