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Gammon Grenade


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I wanted to show this recent addition to the collection. After several years of looking for one, I finally found one at a decent price.

 

This is a No.82 Grenade, commonly known as the 'Gammon Grenade'.

 

Some pictures;

 

post-132-1246793923.jpg

 

post-132-1246793914.jpg

 

Here is some info straight from 'Wikipedia';

 

Designed by Capt. R.S. Gammon MC of the 1st Parachute Regiment, the Gammon bomb was developed as a replacement for the temperamental and highly dangerous "sticky bomb" grenade. It consisted of an elasticized stockingette bag made of dark coloured material, a metal cap, and an 'Allways [sic] fuze' (the same fuze as found in the No. 69 grenade).

 

Unlike conventional grenades, the Gammon bomb was flexible in the amount and type of munition that could be delivered to a target. For anti-personnel use, a small amount of plastic explosive (about half a stick), along with shrapnel-like projectiles if available, would be placed in the bag. Against armoured fighting vehicles or other armoured targets, the bag could be filled completely with explosive. In this manner it was possible to make an unusually powerful grenade that could only be thrown safely from behind cover.

 

Using the Gammon bomb was very simple. After filling the stockingette bag with explosive, the screw-off cap was removed and discarded. Removing the screw-off cap revealed a stout linen tape wound around the circumference of the fuze. The linen tape had a curved lead weight on the end. While holding the lead weight in place with one finger (to prevent the linen tape from unwinding prematurely) the grenade was then thrown at the target. When the Gammon grenade was thrown, the weighted linen tape automatically unwrapped in flight, pulling out a retaining pin from the fuze mechanism. Removal of the retaining pin freed a heavy ball-bearing and striker inside the fuze, which were then held back from the percussion cap only by a weak creep spring. In this manner the Allways fuze became armed in flight. The grenade exploded when it impacted with the target, which gave the heavy ball-bearing a sharp jolt - overcoming the weak resistance of the creep spring - that slammed the striker against the percussion cap. The percussion cap fired directly into the adjacent detonator, which in turn sent a violent shockwave into the main explosive filling contained inside the stockingette bag. Detonation of a Gammon grenade was instantaneous on impact with the target, i.e. there was no time-delay.

 

Gammon bombs were primarily issued to special forces such as paratroopers who were issued plastic explosive routinely. These units found the Gammon bomb to be particularly useful due to its small size and weight when unfilled, as well as its adaptability.

 

Gammon bombs were declared obsolete in the early 1950s, at which point all existing stocks were destroyed. Typically, any examples encountered today will be in the form of unexploded ordnance or inert examples held in museum collections.

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Charlie Flick

Peace:

 

What a great piece to find. Congratulations.

 

To those who might wonder about the appropriateness of a British designed and manufactured weapon appearing here on a US Forum, it should be noted that the Gammon Grenade was used to great effect by US airborne forces in WW2. The following event is just one example I was able to recall. It comes from Robert Murphy's book "No Better Place to Die", the excellent account of the battle at La Fiere bridge in Normandy.

 

Capt. Arthur M. Stefanich and Lt. Gerald N. Johnson, C/505, who both were combat veterans of Sicily and Italy, along with 70 men who had dropped some distance northeast of the 505 DZ, picked up their parabundles by 0930 hours, and made a forced march directly for La Fiere bridge, their assigned D-Day mission. They spread out, and on the way got in a quick lick against the enemy that morning by destroying a German armored truck with a gammon grenade. They also took two prisoners along the way.

 

Regards,

Charlie Flick

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The Gammon grenade could be as deadly to the user as to the enemy! A now deceased friend was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 505th PIR of the 82nd Airborne. While his plane was loading for the Normandy drop, a Gammon grenade carried by one of their group somehow exploded destroying their plane and killing or wounding many of the men. Our friend was among the wounded and after spending several months in the hospital was returned to his unit.

 

Apparently the Gammon grenades had been issued to the U.S. paratroopers just before their departure, and they were unfamiliar with the eccentricities of the weapon.

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Here's mine (the complete one came from the British Airborne area near Caen, the other two from US Airborne area, specifically the La Fiere area):

 

gammon.jpg

 

I've always liked this pre-Normandy 82nd Airborne photo, with everyone sitting there fitting fuses into Gammon Grenades. Each crate contains 40 Gammons, according to the stencil on the side. The man second left appears to be holding a chunk of Composition C:

 

gam.jpg

 

Cheers,

Glen.

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