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Hand grenade explosive filler?

Started by bob lamoreaux , Nov 03 2013 04:12 PM

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#1 bob lamoreaux

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:12 PM

I know this info is around somewhere, I just can't lay my hands on it!

 

What explosive filler(s) were used in the "pineapple" grenade?

 

I THINK the original filler was EC Blank Fire (or just plain Blank) powder, then either poured or flaked TNT (the yellow body grenades?).  Not sure if there was a change from poured TNT to flaked TNT or vice versa or not at all (that is, poured TNT was never used).

 

Also, and this goes to the EFFECT of the filler: again SOMEWHERE I read that EC powder gave insufficient fragmentation (or was it too much fragmentation?) and that the TNT filler may have caused over-fragmentation.

 

Can anyone clear this up for me?

 

Thanks!



#2 ccyooper

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:02 AM

Bob,

I do not have access to all my manuals as they are still in storage but of the few I have unpacked the standard MKII pineapple grenade of WWII at least in my 1944 manual indicates the charge was EC Blank Fire powder.  I may have an earlier manual that indicates the use of TNT but by 44 it only indicates EC powder.  A later manual that I have indicates that they were filled with TNT but I believe that was actually Composition B which was a mixture of RDX and TNT (1956).   Not sure why the change was made and do not have time at this moment to look it up or unbox any of my ref material but I hope this limited reply helps some.  I thought some of the EOD experts would have chimed in by now.

 

Regards,

CC



#3 bob lamoreaux

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:59 PM

Thanks, CC!
I'm surprised I have gotten so little response!  What frustrates me is that I can't find the information to answer my own question, particularly regarding the fragmentation effect of the particular explosive charge.  The material I found on-line indicates that the War 2 Mk II grenades were filled with granulated or flaked TNT.  I believe that the earlier (War 1 to the mid- or late-'30s) had the TNT filling.  I think the Comp B filling was never used in the Mk II but was used in one of the "marks" of the offensive grenade (the one with the sheet steel body -- sort of like the Viet Nam vintage "egg" grenade).  I recall that fragmentation was a "problem" due to the explosive filler, but can't recall the details.  The EC filled grenade may not have given sufficient separation between the fragments while the TNT filled grenade "over-fragmented" and threw a lot of "powder" or shrapnel that was insufficient to wound sufficiently to incapacitate.  My failing memory also seems to recall that the "zone of danger" from the fragments changed with the change in fillings.  Actually, this question arises, as usual, from the research I am doing for my book manuscript focused on American Armament Corp.  The AAC catalog (1932) states: "The latest type of fragmentation hand grenade is loaded with a new type explosive that has a very rapid rate of explosion but does not detonate; therefore, upon bursting, it does not fragment the body of the grenade to dust but breaks it up into almost perfect squares along the corrugations. . . . This new explosive does not require a Mercury Fulminate detonator. . ." The grenade looks like a standard Mk II with the regular fuse. I suspect there is some puffery in the description and that the filler is EC powder and a simple time fuse. Still, I've gotten curious about the change in explosive filler and the effect of that change on fragmentation.

#4 bob lamoreaux

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:27 PM

Found it! For those interested, there is a very good history of the "pineapple" grenade at www.nusafm.org. It appears that EC powder was the second filler used, coming into use after WWI. Prior to that, TNT (flaked or granulated) appears to have been the filler. SOOOOO! Looks like AAC filled fragmentation grenades with EC and used a simple time fuse, no detonator being necessary. Incidentally, the site states that BOTH the TNT and the EC filled grenades were painted yellow!

#5 Terry K.

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:47 PM

I read somewhere that they used TNT only for a while but found it would not give the fragmentation that was desired.




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