The ’24’ model of
grenade was the successor to the stick grenades of WW1. The charge was in the
head of the grenade and the fuse was activated by unscrewing the cap on the
bottom of the handle then pulling the cord with glass bead attached. The user
then had 4-5 seconds to throw the grenade before it exploded. The head contained
165 grams of explosive.
Initially these grenades relied on the solely the blast effect from the main charge. However, later on steel fragmentation sleeves (Splitterrringe) were made that could be slipped over the head. Some of the more able soldiers could throw a stick grenade up to 50m from a prone position.
Top, M43 stielgranate. Middle, M24 stielgranate.
Bottom, M39 smoke grenade
This was a simplified
version of the 24 model that had a solid wood handle and the primer built into
the head of the grenade.
A total of 81 million stick grenades of both types were manufactured before and during WW2.
Geballte Ladung (‘Bunched
The above German name literally means forceful/ large charge. These were assembled by troops in the field using six grenade ‘heads’ and a single complete stick grenade. The heads were placed around the top of the stick grenade and secured with wire or other materials. These weapons were extremely useful against blockhouses and in disabling armoured vehicles although they could only be thrown short distances using both arms due to their weight.
Eihandgranate 39 (‘Egg
An early Eihandgranate 39
This was a smaller more traditional looking grenade that was first introduced in early 1940. It was a lot more easy to carry as it could be stuffed into pockets but with only 122 grams of explosive it was less powerful. In 1942 carrying rings were introduced for these grenades so that they could be suspended from equipment. A total of 84 million of these grenades were manufactured.
Top, original Panzerfaust 60. Bottom, reproduction Panzerfaust 30. Note the safety instructions.
The Panzerfaust was
a single shot ‘throw away’ infantry held anti-tank weapon.
began in 1942 and started in a family of weapons beginning with the Panzerfaust
30 Klein (the numbers denote the range in metres) and culminating
in the Panzerfaust 150 that came into service during the last two months
of the war.
The warhead was a shaped
charge and the weapon was activated using a simple trigger that fired a
percussion cap. The propellant to the rear of the warhead then ignited and it
left the firing tube. The warhead was fitted with a wooden shaft that held it in
the tube and to this were attached folding metal stabilising fins that deployed
on launching. The warhead became armed within a few metres of leaving the
The Panzerfaust Klein’s more pointed warhead was found to be problematical as it was often found to ricochet off sloped armour as on the T34 tank. The warhead was therefore enlarged and reshaped to make it more effective in the Panzerfuast 30 which entered service in September 1943.
5.1kg (warhead 2.9kg)
Hafthohlladung (Attached hollow charge)
This was a shaped hollow
charge that looked rather like an inverted funnel. It had a Sprengkapsel 8
detonator at the top of the handle which gave the operator 7.5 seconds to make
his escape. The weapon utilized three powerful magnets that exerted a force of
45 kg to attach it to armoured vehicles. The later HHL 3 was even more
powerful and over half a million were produced during the war.
(Figures for HHL 3)
Penetration: 150mm armour plate
The Tellermine (Dish
mine) was originally a training mine. The first model was the T.Mi29
which weighed 4 kg.
The next model was the T.Mi.35
that contained 5 kg of explosives and was 32 cm in diameter. By the
time production ceased in 1943 over 4 million of these had been produced. The
main problem with the T.Mi.35 was that it only needed 90 kg of pressure
to set it off. This often resulted in the mine exploding prematurely and before
the tank was in the optimum position.
This resulted in a modified version with a thicker lid, called the T.Mi.35 St. This was a lot more effective as it required 210 kg of pressure to activate it. Over 2 million of these mines were produced between 1942 and 1943.
The T.Mi.42 was the
army’s final model. This utilised the same explosive charge and required the
same pressure to activate it but was smaller. Between 1942 and 1945 almost 10
million of these were manufactured.
These mines were also favoured by ‘tank killers’ or panzerknacker as they could be fitted with a short fuse and thrown onto the engine decks of enemy tanks.