Grenade - History of Grenade


The characteristic whizzing, common to soldiers and war movie enthusiasts, is created by a hand grenade flying through the air. Used as a small bomb or explosive, hand grenades are common weapons operated by throwing them short distances to explode an enemy territory. The explosion resulting from grenades is powerful, and can sometimes contain shrapnel, which causes serious harm to those who experience the after effects from this deadly device.

Although its modern usage is commonly recognized, many are surprised to learn that an unknown inventor in the 15th century designed the first metal grenade. These devices were made from iron balls, containing gunpowder in their hollowed out insides. Controlled through a slow-burning wick, grenades of this type were only used by specially trained European soldiers

Development of this grenade design continued slowly throughout hundreds of years, and multiple battles throughout the world. Grenade handling was exclusively taught to the most elite soldiers, called grenadiers, as their use was considered to be highly dangerous. Even during the American Civil war, soldiers employing hand grenades were more highly trained than the average military solider. Interestingly, the grenade design during the civil was not too different from the 15th century design. However, a plunger instead of a slow burning wick ignited these newer grenades.

By the early 1900s, the use of hand grenades was becoming few and far between. The British War Office even declared them obsolete in 1902. However, an inventor by the name of William Mills sought to change this decline, and invented the first fragmentation grenade called "Mills bomb". Available to British troops in 1915, these hand grenades consisted of a trigger pin, which is common in the modern models of today.

Continuing the be the standard grenade throughout both World Wars, the use of the Mills Bomb ended in 1972 after several million had been created and used in battle. Today, more advanced grenades are still being developed and used in battles and wars. The primitive designs of the 15th century, therefore, led to an extremely deadly weapon that continues to be used by militaries and governments throughout the world.

Related Links: