Original German WWI Model 1915 Inert "Turtle" Offensive Discus Hand Grenade - Discushandgranate

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Totally inert and demilitarized according to BATF guidelines with hollow body and inert fuse. This grenade cannot be converted to an explosive device and is not available for export.

Offered is this Very rare World War I German offensive discus grenade, the Discushandgranate Model 1915. The pressed steel body of this example has been opened at the crimp points and is not resealed, but is in very good condition, with no dents and very light surface corrosion. One of the brass end screws is missing, as is the safety pin, and pull ring.  Also, the detonator tube, brass safety tube, and inertial triggers have been removed.

The trench warfare of WWI reinforced the long expressed need for impact detonated grenades, which would give no opportunity for the enemy to throw it back, like a conventional 'timed' grenade. In Germany, an original and efficient answer was developed in 1915 with the 'Discushandgranaten' (called 'turtle grenades' by the allied soldiers). The offensive model was made with two thin steel plates, crimped together, and is approximately 4 1/2 inches in diameter.  The "defensive" model was smaller, and made of two pre-fragmented steel plates.

These grenades have a lenticular "biconvex" shape, just like the discus thrown in Track & Field events. Inside the grenade were two bags of explosive, and the grenades were equipped with an ingenious igniting system looking like a star with 6 hollow cast aluminum tubes. The ones making the "legs" of the turtle contain mobile inertia blocks containing igniters. At the center of this cross is a "star" with 4 percussion pins, oriented towards the inertia blocks starters.

The other two tubes were for the safety and the detonator, respectively. The safety tube had a brass tube inside it that covered the "star", and was retained by a safety pin. The tube opposite it contained the detonator itself, which would be ignited by the percussion charge.

To use this grenade, one had to remove the safety pin, and then throw it like a discus, giving it the necessary spin for a level flight. The centrifugal force also pushed back the inertial blocks, as well as the brass tube that covered the ignition star. Once the grenade landed, one of the 4 blocks would fall onto the star, and detonate the grenade. It was not a perfect system, but definitely ingenious and interesting.

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