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Original German WWI Late War Granatenwerfer 16 Grenade Thrower Inert Fragmentation Round - Head only

Regular price $495.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Totally non-functional and inert having been deactivated according to specifications outlined by the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

Not Available For Export

This is an exceptionally rare German World War One Anti-Personnel fragmentation Round for the Granatenwerfer 16 (Grenade Thrower 16) "Spigot Mortar". It measures approximately 5 ½ inches long, and is in very good condition. The fin section is not present, only the fragmentation head. The long protrusion on the top is actually where the propellant charge is held, as the long tube is for mounting onto the "spigot" of the launcher. This is actually a strange example. While it does look like the type of grenade that was used with this system, the casting is extremely crude and has a slightly different appearance. We believe this to be an extreme late war “Ersatz” type produced that was never finished.

These were used both for direct fire and indirect fire, and had a relatively rapid rate of "throwing." A great infantry artillery piece from the Great War, ready to display!

An wonderful article by Forgotten Weapons on the Granatenwerfer 16 can be found at this link.

Developed from a weapon originally designed by a priest, of all people, in the Austro-Hungarian army, the Granatenwerfer 16 was a German WWI grenade thrower which bridged the gap between hand-thrown grenades and the light minenwerfers. Throwing a small grenade with a 400g (14oz) high explosive charge to a maximum range of about 300 meters (330 yards) , the Gr.W.16 with a practiced crew could maintain a rate of fire of 4-5 rounds per minute.

The Granatenwerfer 16 was a classic example of the spigot mortar type weapon. Rather than having a hollow barrel into which the projectile fit, it had a simple rod with a firing pin built in. The grenade it fired had a hollow center shaft, which fit onto the firing rod. To fire, a gunner (a 2-man crew, in practice) would first adjust the spigot rod to the correct angle for the desired range, depress the cocking collar until the firing pin was cocked, rotate the safety lever to the “safe” position, insert a fuse into a grenade (they were fairly sensitive impact fuses), slide the grenade onto the launcher, remove the safety pin, and fire the grenade by means of a lanyard pull. The Gr.W.16 was particularly portable because of its light weight – the launcher itself weighted 31 pounds and the base plate an additional 48 pounds. Thus both parts could be easily carried across areas too confined, muddy, or otherwise impractical to drag a wheeled minenwerfer through.

The grenade itself contained a special blank rifle cartridge (actually just a standard service round with the projectile removed), which provided the energy to launch – the granatenwerfer itself simply struck the cartridge primer to fire it. The Gr.W.16s proved to be popular and very effective weapons for the Germans. They had a high rate of fire, useful range, and reasonable effective detonation. They could be used in either direct or indirect fire applications – direct fire was used to fire at things like sentry posts, gun loopholes, and the like. When fired this way, the grenade fragments would fill an area roughly 5m wide and 50m long, while a round fired in a high angle trajectory would have a bursting radius of about 30 meters. Minimum high-angle range was 50 meters, to avoid endangering the firing crew.

In terms of manufacturing, the Gr.W.16 was a very simple device, and easy to produce, with only a few moving parts and nothing requiring the level of precision that a conventional barrel would need. This made it ideal for production by companies like toy manufacturers, who had experience with casting relatively small parts to relatively loose tolerances.

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